The Non-Sweet Sixteen: Referee Bias Against Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Men’s College Basketball

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Middle Tennessee State University
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This study focused on historically Black colleges and universities in men’s college basketball. A review of previous literature revealed that referee bias was a recurring phenomenon, while whiteness studies served as the theoretical frame. The data for this analysis centered on a 16-year period of time. The referees called a statistically significant number of personal fouls per game against men’s college basketball teams from historically Black colleges and universities relative to the number of personal fouls per game that referees called against men’s college basketball teams from predominantly White institutions. These findings suggest that men’s college basketball players were judged differently depending on whether the student-athlete played for a historically Black college and university or a predominantly White institution. The implications for critical and social theories were noted in the study discussion.

Dix (andrew.dix@mtsu.edu) is with the Department of Communication Studies, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN, USA.

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