Some Colorado athletes have given the Dal Ward Athletic Center a nickname according to the school’s chancellor. And it doesn’t paint the athletic programs in a good light.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano told the school’s board of regents at a retreat Wednesday that some black athletes at CU refer to the facility as “The Plantation.”
He told the regents he heard of the name from a athletic department staffer. From the Daily Camera:
“(The staff member) said that even though the black football players and men’s basketball players are getting a free education and a free ride, everything they do pays for the young white female playing tennis or on the golf team or track and field,” DiStefano said. “He said they talk about being part of ‘The Plantation,’ that their sweat and tears are really for other people, not for them.”
It’s no secret that football and men’s basketball are the two most lucrative sports at major universities. The revenue the programs bring in from television contracts and other agreements helps subsidize smaller programs. And for non-Power Five schools, pay-to-play games vs. bigger opponents are a major source of income to balance the athletic budgets.
“It’s one of the reasons our black athletes don’t come back to campus,” DiStefano said. “Whether we agree, disagree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, it’s how they feel. To me, in all my years, it’s the first time I’d heard that. And it just sticks with me, and I’m thinking, ‘We gotta change something.'”
The report said the discussion after DiStefano’s remarks then shifted to if other basketball and football players felt the same way.
Of the nearly 28,000 Division I football players in the academic year 2014-2015, over 13,000 were black, according to the NCAA’s demographic database while just over 11,000 were white.
Of the Pac-12’s 1,423 football players in that season, 533 were black; 27 more than the 506 white players in the database. By percentage, only indoor track and field had a larger proportion of male black athletes in the Pac-12 (at 50 percent). Outdoor track (23 percent) and soccer (11) were the only other men’s sports that black athletes comprised more than 6 percent.
45 percent of women’s basketball players in the conference were black; no other sport had a higher black population of 22 percent. White female athletes made up the majority in 10 sports while nine men’s sports had more than half of its athletes identify as white.
According to the 2015 student-athlete survey released by the NCAA in January, 78 percent of Division I white male athletes agreed or agreed strongly with the statement that they had a sense of belonging at their schools. The number was 69 percent for non-white athletes. For female athletes, the percentages were 81 (white) and 70 (non-white).
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