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that the game attendance would include 91,781 ticketed and 12,000 credential spectators. Overall, the event is expected to generate over $300 million in total spending and $16.1 million in tax revenue. 


to the university at a significant educational disadvantage compared to their counterparts on campus, did not come to learn. They came to play ball and generate revenue for their universities.

Together, Men’s Football and Basketball bring in over $10 billion each year. With so much money going around, there is a piece of pie for everyone. Coaches are receiving more; the University of Michigan just signed former San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh to a six-year, $48 million contract to coach the Wolverines beginning in 2015. The conferences are receiving more, which means individual teams are receiving more. Everyone is getting paid except the players.

Cooper said universities have an economic imperative to bring Black student-athletes to campus that dates back to slavery and an economic system built on Black labor. More bluntly, said Dr. Richard M. Southall, an associate professor in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, “we do not want to admit as a society that we are exploiting the athletic ability of predominantly African-American male athletes” to propel the education of the predominantly non-African-American population on the broader campus.

And in Harbaugh’s Michigan, for example, a recent court decision to allow players to unionize—which would have laid the groundwork to pay the players—was overturned. The debate rages on on both sides. There is a strong argument for amateurism, the debate that the value of the education being afforded these athletes amounts to fair pay. But another argument says that academic steering, which clusters student-athletes into “easy” majors and dissuades them from pursuing their true interests, leaves athletes who do actually graduate with useless degrees. Academic clustering is prevalent at every institution in Division I,” said Nino Rodriguez, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Although it may lead to higher levels of academic eligibility, it steers [athletes] away from majors” that reflect their skillsets and interests, he said. “Students graduate, but don’t know what to do with degrees they didn’t want,” said Dr. Jerlando Jackson, a professor of education and the director of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Lab at the University of Wisconsin. Not only that, Dr. Joseph Cooper, an assistant professor in the sport management program at the University of Connecticut, said, athletes are being isolated from the rest of the campus community, steered away from academic advisers and those who would help direct them into majors that reflect their interest. Self-contained athletics departments, with academic support teams and their own advisement structures, perpetuate the cycle of steering athletes into “easy” majors to help keep them eligible and continue to bolster the graduation rate data, should the athlete choose not to return to complete the degree. Many debate whether students are actually receiving an education. If they are steered into majors that don’t interest them, going to class just enough to stay eligible and are made to forgo the broader university experience because of the demands participation in athletics places on their time, are they really learning anything? Others still quip the intent is not to learn; these students, many of whom are brought

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Dr. Lisa Rubin, an assistant professor of student services in intercollegiate athletics at Kansas State University, agreed. “Black athletic achievement is the marketing tool for PWIs,” or predominantly White institutions, she said. Rubin also revealed that “one-third of student-athletes at the 10 major state institutions that — I can guarantee you — have the resources to make sure they succeed are not graduating.” But what about the recent NCAA report that studentathletes at Division I schools are graduating at “record rates” — 84 percent in an October report, compared with 65 percent of students overall at Division I schools? Southall said the graduation rate data is a smoke and mirrors trick. The graduation success rate — the NCAA’s new metric for calculating graduation rates of student-athletes — said Southall is very misleading. It subtracts from the total student-athlete population any athletes who left in good academic standing (which were previously known as “eligible dropouts.”) By removing a large set of the population who dropped out, but were not flunking out, it falsely elevates the percentage of those graduating. “If athletes are being successful academically, that is the quid pro quo,” he said. If schools “can release record graduation rates every year … we can tout a world-class education.” But the truth is, Black profit athletes — those who play men’s basketball and football, the big revenue-generators for schools — drop out at rates significantly lower than other athletes, he said. And, what’s worse, “the better the team is, the lower the graduation rates and the greater the gap between student-athletes and the general full-time male student population,” said Southall. This does not apply to the NCAA; they rather are glorified and respected for what they do for the student-athletes. Overall, it is an imperfect system. “I think we’ve lost sight of the fact that knowledge and education are qualitative enterprises,” Southall said.

Out of Bounds Magazine Issue 2  
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