Academic journal article International Public Health Journal

Significance of Race in College Athletics: Comparing Mission Statements across Racial Boundaries

Academic journal article International Public Health Journal

Significance of Race in College Athletics: Comparing Mission Statements across Racial Boundaries

Article excerpt

Introduction

The racial classifications used in the process of attaching a meaning to a group of individuals producing group identity can be viewed as the determinants toward the "racial practices of opposition ("we" versus "them") at the economic, political, social, and ideological levels" (1). The United States has historically been a nation encompassed of various ethnic immigrant groups, with the white race establishing dominance in the nation's early history through slavery over phenotypically African individuals. The white hegemony and systemic discrimination of race has been a cornerstone within race relations in the U.S. deeming white Americans stereotypically 'true' Americans and black Americans as inferior (2). According to dominant racial theory, society is able to identify groups and individuals in racial terms to place them in categories (3). Essentially, the white identity has sat atop the racial hierarchy throughout time in the United States and, in turn, its development and growth can be linked to the structure of slavery implemented prior to the civil war (2,4). Prior to the1954s Brown v. Board of Education decision that ruled racially segregated schools unconstitutional, black college students in the U.S. attended historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) for their academics and athletics. Nevertheless, as much as the upper-class, white decision makers in predominately white institutions (PWI) were reluctant to embrace the idea of black students attending their universities, they were equally open to the idea of recruiting black athletes to compete on their athletic teams to improve the already commercialized collegiate athletics (2, 5).

Issues and controversies

Money is generated within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from the men's basketball tournament commonly known as March Madness. In 2010, the NCAA agreed to a 14 year $10.8 billion dollar broadcasting agreement to cover the men's basketball tournament consisting of 68 teams playing for a national championship (6, 7). The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), separate from the NCAA, reportedly held a four year deal between the years 2011 and 2014 worth $125 million dollars per year to structure a playoff system for football (8,9). After existing for 16 years, the BCS shifted to the College Football Playoff (CFP), separate from the NCAA, adding a final four aspect to the college football scene similar to the way the men's basketball playoff champion is decided. The new system still includes contracts with the five high-major conferences similar to the BCS system (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC12) with another spot being awarded to one of the mid-major conferences' (American, Mountain West, Mid-American, Sun Belt and Conference USA) highest-ranking team (10). The salaries for college football coaches range from Nick Saben for the University of Alabama at the top of the list receiving a total compensation in 2013 of just over $5.54 million, and Steve Sarkisian for the University of Washington as the #25 highest paid coach in college football receiving just over $2.57 million in total compensation in 2013 (11). The salaries for college basketball coaches in the 2013 men's basketball tournament ranged from Mike Krzyzewski for Duke University at the top of the list receiving a total pay for the 2013-14 season of just over $9.68 million, to Sean Miller for the University of Arizona as the #10 highest paid coach in college basketball receiving just over $2.62 million, and finally to Gregg Marshall for Wichita State University as the #25 highest paid coach receiving just over $1.79 million in total pay (12). The top earning athletic directors of institutions within the NCAA receive salaries of just over $3.23 million, $1.41 million, and $1.23 million for David Williams for Vanderbilt University, Tom Jurich for the University of Louisville, and Jeremy Foley for the University of Florida respectively (13).

The significance of race comes into question when addressing the 2012 Racial and Gender Report Card within college sports reported by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. …

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