Black Male Student-Athlete Success: a Qualitative Case Study on the Influence of Role Strain and its Implications on Completing College At a Power-Five Conference School
This research explored the major strains that Black male student-athletes experience while attending a Division I Power-Five conference institution and the coping strategies they use to mitigate the strains while being a student and an athlete. Many scholars contend that sports are as important as academics in the lives of students. This is especially true for minorities as many believe sports provide access to academic institutions that might normally be out of reach. As the NCAA now reports that Black student-athletes exceed their White counterparts in most revenue-generating Division-I sports, their graduation rates continue to lag behind. This research used a qualitative case study approach and The Bowman Role Strain and Adaptation Model (BRSAM) as the theoretical framework to explore the strains and coping mechanisms that impact Black male student-athlete persistence. This research identified "time" as the primary strain that is experienced by student-athletes. A lack of time subsequently creates additional strains, which included those related to academics, engagement, and meeting the expectations of their sport. The study also identified athletic student services, family support, religion and spirituality, self-motivation and resilience as coping strategies used by student-athletes to manage stress. This study has implications for increased collaboration between athletics and academics; improvement of campus-wide student counseling and advising; reducing regulations that add mental health pressures to the already unique challenges of the student-athlete experience; and improving persistence and degree attainment for Black male student-athletes.