Not Keeping Up: HBCU Athletes and Academics
HBCU athletic teams are disproportionately sanctioned for poor academic performance. What gives?
More resources would help, too, and the NCAA is re-examining its Supplemental Support Fund, which provides $1 million in grants to "assist low-resource institutions [not just HBCUs] with funding academic needs." The fund was introduced a few years ago. "We have to assess whether those grants made any difference at all," Walter Harrison, chair of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance and president of the University of Hartford, told Inside Higher Ed. "It sounded like a good idea at the time."
However, as demonstrated by high per-pupil spending in school districts with low academic performance, money alone isn't the answer. And not every HBCU is struggling to achieve adequate APR. Those that are falling short need to figure out what the others are doing and follow suit. If and when they receive additional funding, they need to execute a solid plan, or the money will go to waste.
At least Emmert recognizes that the APR disparity is a legitimate problem. One of his main missions as NCAA president is promoting the academic success of student-athletes, and he wants every school to focus on that task. At the same time, he realizes that HBCUs are unique in their role, even to this day.
"We want to help them develop plans for improvement," Emmert said. "But clearly, some of these institutions have a different scope and mission, and we need to be cognizant of that as we try to help ... We have a special obligation to work with HBCUs."
Deron Snyder, an award-winning journalist who covers sports, politics and pop culture, is a regular contributor to The Root. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.