‘We gotta change something.’

Plantation talk at the University of Colorado:

After learning through a campus climate survey that some African-American students said they didn’t feel valued and supported on the Boulder campus, the chancellor began meeting regularly with students and staff to try to better understand the problem.

“(The staff member) said that even though the black football players and men’s basketball players are getting a free education and a free ride, everything they do pays for the young white female playing tennis or on the golf team or track and field,” DiStefano said. “He said they talk about being part of ‘The Plantation,’ that their sweat and tears are really for other people, not for them.”

He said he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about that story since he heard it.

“It’s one of the reasons our black athletes don’t come back to campus,” DiStefano said.

It’s what you get when you live in a world where money matters above all else.

The point here isn’t to rail about the unfairness of amateurism, believe it or not.  It’s to point out that if the schools are serious about protecting that protocol, they need to do a better job of making sure their black student-athletes don’t feel so alienated.  That probably means offering a little more than “you’ve got a scholarship, so shut the hell up and play”.

(h/t)

103 Comments

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103 responses to “‘We gotta change something.’

  1. I support a more market-based compensation system now, but I find this plantation talk to be ridiculous and frankly in poor taste. These guys aren’t considered to be the personal property of another.

    • CB

      I understand your point, but who is the analogy offending? It’s not like anyone involved in slavery is still living so should they, as black men, be offended by themselves? They may not be considered personal property, but they sign a one way contract that they can’t get out of without pretty steep penalty in a field where there is no other comparable option when it comes to their sport. I don’t think anyone is saying it’s as atrocious as slavery, but there are correlations.

      Now, they aren’t paid, but what they don’t tell you is that a lot of these kids are getting federal Pell grant money back in their pocket up to a few thousand dollars a semester. The only people who have a legitimate gripe (and it’s a real one) with the plantation model are the superstar athletes like Cam Newton, and Tim Tebow who would really demand high dollar on the free market.

      • It’s not even close to slavery. I’m sorry but there aren’t even correlations. These guys are wined and dined to sign their names on that agreement as opposed to being kidnapped or sold by their fellow man into forced labor.

        • DaddyRichATL

          …okay maybe not “correlation,” can you understand “analogy?”

          • It’s not even an analogy. Comparing the ownership of one human being by another to the decision to play sports in exchange for a opportunity for a free college education is not analogous. If you think college athletes should get more for what they do, I agree. To compare their lives on a P5 college campus to living in horrible conditions involuntarily on a plantation is absolutely silly and does nothing to improve the opportunity for the student-athlete.

            • CB

              I’m a few days late getting back, but you’re just being dramatic at this point. I gave you three examples of principles of college athletics that are comparable with slavery. They exist, deal with it. In fact, there are entire books dealing with the subject.

              • We’re going to agree to disagree. Are there things that need to be done differently in college sports? Absolutely yes. Does the comparison of college athletics to slavery increase the likelihood of change? No because many people think that comparison is ridiculous.

                • CB

                  Yeah, race relations are so good in our country it’s hard to imagine how an analogy of cfb to slavery would sway any opinions.

                  Are you being serious right now? You just can’t be.

                  • I’m stating my opinion that the comparison of college athletics to slavery does more harm than good in the court of public opinion if the end goal is sensible reform, IMHO. Of course, YMMV.

                    • CB

                      Just to reiterate, nobody is claiming the same level of atrocity. I feel like I made that clear, but just in case. Either way, like it or hate it, these kinds of comparisons get things done in the climate we’re in. It may or may not be harmful, but it’s hard to deny that it’s effective.

    • I find the “plantation talk ” to be very offensive considering that a lot of these athletes leave a bad situation and are being groomed and educated for a better life. Look at the cost of college these days. You are getting paid. Look at all the students that graduate with tons of debt from loans.

    • Cousin Eddie

      NLI = Personal Property of the School, or at least you will be punished for leaving without the Coaches blessings.

      They are reaching with the language but it helps to drive the point across.

      • Just like you’ll be punished for walking away from your mortgage, car loan or any other contract you break. Roquan didn’t sign the NLI, but it didn’t affect his status.

        • Cousin Eddie

          but if I walk away from my loan it doesn’t necessarily preclude me from getting in debt somewhere else, if they are willing to take that risk. But once Roquan signed the scholarship papers it had the same limits as a NLI, if I understand correctly.

          • It’s the same thing. You can sign somewhere else and sit out a year if you decide to leave. At least you can take your academic credit with you. You default on a loan and you lose your total investment. You have nothing … And you’re a risk other lenders don’t want to accept.

            • CB

              You also have options of different banks who offer different competitive interest rates. Not so with college football, the price ceiling is fixed which by definition is illegal under antitrust law. You’re not ever going to win this argument man. You’re only option is to take your ball and go home.

              • You can go play somewhere else … it’s called the transfer rules (which also need to be reformed). The exchange for transferring is to sit out a year (or take a redshirt). Try getting another mortgage immediately after you walk away from your current obligation (it’s not going to happen). A college athlete who wants to transfer has schools lined up ready to accept him or her the day after announcing a transfer.

                The price ceiling on the scholarship has nothing to do with this argument. Apples & oranges … Heard of Jeffrey Kessler? His lawsuit is taking care of that unless the NCAA and its member institutions can get an antitrust exemption.

                • CB

                  The price ceiling absolutely has a lot do with it because it limits the competition like the one you get with banks competing to offer the lowest interest rates. It would be illegal for all banks to get together and offer the same rates right? That’s what college football is doing. It’s called collusion dude.

                  • I understand that, dude … the price ceiling has nothing to do with the transfer rules which are issued by the NCAA. You’re right they are offering the same thing in “compensation” – the cost of attendance scholarship. That’s what Kessler is going after. He could care less about the transfer rules.

                    • CB

                      I understand the Kessler case, I’m just trying to get you to understand that the price fixing issue derails the mortgage example because banks aren’t allowed to collude.

                    • I was using the mortgage contract as a parallel to the letter of intent. Cousin Eddie was trying to make the point that NLI makes the student-athlete the “personal property” of the school. He didn’t take into account that the NLI serves as a contract between student-athlete and university. There are negative ramifications to breaking either contract … that was the only point I was making.

        • CB

          Not everyone is Roquan, only elite level players have that option bc schools will save a spot for them.

          Furthermore, when you take out a mortgage you are paying for a house and a finance service ie you’re getting equal value back on your investment. Todd Gurley’s scholarship did not pay him what he was actually worth to the university of Georgia, and when he tried to compensate himself outside of that scope he was suspended.

          • I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said there. I’ve been consistent that UGA should have fought the NCAA in the court of public opinion about Todd Gurley and the ridiculous rule about trading on name and likeness. Instead we meekly suspended him without talking about the fundamental unfairness of the rule.

  2. 92 grad

    Booch think he needs to drive a Mercedes super car to gain respect from his players and recruits. I don’t remember the exact quote or I’d post it here.

    Little does he know it likely has the opposite effect, his black players just see it as the white man swimming in money made from the players sweat and tears.

  3. AthensHomerDawg

    In the debate of student athlete vs pro throw the”race card” out there and your opposition to paying athletes will shrink.
    On the other hand per the NCAA probable thoughts…
    “The potential advantages that we can get from owning Egg make it clear that retaining it is the right decision.” That’s kinda sucky too.

    Tgif. Been a long week for me.

  4. HVL Dawg

    The players feel like they are mercenaries and they aren’t a part of the university.

    Let the NFL create its own minor league. Eliminate scholarships altogether. Limit off-season workouts to 6 weeks a year. Pay the football coaches a max of $200,000 a year. Eliminate women’s tennis. I’d still watch college football.

    Oh, and beer at the stadium.

    • rchris

      Or let the players coach themselves, like they did originally. I’d still watch it too.

      • Cojones

        And put’em in the covered 4′ high circular 15′ wide pen to fetch the ball (and get out) until the last two remain in the pen. No rules in the scramble as in the Wally Butts days. Of course there were injuries, but, what the hell, it’s a man’s game.

  5. PTC DAWG

    Bless their hearts….obviously made to play football…the entitlement attitude carries on.

    • dawgtired

      …AND, feeling alienated! Maybe they should just skip the opportunity to play football while getting a free education and prep for $$$ in the NFL. I know I wouldn’t tolerate such harsh treatment.

      • DaddyRichATL

        I think you’re selling them short, but if don’t understand that kind of alienation it won’t be easy for me or anyone to present a perspective you can relate to.

  6. Cosmic Dawg

    I oppose the NFL sweetheart status and not letting players sign autographs and work for money. I don’t even care if boosters want to pay them.

    But those players are probably also helping some black girls run track, and I imagine many of them or their families got govt / charitable help at some point in their lives.

    Perhaps it will prepare them for paying taxes.

    • Cojones

      White girls don’t run track? When was the last time you saw a black female shot putter? Lotta white families get subsistence/ charitable help. So, it’s a mixed bag that’s provided for by the sweat and tears of the black and white football players.

    • The other Doug

      “But those players are probably also helping some black girls run track,”

      I read the Senator’s post and then went for a jog around Boulder. I ran the crosscoutry course and the CU team was out there also. I’d guess there were a total of 50 runners, and I counted 3 African Americans.

      I agree with what you wrote in context to UGA, but CU is one of the whitest places in the USA outside of Utah.

      • Cousin Eddie

        “CU is one of the whitest places in the USA,” Could that be why the players don’t return?

      • Sanford222view

        I graduated from CU Boulder. It is extremely white. Less than 1% of the student body was African American when I was there in the early nineties. Basically the only African Americans on campus were/are athletes. You could really even replace “athletes” with football and basketball players.

        I even recall reading articles in the Denver Post back then about the issue of race and professional athletes in Denver. Denver is the most diverse part of Colorado but it still doesn’t have much of a African American population. African Americans feel very out of place there in general would be my guess.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      I appreciate the points about CSU being very white, but that only makes me wonder

      (a) why choose a school where you would feel bitter about your athletic efforts supporting people of other races rather than, say, play ball at UCF or Georgia Southern?

      (b) the plantation argument holds the most weight when made by tbe top 10-20 percent of football / basketball athletes who actually could demand money for their skills in the private sector if not for govt interference. At CSU, there may be 1 or 2 guys that can make the NFL and maybe a handful of others who could play minor league ball.

      Although I would prefer to let the market sort them out, an average CSU player is getting by far a better shake for the forced trade of football for a scholarship than players in, say, the SEC.

      And, of course, I have to ask – why is it, say, a rich but childless white OR black man who is taxed to fund a state school (with affirmative action) is expected to understand he is “giving back” (what did he steal?) but a black football player is not expected to contribute similarly?

      Neither, after all, has much of a choice if they want to improve their lot. Why is one man’s time and sweat public property and the other sacred stuff?

  7. Hardcoredawg 93

    Only in the U.S. can you be bitter about getting to play a game you love and getting a free education – no 150k debt upon graduation like the Coastal Carolina kid.

  8. Puffdawg

    #tennislivesmatter

  9. JCDAWG83

    Again, as I’ve said many times, if it’s so bad and the players are being so exploited, they can always quit and pay their own way to school and go hire a trainer and an agent to set them up for an NFL or NBA career. The sense of entitlement and the bitter attitude are things the players decide to have. They are free to escape the bondage of their sport at any time.

    Colorado is not alone in black alumni not returning to campus or donating to the school. Black alumni at all colleges, even the black colleges, donate and participate the least of any alumni group.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      I’m no crusader, but it’d be nice to see some good data for that assertion.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        To put it another way, you’re pushing the envelope.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2015/11/10/10-historically-black-colleges-where-alumni-contribute-the-most

          I wonder if these schools push much for diversity. No snark. I remember my youngest a kicker in HS being approached by a black college to kick.

          • Cojones

            I certainly hope no one kicked him. Maybe I got it wrong – to kick whom?

            • AthensHomerDawg

              Lol.
              He was the kicker. punter, fg, ko. On the fb team.

              • Cojones

                You don’t know how pleased I am that you caught the intended levity without my using a funny face. Nice to blog with you for good ole UGA. Are your boys turning you into a Democrat?

        • JCDAWG83

          I have a good friend and a family member who are involved with two different universities in fund raising. I don’t have the actual numbers but they say the research shows white Greeks are the most active and give the most, white regular alumni are second, Indian/Asian are third and black alumni are last in giving and returning to campus for events. Black Greeks participate at a higher rate than non Greek black alumni but still lower than white alumni.

          One theory is that black alumni have more student loan debt and therefore have less disposable income to donate. Another theory is; black alumni are more heavily concentrated in majors like education, sociology, African Studies and public administration and their jobs after college pay less.

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      So, if he doesn’t like the system, just create a new system? Smacks of a “let them eat cake” philosophy. And it’s quite easy to say when you’re on the outside.

      • JCDAWG83

        It’s a system he chose to become part of, it’s not like he’s complaining about income tax rates. If he feels like he is being exploited and forced to support other sports, he can quit any time he wants. That is not true in a system where one has no choice as to whether or not to participate.

  10. IndyDawg

    In response to “everything they do pays for the young white female playing tennis or on the golf team or track and field”: Doesn’t Title IX drive some of the reasons why football and mens basketball revenues are spent on some womens sports, open to women of all races on those teams? One groups bug is another groups feature. Without Title IX, does anyone really believe we’d have those sports opportunities for women at many universities? I support fair compensation for college athletes, but that’s a a poor choice to champion the cause.

  11. Hogbody Spradlin

    The Colorado survey results are an unsurprising result of the latest fashion on college campuses: obsession with safe spaces, microagressions, hyper-sensitivity, or whatever the trend is called. If college administrators keep repeating the same mantras, students of all races, creeds, and nationalities are going to believe them. It’s fun and satisfying to think about yourself as an exquisitely offended victim.

  12. AthensHomerDawg

    When your a talent football player …life is hard.

  13. gastr1

    Well, I’m as liberal as just about anyone but when I visited a couple years ago I thought Boulder was a white-fantasy Disneyland, personally. I could how black folks might feel, let’s say, out of place there.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      You ever been to college park?
      Lol.

      • DawgFlan

        haha. I’ve seen you make a similar comment before. When’s the last time you were in college park? The below is a sampling of what’s going on these days – sure doesn’t look 3rd world to me: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/2391-Rugby-Ave_College-Park_GA_30337_M62649-50756?ex=GA617269710#photo0

        • Napoleon BonerFart

          Seems like cherry picking. The median household income for Georgia is $47,829. The median household income for College Park is $26,150. So it ain’t all regentrifying hipsters.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Outlier possibly.
          Im usually there a couple weeks a year. This is the last year I have to go. Tough place.

          • DawgFlan

            Definitely still an outlier, but it’s also a trend. There’s a reason Mellow Mushrooom just opened there. To NB’s point above a lot of the income buying these places is recorded elsewhere. Second homes for pilots, Woodward parents, hipster children, etc. Not trying to needle you, just provide a little nuance for an area that a few friends have moved to recently, not that I’ll be moving my own family there anytime soon. It’s not Mogadishu… cheers.

      • gastr1

        I have been to College Park, and many other places where I’m the only one around that looks like me. (Kinda felt like that in Boulder, lol, and I’m white.) What’s your point?

    • Ray

      So what can they do to make blacks feel more welcomed? Should all races be accommodated or just blacks? What about starting right here in Atlanta, I don’t feel very welcomed at the corner of Courtland and Pine street. I always think it’s ironic when “victim” of racism makes a racist comment in his declaration of victimhood

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      We all suffer unfair slights in this world. Everybody.

  14. M.

    Or, you could just get rid of Title IX’s mandate that forces schools to have all these other sports (and such complaints disappear), but I’m sure that would just make all your liberal heads explode.

    In that same vein, it’s pretty racist and sexist of those black football players and basketball players to be singling out the white female.

  15. Macallanlover

    Man, we are staring into a pit that has no bottom. Some folks won’t be happy until we tear it all down and everyone is worse off. And I don’t think you will be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. What a crock.

    • Bright Idea

      The only way to purify all of these grievances and crimes of morality in college sports is to eliminate all athletic scholarships and field teams full of walk-ons. We know that ain’t gonna’ happen. We just learned that outlawing satellite camps was discriminatory, geez! Lots of factions out there binge drinking on guilt.

      • Macallanlover

        “that ain’t gonna’happen” Wouldn’t bet all your eggs on that. There is a lot of money at stake from high value donors who will not tolerate some of the political stuff gaining traction. Lot of other groups soliciting donations from the whales, and they want get spit at when they give. Also ratings could effect the future TV revenues that are paying for much of what is going on. Schools and conferences had better nip this in the bud, I know a lot of ex-baseball fans who have never gone back after the strike. This is even more personal than a union dispute. Pandora’s Box was cracked last year at Mizzou, many folks still oppose the “cost of attendance” change, many more will oppose players turning college sports into a political platform.

        Also, security will be a much bigger concern regarding attendance if things don’t slow down. Some very serious issues to be addressed/concerned about regarding this sport we all love and I don’t see a lot of confidence in the leadership. Well do run dry eventually, no guarantees the faucets remain wide open. Fans still attend Harvard, and Yale games, no athletic scholarships or partial qualifiers needed.

        • Macallanlover

          “won’t get spit at” Should have also said, it isn’t a high likelihood sitting here in July, but some trends appear ominous. Imo, an NFL development league isn’t far fetched at all within the next few years, and that will move colleges closer to a truer student athlete concept. Cost of lawsuits and Title IX would also make the idea more feasible.

  16. DawgPhan

    It’s great that Colorado’s Chancellor isn’t running the cfb internet commenter’s playbook on this one.

    Just like I appreciate when my employer listens to my concerns and addresses them. I am sure that the SA’s will appreciate his concerns and efforts to address their issues.

    It is important for people in authority to empathize with those below them on the org chart.

    • Hardcoredawg 93

      “It’s important for people in authority to empathize for those below them on the org chart”

      Or, how about about putting aside your “feelings”, just put your head down and work your ass off? Then, you can move up the chart or advance in some other way.

      • DawgPhan

        That’s fair. I am sure that works for some people.

        It might not work for all people. I can put my head down and work my ass off at any school/employer. If I am highly skilled and desired, why would I pick your school/job if you state up front that you DGAS about any concerns I might have.

        Why wouldnt I pick the school that was going to care about my concerns and make and effort to address them?

  17. doofusdawg

    You are right Senator. There are just so many other outside influences and events occurring right now that Colorado or any university has no control over which affect the attitudes and beliefs of these mostly minority student athletes. I guess that’s another reason why many universities are so quick to join the cause of any grievance by a protected class. Better to support them in words rather than risk another Mizzou… or worse.

    And if free speech happens to be a casualty of the effort then so be it.

    So much for my circumspection. Go Dawgs!

  18. The other Doug

    Boulder is a unique place. Especially when it comes to African Americans. Boulder is .9% Black. Colorado has a whopping 4%. Athens is 27%. Basically, the only black people I see around town are between 18-22 and wearing a lot of CU sports gear.

    Another thing to remember is that CU’s athletic department is very small compared to schools like UGA. They focus on Football, Basketball, Running, and Skiing. The Running and Skiing teams are very successful and very white. Football is not a big deal even though they bring in the money. They don’t have a baseball, gymnastics, or swimming/diving team.

    DiStefeno has been trying to recruit more African American students for the last decade, but it hasn’t worked. Now he is stepping back and asking harder questions. This info was released by him in hopes of starting a conversation. It wasn’t that the athletes threatened a strike or something. I give him high marks for trying to deal with this openly and honestly.

    • Cousin Eddie

      HE does deserve the credit for asking, most people in his situation are “color blind” to the facts and assume it is someone else’s problem that they refuse to fall in line with his way of thinking. If that is really his line of thought I applaud him for it.

  19. DawgByte

    Blutarsky – You really need to drop the Georgia Bulldog football stuff and create your own Politics & Punditry web site. Give yourself the proper forum to pontificate the agenda instead of trying to sprinkle in meaningless sports stuff. Go full on, baby… be the REAL Senator you want to be.

    • Some of y’all are just special. For one thing – this is the Senator’s blog that he doesn’t charge you one dime to read. You can take yourself elsewhere if you choose. Secondly – you give him some BS about this not being the proper forum for political discussion (nevermind the stupid concept that politics and sports don’t intertwine in every facet of life; just ask myself and others that are Cobb County residents if sport and politics don’t mix), yet you have no problem dropping your own two cents about politics here.

    • Thanks for the advice. Why do you keep reading me?