Taking one for the team: Intercollegiate athletic participation and diversity outcomes
An important goal for higher education is the preparation of students for success in an increasingly racially diverse society. Part of this preparation involves students of different races and ethnicities engaging in positive interracial interactions that, according to research on intergroup relations, lead to students having a greater openness to racial diversity. Unfortunately this interaction does not often do not occur with the desired frequency the colleges and universities would like as persistent patterns of racial segregation and hostile campus climates continue to plague the nation's campuses. As colleges and universities struggle to create a campus environment that fosters positive interracial interactions, an emerging body of literature suggests that intercollegiate athletics may provide a model for higher education. This belief is based on that students who participate in intercollegiate athletics are exposed to the four primary criteria that three prominent social-psychological theories cite as necessary for improving interracial interactions and racial attitudes among individuals. Those criteria are common goals, intergroup cooperation, authority support for interaction and equal status among participants.
This study contributes to the research on participation in intercollegiate athletics and student attitudes and behaviors regarding diversity by examining student athletes and non student athletes at nine Division I-A universities across three diversity outcomes: Institutional support for diversity, racial inequality is no longer a problem in our society, and informal interactions with a diverse peer. The results of this study found that while athletes are more likely to interact informally with diverse peers, their attitudes regarding institutional diversity and racial inequality in our society did not differ from those of nonathletes. Additional analyses by race found that these finding were fairly consistent across White students and students of color.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education