College graduation gap within
football players widers.
A study released Monday focuses attention on team statistics of a different sort: A racial breakdown of the rate at which the members of their team rosters earn a degree.
The study—titled Keeping Score When It Counts: Assessing the 2010-11 Bowl-bound College Football Teams – Academic Performance Improves but Race Still Matters—was conducted by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.
Specifically, the study found that, of the 70 bowl-bound teams this year, the graduation success rate (GSR) for African-American football student athletes is 60 percent while the rate for White football student athletes was 80 percent. While both the African-American and White GSR increased over last year’s rates of 58 and 77 percent, respectively, the gap between the two also grew from 19 to 20 percentage points.
Other findings of Lapchick’s study:
— Sixty-three schools (90 percent) had graduation success rates of 66 percent or higher for White football student-athletes, which was more than 2.7 times the number of schools with the same GSR for African-American football student-athletes (23 schools or 33 percent).
— Seventeen schools (24 percent) graduated less than 50 percent of their African-American football student-athletes, while only one school—Oklahoma—graduated less than 50 percent of its White football student-athletes.
— Five schools (7 percent) graduated less than 40 percent of their African-American football student-athletes, but no school graduated less than 40 percent of its White football student-athletes.
In the eyes of some of these players, focusing on football gives one a greater chance of a career than their major. I’ve spoken to some college athletes and most of them agree that the pressure to succeed in football takes priority over education. Football practices are usually scheduled from 6-8am, and then a mandatory “weight lifting” (multiple practices are banned in the NCAAF) practice. Athletes have to schedule class around these practices with many skipping class to get some rest.
I am saddened by these numbers but not surprised. The life of a college football athlete is not as glamorous as people assume.