Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Butcher

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Colleen Ramos

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Jenifer Williams


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate the factors women of color in athletic administration perceive to be contributors to the underrepresentation of minority women in Division I athletic director leadership positions. The study sought to identify and understand barriers that ostensibly impact women of color. Moreover, it serves current and future minority women to overcome similar trials to advance their collegiate athletic careers. Furthermore, the study sought to provide a lexicon of strategies that minority women regard as bridges to the racial and gender leadership gaps within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) organization. Previous studies are limited regarding social dominance and critical race theoretical frameworks. The need existed to investigate the inordinate number of minority women in NCAA leadership and how that is impacted by the intersectionality of their race and gender. Since the inaugural summary, Dr. Richard Lapchick’s The Institute For Diversity and Ethics in Sport report showed college athletics continue to underperform as it relates to racial diversity in NCAA leadership. According to Lapchick, women and people of color lack leadership opportunities in college sports compared to their White counterparts. I collected data from 12 women of color (11 African American women and 1 Asian woman) drawn from collegiate institutions who currently hold varying levels of athletic director and senior women administrator positions within Division 1 athletic departments. The women chosen met the eligibility criterion to provide data from firsthand knowledge. The criteria included being a member of a Division 1 institution’s athletic department, being a woman of color, and seeking, having sought, or planning to seek an athletic director position. Material for the study included 12 interview questions, including demographics, career paths, and barriers relating to the research questions. Interview questions were open-ended and allowed participants to expand on their answers and offer additional information. All 12 women believed gender and racial barriers contributed to the underrepresentation. The participants suggested networking, mentoring, and not limiting their pursuits were necessary to become leaders. Future research is suggested to provide a thorough understanding of the racial and gender inequities in NCAA Division I athletic leadership.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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