In late July, we’ll be publishing The Opiate of America: How College Athletics Created Black-Run America. It will collect much of what we have written on college sports, and include at least 40 percent new material. Of all the projects we’re working on, this is the most personal. This is part two (part one is here) of my response to Steve Sailer’s article on college football he published at Vdare.com.
|“Special Admission” Information for Major College Football Programs|
“If oversigning is ‘morally reprehensible,’ what is playing more than a dozen arrested players over the last five or six years?”
— An SEC football coach reacting to Florida president Bernard Machen, who threw the above-morality card at oversigning. “Maybe if Florida oversigned a little, it could kick more outlaws off its team,” the coach added.
Former Florida coach Urban Meyer had approximately 30 arrests involving his players in six years on the job — or about five a year, which is the number most SEC coaches tend to oversign by. New Florida coach Will Muschamp apparently disagrees with Machen.
He, like the other 11 football coaches, voted to keep the oversigning cap at 28 instead of cutting it to 25 before it was cut to 25 by the presidents.
Consult this link and learn about the 30 Black football players at Florida who won on the football field but lost to the law off of it.
In that same article appears this quote:
“The elementary education and secondary education in the state of Louisiana is not the best in the world. Same for Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas.”
— LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva on why the SEC should have higher signing limits than conferences such as the Big Ten that recruit in better educated pools.
If grades make you a long shot for college, you’re much more likely to get a break if you can play ball.
An Associated Press review of admissions data submitted to the NCAA by most of the 120 schools in college football’s top tier shows that athletes enjoy strikingly better odds of having admission requirements bent on their behalf.
The notion that college athletes’ talents give them a leg up in the admissions game isn’t a surprise. But in what NCAA officials called the most extensive review to date, the AP found the practice is widespread and can be found in every major conference.
The review identified at least 27 schools where athletes were at least 10 times more likely to benefit from special admission programs than students in the general population.
That group includes 2009 Bowl Championship Series teams Oregon, Georgia Tech and Alabama, which is playing Texas for the national title Jan. 7.
At Alabama, 19 football players got in as part of a special admissions program from 2004 to 2006, the most recent years available in the NCAA report. The school tightened its standards for “special admits” in both 2004 and 2007, but from 2004 through 2006, Crimson Tide athletes were still more than 43 more likely to benefit from such exemptions.
Alabama coach Nick Saban offered no apologies.
“Some people have ability and they have work ethic and really never get an opportunity,” he said. “I am really pleased and happy with the job that we do and how we manage our students here, and the responsibility and accountability they have toward academics and the success that they’ve had in academics.”
The NCAA defines special admissions programs as those designed for students who don’t meet “standard or normal entrance requirements.”
The NCAA says such exceptions are fine as long as schools offer the same opportunities to everyone from dancers, French horn players and underrepresented minorities as they do to fleet-footed wide receivers and 300-pound offensive linemen.
Texas was one of seven schools that reported no use of special admissions, instead describing “holistic” standards that consider each applicant individually rather than relying on minimum test scores and grade-point averages.
But the school also acknowledged in its NCAA report that athletic recruits overall are less prepared. At Texas, the average SAT score for a freshman football player from 2003 to 2005 was 945 – or 320 points lower than the typical first-year student’s score on the entrance exam.
School officials did not make coach Mack Brown or athletic director DeLoss Dodds available to comment.
In all, 77 of the 92 Football Bowl Subdivision schools that provided information to the AP reported using special admissions waivers to land athletes and other students with particular talents. The AP spent three months obtaining and reviewing the reports through state public records laws.
Ten schools did not respond to the AP’s request and 18 other schools, including Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Southern California, declined to release their reports. The reports do not identify specific students who benefited from admissions waivers, but they are identified by sport in many cases.
The NCAA sets minimum eligibility standards to compete once a student is in college, but leaves admissions decisions to individual schools and does not compare “special admits” across schools.
Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, noted that NCAA schools face penalties, including losing scholarships, if athletes’ graduation rates are too low or if they fail to show adequate progress toward a degree.
“While it’s an institution’s decision on who they bring in, we’re most interested in what they do once they get there,” he said. “And if they’re not successful, there are consequences.”
At California, one of the country’s most selective public universities, Golden Bear football players were 43 times more likely to gain special admissions than non-athletes from 2002-04.
“It doesn’t matter to us if that student is a junior Olympian in taekwondo or the best oboe player in the United States or someone who can really run fast and jump high,” said Walter Robinson, admissions director at Cal. “We still look at that student with the same consideration: can that student be successful at Berkeley if admitted?”An Associated Press review has found that at least 77 of the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision have used special admissions waivers to land athletes and other students with certain talents.
Football players and other athletes at 27 schools were at least 10 times more likely to benefit from such programs than students in the general population:
– Arizona, California, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington (Pac-10)
– Baylor, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma (Big 12)
– Alabama and Georgia (SEC)
– Clemson, Georgia Tech and Maryland (ACC)
– Indiana (Big 10)
– Rutgers and South Florida (Big East)
– Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Marshall and Memphis (Conference USA)
– Colorado State and Utah (Mountain West)
– Western Michigan (Mid-American Conference)
NOTE: At Arizona, Oregon, Missouri, Georgia Tech and Houston, only football players exceeded the 10-times threshold. At Baylor, Clemson and Western Michigan, athletes overall exceeded the threshold but football players did not. Oregon State and UCLA did not provide percentages for football.
Ten schools did not provide the information requested by the AP under state public records laws: Akron, Army, Florida International, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, San Diego State, South Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Troy and Wyoming.
|Odds that these guys are engineering majors at Georgia Tech?|
CAA President Mark Emmert expects athletes at historically black colleges and universities to make the grade — and he’s willing to help after seeing the results of the latest Academic Progress Rates.
The NCAA banned Jackson State and Southern from postseason play in football next season, and did the same thing for Southern and Grambling in men’s basketball, citing poor classroom performance by all three schools and a host of others in the Southwestern Athletic and Mid-Eastern Athletic conferences.
The NCAA released the penalties Tuesday. Southern became the first school to be banned from the postseason in two sports in the same year — football and men’s basketball — because of academic performance.
“You’re right that there are a number of historically black colleges and universities that have been penalized, especially through the postseason ban,” Emmert said. “We are concerned about that, have met with those institutions to help them develop ways for improvement and to help provide resources to help them be successful.”
The impact of the penalties could swing the balance of power in the SWAC and MEAC, both comprised of HBCUs, and both of which get automatic bids to the NCAA basketball tourneys, too.
The numbers are striking: The NCAA evaluated more than 340 schools for the APR report but only 24 of them — about 7 percent of the total — are considered historically black colleges or universities.
Yet of the 58 harshest penalties handed out this year, fully half went to teams in these two conferences.
SWAC commissioner Duer Sharp told NCAA.org that turnover in school staff — including school presidents — has hurt academic performance of athletes.
Whatever the explanation, the SWAC must now decide whether to let Jackson State and Southern play in its football championship should they advance, and whether to allow Southern and Grambling to compete in the men’s basketball tournament. If either were to win the championship, the league could lose its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
“We don’t have a firm timeline,” assistant commissioner for communications Tom Galbraith said. “Our conference meetings aren’t until the first week of June, and I wouldn’t expect anything finalized before that time.”
The 10-member SWAC has a long and storied football tradition thanks in large part to three powerhouse programs — Grambling, Jackson State and Southern.
Coach Eddie Robinson spent 56 seasons as Grambling’s coach and sent a long list of players to the NFL. The most notable may have been quarterback Doug Williams, the former Super Bowl who is coaching his alma mater for the second time.
Jackson State, in Mississippi, produced one of the NFL’s greatest players, running back Walter Payton, along with Hall of Famers Jackie Slater and Lem Barney. And Southern’s alums include another NFL Hall of Famer, Mel Blount, as well as Philadelphia Eagles record-setting receiver Harold Carmichael and Arizona Cardinals defensive back Aeneas Williams.
But it’s not just the bans that could hurt the competition in either league.
Texas Southern, which played for last year’s SWAC football title, must give up nearly 15 football scholarships, while Jackson State lost half a dozen. Both of those schools will have their practice time reduced, too.
The 13-member MEAC, is taking a similar hit, minus the bans.
Delaware State is losing nine football scholarships, North Carolina A&T is losing three and both schools must contend with new practice limitations, too.
The punishments could be just as debilitating — or more — in basketball.
Coppin State will lose four scholarships, while Norfolk State is losing two. Those two schools, along with Morgan State, also face practice reductions.
Also, Mississippi Valley State and Southern will each lose two scholarships in basketball. Grambling will have one scholarship taken away.
In all, five schools in each league face penalties.
Norfolk State athletics director Marty L. Miller said the Spartans’ APR performance was hurt by the loss of three players to transfers or other reasons.
“We made every effort to assist them to remain in school, but could not resolve the reasons for their departure,” Miller said. “We will continue to address the transfer issue in order to eliminate the penalty status for the next reporting period.”
What can be done?
Walter Harrison, president at the University of Hartford, said the NCAA’s committee on academic performance is debating whether the supplementary support fund, which provides $1 million in grants to low-resource schools, is working the way it should or whether the NCAA can do more.
To Emmert, though, the bottom line is simple. Every school can improve in the classroom.
“You worry about the impact it (penalties) can have on any of those conferences, but the important thing is to promote the success of our student-athletes and that’s our desire to promote academic success,” he said. “It is also the case that we do need to be cognizant of the missions of HBCUs, which isn’t the same as all of our institutions. It’s asking them to complete their missions.”
The 2011 release of Academic Progress Rate data revealed that Historically Black Colleges and Universities continue to struggle with the academic metric that measures the eligibility and retention of student-athletes at a team level. Where many non-HBCU peers – including schools with similarly limited resources – show some improvement, teams at HBCUs are trending in the opposite direction.
For the 2009-10 APR reporting year (the data released today), 33 of the 103 penalties went to teams at historically black institutions.
HBCU advocates say the reasons for the downward movement are complex and extend beyond a lack of resources, though that factor is cited most often as a reason for poor academic performance. Where many institutions with more funding can hire academic advisors, tutors and other people to ensure their student-athletes go to class, many HBCUs just don’t have that kind of cash on hand.
In the aftermath of a football academic scandal at Auburn in 2006 that caused two department heads to step down and the N.C.A.A. to investigate, university officials are no longer bragging — or even talking — about the team’s once-stellar scholastic record.
Among all the bowl teams this season, Auburn has the highest disparity in the graduation rates between white players (100 percent) and black players (49 percent), according to a study at the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.
What’s sad is that these problems – graduating Black athletes – have plagued schools for decades. The below story is about the University of Southern California’s inability to graduate Black athletes from a 1991 issue of Sports Illustrated:
An NCAA study of 3,288 athletes at 85 Division I schools who entered as freshmen in 1984 and ’85 revealed that 52.3% of white athletes graduated within five years, but only 26.6% of black athletes finished in that time. In football and men’s basketball, the graduation rates were 54.9% for white players, 25.0% for black players. A 1988-89 study of athletes at 42 universities, commissioned by the NCAA Presidents Commission and conducted by the American Institutes for Research, indicated that athletes in general and black athletes in particular felt isolated both socially and academically from the rest of the student body.
“The exploitation of black athletes by colleges and universities in this country has been going on for a long time, even at a school with the history and reputation of USC,” says Cobb. “USC, like many schools, is a virtual black-athlete factory running on quarter speed. They go out and sell those kids on the Trojan family, that a USC degree will mean the world. Yet they don’t have the proper resources to make it an even chance for the kids they recruit.”
|Bear Bryant statue outside Legion Field in Birmingham.. a dying city|
Now, teams like Auburn, Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, South Carolina and others look like HBCU teams. The only exception is that white fans are in the stands cheering them on and the similarity between the two is that the Black athletes fail to graduate at either a PWI or an HBCU.
Former Indiana University football coach Gerry DiNardo doesn’t recall any battles to get recruits into school, including the 42 percent of his first class that didn’t meet IU’s normal entrance requirements.
As at Louisiana State, where DiNardo also coached, he said if players met the NCAA’s minimum academic standards, he could count on them being admitted.
DiNardo said there’s nothing wrong with these so-called “special admits” — as long as schools think the players can graduate with adequate tutoring. But he’s frank about the situation.
“We know they’re not qualified academically,” said DiNardo, now a commentator for the Big Ten Network, “so our obligation extends past what it is for a non-student-athlete.”
It can be a heavy obligation. Many of the nation’s largest universities rely on special admits — students admitted under exceptions to normal admission standards for reasons including “special talent” — to stock their football teams, an Indianapolis Star study of 55 universities found. At these schools, the percentage of special admits among students overall is extremely small.
The disparity can be stark: The University of California in 2004 reported that 95 percent of its freshman football players on scholarship were special admits, compared with 2 percent of the student body. Others: Texas A&M in 2004, 94 percent to 8 percent; and Oklahoma in 2002, 81 percent to 2 percent.
It will never happen, because the college football fields are fertilized in Varsity Green, but the best way to end this madness is to abolish athletic scholarships. You abolish college scholarships (or do what college baseball has done; only giving partial scholarships) and then only those capable of getting into school with proper academic credentials and paying their own way for tuition will be able to play.
If that means a significant cut in Black participation in college athletics, so be it. Only through affirmative action policies and ‘special admissions’ can the majority of Black athletes even be allowed to step foot on campus.
The question of would predominately white alumni and sports fans, who have been conditioned that the only legitimate form of football or basketball is played between primarily Black participants, watch predominately white players is one that hardly needs answering.
Why do you think such massive stadiums exist on the campuses of Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama? It was white players – most of whom went both ways (playing offense and defense) before football became a specialized game with substitutions and intricate rules that favor faster athletes – that built these powerhouses.
1966 was a pivotal year in college football history, the year when, in addition to integration, the power of the sport as a TV draw became evident. (Ratings for the late season clash between the number one-ranked Irish and the number two Spartans exceeded those for the first Super Bowl two months later.) There’s a great book to be written on that season, but Mr. Dunnavant instead has chosen to air a grudge.
It can be argued that the Alabama football team was a victim of politics. A vocal minority, led by the Los Angeles Times’ Jim Murray (who regularly accused Bryant and Alabama of playing for the “Magnolia Championship”), made it obvious that no segregated team would get their vote. Mr. Dunnavant’s case for the 1966 Tide, though, is based far more on emotion than reason. “By choosing to let the voters decide rather than risking a loss on the final play against Michigan State,” writes Mr. Dunnavant, “Ara Parseghian deftly exploited the media’s love affair with the Irish and the widespread anti-Southern bias.” What “bias”? All-white teams from the South — including Auburn, LSU, Texas, and Alabama (three times) — had won six of the previous nine championships from 1957 through 1965, and in 1969, Texas, still all-white, won again, a fact of which Mr. Dunnavant seems unaware.
Furthermore, there is no compelling reason why Notre Dame’s 1966 squad shouldn’t have won it all: They played a tougher schedule than either Alabama or Michigan State and won by a wider margin of victory. Even if Parseghian erred in being overly cautious, why should his team have been punished? Further, it is unsettling Spartan tackle Bubba Smith’s explanation for Notre Dame’s finishing number one — “All the sportswriters are Catholic” — goes unchallenged by Mr. Dunnavant.
Myself, I’d have voted for Alabama, but as I grew up there, I’m not objective. But when Mr. Dunnavant, writing at the top of his voice, declares that the vote for Notre Dame was “the greatest misjustice in college football history,” my jaw dropped. The greatest misjustice in college football history is that black players from Alabama and the rest of the South weren’t given a chance to play in their home states. And, frankly, I don’t share Mr. Dunnavant’s optimism as to how much progress the state has made because Condoleezza Rice tossed a coin to open the 2005 Alabama-Tennessee game in Tuscaloosa. “The chill-bump factor,” he writes, “was high.” I’d feel better if I knew for sure there were more blacks in the stands that day than on the field.
Mr. Yeager’s “Turning of the Tide” recounts vividly the game that accelerated the process of integration in Southern football. By the end of the 1960s, Bryant felt he had built up sufficient leverage to defy George Wallace’s segregationist stance, as well as obstructionist sentiments within his own university, and was ready to recruit top black athletes. The problem was that the top black athletes didn’t want to play for Alabama.
Looking for a dramatic stage from which to send a message that his team was ready to integrate, Bryant contacted his good friend, USC coach John McKay, and over drinks, shook hands on a deal: USC would open the 1970 season in Birmingham, and ‘Bama would return the favor in 1971 at the L.A. Coliseum.
Mr. Yaeger doesn’t pretend to understand completely the motives of the inscrutable Bryant, who never made clear his reasons for arranging the match. In retrospect, though, it’s clear that Bryant’s intentions were to shake up the boosters and politicians who still resisted integration, and that he also knew his team was no match for the Trojans. It wasn’t: the 42–21 Trojan rout was the game that caught the attention of the entire South.
The Alabama papers, both white and black, made no mention of the game’s significance, but word of mouth made all the difference. Even before the game, Jim Murray understood the result no matter who won: “The point of the game will not be the score, the Bear, the Trojans; the point of the game will be Reason, Democracy, Hope. The real winner will be the South.” Murray was right. I only wish Mr. Yaeger had devoted more space to the next season’s game, when an integrated Alabama team whipped Southern Cal in Los Angeles.
“Turning of the Tide” is that rare sports book that can be read with pride by fans of both the winning and losing teams. To his credit, Mr. Yaeger doesn’t seem to believe the legend that after the 1970 game, Bryant “borrowed” USC fullback Sam “Bam” Cunningham (who had rushed for 135 yards) and brought him to the Tide locker room, where he told his players, “Gentlemen, this what a football player looks like.” It never happened, but I’ll bet that scene shows up when they make the movie.
Much of the rise in athletics revenue came from an escalation in money generated through multimedia rights deals, donations and ticket receipts, but schools also continued increasing their subsidies from student fees and institutional funds.Altogether in 2010, about $2 billion in subsidies went to athletics at the 218 public schools that have been in the NCAA‘s Division I over the past five years. Those subsidies grew by an inflation-adjusted 3% in 2010. They have grown by 28% since 2006 and account for $1 of every $3 spent on athletics.
Even with 2010’s more modest growth rate, these increases run counter to the national trend of declining state support for public colleges, many of which have imposed layoffs, salary freezes, cuts in courses and substantial tuition and fee hikes. While about a third of the 218 Division I schools trimmed athletics budgets last year, about a third either increased their spending faster than money came in or didn’t cut spending enough to keep up with losses.
“Athletics apparently has no oversight,” says Ken Struckmeyer, an associate professor at Washington State who co-chairs the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a faculty group advocating for athletics reform. “They generate (money), then they spend whatever they bring in — and if that’s not enough, the board of regents provides a subsidy to help them win. … Apparently, the measure of success of universities now is wins by the football team or the basketball team.”
Simultaneously, without affirmative action in academics and business, how would Black people – who lack the academic scores and qualifications necessary to compete with whites and Asians – ever gain entry to good schools or succeed in the business world?
Implementing affirmative action policies for white and Asian athletes would remove slots allocated for more deserving Black athletes, who otherwise would have no business at the institution of higher learning.
In closing, we pose a question to you Richard Lapchick, a man who has made a lucrative living off of publishing graduation data that shows Black athletes can’t graduate at the same pace as white athletes.
Why do you fail to discuss HBCU graduation data for student-athletes?