Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports

by Collin D. Williams Jr.; Horatio W. Blackman; Shaun R. Harper

Nov 30, 2012

The purpose of this report is to make transparent racial inequities in NCAA Division I college sports. Specifically, the authors offer a four-year analysis of Black men's representation on football and basketball teams versus their representation in the undergraduate student body on each campus. The report concludes with recommendations for the NCAA and commissioners of the six major sports conferences, college and university leaders, coaches and athletics directors, journalists, and Black male student-athletes and their families.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, Black men were 3 percent of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students, but 57 percent of football teams and 64 percent of basketball teams.
  • Across four cohorts, 50 percent of Black male student-athletes graduated within six years, compared to 67 percent of student-athletes overall, 73 percent of undergraduate students overall, and 56 percent of Black undergraduate men overall.
  • 96 percent of these NCAA Division I colleges and universities graduated Black male student-athletes at rates lower than student-athletes overall.
  • 97 percent of institutions graduated Black male student-athletes at rates lower than undergraduate students overall. On no campus were rates exactly comparable for these two comparison groups.
  • At one university, Black male student-athletes graduated at a comparable rate to Black undergraduate men overall. On 72 percent of the other campuses, graduation rates for Black male student-athletes were lower than rates for Black undergraduate men overall.