The Shadow Side of March Madness: Epilogue

AnotherViewsquareIt’s so easy to ramble in print or media in general, offering uneducated guesses on who might win the NCAA men’s basketball championship, endlessly echo well-worn clichés, whine about who didn’t get in or teams getting bad seeding positions. Actually that’s boring, and something which Another View doesn’t waste time, space and words pontificating about.

ICYMIShadow Side of March Madness series

Those who profit from college sport are under fire

College athletic departments isolate student-athletes

March Madness: A closer look at graduation rates

Black student-athletes as ‘cogs’ in a college sport ‘machine’

‘Wedges’ can divide Black student-athletes from their non-athlete peers

The idea for our “unconventional” March Madness series throughout March first germinated soon after the turn of the new year, and later brought to Senior Editor and “headline master” Jerry Freeman. He blessed my pitch and gave it the catchy title.

The “shadow” topics we explored included the lack of fair compensation for players, student-athlete rights, a new college sport model and how Black college athletes are isolated on predominately White campuses. Such subjects, unfortunately, are rarely discussed by media but should be.

Our objective was to bring to light these ‘shadow’ issues at the same time most college basketball fans’ collective eyes are fixed on the games.

We thank Johari Shuck, whose research at Indiana University on Black athletes in college we discovered a couple of years ago; Drexel University Professor Ellen Staurowsky, a regular View contributor who introduced us to Dr. Harry Edwards and Dr. Billy Hawkins — both of whom gladly shared both their thoughts as well as their two thumbs-up endorsements on our series; and the panel discussion in St. Paul organized by U-M Professor Catherine Squires in early March that featured Lea B. Olsen, Frank White, Leo Lewis and Minnesota senior Natasha Moore — this was a late addition to our series for their contributions to the month-long columns.

Finally, we wanted to stress that March Madness is more than men’s hoops. And although March is over, the issues pursued this month must be routinely revisited and discussed as time goes on, or until real change is realized.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to