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The problems of college football in the united states

College Football and the Secret Heart of America. What happened this week at the University of Missouri might not count as a full-scale revolt on the football plantation, but it surely demonstrates the power big-money sports wields at big-time universities.

  1. In the early 1970s, white coaches in the still segregated South had got tired of being whipped by integrated teams from the North and the West. Wolfe, felt no apparent urgency in addressing these issues.
  2. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors. They love the game; it gets them a full ride to college.
  3. Wolfe, felt no apparent urgency in addressing these issues. But when the football team turned against him, he had to go.
  4. Non-Hispanic whites make up 58 percent of undergraduates while black students constitute only 14 percent. Most college football coaches are white; only 11 of the 128 Division I head coaches are black; you can count black university presidents in Division I on one hand.
  5. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors. She is the author of three books, including the recent Tribal.

Wolfe, felt no apparent urgency in addressing these issues. Bowen Loftin, had both stepped down. Nor when the group Concerned Student 1950 demonstrated against him, even confronting him at the Homecoming Parade. Nor because Jonathan Butler, a graduate student, went on a hunger strike. But when the football team turned against him, he had to go.

College Football's Big Problem With Race

College football means money and prestige for a university the way nothing else—not Nobel laureates, science labs, teaching hospitals, law schools, Guggenheim grants, or Rhodes scholarships—ever could. African American representation on the field does not mirror that in the classroom. Non-Hispanic whites make up 58 percent of undergraduates while black students constitute only 14 percent.

By contrast, black men comprise 57 percent of college football teams, on average.

College Football's Big Problem With Race

Most college football coaches are white; only 11 of the 128 Division I head coaches are black; you can count black university presidents in Division I on one hand. The people in charge are white; the football workforce, whose success the university brass depends upon, is black. It was only a matter of time before a major college team decided to exercise its considerable economic power and refuse to follow orders.

College Football

What would happen if other college teams flexed their moral muscles? The game has brought about social change before.

College Football's Big Problem With Race

In the early 1970s, white coaches in the still segregated South had got tired of being whipped by integrated teams from the North and the West. They began recruiting African American athletes. They preferred to beat Penn State, and so integrated. Now imagine if football players at the University of Alabama decided to skip practice until they got a commitment from the administration to recruit more African American coaches?

They love the game; it gets them a full ride to college. A few of them—2 percent—may even go on to the sign fat NFL contracts. Maybe it takes a 4-5 team to risk their scholarships. Nevertheless, the Tigers took a stand.

The college football industrial complex has now been shaken right down to its artificial grass roots. She is the author of three books, including the recent Tribal: We welcome outside contributions.

College Football

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.