Morgan AD calls vote a setback

January 09, 1992|By Bill Free

Morgan State University athletic director Leonard Braxton said last night that black athletes would be "knocked backward" toward the junior college level by yesterday's vote by NCAA schools for the toughest academic standards in the history of collegiate sports.

Braxton said: "If we can't give financial assistance to Division I black athletes, they will have to go to junior colleges. The cost of going to Syracuse is $22,000 a year, and there's no way a lot of black athletes can afford it. It's all set up now where they [predominantly white schools] can get ours [black athletes] but we [black schools] can't get theirs [white athletes]."

Braxton said the strengthening of the Proposition 48 freshman eligibility rule by 1995 to require a 2.5 grade-point ratio in 13 core courses (up from 2.0 in 11 core courses) if a student has a 700 test score was discriminatory.

If a freshman has a 2.0 grade-point ratio in high school, a 900 SAT score will be needed.

"Whether it's overt or covert, it will have a definite impact on the blacks," said Braxton. "The average SAT score for blacks is 730, so you're getting up there when you talk about a 900 score. We [black schools] will be hurt. The white schools will be getting the best students academically and athletically."

Braxton said the marginal students will "be left out."

According to Braxton, the only way the black schools can survive under the new Proposition 48 is if the NCAA allows them to give grants in aid to freshmen and have them sit out their first year.

Braxton said there is still a stigma for white athletes going to black schools. He said he just lost a prospective white track athlete this week because his "parents talked him out of it after he had decided to come to Morgan State."

University of Maryland Baltimore County athletic director Charlie Brown, who was in Anaheim, Calif., for the NCAA convention, said yesterday that his school president, Dr. Michael Hooker, wanted UMBC to back the NCAA Presidents Commission, which drew up and supported the stronger academic proposals.

"The commission thought it was reasonable for the high schools to be given three years to adjust to the higher standards," Brown said. "And we believe that is fair. The black educators supported the increase from 11 to 13 core courses but not the 2.5 GPR. They were a little upset over the 900 SAT scores if an athlete has a 2.0."

Coppin State athletic director Ron De Souza, who also attended the NCAA convention, said he didn't think the increased standards were discriminatory.

"It may come out that way," said De Souza. "But the legislation was not done with that [discrimination] intent. I wouldn't want to think that. I just think that the NCAA hasn't given the original Proposition 48 a chance. It appears to be working, so why fix it if it's not broken? Graduation is up at colleges, attrition is down, and students are doing well in classes. It seems there is something new every year."

Towson State athletic director Bill Hunter is in Anaheim for the meetings but could not be reached last night.

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