Black College Backs Off Athletics to Focus More on Academics

Benedict College in South Carolina has numerous financial problems. This past spring the college was warned by the U.S. Department of Education that it did not meet the standards set for financial responsibility under the federal financial aid program. Yet Benedict College’s football team plays in a new $14 million football stadium.

In contrast, Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina has announced that it will back off from its 2005 decison to move from the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II to Divison I.

The university’s board of trustees decided that the financial resources necessary to upgrade its athletics programs were not available. Since 2005 the university has doubled its athletic budget and expanded the number of athletic scholarships. But in the process the athletic program ran up a $6 million deficit in four years. The athletics department deficit was projected to reach $15 million by 2012.

To cover the red ink, the university had to shift assets away from other programs on campus, including academic offerings. Donald Reaves, chancellor of the university, found this unacceptable and supported the effort by the trustees to scale back the athletics program.