Monday, December 21, 2009

NCAA is the Great Scam of the 21st Century

Read More: Education, Florida State University, Football, NCAA, Seminoles, Sports, Student, University

Educational mission of NCAA is great scam of 21st century

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

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According to the ESPN Show "Outside the Lines," the Florida State Seminoles appear to be about everything except education.

In order to win games and make millions, football players are having their majors chosen for them, and many athletes are being conveniently misdiagnosed as learning disabled. One recent episode stated that one-half of all Florida State University football players and three-fourths of their African-American athletes are Social Science majors (indicative of major clustering). One of the academic counselors said that when she started her tenure, there were 15 football players tagged as learning disabled. That number has since spiked to 65.

When the allegations were released, Florida State University started backpedaling faster than an NFL defensive back. The NCAA has done its usual grandstanding, detaching itself from the Seminoles, as if this doesn't also happen at nearly every other campus under its domain.

But the truth is that this behavior is not uncommon. If you think that Florida State University is the only NCAAschool to engage in such destructive and irresponsible behavior, then you need to be educated on how many campuses now do business. College athletes, many of them African-American, are brought to college as hired guns, under the guise of getting an education. The entire charade is sustained for the sake of helping the NCAAmaintain its multi-billion dollar professional sports league.

Yes, I said professional, not amateur. Any league that earns money on par with the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB is a professional sports league. NCAA coaches, commentators and administrators - mostly white - earn six and seven figure salaries while simultaneously robbing athletes of their educations, their futures, and the money that they and their families have earned. In order to avoid paying taxes on their revenue, the NCAA spends millions on marketing to convince us that their multi-million dollar corporate extravaganzas are polite little weekend activities that students barely remember to keep on their schedules. All the while, Tyrone Smith attends four years of college and doesn't even learn how to read.

For the NCAA, the educational mission of their professional sports league is one of the great scams of the 20th and 21st centuries, no different from the Ponzi schemes of Bernie Madoff. It is a convenient illusion, like Tiger's wife using the golf club to "save him from a car accident."


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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cynthia McKinney’s Open Letter to Syracuse University about Dr. Boyce Watkins


Chancellor Cantor:

I write this letter with fond memories of interactions with the wonderful students at Syracuse University.  While on your campus, I found the students to be both thoughtful and welcoming:  perfect for a university campus.

I write to lend my full support for Dr. Boyce Watkins and his tenure application at Syracuse University.  Dr. Watkins has raised the profile of Syracuse University as he informs our national community on money matters as well as matters of the conscience.  And at this particular time in our country's history, financial literacy must be viewed as an important life skill.  Dr. Boyce is doing for America what he does in Syracuse University classrooms every class meeting period.  So why would Syracuse University not want such a prolific and publicly appealing face as its representative?

Ultimately, Dr. Boyce must be judged by what he does in the classroom and in publications.  Does Dr. Boyce elevate Syracuse University and does he elevate his field?  Dr. Boyce demonstrates "academics in action" and makes scholarship relevant.  Why should Dr. Boyce's scholarship and activism (which elevates Syracuse University) not be rewarded by a grant of tenure from Syracuse University?

As a former Member of Congress and Green Party candidate for President of the United States, I realize that political complexities can play a role in the decision to grant tenure to faculty on most American campuses. As I have just concluded successful organizing against war that brought together four 2008 Presidential candidates, I am reminded of the clean break that Dr. King had to make with his friends of the civil rights movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War.  But Dr. King intoned that he had been fighting segregation too long to segregate his moral concerns.  Your decision with respect to Dr. Boyce is both political and moral.  And so, I will end with one very famous Dr. King quote and hope that the leadership of Syracuse University will do in this decision what is right:

"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right."

Cynthia McKinney


The President’s Grade for 2009

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

The other night on the Oprah Winfrey Christmas special, President Barack Obama made an unwise move. When asked what grade he deserves as president, Obama gave himself a B+. Giving himself a grade was not necessarily the best decision, since there are over 300 million Americans who then realized that they should be giving him grades as well.
So, allow me to be the first to provide our president with a grade for his performance. I've been giving grades to college students for the last 16 years, and one thing my students will tell you is that I am fair. My other argument is that I never actually GIVE you a grade; I simply report the grade that you've earned.
1) Handling of the Economy (B-): President Obama is better than John McCain ever could have been when it comes to managing our economic downturn. The problem is that while the president has spiraled our deficit out of control, our nation has yet to see any concrete evidence that the economy's fundamental strength has returned. He has made an enemy out of Wall Street by grandstanding around executive pay issues, but he has lost the backing of Main Street because job losses continue to mount. That's the problem with always reaching across the isle: Sometimes, you don't have firm support on either side of it. The president's inability to translate massive spending into real jobs is going to cost him big time.
2) Management of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (B): On one hand, the president must face the stern reality that you can't just walk out of a war in the middle of it. We all know that Bush got us into these messes, and Obama must get us out. At the same time, Obama pledged to get us out of the wars faster than he is actually doing it, and it is incredibly awkward for a man to accept a Nobel Peace Prize while simultaneously escalating the troop presence in an occupied country. Sure Obama didn't give himself the Nobel Prize, but he still must be held accountable.


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Students Voice Their Thoughts on Dr. Boyce’s Tenure Battle

Reported in the SU Student Voice.

The Rev. Al Sharpton has written the chancellor in support of Watkins, right

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney have now thrust themselves into the debate over Boyce Watkins’ tenure appeal, The Student Voice has learned.

Three days after the Rev. Al Sharpton sent Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor a letter in support of Whitman professor Boyce Watkins’ pending tenure appeal case, Jackson told Watkins that he wanted to get involved. Watkins sent SV writer Naresh Vissa a text message early this morning saying Jackson wants to speak with Cantor as soon as possible.

Watkins and Cantor are scheduled to meet today to discuss Watkins’ future at the university after he was denied tenure, first reported in The Student Voice.

And McKinney, the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008, wrote what Watkins called “the most astonishing letter in support of my tenure case” to SU administration yesterday. Prominent African-American syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux has also voiced her support for Watkins.


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where Eric Holder Got it Wrong

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Elliot Millner brought it to my attention that Attorney General Eric Holder has been apparently spending a lot of time with Bill Cosby these days. In a recent speech at a black church in Queens, NY, Holder took a page out of the Barack Obama Campaign Catalog and chose to win favors with the black middle class by recklessly bashing away at absentee fathers and returning to the whole "ya'll just need to grow up and be more responsible" argument that allows any politician to explain away a blatant disregard for meaningful public policy. Rather than talking about things that we can do as a society to take our collective foot off the necks of black men, he chose to say that black men are choosing to put the foot on their own necks.
Elliot Millner, who is also in the legal profession, intelligently said the things that I am sure Eric Holder wanted to say. But unlike Holder, Millner is not constrained by the political shackles that come with being an appointed leader in a society that makes a habit of oppressing, destroying and marginalizing black men.
In his speech, Holder said that, "It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."
That quote is a nice way of reflecting on the obvious. It's sort of like saying, "It should be unacceptable for a black man to become the Attorney General of the United States and not play an integral part in helping other black men overcome the blatantly racist and destructive justice system over which you preside."

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Eric Holder Attacks Black Fathers: Was it the Right Thing to Do?

by Elliot Millner, J.D. – Your Black World 

Attorney General Eric Holderrecently spoke at a Black church in Queens, NY, and during his speech he gave Black fathers another talking to, stating that:
"It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."
Sounds good on face value. Who doesn't think that any man who has a child should play a vital role in that child's growth and development? A.G. Holder is 100% right on that point, and I have no disagreement with him whatsoever.
However lets look beyond the truthfulness of the words. When communicating, there are many other factors to consider other than what is being said. So, let's consider the question: If a person is truly concerned about promoting the increased participation of Black father's in their children's lives, what would that person do? Seemingly, a person sincere about achieving that goal would go speak to the people most in need of that talk, in this case Black fathers who were not being responsible for the children they had helped bring into the world. Although I'm sure it may have been some people in Memorial Presbyterian Church who were being negligent in their parental duties, I doubt that A.G. Holder's message applied to the majority of them.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Dr. Boyce on CNN: Tiger Woods and Race

Dr. Boyce and Don Lemon wonder out loud whether there is a racial dimension to the media slaughter of Tiger Woods.

The “OJ Simpsonization” of Tiger Woods: Could it Possibly Happen?

Tiger Woods has slipped from Obama to OJ

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Tiger Woods is a black athlete. He isn't "Caublinasian," mixed or any other ethnicity. He is, officially, a black man - especially after being reduced to being an adulterer who sleeps with porn stars. At least that's what guests on the Joy Behar Show seem to think.

During a recent episode, a guest on the show, Karith Foster, was asked what she thought about Tiger's recent indiscretions. In response to the question, the comedian said (without cracking a smile) that Tiger is "acting like a black athlete now."

I was shocked to hear these words come out of the mouth of any person, let alone an African-American woman. Dr. Deborah Stroman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first person to bring the comments to my attention. She and I both agreed that the statement was an outrageous, irresponsible choice of words, and the host should have challenged her immediately. But Foster's comments might be telling, given that she once relegated herself to being the token black sidekick of a man (Don Imus) famous for referring to black women as "nappy headed hoes." Foster was fired not too long after being hired, which reminds us of the complications that come from making deals with the devil just to keep a job in media.

Needless to say, I was disappointed with Ms. Foster's remarks. I also found it quite ironic that no one went out of their way to compare Woods with other black men when he was the clean cut soldier boy with the billion dollar smile. At that time, he was considered the exception to the rule, something that all of America could easily embrace. Some have decided to associate the "black male" side of Tiger with the seedy character who has emerged over the past two weeks. Such comparisons are insulting to good black men everywhere. At the same time, it should be acknowledged that not every American shares the opinion of Karith Foster.

Let's be clear, Tiger Woods is not seedy, nor is he perfect. In reality, he is simply human. The problem is that we were all led to believe that he was super human, so the Tiger we are seeing today appears sub-human. Tiger Woods was the original Barack Obama, a man who injected hope into the psyches of sports fans everywhere, as we were all inspired to see a man with a brown face whipping the greatest golfers in history. Even to this day, Tiger is usually the only man of color on the golf course, and he is almost always the most dominant.

It will be interesting to see how the world processes Tiger's recent mistakes. It is not inconceivable that Tiger could be "OJ Simpsonized" by this incident, especially if additional dirt is leaked to the public. If you recall, OJ was also an athlete who'd been given permission to spend a significant amount of time with white women before the murder took place. After his trial, however, he was considered to be the most morally depleted man in America.


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Friday, December 11, 2009

Tiger Woods Quitting Golf?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

The British Tabloid, the Sun, is now reporting on it's website that Tiger Woods, the #1 player in the world, may be quitting golf in order to save his marriage. According to a source, said to be a friend of Tiger's wife, Elin Nordegren, ""They have agreed to try and rebuild their marriage, but Elin will be the one calling the shots. It will be a long time before he's traveling the globe playing golf unless Elin's by his side. Tiger will have to work long and hard to get her to trust him again. Quitting golf shows he is willing to sacrifice something he loves so much to protect his family....."
If Tiger Woods were to quit the game of golf, a long list of people stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Here's the short list:

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

OK, Time to Leave Tiger Alone

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Tiger Woods has changed right before our eyes.  He was once an American hero, and has been since reduced (to many) to be a no good, dirty, lying, cheating dog.  Tiger now comes off to some as a typical oversexed athlete who can’t keep his you-know-what in his pants and makes it his job to break women’s hearts.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  If you hate Tiger Woods, then join the club.  I am disappointed in Tiger Woods too.

But it’s time to move on from that.  Tiger is better than this and so are we.  Yes, Tiger Woods appears to be a man with a “complicated” lifestyle, but he is also a man who found a way to achieve things that no human being in the history of the world has ever been able to accomplish.  He has carried the banner for African American golf on his shoulders and single-handedly beat the living crap out of hundreds of other participants in an historically racist sport.  He was Barack Obama before Barack came along.  Tiger filled us with hope and made us believe that black people could do anything.

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Dr. Boyce on AOL Black Voices – 12/10/09

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SU Students Speak Out on Behalf of Dr. Watkins and his Battle with Syracuse University

Watkins, a finance professor at SU, is ignored by the administration.

By Naresh Vissa

In January 2007, college student Heather Ellis and her cousin stood in two lines at Wal-Mart. They agreed that the first to reach a register would combine the items for purchase. When the African-American Ellis gave her cousin the groceries, bystanders behind complained that she had cut. After some verbal exchanges, Ellis walked to her car and found the police waiting to arrest her. She tried her best to resist and suffered numerous cuts and bruises in the process.

Today, Ellis should be in medical school. Instead, she has pled guilty to charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.

The case was covered by CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Good Morning America, The Today Show and every major black media outlet in America. Even more importantly, Syracuse University is connected to it, but hasn’t issued any statements. As a producer of two radio shows, I myself find it embarrassing that I discovered Ellis through a press release pitch e-mail I received.

At the forefront of all the outrage is Whitman School of Management Finance Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins, but it’s not getting any attention from SU administrators.

“I’ve come to accept the fact that the University is not appreciative of my work,” Watkins said. “It’s part of their tradition when it comes to progressive black scholars. If I’d learned to sit down and shut up, I might be treated better. Quiet Negroes do quite well in academia.”

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

What We Can Learn from Shaq’s Alleged Cheating

by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 


It seems that NBA star Shaquille O'neal, like many other athletes, has a personal life that no one knows about. The has released exclusive text messages between Shaquille and his mistress, Latosha Lee. I am noticing a trend here: People are starting to find out that athletes are not always one-woman people. But are you actually surprised? In fact, do you ever wonder why anyone would consider marrying an athlete in the first place? But then again, we also know that not every athlete is going to be unfaithful and not every unfaithful man is an athlete. Either way, both Shaquille O'neal and Tiger Woods are in the middle of major marital drama.

In the text messages, Shaq's personal life is put on blast.

The messages are long and drawn out, with an awkward reading from bottom to top. During the conversation, the two lovers describe their travel arrangements and Latosha's relationship with NBA baller
Damien Wilkins (nephew of Dominique Wilkins). They also have an argument about a purse that Latosha wants from Shaq, but that he is not willing to buy her. If you like drama, then you can find it here.

But above and beyond the drama (remember, I analyze and find teachable moments in everything), there are some other thoughts that went through my mind:


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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiger Woods and His Interracial Marriage: The Writing on the Wall

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Today while hanging out with Rev. Al Sharpton in the studio, I found my mind reflecting deeply on the recent drama between Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren. In spite of the fact that I was sitting next to the man who epitomizes race relations in America, no one brought up the fact that Tiger Woods is involved in an inter-racial marriage. It wasn't because we were afraid to go there, it was just that there were more pressing issues to discuss.

In spite of the fact that Rev. Sharpton and I discussed everything except for the fact that Tiger's wife is white, one of the callers slammed the issue on the table like a five pound slab of raw chicken. The caller made the old OJ Simpson argument: "Had he been with a sister, none of this would have happened."

While I don't agree with the caller's assertion (we know that marital drama knows no racial boundaries), I found it interesting that some of the black women in the studio smirked and looked at the floor, as if to say, "I hear ya girl." These smirks were not built on agreeing with what the woman said, but rather, on the disappointment and resentment that many black women have felt about the fact that Tiger Woods almost never seemed to show any interest in African American females. Unlike guys like myself, who admire Tiger for his achievements, I know a long list of black women who could care less if Tiger were to take his golf clubs and jump off the side of a 10-story building.

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