There are 34 NCAA-sanctioned college football bowls — a total of 70 schools, including Minnesota, who earlier this month accepted their second consecutive Texas Bowl invitation.
All but two of the 34 bowls are corporately named, including five restaurants, two credit cards, two auto parts stores, two by the same U.S-based television brand, one hotel, one cruise line, one junk-food company, one insurance company, one mortgage company, one on-line tax-preparation software company and one athletic apparel company.
Only a pear tree-bound partridge is missing.
Meanwhile, what sports fanatics and their cosigning media lackeys don’t endlessly talk about is the poor academic records of most of the teams examined by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) in the University of Central
Florida’s annual academic progress report on the bowl-bound teams.
“The substantial gap between White and African-American football student-athletes remained large for the 70 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) eligible schools,” wrote TIDES Director Richard Lapchick in his December 9 “Keeping Score When It Counts” report.
This includes our state’s only FBS school, the University of Minnesota, which is consistently among college football’s worst in graduating Black players. School officials, when asked routinely about this sad fact, offer typical non-denial denials in vain hopes that the MSR one day will stop badgering them on their sub-par Graduation Success Rates (GSR).
We again carefully crunched the available data supplied by Lapchick and sorted them into two positive categories — best Black GSRs and best overall GSRs — and two negative categories — worst Black GSRs and largest Black-White GSR gap.
Best Black grad rates: Rice (100 percent), Notre Dame (97), Boston College (93), Duke (93), Stanford (85) and Georgia (84).
Best overall grad rates: Rice (96 percent), Notre Dame (94), Boston College (94), Stanford (93) and Duke (92).
Worst Black grad rates: Texas (44 percent), Cincinnati (47), Washington State (48), USC (48), Buffalo (49), Michigan, Florida State and Ball State (50), Kansas State (51), Oklahoma State (52) and Minnesota (54)
Largest Black-White grad rates gap: Only three schools — Georgia (+1), Rice (+6) and Utah State (+3) — posted better Black GSRs than White GSRs. “The gap between White and African-American football student-athletes continues to be a major issue, standing at 19 percent this year,” notes Lapchick. However if you look closely at the following schools, this gap is much larger.
Florida State (50 percentage points differential), Texas (-46), Cincinnati (-41), Iowa (-40), Minnesota (-36), Michigan (-35), Wisconsin (-34), North Carolina (-33), Ohio State (-32) and Washington State (-28).
The Gophers also are second only to Iowa (40 percent) in the Black and White graduation gap among the seven Big Ten bowl teams, followed by Michigan (35), Wisconsin (34), Ohio State (32), Michigan State (22) and Nebraska (5), which along with incoming Big Ten members Rutgers and Maryland, both at three percent, show the smallest graduation gaps among this year’s bowl teams.
Minnesota’s Texas Bowl opponent, Syracuse, has a better Black graduation rate (71 percent), White graduation rate (93 percent) and overall student-athlete grad rate (87 percent) than the Gophers.
Besides the poor graduation rates, also not discussed much is how many of these bowls are Christmastime million-dollar cash registers for organizers, teams, conferences and other invested entities. And as always, the players are left out in the financial cold, save for “mementos…well within the confines of amateurism” as defined by the NCAA.
In other words, the entire bowl system should be aptly named for that classic O’Jays song, which completely fits:
“For the love of money.”
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