Historical black colleges face stress on all fronts. Enrollment declines, cuts to government financial aid, leadership controversies and heightened oversight are working together to threaten some HBCUs in new ways and perhaps even jeopardize their existence.
On the other hand, white colleges are thriving, critics point to the $10.8 billion deal that the NCAA inked with CBS/Turner Broadcasting just for the NCAA basketball tournament alone. The billions of dollars made in TV contracts, corporate sponsorships, and apparel sales materialize through just two sports. The high-revenue sports of football and men’s basketball are both enormously solvent and deliver the bulk of return on investments that provide the resources to fund college campuses.
“I saw a small group of black faces in the stands, and they were [football] recruits,” Robert says. “It was incredible. I realized all of the people being paid or getting the pleasure out of the game were white, and the vast majority of the people playing and risking their health were black.” Robert McCormick
African American males from disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods are overrepresented in both of these sports. One study noted that between 2007 and 2010, black male degree-seeking students made up just 2.8 percent of full-time undergraduates, but comprised 57.1 percent of football teams and 64.3 percent men’s basketball teams.
And yet black males are significantly underrepresented in the academic side of the student athlete life. In other words, they are the least likely to complete their college education, even when it’s “free.” Academic success in college for black student athletes is challenging.
Public education (K-12) and later colleges and universities have continually failed to address the racial inequalities that exist within their area of influence. Because public education in US society is unequally funded by local property taxes, the masses of young black males who reside in disadvantaged and deprived communities receive less funding and subsequently “get what they paid for” by receiving a sub-par education through no fault of their own. Nevertheless, these same unprepared black males are recruited to the university ranks solely based on their athletic prowess by the same institution that denied them entrance and full inclusion in the first place.
5)In reality, less than 2 percent of college athletes are drafted into the NFL and NBA. The alternative reward is the chance at a free education from the ivory tower. This is indeed enticing to casual observers. But to the 17, 18 and 19-year-olds from America’s underprivileged neighborhoods, a college education is impractical and an improbable recompense for a multitude of reasons.
4)Black students athletes are recruited and admitted to white universities and colleges at a rate higher than black degree-seeking students who are non-athletes, which is telling about the worth and value that black men bring to the academy.
3)Major universities and colleges rely on black bodies to fill the coffers and to further the interests of whites through a coordinated system of black exploitation.