The Michigan Daily-Sports Monday- February 15, 19Q
The late author and tennis great's interview
with the Daily
Blame It On Niyo
The late Arthur Ashe achieved
fame in many ways, most notably as
a tennis player. Winner of the U.S.
Open in 1968 and Wimbledon in
1975, as well as many other tourna-
ments, Ashe co-founded the Asso-
ciation of Tennis Professionals
Following his tennis career, Ashe
worked extensively, as an author
and speaker, on the obstacles facing
minority athletes. His three volume
series, A Hard Road to Glory, is
considered the definitive work on
the history of the Black athlete.
When the book was produced as a
television movie, Ashe garnered an
This interview was originally
published in the Sept. 16, 1991 edi-
tion of the Daily, before Ashe pub-
licly revealed he had AIDS.
Daily: You talk a lot about
Proposition 48, how athletes aim for
the 700 on the SAT and how they
should be aiming a little higher. Can
you discuss that a little'?
Ashe: Well, Prop 48 was a first
attempt by the NCAA to reduce the
exploitation of the Black athlete.
Let's make no mistake, Prop 48
was aimed at Black male athletes.
Zealous coaches would bring them
in, knowing that the kids in many,
many cases had no chance of gradu-
ating. But in so doing, it (Prop 48)
set as a Holy Grail an abominably
low figure. Seven hundred is laugh-
able, which is not to say that there
are not some students who if they try
very hard may have scored below
700 total on their SAT's, or around
or just below a 2.0 grade point aver-
age. And if they try very hard, yes
0 they might graduate in five years or
so, maybe. But that is a very, very
Put another way, for me the
worst blow of all is that unspoken
and unwritten in setting the mini-
mum of 700 was the idea of setting a
minimum that "even Black athletes
And so now I have used several
examples of minority high school
student athletes, who when learning
that they have taken the SAT exam
and scored over 700 the first time,
they jumped for joy. And I'm saying
to myself, "What the f--k are they
talking about here? What's going on
here?" It's ridiculous.
D: Michigan, which is generally
well regarded for its academics, I re-
call signed a recruit, and he got an
840. Now, that's great compared to
700, but an 840, they'd never look at
it in the administration office other-
A: And that's the other irony to
the situation. If you are a terrific ath-
lete and minority and you score 701
on your SAT and you have a 2.0
grade point average you are among
the most sought after people in the
country. But if you are just an aver-
age student, it doesn't matter
whether you're a minority or not and
you score 850 on your SAT and
have a 2.5, you ain't getting into the
University of Michigan.
You have a lot of Black parents
saying, "Wait a minute now. You
are showering this kid who may
have scored under 700 with all these
scholarship offers and you know he
ain't going to graduate. Now explain
D: I guess people like Rumeal
Robinson who came here and was
Prop. 48 and they discover he was
dyslexic, how much of an exception
A: He is an exception. Even
Tony Rice was an exception. He
scored 680 on his SAT and couldn't
play football at Notre Dame as a
freshman. But he has done well. You
certainly can't use those two excep-
tions, and there are very few, as ex-
amples of what could happen if you,
as John Chaney, once said, "give the
kid a chance." I'm all for giving kids
a chance, but I'd like to see them get
their chances a little earlier.
Let me put the problem another
way, obviously looking at it from
the standpoint of the Black student-
athlete. In the 300 or so Division I
schools in the NCAA, 200 or so..
have basketball and 100 super
schools that field quality teams of
both there are roughly 10,000 Black
student-athletes in football and bas-
ketball. Now if, as we hear in the
American Council on Education re-
ports, the average tuition at four-
year schools, public and private, is
$10,000 a year, the average time it
takes to graduate for anybody is
five-and-a-half years. So, if you
multiply 10,000 Black student-ath-
letes by just, say, five years, times
$10,000 per year, you come up with
a billion dollars that society has to
find every five years. -
If the graduation rate for those
students is what it is, and we're talk-
ing football slightly higher than bas-
ketball, but certainly between 18 and
25 percent in five years, it seems to
me that it doesn't take a Norman
Schwarzkopf to realize that there's a
lot of wasted money there.
Let me put it another way as I
explained it to a group of Texas so-
cial studies teachers. If society
handed a representative sample of
Black educators a check for half a
billion dollars, and said spend as you
would like, do you think they would
give it to athletes who score around
700? Hell, no.
So I am pleased that after one
year of the student's right to know
law that their schools are going to
see their names in the press with
graduation rates attached. Obvi-
ously, if those numbers are not good,
I am certain that there are going to
be some local groups saying, "What
the hell is going on here?" .
D: When you say that a lot of the
money is wasted like, that are you
blaming the universities?
A: I blame the universities for
taking advantage of the high, false,
psychic value that a lot of Black stu-
dent-athletes, especially boys, have
concerning success in sports.
We all know, for instance, that it
takes less to even entice a Black ath-
lete recruit to a school than it does a
white because Blacks usually have
less. So,they will be satisfied with
less. We're talking now, in terms of
illegal bribes. Even though it's ille-
gal for both white and Black stu-
dent-athletes, it is widely known that
it may not take much at all to entice
a Black student-athlete and his fam-
ily to go to a particular school, be-
cause they want that scholarship so
On the other hand, there's cer-
tainly some culpability in the Black
community, who continue to deify
success in sports to the detriment of
so many other things.
The occasion which will bring, in
many cases, more minority parents
to a school event is a Friday after-
noon or night football or basketball
game. You will see few of them, by
and large at, PTA meetings. There
are many reasons for that, but it's a
fact. It's something we, as African-
Americans, need to address and be
very truthful and frank about.
D: The universities do provide
the opportunity for an education. Do
you think that it's just a token oppor-
A: In a comparative sense, a stu-
dent-athlete who is in college,
whether he's attending class or not,
is probably better off then one who
is not in college. But many of the
student-athletes who do graduate are
getting degrees in very soft subjects.
And in fact, some schools have cre-
ated special majors with minimal
academic qualifications just so they
can say that some of these students
are getting degrees.
But truthfully, having that degree
even though it may be a soft subject
is certainly better than not having a
degree. And that means that you will
have attended class. You will be
much better off than you would have
had you not attended class or gotten
What I'm saying is that in gen-
eral a lot of colleges have lowered
their own standards. They have im-
pugned their own academic integrity
by trying to accommodate students
as athletes when with the same aca-
demic minimum qualifications they
(the admission officers) wouldn't
have even thought of accepting
those students. And those students
would have to go to community
college or other institution of higher
education with lower academic stan-
Grass is greener for
Picture Steve Fisher in his office on a Thursday evening in mid-
January last season....
Practice has just ended. Mercifully. Steve Fisher winces as he
mentally rewinds a tape of the afternoon session.
Hear Steve scream for execution. See Jalen throw up an off-balance
three-pointer that clangs off the rim. Hear Steve yell for patience on
offense. See Chris promptly throw an alley-oop but forget to tell anyone
it is coming.
See the gray hairs continue to multiply.
Things are going from bad to worse. The freshmen, after some early
successes, aren't listening to the coaches very much anymore. The
attention the Fab Five is drawing is suffocating the veteran players. The
coaches yell and scream in practice, trying to regain control. To no avail.
Successive road games at Illinois on Saturday and at Indiana on
Tuesday are next on the schedule for Fisher and his team. It is Martin
Luther King Jr.'s official birthday on Monday. Keep hope alive? Not
hardly. Hope is quickly turning to dismay. Expectations are not being
met, and the media is letting Fisher and Co. know.
Fisher, sitting in his office, is simply searching for answers.
Anything. The players are still mad about the night before, when they
lost to Purdue, 65-60. It was the team's second straight Big Ten loss
after opening league play with an overtime win at Iowa. And it has left
everyone wondering just what the story is with this enigma Fisher is
calling a Michigan basketball team. They were outrebounded, 40-20, by
the much smaller Boilermakers. Where was the hustle and the emotion
that this team bragged about? Or was that just talk?
Fisher flips through his phone messages now - a big stack of pink
sheets left on his desk by his secretary on her way out the door for the
day. One is marked "Urgent." It's from Jack Weidenbach. Athletic
director Jack Weidenbach. Fisher sinks back in his chair and stares out
his window. It is cold out, but there is no snow on the ground.
Everything is a shade of brown or gray.
He picks up the phone and dials the home number next to
Weidenbach's name in the rolodex. Jack answers. They talk, though
Fisher mostly listens. A few minutes later he puts down the phone. He
picks it up again and calls home. His wife, Angie, answers.
He tells her he's been fired. Assistant coach Jay Smith will be taking
over as interim coach beginning with Saturday's contest in Champaign.
Now. Of course we know that did not happen. First of all, things were
never quite that bad. They never are. Things are never quite as bad as
they seem, Fisher has said more than once, and they're never quite as
good as they seem, either.
So Steve Fisher wasn't fired. And the team righted itself on that
subsequent road trip, winning at Illinois and playing well in a loss at
Bloomington. As the season went along there were a few more
"valleys," as Fisher likes to call them, but then came the tournament and
the Final Four and the title game and...
And it could have happened at another school. Really. Steve Fisher
could have been out looking for work.
Just ask Cal's Lou Campanelli. He is out of a job right now. Forced
out, basically, because expectations weren't being met.
Suddenly, the grass on the other side doesn't look quite so green
The stability that you find at a school like Michigan you don't find
elsewhere. Sure there is pressure here - pressure to win - but not like
some other places.
No one is quite sure exactly what happened at Cal. Apparently, some
of the players complained to school officials about what is being termed
Campanelli's "abrasive coaching style." Cal athletic director Bob
Bockrath told reporters that those complaints were "part of the decision,"
See NIYO, Page 4
Manning, Harper lead
Clippers past Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -
Y :+ Danny Manning scored 22 points
and Ron Harper had 21 as the Los
Angeles Clippers beat Portland 96-
":k k 86 Sunday, extending the Trail
,l 5 5 MtBlazers' longest home losing streak
y , F since 1989 to four games.
The Blazers, who had beaten the
Clippers in Los Angeles 111-104
F two nights earlier, shot just 37 per-
d' vzcent from the field Sunday and were
one-for-eight from three-point range.
They scored a season-low 39
f= points in the second half after scor-
ing 43 in the final quarter in Los
F Angeles on Friday night.
Stanley Roberts added 20 for Los
-x.Angeles, which snapped a three-
j game losing streak. Manning hit just
Sone of his first nine shots but was
Ssix-for-nine after that.
Rod Strickland scored 16 and
Clyde Drexler 14 for Portland,
,.~''' which hadn't lost four in arow at
Memorial Coliseum since Jan.w26,
Xl 1989, just before Mike Schuler was
AP PHOTO fired as Blazers coach.
.loThe Blazers have lost five of six
Los Angeles Clipper Stanley Roberts dunks over Portland's Mark Bryant in overall and are 2-5 since allegations
the Clippers' 90-87 victory over the Trailblazers yesterday. surfaced in Salt Lake City that four
members of the team had sexual
conduct with two 16-year-old girls.
After an ugly but close first half,
the Clippers outscored the Blazers
15-2 to start the third quarter to go
ahead 63-49 on Roberts' stuff with
6:43 remaining in the period. Port-
land never got closer than five again.
Disgusted Portland coach Rick
Adelman replaced four Portland
starters at that point, leaving only
Clyde Drexler on the floor.
The Blazers then used A 9-0 run
to make it 70-65 with 2:11 left in the
quarter, but the Clippers scored the
next six points and led 76-68 after
EYE EXAMS & EYEGLASSES
e y e w e a r
ST U DENT DIS COU NTS
320 S. State St.
(Located in the lower level of
HOURS: M,TU,TH,F 9AM - 6PM
* Learn how to become a journalist
* Win a $1,500 fellowship
* Spend the summer in Florida
The Poynter Institute will teach you everything you need to know
to start as a newspaper reporter in just six weeks this summer.
You'll write and edit stories, work as a reporter on a weekly, and
As a UAC EXECUTIVE
You have the ability to make a difference
Due: March 1 st at noon