The Tragedy of Elgin Cook & Other MPS Black Athletes

This is dedicated to the great author and social commentator William C. Rhoden. Go out NOW and read his book 40 Million Dollar Slaves and you’ll understand what time it is.

Sup Family.

I’m certain many of you read (or heard) about Milwaukee Hamilton star basketball player Elgin Cook’s sudden departure from the team. I’m also certain you heard his mother has taken him out of state fearing for her son’s life due to his (alleged) role in what led to the Milwaukee King basketball player being shot. If not, to read the story on here

My comments aren’t going to address the drama Cook and the other boy got themselves caught up in. I’m focused on a tragedy that continues to occur with the Black Student-Athlete over and over in Milwaukee Public Schools. I’m sick and tired of reading and hearing about OUR BEST (and average) student-athletes being academically ineligible before, during and after the sports season. What the hell is going on when kids who are being offered scholarships to play in college cannot maintain a simple 2.0 gpa?

Let’s look at Cook for a moment. In the jsonline article, it mentions that he missed the first 3 games of this season due to being  academically ineligible. Yet, in October he signed a letter of intent to accept a scholarship to play basketball at Iowa State. How is this possible? It’s one thing for OUR kids to be lacking the grades and preparation for higher learning, but it is another thing when large colleges and universities know they aren’t ready but bring them in anyway.

Young, Black kids like Cook are being used by the system to generate millions of dollars to continue to feed the machine. Iowa State doesn’t care about Cook. If they did, they’d be certain to investigate whether or not he could qualify for and complete (at an acceptable satisfaction) college level academic studies prior to offering him a scholarship. All Iowa State (and every other sports program) cares about is getting young, Black athletes (I intentionally left off student) to come to the plantation aka campus and win games. Winning leads to NCAA tournament appearances and Bowl games worth millions of dollars.

Long after Black kids like Cook leave the plantations of colleges and universities without a degree (or adequate education), they will struggle to become contributors to society without shooting a ball or running on a field. Will the plantations care about them then? Hell no… they are no longer of use and there will be a new recruiting class of Black so-called Student-Athletes to feed the machine.

I’m tired of the charade that our high school coaches or AAU coaches truly care about these Black Boys. Why aren’t they given the tools and preparation to succeed in the classroom on par with what these coaches demand from them on the courts? Why are coaches allowed to continue to have their jobs within MPS year-after-year when they cannot keep their players elligible? If teachers are being asked to be held accountable, then so should the coaches. From the MPS Athletic Department on down to the principals of each school, MPS High School Coaches should be fired if they have two or more academically ineligible players on their rosters in three consecutive years. The Athletic Director of MPS should be fired if the athletic teams he is overseeing has more than a 25% academic ineligible student-athlete population in three consecutive years. Coaches, principals and the AD should be charged guilty with creating and fostering an environment which cares more about winning than educating.

Our Black kids are that important and those who would coach them should be sent a message that if you cannot get through to them off the court, you are not a deserving coach for our children. Stop the madness and stop tricking our Black Kids for the sake of winning conference and state titles. Ask yourself this, if it were their children would they allow them to go through high school barely eligible or not at all? Hell no. They are training their kids how to become independent and successful in life. This is accomplished by first becoming educated.

This is the tragedy of Elgin Cook and other MPS Black Student-Athletes.

That’s my word.

G –

Updated Feb. 14, 2011:

Good looking out to you all for responding to this issue. Some of you are strongly defending the plantations aka colleges/universities. So I thought I should direct you to the website to do a search for information yourselves to see how well or poorly they are doing with graduating athletes. Click here to visit the site and enter the college name or conference to see where they rate. Here is what I found for Iowa State and where they rank in men’s basketball. The NCAA tracks graduation rates over a 6 year window so I started did a search from 2003 – ’09 (most recent). Guess which basketball program ranks last in its conference?

These young athletes should be allowed to turn pro immediately after they exhaust their high school eligibility. Yet, the system forces them to serve at least 1 year of servitude on the plantation as if that prepares them for life after sports. The NCAA is forcing kids who have no desire to attend college to go serve them and bring in millions of dollars to please boosters, other students, shoe companies and TV interests. How much more corrupt can an organization be?

57 responses to “The Tragedy of Elgin Cook & Other MPS Black Athletes

  1. Your compassionate and thoughtful analysis of the state of black MPS athletes is much appreciated. This ia a problem of immense magnitude and needs to be addressed on a plethora of levels.

    • While the aricle shows passion, it lacks knowledge of the systems in place that support the student-athletes at the collegiate level. Iowa State has systems in place to help the young man progress in his academic career at the university, but they have no control over Mr. Cook`s continued academic progress at the high school level. Iowa State would not have offered the young man without evidence that he was progressing towards meeting NCAA eligibility. This evidence includes a thorogh assessment of his academic standing, as well as utilizing input from the young man. Universities all over the country provide an opportunity for young men and women to better themselves by providing athletic scholarships for those that have the talent to compete at the next level. These opportunities exist for all student-athletes regardless of their ethnicity.

      • @J-Mo – see the update I made to the post and where Iowa State ranks in terms of its graduation of basketball players. I guess they need to strengthen their ‘systems’ to help current ballers to graduate and stop telling recruits how great those systems are. I didn’t say they control his high school performance, but they should be more aware of him as a student and concerned about him being able to be a successful college student not just basketball player.

        If Iowa State cared, they’d not rank at the bottom of their conference in graduation rates. Those facts speak loudly. I would almost give them a pass if they were recruiting one and done players, but they aren’t.

        And I didn’t event mention the fact that kids should be allowed to go directly to the pros if they want and not forced to serve a year on the plantation for the benefit of boosters, shoe companies, colleges and TV. It’s all a joke.

        • The ISU athletic dept was #1 in 2010 in the B12 for graduation rates among student athletes. ISU ranked in the top 10 nationally as well. You need to dig deeper. ISU does nothing but offer opportunities to student athletes regardless of ethnicity.

          • @J-Mo – I am not concerned about the numerous sports programs at ISU. I am concerned about the money making sports football and basketball which go into inner cities across this nation and pull young men from high schools that are largely unfit for higher education. Universities, colleges, high schools and yes the athletes themselves all play a role in this exploitation. You may have a strong loyalty to you university J-Mo as I do mine, but I am always honest with what is going on.

            You cannot honestly believe that universities and colleges don’t exploit the Black Athlete do you? I again will say to you pick up a copy of William C. Rhoden’s book 40 Million Dollar Slaves. And just look at the comments from ISU defenders lending excuses for bad graduation rates due to a coaching change. What? Inner city kids are dealing with homelessness, poverty, crime, single parent households, etc. and are still expected to compete with other students. Who is making excuses for them? Nobody, so I don’t want to hear about transfers and coaching changes. That’s a bunch of (whatever animal you want to insert) ish.

            • The biggest hole in your argument is that you are blaming the universities for students that are not properly prepared for college by the high schools they attend. It is called accountability. The responsability falls upon the individual states. Iowa State provides opportunities for student-athletes regardless of ethnicity. If I remember correctly, for every two student athletes at ISU that do not graduate, there are eight that do. The graduation rates for student athletes at ISU is actually higher than the graduations rates for non-athletes. That shoots a bit of a hole in your theory. Student-athletes are getting additional opportunies to succeed that is not afforded the rest of the student body at ISU. BTW, football drives the athletic budget at ISU, not mens basketball.

              • J-Mo – the fact remains that ISU ranks last over the 6 year span I cited from facts from the NCAA website. Make all the excuses you’d like but argue with the facts and you lose. And don’t give me the total ISU sports program graduating stats vs. the general body of students. My whole arguements are about Black Athletes and they primarily compete in basketball and football. We can stick to those sports.

                Black Athletes leave colleges at the lowest rate of graduation than any other student or student-athlete class. Deny that fact and give me another excuse.

                I don’t blame ISU for high school students being poor academically. I blame ISU and other colleges for recruiting Black Kids who aren’t ready for college, making millions of dollars off of their backs and then not graduating them. How do you not see my arguement? All you other points are just noise and I truly hope you can find the intellectually honesty which colleges and universities espouse as such a foundation of higher learning. Yes, your beloved ISU exploits Black Athletes just like the other 100+ schools.

                And I started the entire post speaking about a local situation which is honest, maybe too honest for most.

                Thanks J-Mo and good luck to ISU in the future. I want Black Athletes to graduate and they should get paid… more on that at another time.

  2. Your argument fails to take JuCos and prep schools into account. At least in Iowa State’s case, when an athlete fails to qualify, they can be placed in a Juco or prep school for a year to get their grades up. This was/is definitely a possibility with Cook, and has been for some time. Current Iowa State player, Melvin Ejim went the prep school route as well, as did Craig Brackens.

    As far as the state of Milwaukee schools goes, I cannot comment on that. Nor can i comment on what other universities do, but I think you are way off base if you think that Iowa State doesn’t care about Elgin Cook.

    • @Lonoclone – how many White Ball Players go to JuCos and prep schools? How many students attending Iowa State go to JuCos or community colleges to get their academics up to par in order to enroll at Iowa State? You cannot defend colleges cherry picking student-athletes from inner cities around the country who cannot qualify for their institutions and say it is progressive or a positive thing. These kids once they are at a minimum standard of performance are often steered into course work that will not challenge them academically nor prepare them for life after basketball.

      I understand defending Iowa State, but it is the institution of pimping these kids that all colleges and universities do. I could have cited any college, but Iowa State offered a scholarship to this young man.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • ISU had offered scholarships to troubled transfers Korie Lucious and Chris Allen of Mich St, Royce White of Minnesota. All Three African-americans, all three were model citizens in Ames their entire stay…….not something you could say in their prior stops. Fred Hoiberg has done a masterful job of creating a culture of success, family, and renewal for all of his recruits. They’re probable the closest to a real family as any program in the COUNTRY.
        In May 2013, his six graduating seniors–all transfers, all black players, all received their DEGREES. So maybe you need to write about the successes of ISU, of Fred Hoiberg. He is an innovator and fabulous person and coach, and his system being copied by others

  3. First of all, I am surprised that of all the universities you want to take to task, you choose Iowa State as the “bad example” of getting your point across about black mps athletes. They have the highest graduation rate of any team in their conference. And where is the responsibility of the kid and his family? I understand the frustration, but what does a coach have to do with his studies in the classroom? He/She is hired to coach basketball and that is all, now he has to be the kids parent as well? I know if I were offered a triple figure scholarship to play the game I love, I would gladly be a “slave” to the basketball court because it means I am not paying for a loan 15-20 years down the road. There is no argument that the school systems need help, but beyond that, the entire social network needs help and the communites need help. It is a flat out shame what has happened here, but deflecting blame isn’t solving anything either.

    • @State43 – I suggest you go the website and do a search on the Big 12 Conference for Men’s Basketball. I did so from 2002 (it goes in a 6 year window, they give athletes 6 yrs to graduate for tracking purposes – why?) and you’ll see exactly how Iowa State ranks in its own conference. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find as the facts reported by the university and the NCAA. Iowa State is tied for last with Mizzo with a 36 GSR (see below) or go to and do the search for yourself.

      Year Institution Conference Sport State GSR FGR
      2002 University of Nebraska, Lincoln Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball NE 83 70
      2002 Oklahoma State University Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball OK 82 33
      2002 University of Kansas Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball KS 73 73
      2002 Kansas State University Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball KS 62 75
      2002 University of Oklahoma Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball OK 57 38
      2002 Texas A&M University Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball TX 56 36
      2002 Texas Tech University Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball TX 50 22
      2002 University of Texas at Austin Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball TX 46 46
      2002 University of Colorado Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball CO 40 36
      2002 Baylor University Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball TX 36 25
      2002 Iowa State University Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball IA 36 30
      2002 University of Missouri, Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball MO 36 30

      As far as personal responsibility, I’m all for that. But these kids are giving themselves scholarships, the colleges and universities are giving them an opening into an institution they aren’t ready to be successful in. And then they put them in classes and give them all the resources and tudors to keep them elligible so they can run or dunk that ball. A luck few make millions, but there is a large percentage that never graduate, fall into hard times and were never prepared for college. The entire system is corrupt and high school coaches are teachers first and should be concerned that their kids are passing. If they aren’t, they are dumb coaches because the kids won’t be able to play. So they have to take at least a selfish concern in the academic success of their players.

      Thanks for your comment and hopefully you’ll go to that website and have your eyes opened to just how poorly many of these schools are doing with graduating kids. Many have worse rates than public high schools.

      • I understand your point. But you are siting a 6 year span in mens basketball only (Highest transfer # in ISU history for mens basketball I may add) without any knowledge on why that number is where it is at. Many of those players sited on those statistics probably graduated or went pro for other universities once they transfered out. If anything, ISU under Fred have been giving troubled atheletes a place to explore second chances. Here is a great article to read.
        Though I will say my knowledge into Black MPS atheletes is slim, and you have sparked my interest in the book you recommended (40 million dollar slaves). However, one must look at information from both ends, not just the side one wishes to be proactive with.

        • @State43 – my greater point is about the exploitation of Black Athletes by high schools and the NCAA. ISU was mentioned only because this local kid was offered a scholarship to play ball at ISU. If it was another college, they would have been mentioned. So I have no problem with ISU, it is with the system of college sports in which ISU is a participant.

          The stats speak for themselves and your defense of the basketball program by stating players transferred for whatever reason again highlights a point of mine. If kids were truly going to ISU or other colleges because they like the school and the academics it provided, why would they transfer because of a coach?

          Also, scholarships are only for 1 year and can be taken from an athlete at anytime. It happens when new coaches are hired and they want to bring in their recruits and transfers. Kids have to sit out a year when they transfer to another big-time school, coaches don’t.

          The system is what I have a problem with, it cares very little about Black Athletes being ready for college classes and only want them to remain eligible enough to participate in sports. Of course there are exceptions (Notre Dame, Stanford, etc.) and certain schools that will not take athletes that cannot meet the academic standards set forth by the university.

          Enjoy that book.

          • But couldn’t the same be said for any student period? They are really offering a service that anyone attending the university is privey to. In that respect, they don’t care about anyone else either as long as they pay their tuition. It’s the highschool and guidence counciler at the highschool to prepare these students for the next level. Would you prefer these kids do nothing after highschool and go back to the streets? If you are saying the corruption that leads these kids to believe that basketball is the only outlet and studies are a waste of time than yes, that should absolutely be changed.

  4. I take a different view. The Black Student-Athlete should use this system right back. It should be viewed as a tool not something that should care enough to help them out. It should be viewed just as a hammer is. The hammer does not care about me at all, but it sure is a big help when I need it and use it properly. Use that system to get an education, to become a stronger person. I’m not sure the ISU’s of the world have the ability or the responsibility to get and keep a student athlete eligible before they get to campus. I do know that tutors and special study sessions are provided for the athletes when they are members of the team. They also have the opportunity to see other parts of the country and sometimes the world because of these institutions. It is a chance to develop a good work ethic and be apart of the team. After a college career, it is as though these guys have been to wars with each other and that can create bonds that last a life time. Are these institutions using you, absolutely, and are there some crappy people involved in the system, absolutely, but not every single person. If you can’t find the good people and even if you do, use that system. Don’t ask them to help you if you won’t help yourself.

  5. Thsi is another outrageous example of the destruction of Milwaukee Public School athletics. I am a former MPS student athlete (1965) and have followed MPS sports closely for over 30 years and, I have announced over 500 City conference basketball and football games for cable TV sports over the past 19 years. Between the thugs who do not value education and believe that intimidation is their only hope in life and the bloodsucking AAU coaches (not all AAU coaches) the City conference hase gone to Hell in a handbasket soaked in gasoline. Where are the rules that should be governing these types of destructive behaviors? Where is the outcry? AAU needs to clamp down hard on the AAU coaches that have literally preyed on student athletes. (I believe AAU is aiding and abbeting this problem.) They now have more control over the lives of our student athletes with total disregard for either the parents or high school coaches. They have little or no regard for school loyalty, team pride or what’s in the “best” interest of the athletes themselves. In my opinion, AAU has directly contributed to the drastic deterioration of MPS basketball. How can an AAU coach be allowed to have more control over a high school team than the head coach? (Vic Anderson, Jim Smallins, Dick Wadewitz, Fred Bland would never have allowed this type of behavior.) Prep school? Give me a break! Most of these so-called prep schools are just newly created Choice schools with no athletic conference affiliation playing showcase , pickup game scheduals that only attract kids (referred by AAU coaches) with the promise of athletic and college preperation. (Do football players go to prep school? What are Junior colleges for?) It’s a joke, plain and simple. Elgin Cook (the #2 rated best high school basketball player in the State of Wisconsin), was run out of town, his car shot up and his life threatened by knuckle headed thugs and wannabe ganggsters who have no value for education and who want to show that they have even more control than even the AAU coaches. It’s a systemic problem that has gotten completely out of control that needs a public out cry, thurough investigation and harsh penalties for anyone standing in the way of any kid who wants to be competive and successful in life. I know Elgin Cook. He is a a good young man and a talented athlete who’s future is now confused and uncertain because of petty street criminals and self aggrandizing AAU thugs. It’s a classic tragdey that should not have happened and needs to be stopped.

  6. The perspective in the article is indicative of an all too common world view in minority communities that rightly identifies destructive symptoms of a failed public school system but wrongly diagnoses the real culprits and source of the problem. This ideology has been drilled into minorities by the liberal purveyors of victimology and identity politics who exploit this philosophy to maintain there own power bases.

    • @Little T – you know what not you speak of. Go to the website and see the graduation rates of the basketball and football teams. You will have you eyes opened. These kids are chosen to make millions for this institutions while being not prepared to be students and are used up. You are too full of your own personally ideology to see what is really happening with Black Student-Athletes and I suggest you get the book 40 Million Dollar Slaves and bone up on the history of the Black Athlete and exploitation. Maybe you can understand the tragedy in athletes being expoited by college athletic institutions… but I seriously doubt it after reading your flowery comments. Maybe one day you can post a comment without using liberal or identity politics. This has nothing to do with power bases what do you have in your coffee this morning my friend? SMH

      • I have to keep it real for a moment. This may offend some people. I notice when it comes to issues in the black community, SOME white people try to pass it off and sweep it under the rug, and destroy the messenger for pointing it out. They try to act like we are crazy and making things up, and blame it all on politics. Racism is alive and well and I want people to stop acting like it isn’t. I agree with everything you said big brother. I’m a product of MPS…2007 King graduate and there were sooooo many kids on the team that were academic failures. Skipping school, smoking weed outside, but stars in the eyes of the coaches and fans. Then they are not able to handle themselves once they get to college because they are there living on a dream. Outsiders looking in will never understand no matter how much we try to point it out and explain it ti them. But I’m going to keep fighting til I die….they will never silence these lips.

          • Who said it’s the “white man’s fault?” If each of us took a small part of the blame there would be no problem. The facts are the facts. You can not debate opinion. So be true to your opinion. However, in my opinion, the white man does in fact have a great deal to do with the logistics of this problem. For you to gategorize it as “his fault” is an attempt to marginalize and redefine the issue. Hiistorically whites have always used that trick. It is what it is. If you knew the situation better, you could spaek to it better. Evidentially……..

      • Thanks, I’ll get a copy of the book, but you have to be careful when you read statistics because 1) they can be interpreted incorrectly without knowing the methodology 2) they can be manipulated to prove different points 3) there is a variance of success among schools along a continuum which we have to consider before we can make general assumptions.

        Exploitation is not restricted to people of color. I have three children attending college and a fourth one ready to go next year. One of them while talented has struggled academically not for a lack of intelligence but for a lack of self discipline when it comes to his studies. His University has all sorts of support that he can turn to yet he doesn’t take advantage of it to extent it is available. We as parents do what we can to lead him in the right direction but ultimately if he doesn’t apply himself it is his fault and no one else’s.

        Flowery? While I knew you wouldn’t agree with me, why don’t we get a cup of Java now that you mention it.?

        • @Little T – the statistics come directly from the website which is the governing body of colleges and universities. These stats are self reported by the schools. I’m comfortable citing their own information for the point of my arguement. Again, my point isn’t about self discipline, it’s about these colleges taking kids not prepared for college and exploiting them for its financial benefit. Many times these kids are taken to schools hundreds or thousands of miles from home. The parents cannot even afford to go visit them. If you are unfamilar with the system it is a beast.

          • You’re absolutely right about it being a beast and yes I realize you are using the NCAA statistics but we do not have details on what the breakdown is of the number of student athletes that have transferred to other schools and graduated nor how many go directly into the NBA or other professional leagues before their senior year. So is it possible that we may be reaching the wrong conclusions from the data?

            I have a son who attends the University of Dayton and his dorm mate Chris Wright is the star player who has overcome incredible disadvantages including a single parent home and attributes much of his success to the support of the University of Dayton. Obviously if he did not avail himself to the support he would not be there. He was declared his eligibility for the NBA draft last year but subsequently decided to finish out his senior year and earning his degree.

            Would he have been better off not being “exploited” by UD and not given the chance to go to college? Sure colleges raise lots of money to support their programs but what is so wrong with that? If I had the talent I would have welcomed the exploitation and the chance to receive an education worth tens of thousands of dollars not to mention the opportunity to become a multi-millionaire in the NBA.

            Two of my sons go to school out of town one in D.C and the other at Dayton and the way I look at it is that I’m happy that they are in different environments that will stretch their horizons and give them unknown opportunities even if it means I can’t visit them as often as I would like.

            Here is Chris in his own words and he doesn’t sound like he is being so exploited:
            Wright, the leading scorer and rebounder for UD’s 2010 NIT championship team, announced he was entering his name in the draft on April 7. However, he did not sign with an agent which allowed him to retain his collegiate eligibility.

            “I have decided to return to UD for my senior season and have pulled my name out of this year’s NBA draft,” Wright said. “When I announced I was investigating the draft, I said my three main goals as a Dayton Flyer were to graduate, to raise the national profile of our program, and to put myself in position to play at the highest level. I’m excited about accomplishing these three goals.”
            “Going through this process was a learning experience for me and I really appreciate the advice I received. I also want to thank my family and coach Gregory for the support and guidance they gave me as I came to this decision,” Wright added. “I love the University of Dayton and where our program is headed. I can’t wait for next year.”
            UD head coach Brian Gregory said. “As the University of Dayton basketball coach, I’m happy to have Chris back to finish up what already has been an excellent college career. At the same time, I’m very proud of the approach he took in reaching this decision. Chris and his family knew they had my full support in any decision that was made.”

        • Being Black in America is not a statistic. It’s a reality. The sum of my total lifes experience is through the eyes, trials and tribulations of a Black man. My sum total is diffenent from your sum total therefore our views on certain issues are different. As it relates to me, however, my view is the most important view of who I am and what I represent as a Black man in America, (especially Milwaukee, Wisconsin), regardless of your effort at trying to show that, for some reason, you know me (us) better than I know myself. (This includes Black people period.) Stick with your view from your vantage point if you believe that what you see is the truth. My view of me (us) is not obscured in the least.

  7. As Jesse Jackson once said, whether it be the cotton field, or the football field, we are still slaves in this country in one form or another. This is a perfect example from MPS to the College to the family and the young man that should have insisted he get up on his education, they are all to blame. Systemically, by knowing no better options, by trusting these locals coaches are going to mentor and teach the game behind the game, there is much blame to go around. Sadly I think the MPS coaches hold more blame here because they know the deal and they know how to mentor these boys. They have the time to do it and the “in” to getting into the athletes head to get them to begin educating themselves to NCAA and the great slave trade!

  8. This article is missing the point on several issues.
    1) Why blame the college that is offering a student an opportunity for a FREE college education for the failures of the local public school system. Just because a school offers a scholarship doesn’t mean that they become responsible for that student athlete’s high school education. The scholarship offer is predicated on satisfactory academic progress and graduation from high school. Where would these student-athletes be if it weren’t for schools like Iowa State presenting an opportunity for a college education? Some can, but many of these kids can’t afford college on there own.
    2) If the Milwaukee school system can’t keep students safe nor prepare them academically for life, there are bigger problems that need to be solved in Milwaukee, before looking to blame local failures on out of state universities.
    3) If the author had bothered to do any sort of research at all, he would have noticed that Iowa State had an inordinate number of athletes leaving the program in the past few years due to Iowa State’s previous coach. Players leaving the program in such great numbers is devstating to graduation rates rendering them inappropriate as justifications for the positions taken by the author.

    • I couldn’t agree more. More specifically on #3, I can’t count on 2 hands how many players transfered because of the previous coach which would be indicating a completely different #. And when I talked earlier about graduation rates, that was for ISU atheletics as a whole, not just Men’s basketball from a 6 year time frame.

  9. 1. A little about me: I’m a white, male, middle-class, middle-aged, able-bodied, heterosexual, politically moderate, Christian, Iowa State Cyclone fan who grew up in Ames, Iowa . I state these things to give more weight to my third point below.

    2. I believe ISU is a great place for black students to get a solid education that prepares them to compete for high level jobs and whatever they want to do in life. ISU has traditionally been very strong at graduating student athletes and I can only assume that the NCAA data you’ve linked are skewed by the incredibly high number of young men that have transferred out of ISU over the past 5 or 6 years. Our previous coach, for whatever reason, didn’t relate well with the players. Our new coach is Fred Hoiberg and here is a quote from his introductory press conference: “My players WILL go to class and I will put them on the right path to graduate. I’ve seen a lot of horror stories over the years, especially being in the NBA for 15 years, about players coming in thinking they are one-and-done players and they don’t go to class and they ruin that chance to get a proper education. I will NOT let that happen to my guys.” I believe Fred means this sincerely.

    3. I agree with the message of your article. I am obviously biased toward ISU, but I do see the problem of exploitation you have described. I believe America will be at its best when it becomes a true “Meritocracy” – where citizens rise to power based on their talents and abilities. Right now, we are missing out on developing the talents and abilities of minorities. The public school system carries a lot of the blame. Specifically, how the public schools are funded – largely by neighborhood property taxes – is to blame. Kids in poor neighborhoods start out at a disadvantage not only from what their family can provide, but also from a public school system that, in the end, is set up to encourage rich kids to stay rich and poor kids to stay poor. And in my opinion this is the most powerful, and saddest, form of racism alive today.

    4. I am going to ask you to please follow this story of Elgin Cook over the next 4 years. If he comes to Iowa State (there is speculation he might go to prep school or a juco, and then he might get recruited to a “bigger name” basketball school) I believe he will get a strong education and be very happy with his decision to be a Cyclone. I’m going to subscribe to this site and please feel free to email me. Thank you.

  10. The colleges are to blame because their selling point is offering the athlete a DEGREE as well as looks from profesional sports. So if they are just bs’ing they should not include that line in their talks.
    They offer mentoring, academic support and all things acedmia. This is a lie they tell. So we cannot say they are not to blame, otherwise why does the NCAA keep stats of graduation rates and why do they hold up coaches who have high grad rates?

    • So let me take a stab at what you are implying here. You are saying that the Universities should give these players a degree because they participate in athletics? All students have to do their work to get a degree. Participating in athletics allows the student to attend the university at no cost. They also get academic support, and access to facilities that are not afforded the average student who arranged their own financial comimitment to attend school. There are many families that pay $100K for education of their children, and said student never graduates. The university doesn`t give that student a degree for the $100K investment, why should they give athletes a degree. Keep in mind they are called “student-athletes” for a reason. All student-athletes are afforded the same opportunity regardless of ethnicity.

      • No I am saying don’t sell what you won’t do. Don’t sell degrees and lofty futures if you give minimal resources for academic help, family help 9some of these people come with families), do’nt have black staff that cannot relate to black issues as it relates to retention and don’t sell visions of a better tomorrow not having to be back in the ghetto if you do not want to do your part.
        Why should they make money off the backs of athletes then if they don’t get something in return?
        Same opportunity? No, not really. Have you read the reports on racism in post-secondary education and testing, retention and behavior? They are not affroded the same unless they now how to get it and want to. Colleges have time and money to mentor and do a better job with getting these people from point a to point b. They do if the athlete is top notch and they turn their backs when they become troublesome. Example: Cory Lucious (sp?). He was trouble and got sent home after being promised the sky. No one saved him from himself only when his numbers took a tunr he got dumped.

        • WHAT? Cory Lucious messed up and you want to blame MSU for not giving him a pass? I am pretty sure they were not told that they can do whatever they wanted and there would be no consequences. I guess it’s easier to blame everyone else for your problems than look in the mirror. Only the rich, gifted and priveledged have opportunities thrown at their feet. EVERYONE else has to go out find what is available to them. Minorities in general have all sorts of academic opportunities that whites do not no one mentions that. Bottom line, work needs to be done in the communites & the schools first before anything else can progress. If everyone wants to turn a blind eye and blame those who want to offer an exceptional athelete an opportunity to change their life because they don’t want to offer it for his personality than you need look at reality.

          • No I am not absloving Cory. I am saying that promises were made and broken. They knew he wa in trouble and instead of keeping him and helping him they moved on to the next. As they always do. Love ’em and leave ’em. If they cared where is the documented help and resources that he could have got and would have if his numbers on the court did not faulter.
            I am not saying he is not to blame, of course he is. however don’t give him steak one night and tell him to fend for himself if he isn’t making you the dollars.
            Wade got all kinds of help from MU and in the community to make it. Not only for himself but for his family. When he struggled MU stepped in and helped out because he was a worthy cause.

            • I guess that I don`t understand your argument. You claim that Kory is to blame, but the university failed him because he was in trouble and they washed their hands of him. I don`t know how many times that Kory got into trouble, but these kids don`t get kicked off a team for 1st offense, unless it is a very serious infraction. There is a very good chance that MSU did Kory a favor by kicking him off the team. At a certain point in time, a young man has to take responsibility for his own actions and learn. Sometimes the action taken hurts a great deal, but the individual learns a very valuable lesson and becomes better for it. Mike Taylor was kicked off the ISU team for his senior season because he broke the rules one too many times. He credits the coach for turning his life around by kicking him off the team. Mike went on to play in the NBA, and bettered himself. Follow the rules and work hard, and good things happen.

              • That can help some but for others they need guidance and mentorship. Some of us cannot stand on our own right off the bat and some need a swift kick. This is where retention agents come into play. They can assess help given, see if all resources have been exhausted, and execute a plan. If the person has exhausted a good retention program they have to go. I am not saying colleges can work miracles. But if you take on a case you owe it to the person to see it through to the end, not when his numbers on the court go south.
                As for Cory I hope he did learn a lesson but then so does the community he comes back to. It reinforces that we cannot trust people to live up to their promises when things get bumpy and all that talk is just that talk. When things go bad, they get the heck out of dodge.
                If colleges did retention well there would be a very big increase in degrees and grades because the colleges would not waste money on old tricks of the trade that are tired and never worked. They would use the multiple intelligences and other proven curriculum that have proven results for the new student. Ever wonder why the classroom and material never change but our global econmoy has and our kids cannot compete? This would be one execellent example. Old methods of teaching and educating are simply outdated and so are excuses for kicking kids to the curb when you want to jump off ship based on numbers and problem students. how was Pius HS able to educate him so well? They are not known for giving out diplomas for for the heck of it. They have standards and are nationally accredited.
                Everyone must be responsible for themselves but when you take on the responsibility by promising dreams of success and that caring family atmosophere then you are beholden to that promise you sell. This means you have to provide solid retention programs and quality resources that understand where these kids are coming from and meet them half way.

          • The content, black student have more academic opportunities than whites, of your comment is rediculous. what do blacks students have that white students don’t have or can’t get?

    • Honestly, I must say, my son is a basketball player at Iowa State and they really do have a mentoring program that follows the players. They also have mandatory study groups and other resources that the players are required to utilize. Even though he is a freshman, everything that the school said they would do, they have done very well with follow through so far.

      One more thing abou this coach, he is fair across the board with the students, he handles all issues that come up with the players quickly and discreetly. I am truly watching this school because I am highly impressed so far.

  11. Please read this and understand that I am very proud of all of my children and their accomplishments, but have noticed the differences that are made in society regarding them.—–

    I want to reply to this post as a very proud parent of two students that graduated in 2010. Both received scholarships to two different Colleges. The oldest is a student athlete who was courted by several colleges during his average high school career. He finally made his decision and now attends a Div 12 school. The other child an MPS scholar, with a 3.8 cumulative GPA also received a many smaller scholarships that actually fully pays for his education.

    It is not only the fault of MPS and the colleges, it is the fault of society and how they view entertainment. My younger son, the scholar had to beg and plead and bite his fingernails while hoping and praying that he would get enough money to cover all expenses WHILE my older son was offered the full kit and kaboodle.

    Now lets compare the dorms at both colleges— the oldest(the athlete) lives in an apartment like dorm with four bedrooms, a bathroom, a washer and dryer and full kitchen, as well as a living room fully furnished, with many onsite amenities. My youngest (the scholar) is cramped in a dorm room the size of a regular bedroom with a roommate, two beds, two dressers, two desks and two closets. Please help me understand and explain why society does not view the brain as an asset the same way that the body is viewed as one? This is teaching our children a heck of a lesson.

    So yes, I agree with the entire article but I feel like it can’t just be blamed on MPS or the College or University. There is something much more deeply set than can be noted in just one sitting. Thanks for the advise @Giant, I will certainly read the book, 40 Million Dollar Slaves.

  12. @Giant As an ISU Alumni I’m disappointed in the graduation numbers for our basketball program over the last 6 years. And nobody at ISU is happy about the turmoil the program has been during that time, but as others have pointed out with Fred Hoiberg at the helm now we do believe those numbers will dramatically improve. Further, we all, as fans, and alumni would prefer our students can graduate and be a part of the ISU family.

    • My point. Everyone wants to play the blame game instead of looking at the big picture. It’s always “what race should take responsibilty” instead of “how can I help this sitution”.

  13. First and foremost, you have no idea what you’re talking about with the graduation rate at Iowa State. Did you know what factors into the “NCAA” graduation rate? When people like Corey Johnson, Corey McIntosh, Adam Haluska, Cameron Lee, Dodie Dunson, Wesley Johnson, Lucca Staiger, Dominique Buckley, L.A. Pomlee, Clinton Mann, Justin Hamilton, Chris Colvin, Clayton Vette, Alex Dorr, and Laron Dendy TRANSFER to another school in the last 6 years, all of those student athletes count against our graduation rate. Learn what you are talking about and you can speak more intelligently about it.

    Also, Why is it just the black athletes? What about Clayton Vette? What about Justin Hamilton? Lucca Staiger? Adam Haluska? What about Alex Dorr? There were some damn good basketball players in there but you don’t give a damn about any of them because they are all white. Who is the “racist” one? You can’t see past color. The rest of us can… come join the 21st century.

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