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.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether the in-game communication of football players from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) was excessively penalized in the field of play. Previous literature has found that referee bias is commonplace and uncovered evidence that referees socially judge the communicative behaviors of HBCU student athletes differently than the communicative behaviors of student athletes from predominantly White institutions. This led to social judgment theory emerging as the theoretical frame. Quantitative methods were utilized to analyze National Collegiate Athletic Association data for Division II college football. Findings revealed that referees disproportionately flagged football teams from HBCUs in comparison with predominantly White institutions. These results provide implications for theory. The uncovered results also support a well-developed line of communication research that has indicated that excessive penalties are levied against HBCU teams in multiple sports. A rhetorical call to action is made to facilitate officiating change in intercollegiate athletics.