Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Marshall Zumberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Zvric


This study explores the shared narratives of males who are African American, come from low-income families, struggled with school success, and may have been identified as needing specialized instructional services or having learning disabilities. This study includes three participants' narratives on the obstacles and supports they faced during their high school years and when transitioning beyond. It identifies shared themes of sports, reputation, and instruction, transitioning, and mentoring -- including the relationship between each and how it impacted their school success.

The development of these thematic elements are related to developing networks and resources related to culture values, identities, and access to social capital. Participants ranged from 22-23 years of age, all having officially graduated from high school, transitioned to college to play sports, but failed to meet the academic requirements necessary to maintain eligibility.