An Exploratory Study of Inner-City College Athletes and Crime: Socialization, Risk, Strategy, and Hope, Dexter Juan Davis
An exploratory study was conducted to focus on what is being done to help college athletes stay out of trouble and avoid activities that may lead to crime and/or criminal activity. The study was designed to find real examples of poor decisions and/or productive decisions made by athletes in order to provide for a rich learning opportunity.
Crimes across college campuses remain a quandary with a host of associated risks for African American college athletes unintentionally risking serious injury as a result of criminal activity. The review of the literature supported scope of the problem, causal factors, trends, possible solutions and strategies.
The methodological strategies used were exploratory research study, interviews, ethnography and personal reflections. This approach was utilized and intended to generate evidence or data in relation to socialization, demographics, socioeconomic environment, and perspectives from athletes’ ethnographic context and in their own voices. The study results are designed to facilitate the design and conduct a larger, more detailed study of college athletes. However, although exploratory, the interviews were designed to generate data particularly exposure to criminal activity, use of support resources to advance athletic and academic careers, and most critical sources of influence on behavior. Although the study utilized interview questions to collect these data, subsequent studies will employ a more narrative research strategy.
I foresee my effort as a way to scrutinize responses of participants at the doorway by reevaluating and reframing a larger study with more responses and more qualitative interviewing as the first step in understanding the life cycle of socialization influences that may place a college athlete at risk for criminality and as a method for determining when and where an intervention such as I propose is most crucial. Implications for a post-graduate program development in prevention and solutions to the problem are discussed.
Key Words: socialization, athletes, amateur sportsman, criminal activity, sports, deviant and criminal behavior.