Balancing Academics and Athletics in High School: A Phenomenological Study


Black males have historically been disproportionately drawn to sports, and have mostly participated in the revenue-generating sports, basketball and football (Hodge, Burden, Robinson, & Bennett III, 2008; Hodge, Harrison, Burden, & Dixson, 2008). While the potential educational benefits for sports participation is great, it arguably results in decreased educational success for Black males in comparison to other groups (Harris, 2014; Harper, Williams, & Blackman, 2013).

However, there are supportive entities such as teachers, school counselors, coaches, and parents that can be critical to Black males' successfully managing their academic and athletic responsibilities. (Harris, Hines, Kelly, Williams, & Bagley, 2014). Paul Harris (University of Virginia), Erik Hines (University of Connecticut), Renae Mayes (Ball State), and Antoinette Thomas (University of Virginia) are conducting a phenomenological study that explores how current Black male Division I student athletes successfully balanced their academic and athletic endeavors while in high school en route to being a collegiate student athlete. The overarching research question addressed through this study is: What are the factors associated with Black male student athletes successfully balancing academic and athletic endeavors in high school? The experiences of three student-athletes are highlighted through semi-structured interviews.

Principal Investigator: Paul C. Harris, University of Virginia, School of Education and Human Development