Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Andrea Kayne, JD


In December 2018, the Dean of Academic Affairs (DAA) was approached by the coach and members of the Southtown Community College (STC) basketball team regarding academic support for the team. The academic affairs team would delve into this situation and discover several areas where the college had failed these students. This study examines the conditions and climate that lead to the maltreatment of Black male student-athletes at STC and the feedback from the students affected. The feedback from these student-athletes gives a glimpse of their feelings of being mistreated because of their race and arguably their gender. The three goals of this research study are to 1. Qualitatively examine the factors, conditions, and practices that created a hostile, racist environment for Black student-athletes at STC; 2. Capture the experiences of individual Black male student-athletes through one-on-one interviews; and 3. Offer best practice recommendations to address the issues articulated by the experiences of Black male student-athletes at STC. Members of the men’s basketball team participated in taking surveys and provided additional feedback articulating their mistrust of the athletic director. They further stated, based on their observations and experience, that the athletic director exhibited racist attitudes and behaviors towards the men’s basketball team, almost all of whom are Black. These attitudes and behaviors were exhibited by a number of administrators connected to the STC athletic program and were reported to college administrators. This study looks at data surrounding the academic readiness and performance of Black male student-athletes in community colleges and available public data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It also examined theories and academic framework that demonstrate the best approach to community college students of color who are victims of poverty. This study further examines the lived reality, experiences and expectations of Black male student-athletes where institutions focus on athletic and not academic formation and ignore life needs beyond the college experience like lack of financial resources, food, shelter, and the lack of a support system. This case highlights the following recommendations for an improved student experience at STC: 1. Improve the hiring process by eliminating political connections through a transparent, inclusive process that involves all constituents affected by a given position. For example, the hiring committee for an athletic director should include student-athletes, coaches, district-level athletic leaders, college administrators and members from the community associated or connected to the athletic program in some way. 2. Professional formation program that includes understanding the importance of social-emotional health and racial sensitivity. This program should be done from the perspective of Critical Race Theory, allowing survivors of racism and emotional abuse at STC to tell their stories so that all can understand the effects of patterns of behavior and selfish leadership perspectives. 3. Adopt a hands-on approach to student support and student success – use the success of the student-athlete study sessions and the Intercessory Session by finding ways to apply the successful approach and results to other student services areas. 4. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs must work together to provide continued support for all students. Both areas must creatively develop ways to help students navigate the intricacies of college life. The development of the Intercessory Session is an example of an innovative program that serves students in need in a creative way. 5. The cultivation and implementation of a culture of care model for student support that unites external and internal constituents in student development and success.