Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Education




Rezai-Rashti, Goli


This qualitative study highlights the experiences of Black student-athletes in Ontario, Canada. It explores how universities' commitments to antiracism, through policies, student support groups, and education, contribute to an antiracist environment. Critical Race Theory, antiracism, and nonperformative theory are the guiding frameworks for this study which draws on data from eight semi-structured interviews with Black student-athletes who play various sports in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league. The themes that emerged from this study support the notion that anti Black racism exists within the OUA and is often manifested as microaggressions. Given the participants' unique perspectives on the universities’ acts of commitment, the findings support the claim that policies do not perform as they are intended to perform. Rather, student support groups and education are more effective commitments towards facilitating an antiracist environment. The data were divided into three major themes that help to serve as recommendations for future directions.

Summary for Lay Audience

Antiracism is becoming a more frequent topic of discussion in athletics, specifically in universities. To ensure athletics is free of racial discrimination, it is essential to move past theoretical understanding to understand racism experienced by Black student-athletes who play a sport in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league and to understand how their universities support them. My study investigates how universities support Black student-athletes and how the universities’ efforts foster an antiracist environment—if indeed they do. Participants shared their experiences with racism and their perspectives on the impact the universities' commitments have on contributing to an antiracist environment. The experiences shared by a majority of the eight participants showed that racism at a university sport level does exist. Additionally, their perspectives showed that policies are not practiced as intended but that committees and education contribute to building an antiracist environment. My study provides recommendations to highlight racism at the university student-athlete level and encourages individuals in leadership positions to evaluate various policies and commitments using an antiracist lens.