Black Players Not Making Grade At Oregon State

By Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: October 3, 2005

OREGON—A new report by The Oregonian says that the grades of black football players at Oregon State has fallen dramaticallyover the past four years. Last semester, the black Oregon State football players had a 1.75 GPA. The Oregonian cites integral OSU documents which show a significant fall in grades for black players since the university did away with mandatory study sessions for players.

After spring term in June, 58 percent of Oregon State’s football players were academically ineligible, according to OSU records. By comparison, the rate at the University of Oregon was less than 19 percent.

African American players, who make up about one-third of Oregon State’s roster, have borne the brunt of the team’s drop in grades, with their average grade-point average falling from 2.57 to 1.9 in four years. During the same span, white players’ grades were about level, dipping from 2.59 to 2.54, according to university statistics.

Senior officials in the athletic department and university’s vice provost office have been aware of the trend for at least a year.

“The story no one wants to hear for winter term: Once again — GPA (less than) 2.00 for our students of color — this should be a CRIME!” associate athletic director Marianne Vydra wrote in an April 2004 e-mail obtained by The Oregonian. The e-mail referred to football players and was sent to two other associate athletic directors.

58% of players are academically ineligible? Black students are averaging a 1.9 GPA?

Columninst John Canzano wants to know what the hell is going on

That’s academic peril. And it demonstrates a lack of vision, control, responsibility and leadership.

If I’m a Beavers fan, right now I’m very concerned about the direction of the program. And, if I’m an alum, I’m not writing a single check to the university until it demonstrates more responsibility.

An internal review of the Oregon State athletic department’s efforts to help players struggling with grades woefully inadequate and chided the group for “failing to test athletes for treatable learning disabilities.”

Several players questioned in the article mentioned that it’s difficult coming from a diverse high school to being the only black student in class at OSU. That may be a factor, but graduation rates for black players once exceeded those of white players – so it’s clear that something has changed recently at OSU.

In classes entering in 1983-86, Oregon State graduated 67 percent of its African American football players within six years. During the same span, it graduated 52 percent of white players.

With the NCAA instituting the Academic Progress Rate (APR) minimums, the Beavers could quickly find themselves being punished by the NCAA. (Right now, OSU’s football team scores a 922, which ranks them in the 40th-50th percentile among football programs). Oregon State re-instituted study rules for under-performing players this spring.

That said, it’s clear that there is a serious problem that could explode at Oregon State. It’s completely unacceptable for a university to foster an environment where it’s black athletes suffer.