Studies on Black male athletes and their educational experiences have been conducted for quite some time, whereas research on Black female athletes, despite its emergence, remains limited. Recent research on student-athletes focuses on the rise in socioeconomic status in relation to their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Hence, the focus on education while it continues to exist, NIL deals and its impact on the NCAA have become a topic of interest. The tenets of critical race theory will be examined to comprehend the relationship between these principles and the impact of NCAA and college policies on Black student athletes, and how they support students in navigating the student-athlete experience, particularly those who have been recognized as having learning disabilities. Limited research has been conducted on the factors associated with Black student-athletes with disabilities, such as specific learning disability (SLD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Due to the paucity of research on this population, there is a lack of understanding of the difficulties associated with being Black, having a disability, and being an athlete. This phenomenological research aimed to better understand how Black student-athletes with disabilities could employ self-advocacy, balance their athletic and academic commitments, and cope with racial implications all while achieving full engagement in college life. Eight former student-athletes with SLD and/or ADHD were interviewed using open-ended and semi-structured questions around self-advocacy, racism, and student involvement. Inferences from the research, implications of the findings, and conclusions will highlight the theoretical framework and supporting theories. This study will contribute to the research and best practices when working Black student-athletes with disabilities.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College athletes, African American; Learning disabilities; College students, Black

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Martine Jago