A new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports, points with horror at the “racial inequities” in big-time college sports [black men are severely overrepresented but tend to perform poorly academically], finding it “shocking” and “astonishing” that college leaders, the NCAA, and the public at large have “accepted as normal the widespread inequities” endemic to revenue-producing college sports. Perhaps, it concludes, there would be “more outrage” if more people were aware of how much college athletic programs “persistently disadvantage” black male athletes.
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“We hear over and over again that colleges and universities just cannot find qualified, college-ready black men to come to their institutions,” Shaun Harper, the report’s lead author, told Inside Higher Ed, but “they can find them when they want the black men to generate revenue for them.” In a “Message” that introduces the report, Wharton professor Kenneth Shropshire echoes the view that the graduation gap reveals glaring “racial inequities,” that intercollegiate athletics “take advantage” of black athletes “without serious care for their personal and academic success.”
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Far from criticizing race-based special treatment, however, Harper insisted to Inside Higher Ed that his study “in no way seeks to suggest that there are too many black athletes.” To the contrary, he wants admissions offices to recruit non-athlete black men as vigorously as coaches recruit athletes, and he wants to extend the preferential support services black athletes receive “in equal measure to black non-athletes.”
“Dramatic preferences aren’t working out well for athletes. So let’s give them to everyone!”