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Black Male Student-Athletes And POOR Educational Outcomes

Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports


The big dream of fame, fortune and lots of money in professional sports will materialize for about 2 percent of those who cherish that dream, and even less for those who have sacrificed getting a good education to focus mainly on sports.  We see those who have made it; we know nothing about the millions who have not, and we know nothing about the devastation that follows being let down, disappointed and discarded.  We don't get follow-up reports on those who did not get the promised college education and who after giving their all had to leave college without a degree or anything else.

This report by the authors listed above is one that should be read thoroughly and thoughtfully by every parent and middle and high school athlete who cherish the dream of making it BIG in professional sports.  The late Arthur Ashe, outstanding tennis player, once said he could not devote his time fully to tennis until he had earned his degree in Business Administration from UCLA. His father told him that his education was first and foremost; it was sound and smart advice. Arthur graduated first in his high school class and maintained excellent grades throughout his college years; he then went on to win national and international championships in tennis.  His story is inspiring and it is instructive.  Read about him at:  

The report by Harper, Williams and Blackman is an extensive one and is available as a PDF file linked below.  It is truly instructive to students and their families. There is also an excellent article written by Emily Richmond titled: How Colleges Fail Black Football Players“At least half of black football players on the top-10 teams won’t graduate within six years of enrolling.” That is sobering.

“Transparency, not shock value, is the primary aim of this report. In fact, statistics presented herein concerning the overrepresentation of Black male student-athletes are unlikely to surprise anyone who has watched a college football or men’s basketball game over the past 20 years.”

 "Major results of our study include:

  • Between 2007 and 2010, Black men were 2.8% of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students, but 57.1% of football teams and 64.3% of basketball teams.
  • Across four cohorts, 50.2% of Black male student-athletes graduated within six years, compared to 66.9% of student athletes overall, 72.8% of undergraduate students overall, and 55.5% of Black undergraduate men overall.
  • 96.1% of these NCAA Division I colleges and universities graduated Black male student-athletes at rates lower than student-athletes overall.
  • 97.4% of institutions graduated Black male student-athletes at rates lower than undergraduate students overall.
  • On no campus were rates exactly comparable for these two comparison groups.
  • At one university, Black male student-athletes graduated at a comparable rate to Black undergraduate men overall.
  • On 72.4% of the other campuses, graduation rates for Black male student-athletes were lower than rates for Black undergraduate men overall."

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