As the nation’s top college football teams prepare to take the field for the elite bowl games, three new reports out this week raise similarly troubling concerns about dismal graduation rates for many of the black players constituting the bulk of the starting lineups.
While the formulas used in the three reports vary to some degree, the pictures painted are not dramatically different. First up: the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity’s report on football teams participating in the 2014 Bowl Championship Series. Based on completion rates across four cohorts (rather than focusing on a single year) at least half of the black football players won’t graduate within six years of enrolling, the report concluded. That’s compared in the report with “a graduation rate of 67 percent for student-athletes overall in the seven major NCAA Division I sports conferences.”
Read more. [Image: Phil Sears/AP Photo]
A new report on Oklahoma State’s use of “hostesses” to lure in recruits reveals yet another instance of the NCAA normalizing sexism. But there are ways it can change.
Read more. [Image: Bradford J]
I hate to take a cynical note on this, but I don’t think Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, or anyone else in the NCAA really cares about young men going to college—or at least attending college classes. I think what they care about is whether or not these young men play college basketball, and I think what they would like is to have the NBA’s cooperation in doing anything they can to keep boys playing college basketball for as long as they can.
The simple reality is that most basketball and football players who wind up in the pros had little or no interest in going to college in the first place. They want to be first in line for the professional drafts that will take them away from the world of amateur sham, very reasonably wanting their talents to produce revenue for themselves and their families instead of university athletic departments. Now, when the boys are in the best position to make that pay for them, colleges pretending to show some concern.
"It makes a travesty," said Emmert, "of the whole notion of student as an athlete." One might call that poetic justice since for nearly a century colleges have been making a travesty of the notion of athlete as student.
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The art: Paul Pfeiffer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (8), 2005.
The news: “Basketball players of the NCAA, unite!” by Patrick Hruby for TheAtlantic.com.
The source: Partial and promised gift to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington.
Critic’s note: Hruby’s essay notes that the NCAA financial model relies on the fondness fans and alumni have for their schools. The athletes themselves mostly do not participate in that success: They are the unpaid labor that enables a multi-billion-dollar annual industry. Pfeiffer’s Four Horsemen reminds us that when the identifying jersey is stripped away the player is almost always anonymous. The athletes are conditionally adored by the fans even as they are exploited by the schools for which they play. Jerry Seinfeld was right: We root for the laundry with which we identify.
This remains one of my favorite Tumblrs of all time.
March Madness is about tradition. It’s about Cindarella runs and dynasties, fans screaming their lungs out at the stadium, and goofing off from work to stream games on our desktops.
It’s also about a $771 million paycheck for the NCAA, and 68 teams trying to win the biggest cut they can.
This is the time of year where America celebrates college basketball as a spectacle, and more and more, as a business. In 2010, the NCAA struck a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting System for the rights to the tournament. Part of that money eventually devolves down to the teams, some of which have become truly enormous profit generators. At The Atlantic, we wondered what this year’s bracket would look like if, instead of their on-the-court play, teams won and lost based on their most recent balance sheets. Using data from the Department of Education, we calculated which teams earned the biggest profits during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, then set them up against each other.
The Final Four: Louisville, Duke Ohio State, and the University of North Carolina. Your national champion: Louisville. By a longshot.
Read more. [Image: Jordan Weissmann]
— Taylor Branch, The Shame of College Sports
A litany of scandals in recent years have made the corruption of college sports constant front-page news. We profess outrage each time we learn that yet another student-athlete has been taking money under the table. But the real scandal is the very structure of college sports, wherein student-athletes generate billions of dollars for universities and private companies while earning nothing for themselves. Here, a leading civil-rights historian makes the case for paying college athletes—and reveals how a spate of lawsuits working their way through the courts could destroy the NCAA.
Our October 2011 cover story. Do you think college athletes should be paid? Read the rest at The Atlantic
Why even bother with brackets, really? You’ll be much happier playing BINGO!—our new March Madness-themed BINGO!, that is. Just print out the specially-designed card below, and use bottle-caps or coins to cover a square every time you hear one of these common March Madness-y words or phrases. Or you could just use the card to play a drinking game and drown your sorrows while watching your brackets implode.
Read more at The Atlantic