The plantation bowl

White profit, Black poverty in college sports

ThroughMyEyesnewThe “hoorah” is over for the January 12, 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship game. Ohio State University was crowned, salvaging the Big Ten’s reputation. The Pac 12’s Ducks of Oregon lost and must wait for another opportunity.

But two injustices continue: racism in college sports and funding college plantation sports programs on the backs of student athletes, many being African American. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about “why we can’t wait.” Around the world, young people want access to opportunity and fairness.

Social justice, racial justice and fairness across the board remain our focus. In terms of college players, this is not about income inequality, but about income. In terms of minorities, it is also about education: Many can’t play in college due to poor K-12 education in poor communities where Black students are prepared for college.

The success of those in the football house is due to the hard work of those in the football field. Without players, college athletics and its billions disappear.

The game at Arlington was truly a profitable success. Many made money: networks, colleges, football programs, NCAA, the competing schools, coaching staffs, broadcasters, sponsors, retailers nationwide and various businesses in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. What did the young men receive who played the game and entertained us all, who helped their coaches receive $4M salaries, $2.5M bonuses, and hundreds of thousands and maybe millions in endorsements — not a dime.

For the Black athletes of Ohio State and Oregon, three-fourths will not receive a degree. They are truly underpaid. This 2015 national playoff championship was truly a plantation game.

The University of Oregon, one of the Whitest states in America, has only 15 Oregonians on its team and hardly any African Americans from Oregon.

Note also that in the championship game, with two schools playing for the national title, there was only one Black American on the officiating crew, the line judge. And the young men? Amateur and professional sports, particularly in football, make a lot of money for all but the athletes. At least in the Super Bowl, young African American players will receive well-deserved compensation for services rendered to make owners, sponsors and media wealthier.

Coaches and staffs in college sports get salaries, bonuses, retirement, or jobs on campus or in the business community for friends and buddies. And now we have value rankings of colleges in millions of dollars by a professor at Indiana University, Purdue University, Columbus. These are theoretical numbers as if teams were able to be sold on the market like pro teams.

Ohio State’s team is at number one, worth $1,127.6B; Michigan, number two, worth $999.1M; Texas A&M, number three, worth $972.1M; Notre Dame, number four, worth $936.3M; Florida, number five, worth $815.4M; Wisconsin, number 16, worth $415.9M; Oregon, number 18, worth $358.7M; Minnesota, number 38, worth $202.4M; North Carolina, number 50, worth $134M.

Most coaches are former players. Over half of players were/are Black. But coaching is 90 percent White. There is not a lot of opportunity to implement the David Stockman trickle-down theory, as Blacks are blocked from being head coaches by their not being hired to be in the positions most head coaches come from: coordinators (offense, defense, special teams).

And so on Monday night, young men from the most impoverished areas of our nation — Black America — made sure that massa in the big house and massa’s friends and business associates received excellent paydays, as both White wealth and Black poverty continue to grow, an acknowledged fact, unfair and disingenuous for those who say that there is equal opportunity for all in collegiate sports in general and football in particular.

Stay tuned.

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