Harrison, C. K., Martin, B. E., & Fuller, R. (2015). “Eagles Don’t Fly With Sparrows”: Self-determination theory, african american male scholar-athletes and peer group influences on motivation. Journal of Negro Education, 84(1), 80.
The purpose of this study was to explore participants’ academic experiences, their academic motivation and the role of peers on their academic achievement. Participants (N = 27) were comprised of high-achieving African American male student-athletes from four academically rigorous American universities on the West Coast. A majority of the participants competed in revenue-generating sports and were interviewed to obtain a deeper understanding of their academic motivations. Using a phenomenological approach, five major themes emerged: (a) “My Teammates Have a Flawed View of Success,” (b) “That’s When I Lost Confidence,” (c) “Don’t Believe the Hype,” (d) “I Wouldn’t Let Bad Associations Affect My Level of Success,” and (e) “I Had to Take Control of My College Experience.” Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is examined in relation to the findings. Recommendations for practitioners and scholars working with African American male student-athletes are also expressed.
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