The Diversity Disparity: A Phenomenological Investigation Into the Underrepresentation of African-American Women Leaders In NCAA Athletic Directing – An Analysis of Southern Male and Female Athletic Directors in the Deep South

Apr 18th, 2013 | Category: Dissertation Abstracts @ Concordia
By Sabrina M. Prieur


Disproportionally represented among NCAA athletic directors, African-American women are experiencing an inadequately unexplained phenomenon concerning entry and retention among member institutions.  This qualitative study investigates the lived experiences, commonalties and differences, of southern male and female athletic directors of Caucasian and African-American descent in the Deep South. Historical data of the United States for both women and African-Americans provided the context for the study, followed by the qualitative use of appreciative inquiry to depict patterns of significance among participant responses.

Black female athletic directors were found to face a heightened level of scrutiny, even amongst their black male counterparts, but especially among white administrators. Black women, despite holding the required educational and experience requirements, were overworked, underappreciated, and felt displaced among their colleagues. The proverbial glass ceiling, consisting primarily of Caucasian male dominance, hampered severely the opportunities for black women to network, attain, and retain positions. Based in Social Cognitive Theory and the Synergistic Leadership Theory, the historical treatment of blacks and women held significant influence over social and personal views that influenced hiring decisions.

Key terms: NCAA, minority, African American, athletic directing, discrimination, synergistic leadership theory, Deep South

Author Information

Contact: Sabrina M. Prieur, PhD, Leadership, Specialization: Sports Management, Concordia University Chicago, 2012 ,7651 Hwy. 69, North, Townhouse 601, Northport, AL 35473,, (301) 806-2545.

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