Factors Influencing the Academic Performance of African American Student-Athletes in Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Authors: Ian DeVol Scott

Corresponding Authors:
Ian DeVol Scott
921 S. Cortez Street
New Orleans, LA 70125
(731) 444-0356

Ian Scott is a doctoral degree candidate in higher education leadership at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He has served in many capacities of intercollegiate athletics in higher education such as Associate Athletic Director, Director of Compliance, and Head Athletic Academic Advisor. He has over 10+ years working for historically black colleges and universities.

Based on previous research, it is evident that college students benefit significantly when they are integrated into the social and academic components of higher education institutions, especially historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Student-athletes are often isolated from the traditional student population of the institution, mainly due to increased involvement in a sport. Nonetheless, there are few studies that have researched the impact of class preparedness and readiness, cocurricular activities, and type of current living arrangements on academic performance of student-athletes at HBCUs. Historically black colleges and universities are often regarded, as a group, as low-performing institutions and much of this perception stems from comparisons of graduation rates between HBCUs and non-HBCUs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to address student-athlete academic performance at the selected HBCUs, and determine strategies and programs for improved student-athlete academic performance at these institutions. The dependent variable was self-reported academic performance of student-athletes. The independent variables included hours of preparation for class, participation in cocurricular activities, and current living arrangements. Data from the National Survey for Student Engagement was used to answer the questions for the study. The sample consisted of 223 student-athletes at HBCUs. There was a significant relationship between academic performance and current living arrangements. Participants that lived on campus performed better academically than those that lived in other housing arrangements. The findings indicate the need for student-athletes to live on campus with all options of campus involvement available and reevaluate the importance of campus living communities and access to academic success programs and offices for student-athletes.
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