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The Childhood Socialization Process and Its Impact on the Career Trajectories and Graduation Success of African American Male Student-Athletes Steve Rodriguez.

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Presentation on theme: "The Childhood Socialization Process and Its Impact on the Career Trajectories and Graduation Success of African American Male Student-Athletes Steve Rodriguez."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Childhood Socialization Process and Its Impact on the Career Trajectories and Graduation Success of African American Male Student-Athletes Steve Rodriguez Doctoral Student University of Southern California CSRI Conference - April 2009

2 I’m going to play professional football. Ever since I was a little kid, my dream has been to be a great tailback. And that’s what I think about all the time. Nothing else matters that much, especially school! Don’t bother me about learning all this stuff. I just need to get by until I’m ready for the NFL. African American 8 th Grader (Hock, 2003)

3 Topics.... Background Purpose Objective Methodology Theoretical Framework Environmental Backdrop Conceptual Model Critical Gaps and Impact Points Recommendations

4 Background.... Although improving, graduation success rates (GSR) have been problematic for African American male student-athletes (AASA) compared to their white teammates Remedies have included regulatory reforms (APR, PTG) and lavish academic support centers, but the GSR gap persists and may be growing -Men’s 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament teams = 24% gap -Men’s 2009 bowl-bound football teams = 17%; up from 14% in 2008 Scholars blame this gap on educational detachment and unrealistic career goals caused by the effects of low SES and media hyperbole Still, we cannot fully explain why their detachment is so profound and their career goals are so inflexible Nor do we understand the multi-dimensional, holistic, and contextual reasons for these phenomena Solutions have not had a measureable effect on closing the gap

5 Today’s Purpose.... Introduce a multi-disciplinary framework that explains how the contextual environment of AASAs influences the childhood socialization process and encourages academic disengagement and shapes unrealistic career trajectories Provide insight on the cumulative effects of the interaction of sport, education, and career socialization and its impact graduation success Highlight the complexity and gravity of the graduation success challenge for AASAs specifically, and African American men generally Illustrate why overemphasis on sport, academic unpreparedness, and unrealistic career trajectories are adaptive responses to stark societal conditions Identify the point of impact—where to focus action to maximize GSR results Introduce a process designed for seamless AASA transition to alternative career options if necessary Demonstrate how sport, if properly mediated, can profoundly impact the social structure of our country

6 Methodology.... The conceptual model was arrived at through a synthesis of recent and past research in several key areas related to African Americans and sport, including, childhood socialization, the media, racial and athletic identity, career, and psychosocial functioning. Of particular value were several investigations that offered rich qualitative narratives of African American athletes and their personal socialization experiences before, during, and after their collegiate athletic careers. Some of these scholars include: Krystal Beamon Kristen F. Benson O. Keith Harrison Suzanne M. Lawrence Vernon E. Percy John N. Singer Jonnetta Weber

7 Theoretical Framework.... Education Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986) Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977) Sociology Socialization Theory (McPherson & Brown, 1988) Socialization into Sport Theory (McPherson, Curtis, & Loy, 1988; Snyder & Spreitzer, 1978) Social Capital Theory (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977; Coleman, 1988) Psychology Identity Foreclosure Theory (Marcia, 1966, 1993) Athletic Identity Theory (Brewer, Van Raalte & Linder, 1993) Locus of Control Theory (Rotter, 1966)

8 Contextual Backdrop.... Minority Schools, Students, and Neighborhoods 88% of high minority schools are high poverty schools; only 10% of low minority schools are high poverty Less than 10% of Black students attend low poverty schools Low-income schools have a less vigorous curriculum, high teacher turnover, many uncertified teachers, and low student achievement Black children drop-out six times more than White kids, and learn from a predominately white faculty and culturally insensitive pedagogy Many urban schools are dilapidated, under-funded, under-resourced, and sit in crime-ridden, drug infested, gang-populated cities AASA Demographics: 50% are from the lowest SES quartile with little social capital Many have a single-mother household with approximately an 11 th grade level Clerical and unskilled labor is the primary household occupation Many are a first generation college student population Their low SES urban setting offers few role models from which to construct a plausible career future Many lack the basic necessities such as food and healthcare

9 Education Athletics Career Starts school eager to learn High academic self- efficacy Stays motivated after failures Not nurtured or supported in school; gets discouraged Low teacher expectation Perceives no education payoff Disconnects More time for sport Goes through all 3 talent dev phases by 7/8 th grade As talent emerges, so does self stereotyping Sport becomes salient Time and energy focused on sport Emulates sport heroes Socialization as “baller” Few career role models No obvious non-sport career options Few interests outside sport Low educational expectations “Going pro” Focus becomes singular Social disorganization risk Dilapidated schools Uncertified teachers Few learning resources Mostly White teachers Underfunded schools High teacher turnover Culturally insensitive pedagogy Little social capital Consumed by US sports culture Sport gets non-stop media coverage Parents strongly reinforce sport interests with attention Sport is popular with peers Media glamorizes iconic AA male role models Parents, peers, community have limited career frames AA pro athletes canonized in community and at home Parents support athlete image Parents encourage pro career as only plausible career option Offers “access”, recognition, respect, and upward mobility Children disenfranchised by schools and disconnect Sport primary socialization mechanism Strong external locus of control Perceives only one viable career option Career exploration cut off Childhood Socialization: Grades K - 6

10 Education AthleticsCareer Low academic self-efficacy Little interest in education Academic underachiever Failure avoider Participant in own failures Apathetic parents Heavily focused on the SAT Schools reinforce racial categories and stereotypes “Jock major” candidate “Going pro” is singular Year-round participation Club BB and predators FB – supplements/muscle Time away from home and school Life skills not learned Socially disorganized “Baller” No career exploration No career planning skills No career decision-making self-efficacy Pursuing unrealistic career with no other career interests/alternatives Very delayed career maturity Underdeveloped life skills Icon status in HS HS tolerates misbehavior HS offers little social capital Media highlights HS sports with TV programming Education is a barrier Parents, peers, coaches consider college a stopover to “pros” “Pro’ career foreclosed in JRHS Media is profound influence; publicized camps/tournaments Parents/peers/coaches and community heavily endorse US sport industry/culture ratifies; shoe companies profit Socializing agents/environment impose identity on child Socializing agents pamper, support, encourage, and validate Attitude of entitlement (athlete) Collegiate programs gear up media machines; national media next in line Bigger fan base greater visibility fuels dream (TV, newspapers, community) Socializing agents complicit if dream does not formulate causing GSR failure Academically, culturally, and socially underdeveloped Poorly prepared for college; less prepared for life Not anticipating the inevitable Profound external locus of control Childhood Socialization: Grades

11 Cumulative Effects of Childhood Socialization.... Academically unprepared Low educational expectations Culturally and socially underdeveloped - Primarily socialized by sport (media, parents coaches, teachers) - Limited exposure to domains outside sport - Little interest in domains outside sport - Few significant relationships outside sport - Sport is source of identity, reinforcement, and self-esteem - Baller image and persona (maturity, social/interpersonal skill lacking) - Pampered and entitled (parents, teachers, coaches, peers. community) Underdeveloped life skills (skills/knowledge/confidence leading to independence) Profound external locus of control Impact on career trajectory and graduation success Unrealistic career goal Very delayed career maturity No career planning skills Low/no career decision-making self-efficacy No career alternatives/options/interests Little interest in, and exposure to, job opportunities

12 College AASA Predominately White campus Culturally insensitive pedagogy Few Black faculty mentors or role models Negative stereotypes from faculty and fellow students Resentment from faculty and fellow students Rigorous academic programs Heavy athletic demands Isolated due to athletics commitment Academically at risk Socially and culturally underdeveloped Few campus integration opportunities (social or academic) Time-consuming athletic schedule Demanding academic schedule External locus of control Unrealistic career goal No alternative career options Few interests outside sport Low career maturity No career planning skills Low career decision- making self-efficacy Graduation success is highly unlikely the moment the pro dream dies: Emotional/psychological impact Loss of only identity Entire future rests on abilities as “student”, not athlete Not backup plan or the ability to develop one No career planning skills Shaky confidence in things not “sport” In a “jock major”? Is it interesting? Does it have currency on the job market? Psychosocial Crisis On A Collision Course.... Bang!

13 Gap Analysis Impact Points.... The strategy: Make career salient. Graduation is a step along way. The purpose of higher education is discovery and career attainment. Ensure the confluence of athletic, academic, and career self-efficacy using the sport context to integrate the AASA’s athletic passion with the goals of learning and career attainment. The formation of an internal locus of control is pivotal. Locus of control Controlled “EXTERNALLY “ by others Does not “ANTICIPATE” dream will fail Is not “PREPARED” when it does AA student-athlete

14 Recommendations.... Consolidation of Athletic Support Services into Student Affairs Division Sends a powerful message to AASAs and athletic administration Makes sense financially by not duplicating services Integrates AASAs into campus life in anticipation of dream bust Minimizes conflict of interest in the athletic department Student Affairs is better equipped to offer seamless multi-disciplinary support, including career services Starts AASAs on the road to an internal locus of control AASA Advisory Teams – Teams begin prepping (“preparation”) AASAs for athletic career termination (“anticipation”) immediately and for the duration of their attendance. (Career is salient.) Teams are multi-disciplinary (athletics, academic, career, psychologist...) Success is employment upon graduation; Teams accountable for results! Teams are be considered (and trained) as change agents

15 The process uses the momentum of the athletic context AASAs understand and thrive in. This includes team approaches to goals, peer guidance and peer counseling and support, competition (games), and frequent coaching and feedback. Academic confidence -- Academic self-efficacy -- Self-regulated learning skills -- Life-long learners Career management -- High career decision-making self-efficacy -- Good career planning and management skills -- How to cope with racism in the workplace Psychosocial -- Internal locus of control -- Socially and culturally balanced and well-adjusted -- Socially responsible Effecting change and the Sport Context....

16 Conclusion... For many African American athletes, graduation success is far more complex than unrealistic career trajectories and poor academic preparation These trajectories are responses to significant societal complications that pervade every aspect of the students life, and start at childhood Institutional racism, prejudice, and unfair stereotypes exacerbate matters Universities cannot continue to treat these deeply embedded non-cognitive psychosocial deficiencies with cognitive programs designed for the academic needs of traditional students More holistic, highly focused, team approaches must be implemented by teams of trained specialists that keep cultural/ethnic pride intact, while preparing them for a world where racism may always be a part Stop putting the cat in charge of the canary! Move Athletic support services into the Student Affairs Division Career should be salient, and a degree a major milestone along the way Failure is not an option

17 References Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. Bourdieu, Peter and J. C. Passeron Reproduction in Education. Society, and Culture. London: Sage. Brewer, B. W., J. L. Van Raalte and D. E. Linder “Athletic Identity: Hercules Muscles or Achilles Heel?” International Journal of Sport Psychology 24: Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Psychology 24: Marcia, J. E “Development and Validation of Ego-Identity Status.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3: McPherson, B. D., & Brown, B. A. (1988). The structure, processes, and consequences of sport for children. In F. L. Smoll, R. A. Magill, & M. J. Ash (Eds.) Children in Sport (3 rd Ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics. McPherson, B.D., Curtis, J. E., & Loy, J. W. (1989). The Social Significance of Sport. Champaign: Human Kinetics Books. Snyder, Eldon E. & Spreitzer. E. (1978). Social Aspects of Sport. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.


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