Black Male Student-Athlete Small Group Counseling Experience


While some (Broh, 2002; Sabo et al., 2005; Videon, 2002) cite the general educational benefits of sports participation, others (Harris, 2012; Harper et al., 2013) clarify that Black males’ educational success decrease as their level of sports participation increases (i.e. high school junior varsity to varsity to collegiate participation). All, though, agree that sports can be organized and delivered in such a way that the success of all students is achieved. Small group counseling is a mechanism through which the empowerment of Black male student-athletes can be facilitated.

Empowerment theory, which has roots in early feminist theory, is often used when counseling minorities or other populations who may face oppression from society (Hipolito-Delgado & Lee, 2007).  Thus, it is applicable for use with Black male student-athletes, as it facilitates the maximizing of their individual strengths and assets so that they can increase their options both personally and professionally. Gutierrez (1995) defines empowerment as “the process of increasing personal, interpersonal, or political power so that individuals, families and communities can take action to improve their situations” (p. 229).

The study is currently being conducted at a high school in Virginia, and builds off of a pilot study implemented in 2013. It examines the extent to which participants' sense of self is strengthened as a result of their engagement in the group counseling experience.

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