By Adam Schrager
Something was troubling ESPN and ABC television col-
lege basketball announcer Dick Vitale as he leaned back in his
chair and awaited his dinner. He wasn't worried about his
chicken soup or his ham and cheese sandwich, but instead
about what he felt was the major problem concerning college
"I think you have to look first at Proposition 48," Vitale
said. "That bothers me dearly. (The affected athlete) carries the
sign of a stigma around his neck. It's like telling everyone 'I
didn't get a 700 on my SAT.' All this is totally unfair."
Proposition 48, which until recently prohibited athletes
who did not meet particular academic requirements (specifically
a 700 on their Scholastic Aptitude Test and a 2.0 grade-point
average in a required curriculum) from practicing, working, or
playing with their respective teams their first year at school,
has always been controversial. But with the addition of Pro-
posal 42 at the annual NCAA convention last week, student-
athletes will no longer be allowed to receive any financial aid
during the year they are declared ineligible.
"Proposal 42 is absolutely ludicrous and will open up an
entire Pandora's box," Vitale exclaimed. "We will see cheating
to get financial aid and cheating with SAT tests."
Proposal 42 has also added to charges that Proposition 48
"It is just discriminatory," said Vitale. "There is no ques-
tion in my mind that it discriminates against Black kids. 90
percent of the people affected are Black. They should have the
chance to fulfill their dream too."
There is no doubt of the controversy last Wednesday's
tightening of Proposition 48 has caused. Last Saturday,
Georgetown head basketball coach John Thompson walked off
the court following the tipoff of his team's conference game
with Boston College, in protest of the rule.
Thompson, who did so with both the consent of his 15
players-who offered to join him - and the school's presi-
dent, has always been a staunch opponent of the rule. But he
never felt compelled to act before now.
"In moral conscience, I feel it is my responsibility to take a
stand," said Thompson, who coached the United States
Olympic basketball team to a bronze medal in the 1988 Sum-
mer Games. "I'm beginning to feel that a kid with a low so-
cio-economic background has been invited to dinner, had
dessert and is now being asked to leave."
Thompson said that while he supports core curriculum and
a minimum GPA of 2.0, he does not support SAT scores
"which have been proven to be culturally biased."
It is this "cultural bias" that has caused many Division I
coaches and players to be against Proposition 48. Many have
said it is impossible for people who live in the inner cities and
do not have the education offered in the suburbs to do well on
the SAT. Furthermore, it has been stated that most of these
inner-city residents happen to be Black.
"These educators just didn't know what the hell they were
doing. They even went so far as to get some Blacks to vote for
it," said Temple basketball coach John Chaney of the
Proposition 48 rule passed by the NCAA in 1983, which went
into effect in 1985-86.
"It's wrong, absolutely
wrong. First of all, the young-
ster affected comes from a poor"
educational background because Pro posth
he comes from a poor eco-
nomic background," Chaney 1986
said. "He has been victimized
by a poor early education and
labeled an educational failure-
by his test score."
"Temple has a mission to
educate the masses. Temple
does not have the same mis-
sion as Notre Dame, Duke,
Harvard, Princeton, or Stan- 1
ford," continued Chaney, who b
(along with Thompson) is one Pr
of the two most influential of
Black head coaches in college af
Schrager is an Associate
basketball today. "I interpret what they're saying
as, 'We don't want poor blacks.'... I believe the tests are
valid - they're all we have - but the use of the tests is
wrong. For Blacks, Proposition 48 is the most damaging leg-
Even though the NCAA uses the test scores to determine
where students are placed, officials admit the cultural biases
that stem from the exam.
"The testing services will admit (the SAT) has a socio-eco-
nomic bias built into it," said NCAA Executive Director Dick
Schultz. "There is a segment of the population this discrimi-
After looking at the facts surrounding the issue, this bias
becomes evident. In 1986, the NCAA sent out a survey to ev-
ery Division I institution in the country. Of the 88 percent
that responded, there were 599 students who were partial quali-
fiers, meaning they failed at least one of the Proposition 48
Of those 599, 400, or two out of three, were Black.
In 1987, only 70 percent of the Division I institutions re-
sponded to the survey, but the results were basically the same.
There were 457 partial qualifiers, of which 297, or almost two
out of three, were Black.
That same 1987 survey showed that 9,597 athletic scholar-
ships were given in the country. Of these, 7,444 were given to
whites and only 1,965 were given to Blacks. This results in a
ratio of one of every 6.6 Blacks unable to participate in athlet-
ics, while only one of every 53.1 white athletes would be af-
fected by the rule.
While Proposition 48 is most publicized as affecting men's
basketball, it also notably affects women's basketball and col-
lege football. In fact, the ratio in all sports of exceptions is
two Blacks for every one white.
The Chicago Sun-Times ran an article in October, 1986
concerning the inner-city women's basketball students from
Chicago, and how they would have fared under the Proposition
48 rule. The Sun-Times reported that of the 12 Division I
signees, all of whom were Black, only two would have quali-
"I can understand the problems with Proposition 48," said
Northwestern women's basketball coach Don Perrelli. "I see it
every day in my recruiting. Especially at a school like ours,
where our academic standards are high, we don't take Proposi-
tion 48 victims. Believe me, I miss out on a lot of talent that
"When I played at Northwestern, I saw some talent in
Chicago that was unbelievable," said Wisconsin women's
basketball head coach Mary Murphy. "But a lot of those
women were not academically oriented. Unfortunately, due to
poor educational facilities, most of them were Black."
The article reported that college football has also been hit
hard by the Proposition 48 rule. In Illinois, 30 of the top 100
football players in the state in 1986 would have been academi-
cally ineligible, and 55 percent of them were Black. In fact,
not one member of the East St. Louis-Lincoln state and na-
tional football champion passed every qualification to play
Chicago Martin Luther King high school basketball coach
Landon Cox was scolded by the Chicago Board of Education
when he stated publicly that 90 percent of Public League
Players, coaches label it racist, but NCAA
officials deem it academically necessary
(mainly inner-city schools) athletes would never play in col-
lege, not because of lack of talent, but because of lack of edu-
But in order to understand the impact on Blacks, it is im-
perative to look at the college basketball ranks. In 1986-87, 80
students were test-exceptions in not qualifying to play college
basketball. Of these, 73 (or 91 percent) were Black. Last year,
while there are no available official statistics, many media
outlets including NBC have said that college basketball
casualties were 97 percent Black.
Michigan, one of the schools sponsoring the Proposition
48 rule when it was passed in 1983, was probably hit the
hardest when the rule took effect in 1985. Football player Vada
Murray and basketball players Terry Mills and Rumeal Robin-
son were unable to pass the requirements which would have
enabled them to play their first-year with the Wolverines.
Since then, there have been no more victims to attend this
"The Prop 48 rule is a terrible rule," said Michigan basket-
ball coach Bill Frieder. "You single people out and say this
kid's a dummy or this one's a dummy. You look at both Terry
Mills and Rumeal Robinson and they are no dummies. With
the way things are now, you've got kids who sat out that are
in better academic standing than those who haven't. Cases in
point are Mills and Robinson."
While both Robinson and Mills are surviving fine
academically at Michigan, there are other schools and other
conferences that are feeling the bite of the new rule. When
passed in 1983, the commissioners of both the Southeastern
Conference - including academic institutions such as Vander-
bilt - and the Southwestern Conference - with a school like
Rice- predicted that 50 percent of all their athletes would be
ineligible under the new rule.
The Southwestern Athletic and Mid-Eastern Conferences are
made up collectively of 14 small, Black colleges. A study done
by the conferences in the fall of 1986 predicted that 29 percent
of Blacks in the conference would be unable to play football,
while only 7 percent of whites at Division I schools would fall
under that category. And also in that conference, the study es-
timated that 26 percent of Black players would be ineligible,
while 11 percent of whites would be ineligible.
In addition to this, all of Sports Illustrated's top five "All-
Prop. 48s-in-waiting" (published before the season) are Black,
and all their top five "All-Prop. 48 returnees" are Black. With
these facts in mind, it is especially important to consider what
Proposal 42 could do to Blacks.
"It will affect 90 percent of
the kids from the inner-city,"
said Illinois basketball player
Nick Anderson, Player-of-the-
Year in Illinois and a Proposi-
tion 48 victim two years ago.
"I know that I wouldn't have
been able to afford Illinois if I
hadn't had aid. The people who
passed this rule should come
live in my neighborhood
(Chicago's South Side) and
then pass a rule as stupid as
this. I'll tell you what... that
would never happen.
"I mean we didn't have the
educational facilities that the
schools in the suburbs did.
They had everything we didn't,
like computers in their class-
rooms and other stuff," Ander-
son continued. "When it comes
right down to it, it really isn't
It is this distance between
the players/coaches and
chancellors/ presidents that has
many people wondering if what
is going on is really under- 0
"Someone needs to show a
that what is taking place is "
wrong," said Illinois head °
coach Lou Henson, responding W
to Thompson's actions at
Safety Vada Murray was t-
on Michigan to fall under I
-Need 2.0 grade-point average
well as 700 on SAT to be elig
-Passed in 1983, took effect in
'Proposal 42- An addition to
athletes not fulfilling minimur
athletic financial aid.
-In all sports, the ratio of affect
-Southeastern and Southweste
upon the rule's passing in 198
athletes would be affected.
'In 1986,50 of the top 100 hig
Illinois failed to meet the requ
-In 1986, notonememberof the
Louis Lincoln high school fool
-In 1986-87, 80 people were ii
73 were Black.
ion 48 partial qualifiers
30 other 20 other,
400 Black 297 Black
out of every 6.6 Blacks would
e unable to participate under
oposition 48, while only 1 out
every 53.1 whites would be
Junior guard Rumeal Robinson is now doing fine academically. He was ruled ineligible under Prop. 48 his first year
Weekend gaphs by MiuelCuz
See PROP 48, Page 13 Michigan Center Terry Mills fell victim to Prop. 48 in
o . _. ... _ _. J . ., _ _ .. .. ...r
PAGE 8 .WU WEEKEND/JANUARY 20.1989
WEEKEND/JANUARY 2Q 1989