More and more discussion has become centered around what white privilege is. But very little dialogue has taken place around white privilege in college sports and the labor of African-American athletes on the football and basketball teams who make it possible for other sports to exist at universities.
So, as college football season begins in a couple weeks, I reflected back on my time at the University of Washington while playing on the women’s golf team.
For a good 20 years of my life, I was a competitive golfer. I played on a full athletic scholarship and eventually turned pro, playing a short while on the LPGA and developmental tours.
While it is no secret golf is made up of a majority of white men, I never fully recognized the privilege I had to play on a golf scholarship, and this realization came to me after reading a Facebook post from another white woman who I used to play on tour with: “If college is free for everyone, then it will be equivalent to a high school degree,” she lamented.
My first reaction was, “But you went to school for free on an athletic scholarship . . . also, your parents are millionaires.”
Then I wondered, “How do golf programs exist at universities?”
In 2011, when Washington’s football program went 0-11 for the season, the football program made a profit of close to $15 million. The basketball program, which did very well that year, pocketed around $6 million.
As one can imagine, when a basketball or football team wins a Bowl game or makes it into the Final Four, the financial stakes are considerably higher — not just for the schools, but for the NCAA itself.
So it should surprise no one that during March Madness in 2016, the NCAA raked in close to $1 billion in three weeks from ad revenue, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and media rights.
While it is no secret that the basketball and football programs at universities can make a ton of money for schools, there are also…