Black Colleges Hit Hard by New NCAA Sanctions for Poor Academic Performance of Student Athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has begun to get tough on college sports teams that do not graduate their athletes. And black colleges and universities are facing the toughest sanctions.

Teams that do not graduate at least 60 percent of their athletes risk penalties that would eliminate up to 10 percent of the athletic scholarships they are able to offer under NCAA guidelines. The loss of athletic scholarships makes it difficult for the penalized teams to compete against teams from peer institutions that are able to recruit a greater number of athletes.

The latest calculations for the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate show that 81 teams nationwide will be penalized. This is only a fraction of the more than 6,000 teams participating in NCAA Division I athletics. But HBCUs are bearing a disproportionate share of the penalties. These black colleges do not have the resources of their predominantly white peers for extensive tutoring programs and other academic services whose aim is to help college athletes navigate through their academic programs.

Nineteen teams at 10 different HBCUs face a loss of scholarships. Five different teams at Texas Southern University face penalties. Three teams at Southern University in Baton Rouge will lose scholarships.

The situation may get a great deal more severe in coming years. The NCAA granted waivers to 50 black colleges and universities that could have been penalized but, for the time being, were not sanctioned.