Black male college athletes (BMCAs) are in a unique position within the contexts of historically white institutions and Division I college athletics. Recently, BMCAs have increasingly presented themselves in ways that highlight specific social identities or even in opposition to the college athletic system and higher education environment. However, little has changed as power and privilege remain central forces in white-dominated settings. This constructivist grounded theory study examines how historically white institution and Division I athletic environments influence self-presentation of BMCAs through a Black critical theory lens. The experiences of 16 BMCAs illuminated how self-presentation was influenced by academic and athletic settings, Division I subdivision characteristics, and sport-specific contexts. I conclude with recommendations and directions for future research.
Self-Presentation and Black Male College Athletes at Historically White Institutions
Jonathan E. Howe
Statements Versus Reality: How Multiple Stakeholders Perpetuate Racial Inequality in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership
Carter A. Rockhill, Jonathan E. Howe, and Kwame J.A. Agyemang
The lack of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership positions is an ongoing issue in intercollegiate athletics. The purpose of this study was to analyze the mission, vision, and diversity, equity, and inclusion statements of Power 5 athletic departments and their affiliated universities regarding racial diversity and inclusion to better understand how these two stakeholders work in unison or isolation when creating racially diverse environments. The authors utilized an innovative lens, which merges critical race theory with institutional theory to center race and racism while evaluating how these institutional logics interact in practice. The data show that Power 5 institutions maintain a lack of racial diversity through cultures and mission statements that omit diverse values, create symbolic statements, or lack meaning in creating a diverse reality.
Exercising Power: A Critical Examination of National Collegiate Athletic Association Discourse Related to Name, Image, and Likeness
Jonathan E. Howe, Wayne L. Black, and Willis A. Jones
Although name, image, and likeness policy officially changed on July 1, 2021, actions leading up to this policy modification provide insight into the desires and perspectives of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Feeling pressure from individual states and federal legislators, the NCAA engaged in discussion regarding name, image, and likeness in Fall of 2019. In response to newly introduced name, image, and likeness policy changes, the NCAA listed their official statements on the Taking Actions: Name, Image and Likeness webpage. These statements (n = 10) were analyzed using critical discourse analysis methodology underpinned with a Foucaultian perspective. Using critical discourse analysis, we extrapolated three overarching themes related to power dynamics: (a) Establishing Control While Undercutting Oppositional Power, (b) Power Shifts Away from NCAA, and (c) Power Reinforcement. We conclude by discussing the importance of examining discourse within organizations and implications for policy and practice.
Through the Decades: Critical Race Theory and Pathways Forward in Sport Sociology Research
Jonathan E. Howe, Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Sayvon J.L. Foster, and A. Lamont Williams
Critical race theory (CRT) is a powerful framework and methodological tool for sport scholars and practitioners to incorporate into their work. While CRT tenets vary depending on discipline, individuals utilizing the framework understand the permanence of racism and how it is institutionalized within various social structures. In honor of the 40th year of the Sociology of Sport Journal, we conducted a review of the journal to assess how CRT has been used among sport sociologists. After reflecting on the 40-year history of Sociology of Sport Journal, we argue for the continued use of CRT and CRT extensions to fulfill the maximum potential of this foundational framework to achieve its goals of emancipation, social justice, and racial equity. We conclude by discussing the future of CRT in sport sociology research and practice in a post “racial reckoning” society, specifically within the U.S. context.