Athletic Success and NCAA Profit-Athletes’ Adjusted Graduation Gaps

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of South Carolina
  • | 2 University of Colorado
  • | 3 University of Kentucky
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Within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Division I men’s basketball many profit-athletes travel to Predominately White Institution (PWI) work sites for “pre-professional” sport opportunities. At most PWIs the Black male student population is less than ten percent, while football and men’s basketball rosters are overwhelmingly comprised of Black athletes. This study—using multiple regression models—examines the relationship between athletic success and profit-athletes’ graduation rates. The main dependent variable is the Adjusted Graduation Gap (AGG) as a measure of academic success. Results indicated Black profit-athletes who play for the most successful FBS football and NCAA D-I men’s basketball programs graduate at significantly lower rates than full-time male students. However, at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Black football and men’s basketball players graduate at higher rates than full-time male students.

Southall and Nagel are with the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Eckard is with the Business School, University of Colorado, Denver. Randall is with the School of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Address author correspondence to Richard Southall at
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