Examining Factors that Lead to Persistence of African American Male Student Athletes in Community Colleges

Kevin Anthony Christian

Major Professor: Nance Lucas, PhD, School of Integrative Studies

Committee Members: Linn Jorgenson, Todd Rose

The Hub, #VIP III
November 30, 2018, 03:30 PM to 05:30 PM


African American male student athletes who persist in community colleges are a rarely studied population.  Their success rate of earning an associate degree and transferring to a four-year institution of higher education is low.  African American males continue to struggle when faced with the challenge of pursuing a college education (Bush & Bush, 2010).  As with every promising African American male community college student, there are barriers to enrollment and completion.  This study was designed to capture the factors that influenced the success of African American male student athletes in community colleges.  To understand how the study participants viewed their persistence, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 16 African American male students who were in enrolled in community colleges as full-time students and who were officially designated by their colleges as student athletes.  This study employed a qualitative research design using open-ended interview questions. The interview data were collected using the following research questions: 1) What does it mean to be a community college student athlete; 2) What experiences have had the greatest impact on their persistence as an African American male student athlete; and 3) What factors helped these individuals prepare for their role as a student athlete?  The data collected were analyzed using descriptive case study analysis.   The findings of the study reveal that family and parental support, a conducive campus environment and dedicated student support services are essential to the success of African American male student athletes in community colleges.  Results of the study created a profile of African American male student athletes who were close to obtaining an associate degree.  The research explored the perceptions of these student athletes and the factors that they deemed responsible for their success.  Recommendations of this study will assist community college in developing model programs incorporating the identified success factors for its student athlete population.