We all have a major concern about this in voice but in fact our actions show otherwise, and with the case of the recent firing of University of Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon, graduating students is not as important as winning.
The disparity between black and white NCAA Division I football players has historically been a problem. It is also evident that this situation is not improving, but getting worse. The annual report by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports indicated that the graduation success rate is increasing at a higher rate for white players than black players.
According to the primary author of the study, Richard Lapchick, the gap is like “the economy, if income for Latinos and African Americans grows at 2 percent but increases 3 percent for whites. Yes, it's getting better. But it's still not great for everybody."
The data was collected by the NCAA from each member institution. The Institute reviewed the six-year graduation rates for each school's freshman class that enrolled in 2003-04 in an effort to produce a four-class average. The findings also suggested that 57 schools had graduation success rates of 66 percent or higher for white football players. This was approximately three times the number schools with equivalent graduation success rates for black football players. Notre Dame and Northwestern were the only schools that graduated 95 percent of their players and at least 95 percent of their black players.
Although it has been suggested that getting more minorities in administrative positions such as head coaches and athletic directors may serve to improve these numbers, this has yet to manifest in a culture where winning is more important than graduating African American athletes. Using the example of former University of Miami head coach Randy Shannon, calls for his resignation have been occurring since the start of the season although he had inked a four-year contract. They grew even louder after his loss to Florida State and having a 5 and 3 record.
The fact is that graduation rates are not as important as winning in the NCAA. I'll bet if Shannon had finished 11 and 1, and had as many players in trouble with the law as Florida’s Urban Meyer or Georgia’s Mark Richt, he would still be coach, regardless of his players' graduation rates. Unfortunately, having the third highest graduation rate in the nation is not as important as winning a game or knowing how to read.