Walter E. Williams

It's not at all uncommon to watch a college basketball game and see that 90 to 100 percent of the players are black. According to the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport report titled "The 2008 Racial and Gender Report Card," the percentage of black male basketball players in Division I was an all-time high at 60.4 percent. It was 45.9 percent in football and 6.0 percent in baseball.

Diversity is worse in professional sports. In the National Basketball Association, almost 82 percent of the players are people of color, higher than last year's 80 percent. This is the highest percentage of players of color since the 1994-1995 season. The percentage of black players increased to 77 percent from last year's 76 percent mark. The percentage of Latinos remained constant at 3 percent. Football diversity is not much better. During the 2008 NFL season, the percentage of white players remained constant at 31 percent while the percentage of black players increased slightly from 66 to 67 percent. Casual observation shows that most sports lack sex diversity. Segregation by sex is the rule rather than the exception.

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One can understand the absence of concern for diversity in professional sports; they are in it just for the money. But one is left flummoxed by the lack of sports diversity in college sports. After all, you can't listen to any college president or provost speak for more than five minutes before the word "diversity" drops from his lips. Colleges take diversity seriously and they spend tens of millions of dollars on it. Juilliard School has a director of diversity and inclusion; MIT has a manager of diversity recruitment; Toledo University, an associate dean for diversity; Harvard, Texas A&M, California at Berkeley, Virginia and many others boast of officers, deans, vice presidents and perhaps ministers of diversity. But, in what appears to be the height of deviousness and deceit, these diversity-driven administrators allow sports, the most visible part of the college, be the least diverse and least inclusive.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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