Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Jennifer Bruening; Laura Burton; Janet Fink

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

The basis for this thesis was to study the decline in baseball participation amongst African American youth through the lens of social learning theory. This was done in conjunction with interviews with 10 young African American non-baseball players, ages 11-13, who resided in an urban setting in a northeastern city. Because of the paucity of African Americans in Major League Baseball today, social learning theory, a philosophy heavily predicated on the influence of role models, was seen as a viable concept for this study.

The results of the study indicated that baseball is not a primary sport for this demographic, as basketball and football have catapulted in popularity. Much of this can be attributed to the influence of siblings, parents, video games, professional basketball and football role models, exposure to certain leisure activities, and a lack of action, an aspect of sports that entices many of today’s youth. As a result, baseball cannot come close to offering the amount of African American role models sports like basketball and football can. There also appears to be a connection between favorite athlete and participation in that sport. Thus, if baseball does not have enough marketable athletes to entice the young African American community, its popularity will take a backseat to sports that provide such.

Major Advisor

Janet Fink