Athletics Provides Thousands of Black Students With the Opportunity for Higher Education

New data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association shows that in the 2005-06 academic year there were 82,230 students on athletic scholarship at the colleges and universities with the largest intercollegiate sports programs. Of these, 19,575, or nearly 24 percent, are black.

Football is by far the sport with the most black scholarship athletes. In 2005-06 there were more than 8,900 black men on football scholarships. More than 4,300 black men and women were on athletic scholarships for basketball. Nearly 3,700 black men and women received athletic scholarships to compete in track and field.

More than 60 percent of black students on athletic scholarships eventually complete their degree program at some institution. Therefore, it is probable that nearly 12,000 of the 19,577 black students on athletic scholarship in 2005-06 will eventually earn their degrees. Many of these black students would not have had the opportunity to enroll in college if not for their prowess on the athletic field.