Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Karen A Card


The presence of Black football players in predominantly white institutions in athletic programs often highlights the racial disparities in college athletics. It is important to understand the dynamic discrepancies in the resources, support, and opportunities provided to Black football players to obtain success. This research examines the lived experiences of Black football players at a PWI located in the Midwest. Data was coded and analyzed into categories. There are six themes that emerged. 1. The attention to have academic focus. 2. The ability to maintain a connection and support from family and other important figures. 3. Constantly navigating microaggressions from peers. 4. Finding a sense of belonging. 5 Being true to themselves in obtaining a strong identity. 6. Finding resilience and integration. Results from this study provided evidence on lived experiences of Black football players, and how they make meaning of success on their campus. The findings revealed the university will need to implement several key factors to support, develop a sense of belonging, and integrate Black football players into the campus community. The recommended changes include the following, but are not limited to mentorships and building relationships, orientation, anti-racism training, and diverse hiring practices. Some examples are connecting with HBCUs to build relationships between their athletic programs for players to be successful. Second, create an advisory board of stakeholders from diverse backgrounds who can help guide recruitment efforts for Black football players into the university's athletics programs. If this path is followed, significant success will be upon these players.

Subject Categories

Educational Leadership


Black football players, Institutional Suppot, Lived Expereinces, Perdominantly White Institutions, Sense of Belonging, Student Engagement

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.