Sports Historian Explains Why She Wrote that the NCAA is the Modern Jim Crow

Historians in the News
tags: Jim Crow, sports, NCAA, Victoria Jackson



College athletics, wrote Victoria Jackson in an explosive op-ed for the Los Angeles Times  on Thursday, are the “21st century Jim Crow.”

Ms. Jackson, a sports historian at Arizona State University, drew from her scholarly research and from her own experience as a Division I track-and field-athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She describes a stark divide between two classes of athletes — those who have academic lives outside their sports, and those who must dedicate their time to entirely to athletics, robbed of the opportunity to learn alongside other students. “This divide,” she wrote, “correlates with race.”

“Nonrevenue athletes are mostly white, while revenue-sport athletes are disproportionately black,” Ms. Jackson wrote. “This college sports system contributes to the undervaluing of black lives in American society and our institutions. The predominantly white privilege of playing college sports while earning a quality degree comes at the expense of — is literally paid for by — the educationally unequal experiences of mostly black football and basketball players.”

Ms. Jackson spoke with The Chronicle about her motives for writing the piece, how it has been received, and how college leaders and faculty members can make tangible changes. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. ...

Read entire article at The Chronicle of Higher Education

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