Black Legislators, Too, Can Play Pork Barrel Politics

State Senator Charles Dannelly of North Carolina is a powerful member of the State Assembly. In last-minute negotiations over the $20.7 billion state budget, Dannelly, a retired educator, slipped in a provision granting two state-sponsored athletic scholarships to each of 10 historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina.

Each of the 10 schools will be allocated funds to award two $1,250 scholarships, one to a man and one to a woman. (Bennett College, which is exclusively a women’s college, will be able to give both its scholarships to women.)

The colleges will have wide latitude on who receives the scholarships. The sponsoring bill says that leadership and academic standards are to be considered, but the only definitive requirement is that the student be a varsity athlete. Financial need is not a requirement for the awards.

Five of the colleges that will be able to grant the scholarships are private institutions. The scholarship program, funded from interest of a $500,000 endowment fund, are named for John B. McLendon, a former basketball coach at North Carolina Central University.