Racial Tension at South Carolina: Should Student Athletes Be Involved?

Alex Roberts@@alexCoAbassCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2010

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 28:  South Carolina Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier walks the sideline against the Clemson Tigers at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

As the political landscape in South Carolina continues to be one of racial tension, things are beginning to spill over into one of the state's largest universities.

The University of South Carolina, home of the Gamecocks.

For all intents and purposes, a school that has little to do with the politics of the state.  It is a school in which 24 percent of its students are minorities.

That is ten percent higher than the national average. 

However, that is not enough to keep South Carolina lawmakers from calling recruits from the state of South Carolina and trying to persuade them to consider other schools, due to the fact that the University of South Carolina may lose its one black trustee. 

The trustees are elected and appointed.  This trustee is expected to go through the process just like every other one before her. 

Why shouldn't she? 

Calling the students to ask them to consider other schools is wrong.  For lawmakers to try and involve impressionable 17 and 18 year olds in a case that will have little bearing on their actual collegiate and athletic careers is unethical, uncalled for, and goes against everything that the founders of civil rights sought to build in this country. 

Martin Luther King stated "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character ."  (King, 1963). 

Did he imply that he wanted black people to be appointed to positions based on the color of their skin? 

No.  He wanted people to have the opportunity to earn their position.

Yes, I am white.  I have been teaching in a school district that is made up of 78% black children.  I have learned a great many things, and I love my students dearly.

Many of my students have been very bright and have the opportunity to do whatever they would like.  Not based on race, but by the hard work and the dedication that they have shown to learning every day. 

They will not be given anything, nor will any of them expect to be given anything.  I respect them for this.

In athletics, the students select schools that make them feel comfortable.  The students have to find a program that works for them.  Marcus Lattimore, the five star recruit who recently signed with South Carolina, echoed these sentiments.

Do I feel as though it would be a great disservice to the university if there was not a black member of the board of trustees?  Of course I do.  They need a representative for the black community.  

Do I think that potential student athletes should be used as pawns to even out the playing field?  Absolutely not. 

We have come a long way as a country.  We now have a black president.  Some of my best friends are black.  To envision that one hundred years ago would be impossible. 

This is a step backward, however, adding more racial tension to an already racially charged state.

Do you think the South Carolina fans (black or white) will appreciate the idea that the black lawmakers are trying to sabotage the program for their own political agenda?  

Leave the young black athletes of South Carolina out of this, and allow them to be the first generation that truly breaks the barrier that racial tension creates in the state of South Carolina. 

"Go Gamecocks " is a phrase that can be universal for both sides.  Let’s just roll with that, shall we?

(EDIT:  I am not sure if I made this clear in the writing, and I would put this as a comment, but for some reason my comment box is not working.  I am in NO WAY saying that if these students DECIDED BY THEMSELVES to take a stand for what THEY believed in that they are wrong. 

The point is this... Lawmakers have NO RIGHT trying to use student athletes to LOBBY THEIR CHOICES.)


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