College and African American Male: Basketball Athletes
As a freshman in college, I acknowledge and recognize the fact that college can be a challenging experience. The college experience can become even more challenging when you factor in sororities, clubs, fraternities, sports and other school activities. The article that I have decided to use for my analysis is, “College and the African American Male Athlete by Stephen Brown.” Stephen Brown’s main source comes from the book Closing the Education Achievement Gaps for African American Males by Theodore S. Ransaw and Richard Majors. Stephen Brown’s article is focuses mainly on Noncognitive variables that contribute to the success rate of African American male athletes. This article highlights the fact that African American male athletes who play basketball are not reaching the desired goal when it comes to college graduating.
To develop his argument, Brown includes a data table showing the graduation rates of the NCAA division in 2003 and in 2013. In 2003, all White males had a graduation rate of 60%, White male athletes had a graduation rate of 60%, and White male athletes who played basketball had a graduation rate of 52%. In 2013, all White males had a 61% graduation rate, a 77% graduation rate for white male athletes, and for white male athletes playing basketball a 76% graduation rate. As for African American males, in 2003, all African American males had a 38% graduation rate, African American male athletes had a 47% graduation rate, and African American male athletes who played basketball had a graduation rate of 39%. In 2013, all African American males had a graduation rate of 41%, a 55% graduation rate for African American male athletes and a 42% graduation rate for African American male athletes who played basketball (Brown 2016). The data represented shows an obvious difference between the graduation rates of White male athletes and African American male athletes. The graduation rates of African American male athletes are significantly low and supports Brown’s claim that African American male athletes are performing poorly in college leading to them not graduating.
Brown’s noncognitive variables include career maturity, involvement with the campus community, and commitment to family. “Noncognitive variables are defined as those variables that are not academicself-concept of ability, self-confidence, self -esteem, and endurance (Monk 1998).”
Brown defines career maturity as “…a fully developed, clearly organized path of career choice, or a legitimate plan to bring to maturity.” (98) When questioning a set of young men, Brown found that those who had a clear idea of what they wanted in their future careers early on in their lives were the ones who carried on completing a four-year degree. Even though those young men may not have kept the same career path, “…the process of thinking about it gave these young men an advantage as they grew older (Brown 99).” Having a set goal in mind allowed these young men to visualize where they wanted to go and persist to reach that goal. According to Stephen Brown, Involvement with the Campus Community can be identified as, “having the ability/opportunity to interact with and be received by the overall college campus community (Brown 99).” Brown emphasizes that this factor is extremely important to the success of African American male athletes. I know from personal experience that campus involvement is critical to academic success. Involvement allows me reach out and make connections of different sorts, and discover new things such as different mentors, and even amazing organizations such as BSU or PAACT. Ever since I was younger, I made a promise to mom, dad, and myself that I would become a doctor and graduate with my doctorate’s degree. Brown emphasizes a commitment to the group of people that may have the biggest effect on your education family. According to Brown, there have been many accounts of individuals (myself included) who have made promises to their loves ones about graduating with a degree. Famous National Basketball Association (NBA) player, Shaquille O’Neal attended the college of Louisiana State University (LSU) in the year 1989 and after three years, he left LSU in 1992 to play professional basketball. Before Shaquille O’Neal left LSU, he made a promise to his mother to return to college, and O’Neal did just that and even went as far as graduating with a doctorates degree. (Foster 2017).
After analyzing Brown’s research and going over his arguments, I believe that Stephen Brown’s claim is a valid one. Stephen did use plenty of evidence and all his evidence lined up with the central claim, but I did sense that there was a possible bias from the beginning of the article. At the beginning of Brown’s article, he used a quote by Karim Abdul-Jabbar, “I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.” The fact that Brown used this specific quote to introduce his argument in the article, led me to believe that he may have had a slightly aggressive attitude at the beginning of the article. Although I do believe his claim to be true, there is a question of why the same statistics are not found for African American female athletes. In 2017, NCAA conducted a research project that investigated the academic success rates for student athletes. In 2013, African American female student athletes had a 66% success rate and African American female student athletes who played basketball had a 63% success rate (NCAA 2017). Although statistics for both African American men and women are significantly low compared to peers, the statistics for African American male athletes is something to be concerned about. I believe that Stephen Brown’s argument is an argument that is critical to African Americans as a whole. The research presented can be used to spread awareness to our fellow brothers and sisters about the issue that has been around for years. Overall, after reading this article, I believe that it was extremely informative and well organized.