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.
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 jsonline.click 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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 ncaa.org 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?