This legal research paper is premised on Elisia J.P. Gatmen’s discussions in her paper, Academic Exploitation: The Adverse Impact of College Athletics on the Educational success of minority student-athletes from a legal aspect. The point of this paper is to convey how being a minority athlete can be a double edged sword. To provide some basis on this issue, I will first synthesize and write about the articles I have read that communicate the perceptions of minorities in sports, then explain the exploitation issues with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) with minorities in athletics, and finally tie in the legal aspect of this issues with some recommendations that college athletic institutions could implement in the future. I chose this topic because I can very much relate to the many concepts talked about in regards to this issue. I myself am a Black female athlete that played AAU basketball, five varsity sports at Dr. Phillips high school, and ran track and field for a division one school Florida Atlantic University my freshman year of college. Given my personal accounts, I believe it is worth noting that reading several articles on this concept has been an eye opening experience and has given me answers to questions I have had about minorities (such as myself) and athletics.
II. Perceptions of Minorities in Athletics
There is an old adage that states “it takes a village to raise a child”. Yet, perceptions of how to raise a child will vary from village to village. In the average Black community raising children to be doctors, lawyers, businessmen, astronauts, engineers, and teachers is not as revered as raising a child to be a professional athlete. A societal ripple effect; Black communities have primed their youth to believe that they are only capable of excelling in athletics. This has caused Black youths to neglect academics, and has created a negative perception in the White community that Blacks who excel in athletics are most likely deficient in academics. In the article, Challenges of being a Black student athlete on U.S. college campuses Simiyu states:
The decline in hope for success has also impacted the Black community with regard to functioning of the key institutions such as the family, education, the economy, political infrastructure and even the Black church (Edwards, 2000; Harper, 2006; Harrison, 2000)…This hopelessness in the Black community therefore characterizes the youths in schools and eventually in college where their passions are better expressed on the athletic field which could negatively affect academic performance given the efforts and time invested in honing their athletic ability (Simiyu, 2012).
Raised playing sports, the majority of Black athletes only focus on perfecting their athletic ability, and have been recognized as somewhat superior in sports like football, basketball, and track and field:
NCAA records show that Blacks made up 10 percent of the student body in...