I’m sure it’s not the first time the NCAA has been called racist. In fact, I know it’s not. John Thompson, former Georgetown University basketball coach, walked out of a game to protest the new NCAA’s Proposition 48. Proposition 48 bars high school graduates from athletic scholarships if they do not achieve a 2.0 grade point average in eleven academic courses and attain a combined score of 700 on the SAT or a 15 on the ACT. His belief was the rule was set in place to keep universities “white”. Because of John Thompson and other black educators, a compromise was made. Proposition 42 was proposed and passed.
At the same time, the NCAA has been called upon to decide if schools are being racist themselves. The University of North Dakota had come to an agreement with the NCAA, regarding what was believed to be a racist Fighting Sioux logo. The decision was that instead of banning the University of North Dakota from Division I athletics, they would allow them three years to change their logo, deeming it racist.
So what can be said about the current investigation going on with Alabama’s Julio Jones, Mark Ingram and Curtis Anderson? By every account I’ve read, you have a case of a 56 year-old, independently wealthy white man, who seemingly could care less about the University of Alabama, or the fact that Jones and Ingram even play there. Jones worked as a deck hand at a marina close to his home town of Foley. They met at the marina. This is where the story becomes “fishy” to the NCAA and where they show their true colors.
Let’s turn the tables. Let’s say this was A.J. McCarron who is from Mobile. I’d safely assume he’s no stranger to life on the water. Another example is Colin Peek who is from Ponte Verde, Florida. If you haven’t been on a boat living there, I’d just assume you were dead. Let’s say these two went out on a chartered fishing trip with a Mr. Anderson. What are the odds that this would become a news story? Sure…one could argue that Julio Jones is a high profile player, however, the fact remains…he’s black.
How can a young black man be friends with and old white man unless there is some ulterior motive? Plus, black kids don’t go on charter fishing boats. They stand on the side of the river with a cane pole and plastic bucket full of worms…right? I’m afraid this investigation has been carried this far because that is exactly the mentally of the NCAA. Even in this day and age, at a time we like to brag about the great strides in race relations, the NCAA can’t believe that this could be a legitimate friendship because of stereotypes.
I’d say that I hope the NCAA won’t prove me right, but the fact that this investigation has any teeth has already convinced me of it. As a result, Julio is now not allowed to have any contact with Mr. Anderson. It wasn’t the NCAA that forbade the contact, however, because of their racist mentality; it has now become the standard. Whether it was coaches or the UA compliance department that asked Anderson to break ties, the NCAA has now set the precedence for what kinds of relationships are acceptable for college athletes. Unfortunately, the NCAA has sent the message that you should stick with your own kind.