The study indicates that the black males are more likely to be involved in football division one than other ethnic groups (Gatmen, 2011)

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College Athletics

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Victoria Jackson argues that athletics in colleges reflect racism because black students spend a lot of their times competing for the school compared to white students. The colleges receive money for their participation, but the participants are unpaid for the time spent in competitions instead of studying. Colleges should balance between education and sports to ensure that students have adequate time to for academics and sports. The study is based on a research conducted by Gatmen E.J.P. in 2011 on academic exploitation. I agree with Jackson that athletics in colleges have become the 21st century Jack Crow laws. The study analyzes racial exploitation of black college students in the United States.


The article by Gatmen E.J.P (2011) focuses on the racial economic exploitation of black students in American colleges. The data was collected from NCAA to find out the number of African American players (Gatmen, 2011). In addition, the data was collected from 1999 to 2010 to find out the number of football players in division 1 football according to their ethnicity (Gatmen, 2011). The collected information is categorized into men from different ethnic groups who participate in football. The ethnic groups included in the study are American Indian, Asian/native/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, and White (Gatmen, 2011).

Results of the Study

The study indicates that the black males are more likely to be involved in football division one than other ethnic groups (Gatmen, 2011). The result shows that the number of African American men involved in football division 1 increased from 9,711 in 1999 to 12,058 while the number of whites decreased from 12,619 to 11,971 over the same period (Gatmen, 2011). According to the study, women from two or more races were involved in football from 2007 but in a small number. Success in athletics is a symbol of success for African American community. The study shows that even if the colleges admit the blacks to improve the performance in sports, male blacks are culturally attracted to sports at a young age.

The author argues that African Americans vies sports as one of the ways to escape poverty (Gatmen, 2011). Therefore, overemphasis in sports has negatively affected the black students’ commitment to academics. However, there is a low probability of student-athlete joining professional sports. The study shows that only 3.1% of male high school students who join NCAA (Gatmen, 2011). Out of these, only 1.2% of NCAA players advance to professional playing. The study also shows that only 0.03% of high schools play become professional players (Gatmen, 2011). On the other hand, only 0.07% of men soccer player from high school teams becomes professionals (Gatmen, 2011). The results show that there are low chances of black students succeeding to become professional players.


College students who engage in sports for many hours in a day than studying perform poorly in academics. In addition, colleges exploit black sportsmen and women by failing to compensate them for their time spent in games (Kerr, 2018). Consequently, white students benefit more from the education from the education system than the black students do. The colleges are making huge sums of money in games at the expense of the black students (Kerr, 2018). According to Jackson, the institutions of higher learning have developed a billion dollar industry by exploiting the minority students. The study also shows that a small number of black students graduates from, colleges. Many are unable to complete their studies because they dedicated most of their time to sports. The study found out that African American students spend a minimum of 50 hours week on sports without any compensation. Unfortunately, very few students continue to play professionally after completing or dropping out of school (Jackson, 2018). At the University of California, only 2.8% of African Americans graduate since most of their time is spent playing football and basketball leaving no time to study (Jackson, 2018).

Jackson is a huge sports fan and she is among the beneficiary of the American education system. According to her, institutions of higher learning have commercialized sports at the expense of the minority. Football and basketball players are a source of revenue for the school, which compromise their studies (Jackson, 2018). The author identified racism from a different angle from her study. The aim of these institutions is to use racism to generate millions of dollars income without caring about the future of black students. The institutions of higher learning should develop balanced football teams and basketball to ensure the players represent the population of different races. For example, the white students should be the majority if school teams since they outnumber the blacks. Fair representation of the races would improve the performance of the blacks. The abolishment of Jim Crow laws can promote equality in college sports.

Colleges can also enhance fairness by compensating African American sportsmen for their time spent in training and competitions (Jackson, 2018). However, compensation should not be a priority since the objective of institutions is to offer high-quality degrees to all students. It is ironical that the revenues collected from sports sponsor white students to earn a quality degree. In addition, whites have a privilege of playing and at the same time earn quality degrees (Jackson, 2018). According to Jackson, she spent less than 20 hours per week in sports activities. He coaches prioritized academics over sports. This shows that coaches intentionally involve the black students in sports compared to whites (Jackson, 2018). Therefore, it means college sports is one of the ways that modern day racism is practiced in the U.S. Coaches should be role models and offer similar advice to all students regardless of their race.

The desire to generate revenue has also affected the admission criteria in colleges. Institutions like UNC admit black men according to their ability to participate in sports. Therefore, black men assist the institution to make money rather than assist them to earn a degree (Kerr, 2018). Black men are required to provide information about the game they play during admission. Institutions of higher learning should be on the front row to fight racism and promote equality in leaning. Generating revenue from sports should not be given a higher than education. The role of colleges is to offer academic knowledge to the students. College sports are an extracurricular activity and should not be considered as some admission criteria.

Studies show that white people are more likely than African Americans to oppose the payment of college athletes. The major reason for opposing pay-for-play program is the negative racial perception of the whites (Jackson, 2018). Racism is one of the major factors why colleges decline to pay the black sportsmen. In addition, the whites oppose pay-for-play to the two games (football and basketball) dominated by black men. It is also unethical for the institutions to use the funds earned from black men to sponsor white students (Gatmen, 2011). Furthermore, the black sportsmen are a source of entertainment to the whites. The institutions take advantage of black students by involving them in college sports for many hours compared to their white counterparts. Therefore, the institutions of higher learnings economically exploit African American men students.


The U.S. colleges exploit male African American students for financial gains. Previous studies show that black communities culturally believe that sports can alleviate poverty. Therefore, most young black students are determined to succeed in sports than academics. The institutions of higher learning take advantage by encouraging black students to focus on sports than academics. The institutions should promote eliminate racism by encouraging African American students to pursue academics rather than commit all of their time in sports. In addition, colleges should focus on offering quality degrees to all students regardless of their race.


Gatmen, E. J. (2011). Academic Exploitation: The Adverse Impact of College Athletics on the Educational Success of Minority Student-Athletes. Seattle Journal of Social Justice, 10(1), 509-583.

Jackson, V. L. (2018). Take it from a Former Division I athlete: College Sports are like Jim Crow. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

Kerr, E. (2018). The NCAA as Modern Jim Crow? A Sports Historian Explains Why She Drew the Parallel. The Chronicles of Higher Education. Retrieved from

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