Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Tomeka Davis

Second Advisor

Jim Ainsorth

Third Advisor

Willie Pearson Jr.


Intercollegiate athletics in the United States is big business, with top tier institutions profiting in revenues of over 100 million dollars annually in the sports of football and basketball. However, to date, graduation rates for student athletes in revenue sports have been poor. Even when they are successful at graduating, they can often be underemployed relative to their peers. This can inhibit African-American men’s ability to service their families and communities, thus further extending the legacy of the languishing of communities of color. Using mixed methodology under the lens of social reproduction theory, I analyze a sample of 50 Division-1A college players to see if race and athletic participation in college serve as a vehicle to reproduce social inequality by affecting the occupational status of African-American student athletes. Regression results reveal that race and GPA were statistically significant among African-American students who did not play professional football, while survey results revealed that athletics staff was very hands on in directing student athletes academically during the athlete’s college career.