Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

David Allsopp, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Hoppey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeannie Kleinhammer-Tramill, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cynthia L. Wilson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edelyn Verona, Ph.D.


Black/African American, ethnicity, disability, educational experience, special education, label(ing)(s)


Students’ educational experiences vary. The differences in these experiences can be attributed to a variety of factors, including but not limited to geographic location, socio-economic status, age, gender, race, ability, and individual experiences before and during schooling. In this study, the researcher examined the intersectionality of race and disability in the context of postsecondary education and student-athletes through the experiences of participants who identified themselves within select categories, namely as Black/African American and student-athlete. Of equal importance, participants struggled to meet normalized standards of learning during their P-12 educational experiences and/or were identified with a categorical learning disability. As will be discussed, the matter of labeling, particularly for Black/African American male students is controversial and muddied. Therefore, a participant’s involvement in this study was not necessarily dependent upon whether they were labeled through a traditional special education process, but whether they had experienced academic difficulty throughout their P-12 experiences. In an effort to understand the participants’ construction of the phenomenon in question, the study examined the experiences of Black/African American college football student athletes who struggled to meet normalized standards of learning and/or were identified with a categorical learning disability.