Black Student Athlete Conference, Session 2: Martin Smith, Ashley Baker, Shaun Anderson

Black Student Athlete Conference, Session 2: Martin Smith, Ashley Baker, Shaun Anderson


All right!
So, as a young man . . . Microphones!
It’s going to be hard to stay right here! But, we’ll work with it.
All right, so, as a young man, I had hoop dreams.
Okay? I had a desire to play in the NBA.
I just knew I was going to play in the NBA. I wanted to play in the NBA.
But, do you all think I played in the NBA? No, I didn’t play in the NBA.
But, I didn’t think it was far fetched because my father played in the NBA.
So, growing up, I wanted to be just like him. I’ve got a picture of him here, playing
in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors. You’ve got his plaque at the University
of San Francisco. I’m going to tell you right now.
The mic’s not going to work. So, we’ve got this plaque at the University
of San Francisco. And, so, in my mind, I’m thinking, “I
can be just like my father. I want to be him.” Because, if you know any young man growing
up, what do they want to be like if they admire somebody?
Who do they want to be like? Like that person, like their father!
So, I go on and I go to the University of California at Berkeley and I play there for
four years. I played basketball there, do my thing, have
a good time, and enjoy myself. Now, before I got to college, at eighteen
years old, my dad passed away. So, I carried a lot of lessons that he taught
me with me. And the funny thing is, although he played
in the NBA, at every turn, he tried to discourage me from playing basketball.
Why do you think that is? Why?
That’s not a rhetorical question. Why?
Somebody quick! Why would he discourage me? Because being a pro-athlete is really a fantasy
reality. It’s a fantasy reality.
Anybody else? I thought it was so strange because this is
coming from a guy who stressed, “Hard work! There’s no substitute for hard work! There
ain’t nothing wrong for hard work!” Some of his favorite sayings!
So, whenever I was on the court, he expected me to play very hard.
But, when I wanted to get in the gym and work on my game . . .
I mean, I’m getting up; I’m running hills. I’m working on my body, trying to build
up my body. I’m shooting chump shots; I’m working
on my handle. I’m trying to play on club team; I’m going
to play pickup. He said, “You’re doing too much.”
But, he made his living. He played nine years; two-time all star, scored
fifty-one points in two NBA games, all NBA defensive team.
So, he can play offensive and defense. He can do all these things.
But, he’s trying to discourage me from doing what he did.
So, I’m kind of confused, as a kid. I don’t really get it.
So, I graduate from Cal. All my buddies are going overseas to play
basketball. Everybody’s going overseas.
Everybody’s going overseas to play basketball. I apply to UC Berkeley for my Masters.
Like Alvin and my brother here, DiAndre, I applied to U-Dub.
I get into the Masters Program at U-Dub and UC Berkeley.
So, I got two things. I got overseas basketball over here.
Semi-pro in the states possibly too! Then, I got a Master’s Degree over here.
Everybody is telling me, “You are crazy for not pursuing overseas basketball. You’re
a fool. You’re an absolute fool.” I mean, everywhere I turn, everybody’s saying, “You
have to play ball.” Think about this.
We’re a lot of academics in this room. A Master’s from UC Berkeley, any academic
would say, “Of course, you’ve got to take that.”
But everybody, everywhere I went, whether they were at the university, whether they’re outside the university, outside of my family was telling me to pursue that.
The only people who were telling me to get an education and to get that Master’s degree
was my immediate family and I could hear my dad in my head.
“The hoops aren’t all that serious. You can’t play for that long.”
He would say, “You can make more money outside of basketball than in basketball, if you use
your brain.” And so, I kept hearing that in my mind.
So I said, “You know what? I’m going to do this Master’s thing.”
So, I get my Master’s. I start teaching at San Diego Community College.
And, I’m teaching there. And, while I’m teaching, I’m playing in
Men’s Leagues. Is anybody in here familiar with Men’s Leagues?
So, it’s like the leagues for washed up guys.
You know, you play college ball, maybe. You might’ve played high school.
Every once in a while, a pro steps in and you play.
And it’s like, basically, older dude trying to live out their glory years.
So, every time I played in one of these leagues, people were like, “Man, you’re good. You’re
still in shape. You need to play. Go overseas!” They would literally harass me.
Then, I had a guy after one game. He said, “Man, you’ve got a pretty good
game, but you should think about going back to school and getting your degree.”
I was like, “I have my degree.” “Really?”
“Like I actually have a Master’s degree. I’m a teacher.”
“Oh, that’s surprising!” And so, everywhere I went, it was like nobody
could see me outside of that athlete role. They’re just like, “That’s what you
have to be. That’s who you are.” So, that kind of led me to my research, as
I came back to work on my PhD. And, even when I was moving to Texas, people
were like, “I don’t think you should move to Texas. I think you should give it one last
shot before you get too old.” I’m getting my PhD.
There like, “Uh, I don’t know about that.” I was like, “This is strange.”
So, I figured out what I wanted to research. I said, “If I have a Master’s degree,
if I’m working on my PhD and people still don’t want to let me get away from the game!”
I said, “I wonder what it’s like for a middle school kid, who’s coming up playing
basketball. So, I want to know what their reality is because all this literature at
the collegiate level says that black athletes in basketball and football have a higher athletic
identity than academic identity.” So, in my mind, I’m saying, “Okay. Well,
what happens at the formative stages? What happens in middle school and when does that
happen when that athletic identity supersedes that academic identity?”
Because when you talk to young kids, a lot of them value school.
They may say, “I want to go the NBA,” but they like school.
Their parents push school. They’re serious.
They like to make their teacher proud. So, I said, “Well, let’s figure out what’s
going on.” So, I started doing research on a club basketball
team. Eighth grade boys, following them around,
doing observations, doing focus groups, listen to them.
And the one thing I found that they’re looking for is recognition.
And, I thought it was interesting. So, I’m asking them questions about athletics
and academics. And so, they said, “You know . . .”
Well, three of the guys had straight As. And they said, “Well, nobody, outside of
my family, knows I have straight As.” I said, “That’s strange, interesting.”
I said, “Well, how do people know about your grades? Or, what do your coaches say
about grades” “Well, my coach says, ‘Get good grades.’”
I said, “Okay. Well, you get good grades. And what does your coach say when you get
them because you have straight As.” “Well, he doesn’t know. The only time
my coach recognizes me for academics is if I’m above a C minus.”
So, if you’re within that threshold of an A to a C minus, you’re good.
But, if you fall below it, it’s a problem. The other form of recognition comes is if they
have bad behavior. They say, “We’re reported to our coach
immediately and we have to run.” So, it’s more of a control thing, in terms
of behavior and it’s not about academic performance and it’s not even about if you
have straight As or if you get good grades. It’s just “be eligible.”
That’s starting at middle school and these kids have straight As.
What do you think is going to happen to their academic performance?
Where do they see their value? The other thing they like is they want competition.So,
they want to compete. They said, “We like to be recognized for
our academics. We want to compete with other people academically, like we do in sports.
And, they don’t have that.” So, those are the things that kind of came
up. The last thing I want to finish with is I
took them to a college basketball game. So, we’re going to the game.
I mean, they didn’t have this when I was playing.
But, at the game, the players come out and there’re fireworks.
It’s like, “Wow, this is awesome!” Then, as the guys are running on floor-say
I’m running on the floor-on the jumbotron, I’m talking about myself.
“Yeah, I’m from San Diego, California. This is what I do: this and that. This is
what I like. And, I’m running on the floor, slapping high fives.”
So, I’m looking at this and I’m saying, “Man, as black men, this is one of the places,
the few places, we’re celebrated and we’re welcome is on this court.”
Why wouldn’t you want to be an athlete? Why would all you care about is your athletic
performance, if this is the positive place that you’re seeing?
Because, often we know that, as a black male, you’re not seen in that light in many other
places. So, I started thinking about that and then
I also started thinking about an historical basis.
So, Pierre [inaudible] talks about this concept called habitus.
I’ll give you a brief, little synopsis of this really quickly.
So, he talks a lot about our dispositions and how we’re socialized comes from somewhere
that we don’t even know where it comes from. Okay?
It comes from way back. And, oftentimes, we carry it through family
tradition and we don’t even know where it comes from.
And, I got to thinking about something. I said, “During slavery times-I’m going
to take you way back because I gave you the contemporary analysis of them running on the
court, OK, they’re celebrating-during slavery, the institution, in the institution of slavery,
one of the biggest ways, legally, that you could get your freedom was if you had hands,
if you could fight, if you could knock somebody out, if you could make your master money.
So, if you have economic value! If you’re a jockey-a lot of us don’t know
about that, but those jockeys were famous, they made so much money because who was taking
care of the horses-the slaves! Leave them with the horses!
Taking care of the horses! Knew everything about the horses!
If you could race, you could win your freedom. Within the institution of slavery, not a sure
bet, but there’s the possibility. But, if you got your education back then,
within the legal institution, they might kill you.
They’ll send you deeper south. They’re going to beat you.
So, I started thinking about this concept of habitus.
And, I’m saying, “What are we socialized to be?”
Because, I meet so many families and we talk about “black don’t value education”
or “we’ve got to have some family values.” So many families I meet value it.
They put time into it. But, what is society, how we’ve been socialized, and how can we, as a people, knowing that combat that and what steps do we have to take if we’re coaches
or administrators to stop that from happening? So, early on where that athletic identity
just supersedes academics because, I think, it’s something bigger than the family.
I think it’s something bigger the mindset and I think it’s what my dad understood.
I think he was kind of prophetic in that he said, “I don’t have to emphasize basketball
for you” because everybody else is. So, the presentation that I have today – I’m
really encouraged by some of the presentations that have already because they’ve shown
a few of these pieces. My dissertation – the focus of my dissertation
is on black mother’s role and involvement in the recruitment process of sons.
And so, this presentation kind of steps back and takes one piece of this of where the parent’s
role is or what we know about the parents and what their doing throughout the recruitment
process of their children, specifically black student-athletes.
So, I want to start. I want to read an email that I received.
This email was sent to me by a mother of a recruit.
So, formerly, I was a Director of Academics at a university.
And so, lots of recruit visits, lots of academic meetings.
And so, I received an email and it says, “Hello, Ms. Baker, my son and I met with you last week
when we came to campus for his recruit visit. I think he really wants to come there
to play basketball. Your campus was the first campus I visited with him, but he’s been
to a lot of others without me. There’re so many meetings and I tried to take notes,
but it was all overwhelming. This whole recruiting process has been. You said to contact you
if we had any additional questions. I have a lot of questions. When can I call to talk
to you?” Excuse me!
So, this particular mother and I ended up having multiple conversations over the course
of the recruitment process for her son. What I found is that she had very little knowledge,
not just of the recruitment process, but about the college application process and the decision
making process in it of itself. She hadn’t been to college herself.
She wasn’t a student-athlete. And so, she was asking me questions about
the admissions applications, financial aid, how was he going to pick a major, who was
going to pick where he lived. Throughout our conversations, I realized she
was relying on me to really give her the information that she needed to help her son navigate this process.
So, from a professional standpoint, I knew this kid was a kid we were going to offer.
So, anything that his mother or his family requested, I needed to be able to provide
that information to them, answer their questions, take their phone calls when they called.
The staff was going to make sure that happened, but what concerned me was how it seemed she
was so dependent on us, my staff and our coaching staff as well.
So, in her case and with many other families that I’ve met over the years, their lack
of experience and limited knowledge of the process has posed some challenges for them
along the way. I think if we address these issues early and
if parents were provided with tools, they could actually navigate this process in a
very different way. Regardless of age, maturity, or any other
factors, there’re moments, throughout a recruiting process, as well as when these athletes are
in college that a parent’s guidance, a parent’s assistance is invaluable.
They need it. But, if parents aren’t equipped with the
information to even assist their child, they’re going to rely on someone to do it for them.
So, some of these slides are really just supplemental, in case you want some citations and know that
I didn’t make this all up off the top of my head.
But, what we know about the literature on education is that the children of more educated
parents are likely to have greater access to material, human and social resources.
But, there are racial and ethnic disparities, when it comes to parents and their education
level. As you can see here, twenty-three percent
of black children lived with a mother who had attained, at least, a Bachelor’s degree
and only twenty-seven percent live with fathers who had a Bachelor’s degree.
So, what we know is that ethnic minority students are more likely than other students to be
first generation students on our campus. And then, a piece that I want to point out
is that, statistically, we’re seeing that over seventy percent of black children are
born to unwed mothers. So, it’s quite possible that the majority
of these students are also coming from single parent homes.
So, you can see on the slides, there’re challenges for first generation students.
I won’t go too far into that higher education literature, but it’s there and there’re
a few things that I want to point out. This task can be really daunting for parents
and for students. If you have no idea of how this process works,
and how to get into college, and what to do and who to talk to, it becomes overwhelming.
And, you make specific decisions about what you’re going to do based on how you respond
to not having that knowledge. But, we know, college skills are not being
passed down from family members to our students, many of our students that we’re working
with. All right, so just really quickly.
So, first generation students, some of the things that higher education literature is
going to tell us is that they receive far less emotional, informational, financial support
from their parents than continuing generation students.
Many of them have self-doubt, guilt. They feel like an imposter, that they’re
out of place on our campuses. They have doubt about their academic abilities.
One piece that I think is really important and that I also found, working with student-athletes that I work with, was that some of them feel guilty about having the opportunity to attend
college when their parents or other family members were not able to do so.
They think that somehow having a college degree will make them different and not necessarily
in a good way from their parents, their family, and their friends.
And, I think earlier, the presentation, you know, being the only thug in the hood with
a college degree, you know, it sets you apart. It makes you different.
But, if you don’t know that it actually makes you different in a positive way, you don’t
really know what you have. And so, again, I won’t touch on every single
one of these, but this is something that I think we need to address.
So, those of you who work with student-athletes or maybe do research, you’re saying, “Well,
wait a minute, wait a minute, student-athletes are different.
And that’s one reason why, I think, we need to do a little bit more time, commit some
time to doing some research on first generation student-athletes independent from first generation
students. Because I think there are some unique differences,
but, to a certain extent, yeah, they’re different.
But, I don’t think we should assume that they don’t have some of these same feelings
and don’t experience some of these same things as first generation students.
Even though they have a cavalry of people around them, they may still feel isolated.
They may still feel guilty and lost, like they don’t know what to do on campus.
So, we know, at some universities, graduation rates for student-athletes, as a collective,
are higher than the general student population. Athletes, who are being recruited, they have
the support and guidance of their coaches. Right, yeah, we saw that in some of our presentations
here too. And other community members, who are looking
out for them, they want to get them to college; they want to help them get there.
And I’d even agree that athletes and their families may have access to more resources
than just any other student in a high school merely because they are athletes.
So, yes, but having access to those and resources and having those resources there and not knowing
how to take advantage of those resources are two totally different things.
The story that I told you before about the mother; she, at the very least, had myself,
the kid’s high school coach, our college coaches to help her navigate this process.
And, perhaps, there are students, who are not student-athlete, who their parents are
going “wait on hold for financial aid to ask questions” or “wait on hold for the
admissions office” or have to make multiple visits to campus to get their questions answered
when some of our student-athlete’s parents, especially when they’re top-priority recruits
can make a phone call and all of us are going to answer because we want to answer those
questions for them. So, why does this stuff matter, as it relates
to recruiting? I’m going to assume that most of us kind
of have a basic understanding of what recruiting is and what that process is like.
But, the recruiting timeline, the rules and regulations, technology, media coverage and
travel; these things have changed recruiting over the course of the last ten-fifteen years.
Harper, Williams, & Blackman, right, they noted, they talked about this recruitment
and about the coaches are out here. They’re scouting talent.
They’re making partnerships with high school coaches.
They’re spending time, making one-on-one relationships, with these athletes, with their
families. They’re going in their homes.
We have junior days. We have special days that we bring them to
campus. And, we’re going all over the country; in
some teams, all over the world to find the best talent that we can find.
So, what I really believe is when we talk about coaches and recruiting is that they’re
crafting messages about academics, we’re using academics to sell our programs, we are pulling parents
in by saying, “Ms. Baker.” So, I have a son.
This is a little background. I have a son.
“Ms. Baker, Reese is going to come to this university. I’m going to make sure he goes
to class. I’m going to make sure he, you know, gets a degree. We’re going to make sure he makes you proud.”
That’s what we’re selling when we recruit. I just was watching “First Take” the other
day. Larry Brown was on there.
He made a comment and I went back and recorded it.
And, I was like, “Write this down.” And he was talking about when he was recruited
and he said his coach recruited his mother. That’s how he got to the campus that he
got to. So, we know recruiting budgets, right, they’re
spending up to three million dollars. We’re spending that much on recruiting football
players. Okay?
So, we’re putting a lot of money into this. It’s very much a science.
These coaches know what they’re doing. It’s very much a process.
And so, really quickly, before I run out of time here.
The opportunities; always got to get to this. There’re lots of challenges, but there’re
some opportunities that, I think, we have. I really think that we can work to educate
parents so that they’re more prepared for this recruiting process and more prepared
to help their children through this college decision-making process.
I know we mentioned earlier some of the things about the transfer rates. Okay?
There’s a lot of reasons why athletes transfer, and it’s not always about academics.
Sometimes, it has to do with playing time, the coaches, and things like that.
But, we need to be making better decisions of where we’re going to school.
We can’t just go there because coach is going to make me start.
Everybody thinks they’re going to start. Every coach tells you, “You’re going to
start.” Nobody wants to remember that most freshmen,
in football, are redshirted. But, go ask a senior in high school right now.
He’s all, “I’m starting four years. I’m going to be a four year starter.”
It’s very much ingrained and we think and we believe it.
So, this is what I suggest and recommend: I think we need to have candid discussions
with black students and their families related to these issues surrounding the college decision
making and the recruitment process before they get to college; when they are in middle
school, when they are in high school. We have to talk about this earlier.
Family members need to be familiar with resources available for students, so that they can encourage their children to take advantage of them if they need them.
Parents should be encouraged and assisted, so that they can help their children access
resources. Offering workshops at the individual school
levels and at school district levels is important. Letting them know about rule changes.
Letting them know how that’s going to impact their child.
The College Bound Student-Athlete Guide is great, but they need information that’s
very much specifically related to how those changes may impact their child.
And so, at the college level-that’s my time, but give me one second-at the college level,
I think, we need to open up dialogue with parents.
Those of you who are academic advisors in the building probably will understand some
of this, but-excuse me-there are privacy rules that I had, as it related to my student-athletes.
But, if I saw a parent at a game or on campus, I made sure to open up a line of communication.
These kids come from backgrounds. They come from homes.
They have loved ones. So, if things are going on at home, it’s
going to impact them on campus. And sometimes, those conversations helped me when
I was working with those students. And, we have to be willing to talk with parents,
not only to let them know that we’re going to help their child, but, if they need assistance
from us, we will help them. So, for research, we need to look at this
a little bit more and see exactly what role and how we can help parents help their student-athletes
be better prepared for the recruitment process. Thank you. So, I want to start off this morning with
a quote. And, we all know about Kevin Durant and the
fact that he won the NBA MVP Award. But, at the end of his speech, he said, “We
wasn’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put
clothes on our back, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You
went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
Now, he was saying this to his mother. Now, I want you to think about this quote
as I go through the rest of this presentation. So, in family research, more psychology, family
therapy research, there’s this notion of felt-obligation.
And, essentially, what felt-obligation is the responsibilities that a child has or that
they feel that they have towards a parent if that parent becomes older or infirmed,
not willing to be able to take care of themselves, and things of that nature.
And what this research also shows is that some of the main elements of felt-obligation
are a sense of duty to assist, to get involved in personal sharing, things of that nature
when it comes to having an obligation towards a parent.
So, more research talks about the elements of felt-obligation from just a child-parent
dynamic. But, this is going to flow into athletics
here in a second. But, essentially, when it comes to children
from minority backgrounds, they feel more of a sense of obligation to their parents
than from those who are from white backgrounds. And so, also, they experience a higher level
of pressure when it comes to this feeling of obligation.
Another thing, also, when it comes to younger adults, so let’s just say between the ages
of eighteen and twenty-five, you feel even more pressure to be obligated to your parent
that those people who are, say, middle aged helping older parents.
So, this is what a lot of the felt-obligation research talks about and essentially what’s
a phenomenon that was studied back in the mid to late ‘60s and it’s still being
studied today in family literature. So, I’m tying this into social support because
this is what we know about black student-athletes and social support.
Most of their social support comes from families and coaches.
And, if these elements of social support are what are necessary for student-athletes to be
successful in college, then how does the role of felt-obligation change that?
So, essentially, again, the focus here is the necessity for social support, but then
felt-obligation can be an issue moving forward with athletes.
Okay? So, let’s think of some examples that we’ve
seen in the media. Let’s go with the Dallas Cowboys and Tyron
Smith. The situation that he had with parents in
which he essentially cut them off because they were asking for more than what he was willing
to give them. He said that his mom had asked for a home
and he was okay to do that. But, instead of giving her a $300,000 dollar
home, in which he was going to do, she demanded an $800,000 dollar home with the cars and
all of those things like that. He was saying, “Well, I don’t want to
do that because I’m trying to get my finances in order. I’m one of the youngest players
in the NFL. I just signed a big contract. I want to make sure that things are right.”
So, essentially, he said, “I’m not going to do that.”
And so, he cut his family off and his family started to blame his girlfriend because she got involved
and things like that. And so, here it goes.
You see a lot-exactly, no, that’s true-so, you see a lot of athletes in the media, especially
college athletes. And, bringing it back to the first session
which a lot of athletes were talking about-former athletes-were talking about the pressures
that you have in college. You think about it.
Most athletes, and black student-athletes in general, who want to make it in the professional
standing, have this notion of becoming pro to be able to help their families.
They want to be able to take care of their parents.
You see it in the NFL drafts when players say; “I can take care of my family now.
I can provide for them. I can do these things.” Well, let’s think about obligation for a
second from an athletic standpoint. If you have this obligation, or you feel like
you have this obligation towards a parent or a friend, or somebody that’s close to
you, let’s think about the issues that that can cause.
So, we talk a lot about the graduation rates, the one-and-done phenomenon, athletes not
staying in college to get their education. We know that we have them, but most of them,
as was previously mentioned by other presenters here, want to go into professional sports.
Well, if you’re obligated to take care of someone and that’s your only focus then
you’re going to want to leave school early. You probably won’t focus on your academics.
We talk about the issues of athletes, and not just necessarily drugs, occasional/recreational
drugs, but drugs to, performance-enhancing drugs, things like that that they can get
involved with. The lack of self-identity, lower self-esteem,
if all of your concern is about someone else and not you, as the athlete, then these are
the problems that could be faced if you are involved with a lot of felt-obligation.
So, what can we do about this? So, this is a concept that me and Andrew McGee,
who was the strength and conditioning life skills development coordinator at West Virginia
University wanted to implement at WVU. And so, essentially, it will be a series of
studies that are focused on developing the athlete in and of itself.
And the first study to kickoff is the felt obligation among student-athletes.
So, essentially, what this study is going to be about is to have focus groups involved
with athletes who are wanting to discuss the pressures that they feel in being successful
as an athlete at a university if those pressures, if at all, lead to their lack of wanting to
be in school as was shown earlier. One of the athletes at Ohio State was talking
about how he doesn’t understand why school is important because we’re not here to play
for school. But, essentially, what causes that thought
process? Why do they think that way if obligation is
on of the reasons they feel they have to move forward?
And, so, with the implementation of GREATER, GREATER will be a mentoring program that will
help with this as well as other issues that college athletes deal with.
So, to understand the acronym of GREATER . . . The G stands for growth, R responsibility,
engagement, awareness, trust, execution, results. These acronyms then will be the support system
necessary for athletes to properly matriculate in their process of going through college.
So, of course, there will be mentoring. There will be leadership training, social
interaction, mental and mindfulness training. And, I want to stop here at organizational
can and family like activities because that will actually be the second part of the study
that will be conducted and implemented in the mentoring program.
So, in a lot of family research, organizational can is known as the process in which you develop
a family like relationship in a voluntary organization.
And so, essentially, sport teams are characterized as organizations.
So, your head coach can be the CEO. Upper level players can be like mid-managers.
Freshmen, sophomores coming in can be those who are just entering into the job force.
So, essentially, understanding how these relationships are formed within the team will be necessary
in developing a mentoring program. So, you may have a player who considers a
coach like a father figure. You may have a player who considers, a freshmen
or sophomore who considers a senior as if they are brother.
And so, if you have that relationship among these players, then I will believe you can,
essentially, develop an effective mentoring program.
And so, the phases of GREATER are greatly related to what we previously heard from our
presenters. We understand that the transition process
into college is one of the most important aspects for athletes.
Okay? And so, with GREATER, all of the issues and
ethics have to deal with coming into college. GREATER will stand in the gap to assign mentors
at that point in time to help them transition properly.
The second phase is for the overall development.While going through college, while having all of
the issues that you deal with, the stereotypes that you have in the classroom, the just coping
with college in and of itself, especially being some black athletes who are from lower
income areas in predominately white institutions, this will serve as a development process and
a place for athletes to grow. And lastly, which is very important, the exit
strategy. There is nothing, as we’ve heard
at this point in time, that has helped athletes exit into their professional careers.
We think about, again, the athletes who want to go pro, but there are a number that don’t.
So, essentially, this element of GREATER will help with the interview process, training,
things like that that will, essentially, help these athletes grow.
And, in conclusion, this is a structure that will initially be implemented with the football
team, but will actually grow into all the athletic programs at the university as well.
Thank you for your time.

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