COVID exacerbates Black-White graduation gaps

MSR file photo Melvin Tennant

It’s also led to job losses for many Blacks in the hospitality industries

The overall academic success of college football players declined this year as the persistent graduation gap between Black and White players widened as well. 

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) last week released its “Keeping Score When It Counts” annual report on bowl-bound college football teams and their Academic Progress Rate (APR) and Graduation Success Rate (GSR). The report found the following “troubling statistics.”

  • Overall GSR for football players down 1.1% (78% from 79.1% in 2019)
  • Average GSR for Black players down 0.4% (73.4% from 73.8% in 2019)
  • Average GSR for White players up 0.3% (89.7% from 89.4% in 2019)
  • 41% of bowl teams (23) had Black players’ GSR at least 20 percentage points lower than Whites’. This year’s top worst: Louisiana Tech (45%), San Jose St. and West Virginia (both 38%), Ole Miss (37%) and Arkansas (35%)
  • Ohio State (30%) worst among the four CFP semifinalists to compete for national championship
  • Northwestern (100%) the only school with 100 percent Black graduation rate and highest (97%) graduation rate of all its football players

As COVID-19 definitely affected this year’s college football season, which resulted in 23 schools opting out of bowl consideration, including Minnesota, and 17 bowl games cancelled, the 2020 TIDES report duly noted, “The discrepancy between White and Black football student-athletes remained a significant issue.”

Impacts on workers

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic had an economic impact on the area in many ways. Nearly 770 meetings, conventions and sporting events were hosted in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area in 2019, Meet Minneapolis reported. This year almost 400 events cancelled, including the NCAA wrestling championship at the Vikings stadium, because of COVID-19.

At least 342 events were budgeted for 2020 to be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, which projected a 70% reduction in revenue this year and about 75% lower than last year. Executive Director Melvin Tennant told the MSR that “significant job losses” took place in the local hospitality industry as a result. 

“We can’t talk enough about the human impact of the workers in the hospitality industry,” he explained. “The hospitality industry workers are the ones who have to keep the promises that we make.

“When we go and talk to the NCAA or any other [group]” in seeking large-scale events to come here, he added, “it is the workers that are at the venues, various hotels and restaurants and our attractions. These hospitality industry professionals, men and women, keep those promises.”  

Many of these professionals, Tennent stressed, are Blacks and other people of color. “I want to make sure that people understand that a lot of minority and immigrant populations have been devastated even more so than the general population in terms of unemployment from the hospitality industry.”

As for the upcoming year, “It would be difficult to speculate when we will get back to a sense of normalcy,” said Tennant. “But we do see a glimmer of hope. I am very interested in making sure that when the recovery begins to take shape, that we don’t forget about those less fortunate individual folk who have lost jobs and not leave them behind.”

Globe-tracking the Lynx

In last week’s action: Damiris Dantas had another double-double performance (20 points, 10 rebounds) in her team’s championship win (Paulista Final). Mikiah Herbert Harrigan hit 16 points in a defeat. Kayla Alexander’s 20 points powered her club to a big win.

Herbert Harrigan’s, Alexander’s, Temi Fagbenie’s and Erica McCall’s respective clubs all are in action this week.

Through last week, Dantas leads all Lynx players overseas in scoring (21.6), followed by Alexander (19.7), Herbert Harrigan (15.7), McCall (13.8) and Fagbenie (11.4).

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

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