|Abstract||The purpose of this study was to examine the organizational cultures of collegiate and professional athletics and the influence they have on Black women’s leadership opportunities. It also explored inclusive leadership and the impact this has on the experiences of Black women in athletics. Despite how long Black women have existed in this country or have been allowed to advance their knowledge in higher education institutions, they are still underrepresented in athletic leadership positions. Contemporary research (Abney & Richey,1991; Bruening, 2005; Mcdowell & Carter-Francique, 2017; Simpkins, 2017) has shown that Black women experience sports organizational cultures and leadership opportunities in a unique and often challenging way due to the intersection of their race and gender in a White male-dominated profession. Black women often lack access to leadership roles and understanding how the culture of sports organizations impacts this phenomenon deserves further examination. This study differed from previous studies by investigating the sports cultures of intercollegiate and professional organizations while collecting data from a diverse participant population. This study sought to amplify Black women's voices and understand how other people experience Black women as leaders in sports organizations.
Qualitative data was collected through interviews with six identified leaders who embody inclusive leadership qualities. Participants had significant years of working in collegiate and professional athletic sports organizations. These interviews illuminated the continuing challenges that Black women experience in leadership positions, as well as advancements made in some organizations. In many respects, Black women are still experiencing an astounding amount of marginalization, despite their titles and academic backgrounds. From the interviews of the participating leaders, literature review, and research, I have advanced several practices and recommendations to close this vital gap. This study is essential to the policies of sports organizations as it may provide critical insight to leaders focused on growth and developing inclusive leadership behaviors. The work of this scholarship may also aid in the success of teams, and the development of cultures that champion victories with consistent practices and actions that encourage innovation.