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ERIC Number: ED502288
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov-8
Pages: 62
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 83
Do College Athletes Learn from Racial Diversity in Intercollegiate Athletics? A Study of the Perceptions of College Athletes from the State of Michigan
Hirko, Scott
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (32nd, Louisville, KY, Nov 8, 2007) and at the Annual Meeting of the North American Society for Sociology in Sport (Pittsburgh, PA, Oct 31-Nov 3, 2007)
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether college athletes perceived that their exposure to racial diversity from within intercollegiate athletics was an important part of their education. Two NCAA Division I and one NCAA Division II institution in Michigan were surveyed, with 188 athletes participating. Athletes were asked to respond to 15 questions intended to measure perceptions of racial diversity within athletic teams and as athletes within the college environment. The results demonstrated that racial diversity within intercollegiate athletics was an important part of the education of student-athletes, both on teams with significant racial diversity (men's football, men's basketball) and for athletes on teams largely homogeneous in membership (such as men's golf or women's field hockey). Intercollegiate athletics is a useful way to provide opportunities for quality interracial interaction, which helps students to learn about multiculturalism and functioning in a diverse society. The unique nature of athletics with its common goals and cooperation provides an opportunity for individual athletes to be perceived as teammates first, and not first as members of a racial group. Looking at intercollegiate athletics through the lens of internalization and social contact theory helps us to learn that quality interracial interaction experiences from athletics can enhance cognitive development and provide new ways for athletes to learn about people who are different, to reduce prejudice, and to improve interracial understanding. This study demonstrated that higher education institutions should support intercollegiate athletics as a learning environment with potential for quality interracial interaction. Colleges and universities should consider maintaining, or enhancing, the recruiting of minority student-athletes to create additional opportunities for quality interracial interaction. In sum, the racial diversity of a college athletic team can positively impact each athlete's cognitive development and academic success. Appended are: (1) Web-based survey; (2) Initial email; (3) Follow-up email; (4) Reminder email; and (5) Mean scores of survey questions 1-15 categorized by independent variables. (Contains 4 tables.)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan