Dr. Cooper Addresses Athletes and the Power of Social Activism
University of Missouri Athlete Activism Dispels the Myth of a Post-Racial U.S. Society
- “Rather than remain silent, these courageous athletes decided to be more than glorified entertainers as Division I football players and instead used their high visibility, platform, and agency to draw attention to the various racial issues on their campus.” says the University of Connecticut’s (UConn’s) Dr. Joseph Cooper, Assistant Professor of Sport Management.
Dr. Joseph Cooper, Assistant Professor of Sport Management, recently published an op-ed article entitled “University of Missouri Athlete Activism Dispels the Myth of a Post-Racial U.S. Society” that was featured in the NEAG School of Education Spotlight.
Dr. Cooper Addresses Exploitation of Black Athletes at White Institutions
- “The present structure of big-time college sports in the U.S. exploits the athletic talents of Black athletes at predominantly White institutions,” says the University of Connecticut’s (UConn’s) Dr. Joseph Cooper, Assistant Professor of Sport Management.
This exploitation is primarily due to the significant amount of money generated by the largest revenue generating sports of football and men’s basketball, where Black males constitute a significant proportion of the participants; and the fact that Black athletes consistently graduate at lower rates than their peers.
Dr. Cooper presented his findings at the inaugural Black Student Athlete Conference at the University of Texas-Austin in January. Attended by scholars, coaches, conference commissioners, athletic directors, academic advisors, student affairs professionals, principals, present and former student-athletes, and journalists, the conference was designed to candidly examine and discuss the numerous and complex issues surrounding the Black student athlete.
In a presentation titled “Excellence Beyond Athletics: Best Practices for Enhancing Black Male Student Athletes’ Educational Experiences and Outcomes,” Dr. Cooper addressed the inability of postsecondary institutions to retain and graduate Black male student athletes at rates comparable to their peers. Concerned that previous research cited unwelcoming campus climates, inadequate academic support, and an overemphasis on athletics as key factors contributing to the academic underperformance and negative psychosocial experiences of Black male student athletes, he developed a series of strategies and recommendations to counteract these factors.
Dr. Cooper’s Excellence Beyond Athletics (EBA) approach consists of the following six holistic development principles: 1) self-identity awareness, 2) positive social engagement, 3) active mentorship, 4) academic achievement, 5) career aspirations, and 6) effective time management skills.
To learn more about how diversity is integrated into leadership and sport management, enroll in the UConn’s online graduate certificate in Leadership and Diversity in Sport Management program.
Dr. Laura Burton Attends NACWAA Conference
Laura Burton (University of Connecticut Associate Professor, Sport Management) and sport management research colleagues Meg Hancock (University of Louisville), Janelle Wells (University of South Florida), and Heidi Grappendorf (University of Cincinnati) attended the annual conference of the National Association of Collegiate Woman Athletic Administrators (NACWAA). Professor Burton joined her colleagues on a project, supported by NACWAA that examined how women are contributing to success in intercollegiate athletics. At the conference, the research team conducted six focus groups with women working in all areas of intercollegiate athletic administration. The topics discussed during the focus groups included the resources needed to be a successful athletic administrator, the challenges and constraints of being an athletic administrator, and how to define a successful intercollegiate athletic department. The results of the research project will be provided to the NACWAA Board of Directors in January of 2015. For more information about NACWAA, visit their website http://www.nacwaa.org/.