Where California universities fail black male athletes

From the San Francisco Chronicle.

2016_07_06_ETW

There is a losing culture in big-time college sports that has nothing to do with wins and losses in basketball or football, or the millions of dollars being made. Using those standards, many universities are doing fine, with some profiting greatly from the success of their football and men’s basketball teams.

The losses we refer to are the ones that really matter: student-athletes who don’t go pro and never graduate. Too many universities are losing on this measure and failing their student-athletes — particularly black male athletes. California campuses are no exception.

UC Berkeley ranks at the bottom of black athlete graduation rates for all California universities studied. While 91 percent of all students and 64 percent of black male students graduate from Cal, just 34 percent of black male athletes graduate.

The fair treatment of college athletes is a national issue in which the focus has been on paying student-athletes and reining in excessive coaching salaries. We even see an emerging discussion on gaps in student-athlete graduation rates. However, we haven’t taken our best shot at fixing these inequities.

Since 2012, the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education has used National Collegiate Athletic Association data to expose troubling disparities in representation and graduation rates for black student athletes. This year’s report highlights that despite black male students’ overrepresentation on college sports teams compared with the general student body, less than half of black male student-athletes graduate in six years.

The University of Southern California, for example, graduates 91 percent of all students but only 41 percent of black male athletes. UCLA is making some progress toward closing the graduation gap, with 61 percent of its black male athletes graduating, compared with 91 percent of all students. However, the overall findings rightly create outrage and demand change.

If anyone ever says there’s not enough money to provide student-athletes the support needed to graduate, that’s wrong. The NCAA will make an estimated $1 billion a year from selling the TV rights to the March Madness basketball tournament. Division I football generates more than $3.7 billion annually. UCLA recently announced a record $280 million sponsorship deal with Under Armour sports apparel.

The real losers here are black male student-athletes — we exploit their bodies while neglecting their minds. While some may think scholarships set them up for million-dollar contracts, the vast majority of these student-athletes will never go pro, leaving most of them on the sidelines holding the ball but not a diploma. These students sacrifice countless hours and risk injury to play a sport while pursuing a degree — perhaps it’s us and not them who have lost sight of the goal.

A recent effort by the University of California regents adopts new policies to increase accountability and improve student-athlete success, and should be applauded. The next step is to go further, as the adopted package of policies and guiding principles had one glaring problem — racial inequities were never mentioned.

We should guarantee the support necessary for all student-athletes to finish their degrees. Some campuses are already engaging faculty mentors and providing extra support and instruction while student-athletes are on the road. If the expectation of student-athletes on the field or court is nothing short of excellence, then our colleges should be held to that same excellence standard by achieving parity in graduation rates.

At a recent UC Board of Regents meeting, Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said, “The most valuable asset we have is not athletic achievement, it is a degree from the University of California, and that should always be the priority.” We agree.

Michele Siqueiros is president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, and Ryan Smith is executive director of The Education Trust-West, based in Oakland.

 

 

July 5, 2016 Updated: July 5, 2016 9:40pm

UC Berkeley ranks at the bottom of black athlete graduation rates for all California universities studied. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

UC Berkeley ranks at the bottom of black athlete graduation rates for all California universities studied.

There is a losing culture in big-time college sports that has nothing to do with wins and losses in basketball or football, or the millions of dollars being made. Using those standards, many universities are doing fine, with some profiting greatly from the success of their football and men’s basketball teams.

The losses we refer to are the ones that really matter: student-athletes who don’t go pro and never graduate. Too many universities are losing on this measure and failing their student-athletes — particularly black male athletes. California campuses are no exception.

UC Berkeley ranks at the bottom of black athlete graduation rates for all California universities studied. While 91 percent of all students and 64 percent of black male students graduate from Cal, just 34 percent of black male athletes graduate.

The fair treatment of college athletes is a national issue in which the focus has been on paying student-athletes and reining in excessive coaching salaries. We even see an emerging discussion on gaps in student-athlete graduation rates. However, we haven’t taken our best shot at fixing these inequities.

Since 2012, the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education has used National Collegiate Athletic Association data to expose troubling disparities in representation and graduation rates for black student athletes. This year’s report highlights that despite black male students’ overrepresentation on college sports teams compared with the general student body, less than half of black male student-athletes graduate in six years.

The University of Southern California, for example, graduates 91 percent of all students but only 41 percent of black male athletes. UCLA is making some progress toward closing the graduation gap, with 61 percent of its black male athletes graduating, compared with 91 percent of all students. However, the overall findings rightly create outrage and demand change.

If anyone ever says there’s not enough money to provide student-athletes the support needed to graduate, that’s wrong. The NCAA will make an estimated $1 billion a year from selling the TV rights to the March Madness basketball tournament. Division I football generates more than $3.7 billion annually. UCLA recently announced a record $280 million sponsorship deal with Under Armour sports apparel.

The real losers here are black male student-athletes — we exploit their bodies while neglecting their minds. While some may think scholarships set them up for million-dollar contracts, the vast majority of these student-athletes will never go pro, leaving most of them on the sidelines holding the ball but not a diploma. These students sacrifice countless hours and risk injury to play a sport while pursuing a degree — perhaps it’s us and not them who have lost sight of the goal.

A recent effort by the University of California regents adopts new policies to increase accountability and improve student-athlete success, and should be applauded. The next step is to go further, as the adopted package of policies and guiding principles had one glaring problem — racial inequities were never mentioned.

We should guarantee the support necessary for all student-athletes to finish their degrees. Some campuses are already engaging faculty mentors and providing extra support and instruction while student-athletes are on the road. If the expectation of student-athletes on the field or court is nothing short of excellence, then our colleges should be held to that same excellence standard by achieving parity in graduation rates.

At a recent UC Board of Regents meeting, Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said, “The most valuable asset we have is not athletic achievement, it is a degree from the University of California, and that should always be the priority.” We agree.

Michele Siqueiros is president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, and Ryan Smith is executive director of the Education Trust-West, based in Oakland.

ACT Report: The Condition of Future Educators 2015

ACT

The Condition of Future Educators 2015
Interest in education careers continues to decline at an alarming rate among US high school graduates, according to a new report from ACT.
The Condition of Future Educators 2015 reveals that only 4% of the more than 1.9 million 2015 ACT®-tested US high school graduates said they intended to pursue a career in education—as either a teacher, counselor, or administrator. This is down from 5% in 2014 and down from 7% in 2010.
Among the findings: 

  • Lack of Diversity: Findings point to a lack of diversity among students interested in education. Just 23% of aspiring educators are African American or Hispanic, while students in those two groups comprise 31% of all ACT-tested graduates
  • Males Show Less Interest: The report suggests males are much less likely than females to be interested in becoming teachers. Less than one-fourth of graduates who aspire to a career in education are male. In addition, fewer than 10% of male aspiring educators are interested in early childhood and elementary education.
  • STEM Interest: Not only are fewer students interested in becoming educators, but those who are interested have lower-than-average achievement levels, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas. The percentages of aspiring educators who meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are lower than the national average in math, science, and reading.

Read the full report here: The Condition of Future Educators 2015

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