Jumping Through Hoops: College Choice Experiences of African American Male Community College Club Basketball Players Open Access
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Jumping Through Hoops: College Choice Experiences of African American Male Community College Club Basketball PlayersThis study aimed to learn what factors influenced the college choice decision-making process of African American male club basketball players in the community college. To understand how the participants determined their educational path, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 21 African American male students who were enrolled in at least six credits and were members of the club basketball team at two community colleges in Virginia. The study was framed by two college choice theoretical constructs: Hossler and Gallagher's (1987) three-phase model of college choice and Freeman's (2005) model of college choice for African American students. The interview data were collected to answer the guiding research question: How do African American male club basketball players make meaning of their college choice? In addition, three subquestions were answered: 1. How does athletic identity influence college choice? 2. What role do support networks take in the decision-making process?3. What institutional factors contribute to the college choice decision-making process? The major themes that emerged from the textual data in this study were the following:(a) value of experience; (b) escape; (c) a caring and academic-focused coach; (d) support network, including self; (e) discounted hoop dreams; (f) He got game?; (g) stepping stone; and (h) second chance.The findings of the study reveal that basketball is the saving grace for a bad childhood or lack of positive role models in their cultural environments for the 21 African American males studied. They took a passive role in the college choice process and relied on the advice of others for college selection. Their strong desire to play collegiate basketball overshadowed their dedication to academics in high school and in previous colleges. Moreover, the interviews revealed that the participants relied on self for motivation to attend, to enroll, and to persist in college. Results of the study created a profile of African American club basketball players in the community college. Recommendations for early intervention programs in high schools will help African American male athletes develop realistic college choice plans that complement their academic ability and athletic talent.