Event Title

Oberlin College Hoops: Sport and Diversity in Higher Education

Location

King Building 323

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abtract

The men’s basketball program at Oberlin College is a Division III program in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that historically has recruited and matriculated students who brought socioeconomic diversity to the college. Division III institutions are prohibited from providing athletics-based financial aid, as their Division I counterparts are. Subsequently, at a Division III school, a student-athlete’s ability to attend the college is not contingent on their athletic performance. This study seeks to explore whether Division III basketball players who are Black and/or who come from relatively lower income families, and/or are first generation college students experience different academic and athletic outcomes than those players at Division I schools. Nineteen Black men who were formerly Oberlin College basketball players were interviewed for this study. Preliminary findings reveal nearly all cite basketball as introducing and recruiting them to Oberlin College. Almost all expressed satisfaction in their decision to attend Oberlin and felt that they were prepared for life after their undergraduate studies. These effects were especially profound in players who played for a coach they considered to be a mentor figure. These patterns provide some evidence that the structure of Division III athletics allows for a more balanced approach to athletics participation in higher education, leading to more satisfactory experiences and outcomes. The scale of these effects may be limited as Division III institutions may struggle relative to Division I to admit and financially support low-income students, including many prospective Black student-athletes, as they are prohibited from providing any athletics-based financial aid.

Keywords:

sports, race, upward mobility, higher education

Notes

Session III, Panel 17 - Oberlin | College
Moderator: Clovis White, Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies

Major

Psychology

Award

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Advisor(s)

Al Porterfield, Psychology

Project Mentor(s)

Daphne John, Sociology
Clovis White, Sociology

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

Oberlin College Hoops: Sport and Diversity in Higher Education

King Building 323

The men’s basketball program at Oberlin College is a Division III program in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that historically has recruited and matriculated students who brought socioeconomic diversity to the college. Division III institutions are prohibited from providing athletics-based financial aid, as their Division I counterparts are. Subsequently, at a Division III school, a student-athlete’s ability to attend the college is not contingent on their athletic performance. This study seeks to explore whether Division III basketball players who are Black and/or who come from relatively lower income families, and/or are first generation college students experience different academic and athletic outcomes than those players at Division I schools. Nineteen Black men who were formerly Oberlin College basketball players were interviewed for this study. Preliminary findings reveal nearly all cite basketball as introducing and recruiting them to Oberlin College. Almost all expressed satisfaction in their decision to attend Oberlin and felt that they were prepared for life after their undergraduate studies. These effects were especially profound in players who played for a coach they considered to be a mentor figure. These patterns provide some evidence that the structure of Division III athletics allows for a more balanced approach to athletics participation in higher education, leading to more satisfactory experiences and outcomes. The scale of these effects may be limited as Division III institutions may struggle relative to Division I to admit and financially support low-income students, including many prospective Black student-athletes, as they are prohibited from providing any athletics-based financial aid.