When I saw the final score of last night’s NCAA championship game where Auburn University defeated the University of Oregon, I sent a tweet to my friends that said, “Congratulations. Your plantation was the strongest tonight.”
As the southerners who love Auburn football celebrate their championship, they may want to take a second to absorb a couple of sobering realities. First, the school got $21 million just for winning that one game. Auburn’s coach, Gene Chizik is due for a multi-million dollar bonus and millions will flow into the pockets of administrators, coaches, commentators, and corporate sponsors, almost none of whom are black.
At the same time, the star players for Auburn, including Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, will simply get to throw up the “A” to their boys, and some will live off this short moment of glory for a lifetime. Like preventing slaves from learning how to read, the NCAA has created laws making it illegal for Cam, his family or the families of any of the other players to get any of those millions that coaches are gladly putting into their pockets. All the while, Auburn will be searching for the next batch of big, black bucks who can win them more championships. Like chickens being grown by KFC, black males are a commodity that Auburn University can’t live without.
In addition to the massive economic extraction taking place, there is the educational abandonment of Auburn University. This quote from the New York Times says it all:
“Among all the bowl teams this season, Auburn has the highest disparity in the graduation rates between white players (100 percent) and black players (49 percent), according to a study at the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.”
I mentioned after the game to my friends that I would be impressed with all the football championships being won by SEC schools if it weren’t for the fact that so many of their players leave college without being able to spell the word “SEC.” Of course I am kidding, but the point is that with all the efficiency Auburn University has when it comes to making players show up for practice, the school becomes incredibly lazy and unfocused when it comes to making players show up for class. In fact, they seem to act as if they can’t control the players’ choices on education, when the truth is that they control every player choice as it pertains to football and getting access to the millions being generated by their professional sports league. Clearly, most NCAA, SEC and Auburn University priorities are a bit misguided.
The talent of the Auburn Tigers football program is amazing. But their talent for academic fraud is equally impressive. The school dropped from fourth to 85th of all Division-I schools in academic performance after it was discovered that they were using an NCAA loophole allowing players to take independent study classes that required almost no work simply so they could remain eligible to play. In fact, there were players on the football team graduating as Sociology majors without ever having taken a Sociology course. Personally, I’ve seen players at other universities with big time athletics programs who’ve left with a college diploma without ever having learned how to read. The exploitation is simply atrocious.
So, for those in the black community who cheer for Auburn or all the other universities that entertain us on television, just remember what you’re cheering for. By supporting institutions like this, we are cheering for a system that uses black men up and sends them, without an education, into a world that is designed to destroy them. So, it’s no wonder that while states like Alabama, Texas and Louisiana have the most impressive college football teams, they also have some of the blackest prisons in America and the greatest wealth gaps between black and white families. Mis-education is the common denominator when it comes to the shape of America’s plantations.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit YourBlackWorld.com