Resources on Racism and Sexism in College Sports

Diverse athletes playing college sports against a blue background.

College sports are always a hot topic in the United States. Whether Americans are partaking in March Madness or considering if student athletes should be paid, college sports loom large in American public discourse. The subject is rife with both incredible feats and unfortunate legacies. This year, to mark National Student-Athlete Day, the TIE team has pulled together a short primer of resources that chart the painful legacies of racism and sexism in college sports, as well as efforts to break down these barriers.

  1. Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the Color Line in Southern College Sports, 1890–1980 (2010) by Charles H. Martin
  2. Beyond the Cheers: Race as Spectacle in College Sports (2001) by C. Richard King and Charles Fruehling Springwood
  3. Black College Athletes and the Neoliberal State: Dreaming from Bended Knee (2020) by Albert Y. Bimper, Jr.
  4. Black College Football: The Game That Time Forgot (2020) by Carlos A. Lock
  5. Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Jack Gaither, Florida A&M, and the History of Black College Football (2019) by Derrick E. White
  6. Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights (2013) by Samuel G. Freedman
  7. Common Enemies: Georgetown Basketball, Miami Football, and the Racial Transformation of College Sports (2021) by Thomas F. Schaller
  8. Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX’s Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports (2023) by James N. Druckman and Elizabeth A. Sharrow
  9. Full Court Press: Mississippi State University, the Press, and the Battle to Integrate College Basketball (2016) by Jason A. Peterson
  10. Getting Open: The Unknown Story of Bill Garrett and the Integration of College Basketball (2006) by Tom Graham and Rachel Graham Cody
  11. How College Athletics Are Hurting Girls’ Sports: The Pay-to-Play Pipeline (2017) by Rick Eckstein
  12. Integrating the Gridiron: Black Civil Rights and American College Football (2010) by Lane Demas
  13. Invisible Seasons: Title IX and the Fight for Equity in College Sports (2017) by Kelly Belanger
  14. Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Fan (2020) by Jessica Luther and Kavitha Davidson
  15. Moments of Impact: Injury, Racialized Memory, and Reconciliation in College Football (2016) by Jaime Schultz
  16. Pay to Play: Race and the Perils of the College Sports Industrial Complex (2017) by Lori Latrice Martin, Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner, and Nicholas Daniel Hartlep
  17. Racism in College Athletics, 4th ed. (2020) edited by Dana Brooks and Ronald Althouse
  18. Racism, Activism, and Integrity in College Football: The Bates Must Play Movement (2021) by Donald Spivey
  19. The New Plantation: Black Athletes, College Sports, and Predominantly White NCAA Institutions (2010) by Billy Hawkins

We are grateful to the following Choice reviewers for supplying these helpful resources!

Dr. Derek Catsam

Dr. Derek Catsam

Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan Professor in the Humanities, History, The University of Texas, Permian Basin

Headshot of Sarah K. Fields, shows a woman smiling and wearing a striped shirt

Dr. Sarah K. Fields, JD, FNAK

Professor of Communication, University of Colorado, Denver

Sign up for Toward Inclusive Excellence (TIE) new post notifications and updates.

Interested in contributing to TIE? Send an email to Deb V. at Choice with your topic idea.

Rowman + Littlefield logo

Rowman & Littlefield publishes high-quality college texts, entertaining and informative books for general readers, and professional and scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences.

Header image is a detail of This is Harlem by Jacob Lawrence. Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. © 2021 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. For more information, click here.