Closing the Gap : Using Theory to Analyze the African American Division 1 Football Player Graduation Gap Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/f4752m804

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  • African American male students are a small portion of the student body at NCAA Division 1-A schools, but they make up a large portion of population of college football players. African American male college students are also one of the most at-risk student populations on campus in regards to retention. They graduate at a lower rate than their white teammates. This study examines the graduation gap and employs theory as a lens to better understand the problem. I use the ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) to help the reader understand how an athlete’s surroundings may have an effect on their action and motivation. I employ the self-determination theory (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991) in terms of supporting intrinsic motivation. I analyze a program at a Division 1-A university that is meant to increase retention and GPA for football players to see whether African American student athletes are properly supported. Research has found that African Americans face different barriers than white student-athletes on predominantly white campuses. The results of this study can help athletic programs to create programming to better support their African American student athletes.
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