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Seed Grant Awardee: Victoria Jackson

Black Labor/White Privilege: The Amateur Myth and Big-Time Sports in American Universities

Victoria Jackson | School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

I am applying for a Global Sport Institute seed grant to fund a book project on big-time sports in American universities. The book blends history, personal story, and current events, and concludes with policy recommendations, looking to the future of college sports. It presents the narrative history of intercollegiate athletics policy and, more broadly, higher education policy through the local, because only at the level of the individual institution can we see how various actors put policy into practice, to influence individuals’ lives and athletic and academic experiences. We also see the dynamics of power and privilege that create bifurcated educational experiences and outcomes determined, in most cases, by the sport one plays. It is no coincidence that the divide in college sports correlates with race. This project fits nicely with the 2018-19 research theme “Race and Sport around the Globe,” as well as the sub-theme “advancing diversity and social justice,” because in my research I have identified a global color line in college sports, with disproportionately African American male revenue-sport labor subsidizing world-class athletic and academic experiences of white American, European, and Commonwealth nonrevenue-sport athletes. My work adds complexity and new knowledge to the college sports reform conversation; while scholars have been studying college sports for nearly a century, rarely do they spend much time exploring how nonrevenue athletes have become the real beneficiaries of the intercollegiate athletics system, and since the 1970s in particular.

Last updated June 2019.