Preconceived ideaWhat is all this hype about more...

the Forum

January 20, 1994

Preconceived idea

What is all this hype about more scholarships for black basketball players -- and black coaches making a political statement?

I was under the impression that scholarships were for scholars and not for players whose only prerequisite for college is ability to play basketball in the NBA.

It seems that from their public comments the black coaches have a preconceived idea that the additional scholarship they are trying to get will automatically be awarded to black players. Isn't this preferential treatment a form of racism?

W. T. Anderson

Mays Chapel

Blaming whitey

Although Wiley Hall's commentaries usually have racial overtones, his Jan. 11 column, "Causes of violence lie not only with blacks," was particularly offensive.

Mr. Hall states that "whitey" should be held accountable for the self-destructive behavior and violence in the black community. This kind of racist thinking and you-owe-me mentality perpetuates hatred and mistrust among the different races and keeps us separate.

Until individuals, not just blacks, stop blaming others for their plight and accept responsibility for their actions and conditions, we as a people will never be united.

By the grace of God we were delivered into this world. How we choose to spend our time depends on us. Each of us owes it to ourself, our parents and our community to be the best that we can be.

Also, we have a moral obligation to treat everyone equally and fairly. Blaming "whitey" for the problems in the black community is short-sighted and benefits no one.

Steven D. Garbarino

Owings Mills

An old friend

What an absolute joy it was to see Alice Steinbach's byline once again.

Welcome home, Alice. You were away much too long.

Geraldine Segal

Randallstown

Basketball should be color-blind

Recent sports headlines have been filled with the question of whether or not the Black Coaches Association, formed three or four years ago, was going to call for a boycott of some type of Division 1 men's college basketball games.

This presents an interesting but confusing study of the agendas of various interest groups who unite and clash on a single issue.

Rudy Washington, the head basketball coach at Drake University, founded this group. While he has had at best mixed success in his own basketball program, his current niche seems to immunize him from the usual oversight as to his competence and doing the job for which he was paid.

It also seems to this outsider that there is little need for this organization other than the benefits of comradeship within the coaching fraternity.

College basketball itself carries a big economic stick. Inner city high schools, usually coached by black men, send many talented players to colleges also coached by black men.

College basketball coaches have become very powerful, well paid leaders on the campus, depending upon the success of their program.

Nationally, some of the very best teams in America are coached by black men, and they have received praise, respect and the nation's attention for their success with their students as academics and young athletes.

The contested issue at hand is the failure of the NCAA to reinstate one of two scholarships recently stripped from Division 1 men's basketball programs.

This was done as a gesture by academic councils on campuses who argue that the big programs should be reined-in and made to focus more on the academic side of the college experience.

The reality, however, is that most academic councils on the nation's campuses are populated by anti-sports types who would even more severely limit college athletic scholarships if they could.

This continuing war between college coaches and academic councils who feel the need to impose their thumbprint on athletic programs has caused widespread anger, and most of the nation's leading basketball coaches, whether white or black, are upset by this over-meddling. This is however, not a racial issue, and the attempts to paint it as such are misguided.

Rudy Washington's argument is that the loss of a single scholarship from 14 to 13 impacts more severely on the black community and constitutes an institutional type of racism.

This argument, if made by a white man, would be subject to criticism. Certainly, one of the wonderful aspects of sports in general is that on the playing field things are color blind.

Recently retired Bill Laimbeer of the Detroit Pistons came out of the Detroit suburb of Grosse Point, raised in a home where the annual income was six figures.

Most good coaches would use their 14th scholarship to entice a Bill Laimbeer to their school regardless of his race, need or circumstances. If a young man can play good ball and is going to help the program, he gets a scholarship. The 14th scholarship is color-blind.

Rudy Washington's group has created a problem by causing people like Bobby Knight, head coach of Indiana, to risk ratifying their social spin on the scholarship issue. They otherwise support the initiative, but for entirely different reasons.

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