Racial (Dis)Empowerment and Racial Consciousness of Black Student-Athletes: A Phenomenological Study

Michael O Oyeteju, Tennessee State University


Black College Student-Athletes (BCSA) have spent their time generating millions of dollars in revenue for their respective collegiate athletic programs and intuitions. In 2021 the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) ruling (NCAA, 2021) shifted scales of power towards student-athletes (SA) to reap benefits for their NIL, yet many are still left feeling unsupported. Although, SAs have more autonomy over their NIL now, Donnor (2005) notes, “student athlete’s physical talent and ability are the property of the institution” (p. 54) which still rings true today and can be a disempowering experience for BCSAs. BCSAs who transition from being SA (with/without a degree) often feel exploited for their athletic abilities (Cooper, 2019). Additionally, BCSAs are and historically been subjected to racial discrimination in the same Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) where they are essentially employees in contrast to Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) that are designed to be a welcoming environment of learning and solace for Black college students in general, since their inception. This study hoped to inform and compel college student-athletes’ stakeholders to create more empowering and racially conscious environments for their BCSAs to thrive. Black college student-athletes in the study shared their experiences with racial (dis)empowerment and racial conscious at their current HBCU in contrast to their high school experiences. Results showed that many BCSAs experienced stress related to being a racial minority in PWIs. A common theme to mitigate this was the connectedness through Blackness that was empowering, supportive, and safe for BCSAs, experienced at HBCUs.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Michael O Oyeteju, "Racial (Dis)Empowerment and Racial Consciousness of Black Student-Athletes: A Phenomenological Study" (2022). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI29259081.