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New Research & Study Division at The Doug Williams Center Launches with First Academic Case Selection

By March 17, 2021May 19th, 2021No Comments

HBCUs contribute to case study development to power increases in doctoral candidacy among Black students

GRAMBLING, La – March 17, 2021 – As sports leagues and clubs ramp up efforts to improve industry-wide diversity and equity, the need for historic context and research-based solutions to the industry’s pressing issues is arguably at a generational high. These organizations can now look to a new industry partner, The Doug Williams Center’s (DWC) Research & Study Division, for industry analysis by academic leaders with support from undergraduate and graduate students. The Center has launched its new division with an inaugural case study – The Legacy of Doug Williams: Racial Disparities in Sports – which is open to the public and available for download.

A Path to Peer Publishing for HBCU Students

It’s no secret that education can help level the playing field when it comes to lifetime earning potential. Access to higher education in the US continues to be stifled for people of color and the entry only dwindles for advanced degrees. As of 2020, only 12.6% of US graduate students were Black. Additionally, of the 55,693 doctorate degrees conferred in 2019, only 5.6 percent, were earned by Black students. The solution? Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Study after study demonstrates that HBCUs contribute to improving diversity in all major degree categories. Though they make up only three percent of the country’s higher education institutions, they educate 10% of all Black students and produce nearly 20% of all Black graduates.

DWC’s newest initiative aims to add to master’s, doctoral-level education of students and increase the visibility of their research. While this opportunity is open to all graduate and doctoral students regardless of race and academic institution, support for HBCU student advancement is a strategic imperative for the Center. At the helm of the Research & Study Division work is Dr. Aaron Livingston, Graduate Coordinator of Sport Administration and Dr. Eddie G. Robinson Sr. Endowed Professor at Grambling State University.

“One of the major obstacles that prevents minority students from obtaining graduate degrees is access to funding,” said Dr. Livingston. “The Doug Williams Center’s case study initiative provides students the opportunity to engage in the research process and to secure peer-reviewed publication. By addressing these important variables that influence students’ success, the case study initiative opens doors to continued education and aids in the advancement of minority students. This is a very exciting opportunity.”

The Center’s first case study was co-authored by Grambling State University students Maya Robertson, M.S. sports administration and PhD candidate in developmental and higher education studies, and Jalen Livingston, senior marketing major and sport management minor. Their research produced the Center’s inaugural case study, which highlights areas of high need building equity in college sports by examining the impact of Doug Williams’ historic HBCU to NFL career.

Industry-Impacting Research and Resources

The Legacy of Doug Williams: Racial Disparities in Sports also identifies the significant ways that professional sports has been impacted by the advancement of Black players and executives. The work of improving racial equity in sports from decades ago continues as presented in a recent New York Times article featuring data from The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports. This research reminds readers that over the course of the last 30 years, diversity within sports leagues has remained stunted, with coaching and management roles filled by white candidates and athletes remaining majority Black.

In recent years, athlete protests have led to a national stir around racial justice within and outside of the sports industry. “Today’s activists are a reflection of a history we all wish didn’t need repeating,” said Doug Williams, Senior Advisor to the President of the Washington Football Team. “Throughout American history, sports have provided a platform for Black and marginalized voices to carry the most urgent messages of progress. Studies like this one are intended to quantify historic work and inform leaders and decision-makers on how to be changemakers.”

The case study details Williams’ experience as a professional quarterback who did not receive equal pay and, like Colin Kaepernick, was denied advancement opportunities when he spoke out. Many great athletes and industry executives have faced racial discrimination to the tune of job loss, and the Center’s Research & Study division looks to help effect change throughout the industry through the creation of evidence-based solutions and research-driven advancement resources.

“Our Research & Study Division builds into a multi-level solution strategy,” said Brandon A. Logan, the Center’s Executive Director. “This research informs us on everything from how sports platforms have been pivotal for social justice throughout history to how we apply the latest in diversity, equity, and inclusion research to our daily lives. On the development side, the new division gives HBCU students a building block toward getting their research published and forming a strong case for doctoral candidacy.”

HBCU students, academicians, researchers, and experts interested in contributing to The Doug Williams Center’s Research & Study Division are encouraged to contact

About The Doug Williams Center

Founded in 2020, The Doug Williams Center exists to build an ever-growing network of solutions for diversity and inclusion in collegiate and professional sports. The Center is a learning commons and advancement space for audiences to examine the history of race and politics in American sports and build holistic perspectives on the cultural impact to provide resources for ongoing social progress. With the support of its esteemed Advisory Board and multi-disciplinary academicians, the Center offers thought leadership and practical resources to sports industry entities. A hub for academic of research and development, The Doug Williams Center is an affiliate of Grambling State University. Learn more at

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