A new study on Black student athletes is getting lots of attention with March Madness in full swing.
It compares the graduation rates of Black men’s college football and basketball players to non-athlete Black male students at the same schools.
The study says that the student athletes have a lower graduation rate than the non-athletes do, and it’s particularly troubling because the additional financial and academic support the athletes receive seems not to make much difference, ESPN.com reports.
An analysis of the 2014-2015 academic year at the 65 Power 5 conference schools found that 58 percent of Black male undergraduates earned a degree within six years. The same schools graduated 54 percent of Black athletes.
The University of Pennsylvania conducted the study. Researcher Shaun Harper, director of the University’s Center for Race and Equity in Education, said the study reveals a systemic problem:
“It happens just about everywhere. Generations of young Black men and their parents and families are repeatedly duped by a system that lies to them about what their life chances are and what their athletic outcomes are likely to be.”
Earlier this week, a University of Central Florida study reported an increase in the graduation rate for Black men’s basketball players at the 68 NCAA Tournament schools: 75 percent this year, compared to 69 percent in 2015.
That’s good news, but White men graduated at a 93 percent rate from those same schools.
Richard Lapchick, director of UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, told the Associated Press that poor K-12 education in many urban areas is an underlying cause for the disparity. Many Black students arrive, he said, academically unprepared for college.