Monday, December 15, 2008

Charles Barkley’s Vision, Auburn’s Racism, the Great NCAA Plantation

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

I don’t like Charles Barkley very much, I have to be honest about that. On an appearance on ESPN, I was asked by Charles’ buddy, Stephen A. Smith, what I think about Barkley possibly running for Governor of Alabama. My comment was that “Charles Barkley is a man who always says what’s on his mind. But the problem is that there is never anything in his brain to begin with.”

So, if I don’t like you and I give you a compliment, then that really means I like what you just did.

Charles Barkley, the man I can’t bear to listen to on TNT, recently called out his alma mater, Auburn University for their decision to hire the woefully unqualified Gene Chizik over Turner Gill, a coach who actually deserved the job. Gene Chizik has amassed the stellar record of 5-19 over the past two seasons at Iowa State University. The “geniuses” at Auburn University also paid their last coach, Tommy Tubberville, $5.1 million dollars to hit the road after going 85-10 during the last 10 seasons. This is the same brilliant thinking which leads us to believe that sub-mediocre human beings like George Bush and Sarah Palin are qualified to run the free world. Now I remember why I left the south.

One would think that Turner Gill of The University of Buffalo might have been a good pick. He took Buffalo to their first bowl game in school history, and soundly defeated unbeaten Ball State, who was ranked #12 in the country. The problem was that Gill posed the great deal breaker of nearly every head football coaching contract in NCAA sports: He was Black.

Sure, if he were trying to be a wide receiver, he’d be a lock. If he were trying to be a janitor or cafeteria worker, I am sure that Auburn University would have recruited him heavily. But Gill doesn’t realize that for schools like Auburn (and Kentucky, Tennessee and many other schools in the NCAA, particularly the SEC), Black men are only supposed to sacrifice their bodies on the field for virtually no wages, with little hope of actually earning the millions of dollars the NCAA pays its head coaches. Over 50% of all college football players are black, yet less than 4% of their coaches are Black. The athletes earn over $2 Billion per year for the NCAA, yet many of their families live in poverty. In other words, the NCAA has become the ultimate plantation, lawn jockeys and all.

Terry Bowden, Richard Lapchick and the rest of the country are calling it for what it is: Good old fashioned racism. They are stating, as I’ve said all along, that there is a time when African Americans must demand fairness in college sports, for the NCAA has shown almost no commitment to fairness when it comes to matters of race. Like our broken financial system, the system of college sport has created a network of irresponsible, illogical and unintelligent cronyism leading to embarrassing and inefficient outcomes. Paying $5.1 Million dollars to get rid of a good coach so you can pay more money to get a bad one is flat out stupid. Even if you are a racist, you should at least be a smart one.

I applaud Charles Barkley for pointing out the obvious, that Auburn University and the NCAA need a wake-up call. This isn’t 1955 anymore.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and a faculty affiliate at the College Sport Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He does regular work in national media, including CNN, CBS Sports, BET and ESPN. For more information, please visit


Anonymous said...

So you are from Syracuse University. Why didn't the great Syracuse University hire Turner Gill> Racist Yankees.

Anonymous said...

Syracuse really should have considered Turner Gill. He can't be worse than the guy they just fired!

Anonymous said...

It's easier for an African-American to become President Of the United States than to be head football coach at any of the major universities in this country
(Auburn).This is a major civil rights issue and it has not been effectively addressed by anyone including the so-called "Black Coaches Association" in Indiana.What is needed is a persistent,relentless, efficient campaign to expose this institutional and individual racism with all its by-products. All people need to be involved in working together in concert to include Black parents,Black students,White allies,professionals,and all people in the Obama coalition at all levels who are concerned about equal opportunity with fair to equal results in order to combat this malignant problem. It's good to speak out against this blatant racism but statements must be coupled with comprehensive action plans and deeds. Black parents and the prospective Black student-athlete must be fully aware of said schools that have horrible track records of employing and promoting people of color in all departments throughout the entire school. Black parents need to be engaged in asking questions about said schools' graduation rates for Black athletes and what types of support systems are in place that assure success for the student-athlete. Black parents need to encourage their students not to attend any school that does not have Black Coordinators(football)or Black assistant coaches on any level. BOYCOTT those schools that don't hire or afford Blacks an equal opportunity to fail on their own merit. Monthly report cards should be issued on all Division
1-A schools on their efforts and progress in afffording true equal opportunity for all candidates seeking employment. But the biggest weapon that the African-American community possesses is the almighty boycott. Students on college campuses must protest persistently the bias directed toward African-Americans and other people of color for all staff/and faculty positions on all campuses. The schools that give an appearance and have a long history of discrimination must be exposed in the mass media. The principal culprits in the instant case are the college presidents,athletic directors,assistant athletic directors,the alumni associations,the booster clubs,the old boys' coaches network,the NCAA,media and the fans. Furthermore I am appalled at the apathy and complacency of the Black Faculty Associations and other Black staff members to remedy this cancer of instituional and indivudal racism The boat needs to be rocked even if means giving up your tenous privileged status. A few schools that must be boycotted at all costs are as follows : 1.Auburn
2.Kansas State 3.West Virginia University 4.Notre Dame
5.Mississippi 6. Mississippi State7. Arkansas 8.Tennessee 9.U.C.L.A.10.Syracuse University.... Wake up Black parents and stop letting these football factories pimp your kids and treat them as though they are no more than chattel field slaves that are only confined to the role of field hands(Football players) rather than an Overseer(Headcoach)or Plantation Owner(College Presidents)and AD'S. The election of Barack Obama as President doesn't mean that racial bias,bigotry,racism,and discrimination have been eliminated or has ceased to exist as an operative force in a society that has been hooked and addicted on racism and White privilege for well over 400 years. Let's all get real and roll up our sleeves and get busy to finally treat and eradicate this ugly evil of racism and classism.

Anonymous said...