Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Douglas R. Davis

Second Advisor

Ann Monroe

Third Advisor

Rick Balkin

Relational Format



High school athletics is a major aspect of today’s educational landscape. Sports generate revenue, galvanize communities, and provide opportunities for widespread exposure. For the black athlete, sports generally represent an opportunity to go to college. With the pressure of academic accountability, increased athletic competitiveness, and the impact of future prospects, high schools have to be innovative in order to optimize the academic experience, particularly for Black male athletes.

The impact of high school academic support systems, particularly their capacity to increase the college readiness of Black male athletes, has not been adequately examined. College GPA, college persistence rate, and college graduation rate are all significantly lower for Black males. Leaders have to engage in pragmatic, intentional restructuring at the high school level so Black males can have a greater chance to experience postsecondary success beyond the field and court.

High school principals have the ability to leverage their impact to create comprehensive learning pathways which prepare students for postsecondary experiences. If Black students are overall less ready for college and black men graduate college at a lower rate than any other demographic, then it is incumbent upon high schools to develop effective support systems to enhance Black male athletes’ college readiness.

Do academic support systems improve college readiness of Black male student athletes? How do academically successful Black male athletes rate the level of academic support provided by each of these support systems? Is there a certain combination of academic support systems which increases college readiness for Black male student athletes? The conceptual model for this research study focuses precollege factors and provides analysis for the impact of a faculty mentor, exposure to positive narratives, academic and athletic balance, self and social identity lessons, and participation in activities outside of sports. This cross-sectional study examines perceptions of the effectiveness of academic support systems in order to influence practice at the high school level. The survey will utilize questions which specifically focus on former high school athletes’ perceptions of academic support systems during their high school career.



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