March Madness In The Classroom With African American Players

Each year since 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has published the Graduation Success Rates (GSR) of schools in the NCAA basketball tournament.

In the midst of March Madness, the cumulative Graduation Success Rates (GSR) of black players has decreased for the first time since the GSR report was issued. The rate of black players, out of the 68 teams, has shrunk from 75 percent to 74 percent this year. Only 1 percent difference, right? Why is this big news?

 

Well for white players, out of the 68 teams, their GSR usually remains the same at 93%. That’s a 19 percent difference from the 74 percent of black players who graduate. Is there a race issue that affects the graduation rates of white and black players? They are going to the same classes and go to practice at the same time, so what is the problem?

 

However, the overall GSR for black college male players in the NCAA tournament and not in the tournament hit a high of 77 percent. The highest percentage in history!!!  This shows a positive growth in 15 years from 46% to 77% since the NCAA tracked the graduation rates of student athletes.

 

Also, you are able to look up Graduation Success Rates by school and sport here.

 

The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education completed a study in 2013 about the “Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports.” Detailing that Black men have lower “six-year graduation rates” than their white counterparts, they contributed recommendations for five groups to “[improve] racial equity in college sports”  including the NCAA and Sports Conference Commissioners, college university leaders, coaches and athletics departments, journalists and sports media, and Black male student-athletes and their families.

The NCAA and Sports Conference Commissioners

The NCAA and commissioners should create a “series of NCAA research reports that disaggregate data by race, sex, sport, division” that would hinder the NCAA to make such claims as to Black males in college sports graduate at higher rates that Black males who do not play.  Also, encourages the NCAA to establish a “commission on racial equity that routinely calls for and responds to disaggregated data reports” and raise awareness of racial inequities.

 College and University Leaders

College presidents, trustees, provosts, and other university leaders should be held accountable for “narrowing racial gaps documented in these [disaggregated] reports.” The leaders should be conscious of the social issues that Black student-athletes experience like stressing over trying to belong in a predominantly white campus and the typical stereotypes of a Black man.

Coaches and Athletics Departments

One statement from the report states that “coaches are unlikely to be supportive of anything that threatens their own career stability.” This is so true because we hear about the academic fraud that goes on during March Madness. Coaches allowing their student-athletes who are not academic eligible to participate in any games and later down the line the championships are ripped away from them like SMU last year.

Journalists and Sports Media

Media plays a huge role in society as whole. The media can hurt or hurt someone depending on how the story is reported. The journalists and sports media should “highlight other aspects of Black male student-athletes beyond their athletic prowess”. Instead of showing when a Black NCAA All-Star gets in trouble lets also display the Black NCAA All-Star giving back to his community.

 

Black Male Student-Athletes and Their Families

Finally, this reporting advises Black male student-athletes and their families to be more selective and ask about other opportunities instead of “choosing a university because it appears to be a promising gateway to careers in professional sports”. Being a former student-athlete, I can understand why looking for other opportunities while playing sports will benefit your journey to graduation.

 

Amber Peters80 Posts

Amber Peters is a current MBA candidate and full-time Accountant. She is a proud Alumna of Texas Southern University. “Faith without work means nothing”

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