You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Derrick z. jackson

18th Annual Graduation Gap Bowl

On the surface, good news continues in my 18th annual Graduation Gap Bowl. Twenty-one teams in this season’s bowl games scored a “Touchdown” for having both high graduation rates and small racial gaps between black and white players, tying last year’s record.

Yet there remain troubling signs that athletic departments play it both ways, getting black players just over the 50 percent graduation mark, but doing little to close massive racial gaps. The national title game between Florida State and Auburn is a perfect example. Florida State has a graduation rate of 50 percent for black players, but 100 percent for white players; Auburn is 63 percent for black players, but 89 percent for white players.

Continue reading below

That theme played out for most of the best teams on the field. An appalling number of powerhouses, including Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Alabama, and Louisville, had racial gaps of 30 percentage points and beyond.

The biggest gap was 46 percentage points at Texas, where 44 percent of black players graduated, compared with 90 percent of white players.

Among the troubling schools is North Carolina, where only 55 percent of the black football players graduate, compared with 88 percent of the white players. Meanwhile, a former professor has been indicted for teaching phantom courses to football players. If proven true, it is evidence that rising graduation rates are not yet ending the exploitation of athletes in big-time college sports.

Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of