Athletic departments see value in black male bodies. Faculty and staff must see value in black male minds.
Results from a new study on graduation rates of black male athletes illustrate our sacrosanct commitment to developing black football players in colleges and universities. Black men among the top 25 BCS schools represent 3 percent of their student bodies but 60 percent of the football players. Simultaneously, the data make plain the limitations colleges place on black male academic achievement. Black students are apparently good enough for the playing fields but not the laboratories.
Let's be clear: If colleges can build up black football players, they can develop black scientists, historians and teachers. If colleges recruited, trained and competed black and Latino students in chemistry like they do in football, institutions could place more Nobel Prizes above their Bowl Championship Series trophies. But let's not wait for academics or a concussed fan base to incite much needed improvements in retention and graduation. Black football players must push their political weight to move university leaders who ostensibly aren't compelled by data.