Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Neil Katz

Second Advisor

Dustin Berna

Third Advisor

Jason Campbell


academic resistance, adverse childhood experiences, education, football, internal colonization theory, trauma informed intervention


Fans of college sports embrace the idea of athletes playing sport and, in turn, receiving tuition scholarships that provide them an opportunity to trade athletic talent for a free education. A contradictory body of research using internal colonization theory posits that the trade of education for playing sports is not a fair exchange but is fraught with exploitation that continues to perpetuate subjugation. An accepted narrative in athletic competition is that the recruiting pipeline draws athletes from impoverished inner-city areas engaging young athletes who experience difficulties keeping up scholastically becoming academically resistant as they focus on their sport at the expense of their academics.

Biopsychosocial and developmental neuroscience research recognizes outside social factors as variables that affect the development of the brain, thus influencing basic mechanical operations of specific brain structures. This dissertation breaks new ground by utilization of the 10-question Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Inventory to explore a possible relationship between ACE scores and Academic Resistance (AR), ACE scores and Locus of Control, and ACE scores and Identity Foreclosure.

Using the T-test to determine a relationship between 194 participants’ ACE scores and AR, the findings showed the probability of Type I error of 5%, to be that the AR of student athletes with an ACE score >=2, n=94, to be significantly higher than the AR of student athletes with an ACE