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  • brad tarr

    1. What outreach efforts are being made to professional black athletes?
    2. Doesn't the United Negro College Fund rank a mention? How is it doing?
    3. What is the comparative data for non-Division I university athletics?

  • bogiebj13

    Sorry, your comparison is flawed. Nobody is asking for a professional speaker. basic comprehension and use of the english language! dont want to hear the likes of "he shoulda went" i know many computer geeks and their issue isnt the ability to use proper grammar, more so they dont speak. Bottom line is schools have allowed poor language skills to slide and have accepted geographical slang to pass.

  • dstrinity

    As a mother of a young athlete who is also an intellectual, this topic is discussed in my household a lot. Having taught in urban and suburban elementary schools, this problem stems from childhood. I find that students who may need additional resources to succeed academically but who are athletically gifted are given a pass in the classroom. They experience success on the field, court or track and therein lies the source of their self-esteem and self-worth. No one, including parents, conveys the importance of addressing the deficiencies that appear academically. The focus is on "passing"- school, standardized tests, and graduating (even if barely). You hear them talk of having the minimum to be a college athlete. They echo, "I have the scores to play". Well what about the scores to graduate, to attend graduate school, make the dean's list and excel in postsecondary environment? Unfortunately, the answers are never provided for these students who by the way are still children when they walk onto these campuses and are hailed for their athletic prowess. My experience, research and focus of my passion tells me that parents are too hands off too early. Instead of just relying on the athletes to advocate for themselves, this group (even more than the honor students) need the parents to step in and demand better also.
    So when we discuss whether my child would take an academic or athletic scholarship if so blessed, my answer is always- the academic. I don't ever want him to fall into the trap of believing that his jump shot and ability to have "court vision" outweighs his intellect and potential to be a computer engineer or the like. Now, if once he becomes a reasoning adult and is put in the position to play professional sports or pursue another career then at that point, I believe his experience, reasoning and ability to discern for himself will lead him down the right path. I will never turn him over to an athletic director or coach who makes 7 figures and whose job it is to bring in millions of dollars for the institution. I'm pretty sure their allegiance won't be to my child.

  • bogiebj13

    the reason you go or went to college was to work on your weaknesses. not so much the same reason big time athletes go. i guess i put more value to the proper use of language than you. to me its like allowing a child to think 2+2 is 5, because it close. language is generally our first impression and i dont think there is room for "being close" to correct. we have allowed the language to become less important because of attitudes like yours, thinking there is so much more important than correcting a child for speaking improperly. not poorly, improperly!

  • Argo Naught

    Your article is thought-provoking and highlights a number of problems with the current state of the college system with regard to the dichotomy between academics and athletics, particularly as it relates to black men, so thank you for addressing the issue. However, your call to action is disproportionately placed on college institutions when more of it should be placed on black male students themselves. In fact, you place almost no responsibility or expectations on those students at all until the final paragraph of your article, despite the fact that by the time they are in college, both the responsibility and the incentive to secure their future rests primarily on their own shoulders.

    Most students in college aren't athletes, and their motivation to succeed is fueled by factors such as family encouragement, a sense of responsibility and social expectations, as well as the plain necessity that will arise once they graduate and need to support themselves. Is it possible that black male students are missing some or all of these same motivators?

    Perhaps instead of only looking in one direction and focusing exclusively on a retooling of the college system and way of thinking which goes along with it, we should consider that the problems with the undergrad performance and low graduation rates of black men don't occur in an academic vacuum. I agree that we should take a hard look at colleges and consider what can be improved there, and we should do the same with the K-12 school system as well; however, we also need to consider what these students are and are not getting from their family and community while growing up. Simply addressing the issues with "American culture" as it pertains to academics, entertainment, and more, does not solve the problem, and building a collegiate framework which is geared toward ensuring academic achievement has little to no hope of producing results if these students don't already have the tools to succeed long before they step onto a college campus.

    • Liz Dwyer

      When you say "Most students in college aren't athletes, and their motivation to succeed is fueled by factors such as family encouragement, a sense of responsibility and social expectations, as well as the plain necessity that will arise once they graduate and need to support themselves. Is it possible that black male students are missing some or all of these same motivators?" are you saying that black families don't encourage, and that black students don't have a sense of responsibility or social expecations, etc?

      • Argo Naught

        By posing the question, I'm suggesting that the structure of the athletic-academic program at colleges may not be the sole cause (or even the primary cause) for a lower graduation rate and lower academic success among this one specific group (black male student athletes). We should take a hard look not only at how they are perceived and treated on campus, but how they are perceived and treated at home, as well.

        I'm not implying that black families don't encourage their children, but I think it's possible that, for example, a black male child with a proficiency at football might be very much encouraged (by family, by coaches, by community even) to focus on that skill in order to secure a scholarship, and that encouragement for other things (including academics) may still be there but take a distant second place. Continuing with that example, if that child then has grades which start to slip, but discovers that a lot of folks are willing to minimize that or let it slide, then I suspect that has a detrimental effect on the building up of a personal sense of responsibility.

        • Argo Naught

          My last sentence got left off while I was trying to sign in and post. Basically, I finished up by saying that perhaps the example I gave isn't typical or common at all, or perhaps it is -- I honestly don't know from personal experience. However, I think it's worth asking the question and examining the issue from every possible angle.

  • bogiebj13

    There was never a question of football talent. as you stated, there are many talented artists, musicians, etc. but they all need to meet the universities requirements for admission which i believe are higher than the exceptions they make for athletics. maybe we need a "pre-pro sports" program with a different set of standards and rules? i love college sports. in most cases, more than pro sports, but lets accept it for the money making machine it is... does anybody remember how larry bird spoke?? makes one wonder how he ever progressed past 4th grade english. its embarrassing to listen to some of these college kids speak.

    • Andre Perry

      Language arts are just a slither of human intelligence. Colleges and universities should always have minimum standards based on a particular field of study. I agree that big time sports have become separate entities and we need to treat these institutions accordingly. However, there's a lot of athlete bashing that comes from misinformed and pejorative spaces. The reason why we go to college is to improve are weaknesses. Why don't we give athletes the same space we give other people?

  • Roger Chan

    It is a crime at a grand scale to use blacks as entertainment and not to truly help and educate them. This form of institutionalized prejudice is akin to cultural slavery. Clearly American blacks overemphasize their athletic achievement compared to their academic achievement because it is the equivalent to the lottery to them for any kind of achievement at all. The non-black world also overemphasizes American blacks to limit their world to entertainment and sports like a modern day "Step and Fetchit" entertaining the mazzas. It is insidious, insulting and must stop. Similarly "bi-lingual" education is enslaving native Spanish speakers by giving them a way out from speaking English and limiting them from mainstreaming into the non-Spanish speaking world. By encouraging "bi-lingual" programs we are actually telling Spanish speakers that they are so dumb that they cant learn English so don't bother. How insulting. No language is more foreign to American English than Asian languages and we tend to learn English within six to nine months. Meanwhile no language has been as incorporated into English than Spanish and yet we have muti-generations of Hispanics who still don't speak English. Bravo, using language to contain and separate people is proving to be as much a great success as limiting black achievement to sports and entertainment. What a wonderful world. NOT!

  • Richard Starr

    It's simple. Most athletes in the more popular sports who are there on scholarships are there primarily as a way to develop and showcase their talents. It would be a far clearer, and honest, picture if they were out and out employees of the Universities that utilize them. The problem is, it would be oh so less popular and profitable. It would be as if the pro wrestling companies had to truthfully state before every match that the outcome was predetermined. Everyone "knows" this to be true, but it would shatter the illusions that so many enjoy.

    So please, don't bother me with the spiel about the athletes as I know they will throw off the numbers. Instead, bring up the information of the non-athletes that more truly represent society. Of course then you have to look at the uncomfortable truths that the teachers, at least the one's that care, have a harder time dealing with certain segments of society that do not, for whatever the reason, seem to culturally value their more intellectually gifted members. More comfortable by far to simply blame the last stop along the way rather than point out the problems all along the way, because then you would have to lay the blame at the feet of all those have claimed to champion them, while in truth they were far more concerned about themselves.

    • Andre Perry

      I thought I made a point about athletics only valuing their bodies. However, colleges have a responsibility to prepare them for life. In addition, at many colleges outside the BCS, athletic departments have done what I've suggested. Div. II and III have tremendous success in transforming athletes into great scholars. I thought I also describe that academics must recruit intellectual talents earlier along the pipeline.

    • Andre Perry

      I do think that "amateur athleticism" is somewhat a falsehood in many conferences. However, the argument was that black athletes can pave the way for changes for all students. In addition, colleges can demand academic excellence earlier among athletes and reap the benefits of true scholar athletes.

      • Richard Starr

        My point is not about "black" athletes, its about athletes period.
        The problem with including them in any statistics is that you end up distorting the picture and making others appear to be unsuited for college. Colleges "could" demand academic ability, but the truth is they are interested almost solely with athletic ability and in truth it is far from unusual for someone with a particular talent to concentrate their efforts on maximizing that talent at a cost to other abilities. There is, quite frankly, too much money involved going to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

  • Cyril B. Saulny

    The SEC represents the "new plantations!" Slavery does exist, albeit at an entirely different level. Slavery is camouflaged as an opportunity for the black male student athlete. The numbers don't lie! The result is the same! Brawn over Brains! Have anyone seen the NFL combines lately? Modern day slavery, at its finest!

    • anokwale

      I personally have seen some of the slave castles in West Africa and I would never compare, a full athletic scholarship to slavery. I believe that is a bit of hyperbole. I think the real solution is to guarantee that the athletes will get two additional years of full tuition after the four years is over. This way, those who might have not have been prepared academically at first will have extra time to graduate. I think the real issue is that there seems to be an emphasis on graduating in four years. In reality, for a majority of athletes who are playing big time football or basketball, they cannot graduate in four years unless they major in less rigorous subjects. It is simply not possible to make sure everyone is coming in with the same level of high school preparation. Let us just extend the time to get the degree and provide funding and we will see that the players who do not make the pros will do a better job at getting the degrees. They deserve it since they create revenue for the schools.

  • bogiebj13

    Make entrance requirements consistent for ALL applicants to the university. This will take care of your issue. It will kill college sports, but answers your point. Did anybody else listen to the student/athlete who won the defensive player of the game in last nights championship game? Point made!

    • Andre Perry

      Actually, many performing artists come into institutions under different criteria. While I get your point, many technologists find it difficult to write anything other than code. Excellent musicians often don't score well off the music sheets. Universities have always had some freedoms to base admissions off particular talents. Athleticism is a talent.