Still Playing Games with EducationJanuary 7, 1999 |
by Black Issues
Still Playing Games with Education
Try as we might to keep our coverage of athletics to a respectful minimum, we are far too often forced into dedicating a significant number of our pages to this subject. Such is the case with the edition you hold in your hands.
The tragic account of former Auburn University and Cincinnati Bengals football star James Brooks’ inability to read is something we would rather not believe continues to happen. But the reality is that it does and will continue to happen over and over again in the “keep-them-eligible-for-four-years” mindset of collegiate sports. The irony is that it was not Brooks’illiteracy that landed him in jail but his failure to support his children. If illiteracy was his only crime, then everyone involved — including his parents, the people at Warner Robins High School, Auburn University, the Cincinnati Bengals and his agent — is to blame and should serve a portion of his sentence.
I don’t know about you, but I have little sympathy for a grown man who fails to support his children. Black men with far less educational or financial resources than Brooks have been taking care of their families and children since they got off the boat from Africa.
In the article by Jim Downton (page 18), this sorry state of affairs bears witness to the fact that despite all the posturing about the integrity of college sports, it is — like its professional counterpart — first and foremost about making money. Otherwise, how do we explain why college games are scheduled during primetime, the hours when most college kids are studying.
The brutally frank comments by Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner Rudy Washington in Craig Greenlee’s story about the role of money in the post-season decision making of some Black colleges lays to rest any notions that all of these institutions operate on a higher moral plane. If you have any doubts, take a look at their athletic graduation rates in our upcoming April 27, 2000, Arthur Ashe edition.
It is only fitting, therefore, that Karin Chenoweth report to you about the latest effort by colleges and high schools to align their curriculums in such a way as to ensure that the James Brookses of the world don’t continue to fall between the cracks (page 14). Such ballyhooed, surefire initiatives are nothing new — but rest assured that we will keep you posted on this one.
Our cover story, of course, speaks for itself. Since our inception 15 years ago, we have taken great pleasure in informing you about the rarely noticed work of scholars — like skyscraper architecture professors David Sharpe and MahjoubElnimeiri — who are doing truly outstanding work in this multidisciplined field of postsecondary education.
And most importantly, I offer my sincere apologies to those of you who have not been receiving your editions on time and with assorted editorial shortcomings. This will not continue to happen. And if it does, please let me know at: <email@example.com>.
You see, like James Brooks, I too have to take full responsibility.
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