Distant Leaning and Basketball Elites

When schools were closed because of COVID-19, students were taught by Zoom and other means of distant learning. It was a system of necessity not choice. We often heard about the ills of distant learning from parents, politicians, and other pundits. There is much lacking in distant learning and all of us welcomed the return to in-person schooling.

On February 4, 2022, our local paper in Charlotte, NC carries two large, front section articles on local “Basketball academies in North Carolina.”   Both articles highlight the decisions of star basketball players leaving traditional high school for “more exposure” at schools not governed by the NC state athletic association. As one founder of one of the highlighted academies says, “They [state association] don’t get to regulate our games….”

The article centers around six academies that exist in order to give their elite basketball players exposure in order to help the players gain a converted college basketball scholarship. All the players, female and male, written about in the articles are Black; however, I am assured by one of the writers of the articles that the academies enroll players of different races. As far as I could find, none of the academies publish their race enrollment, so I assume that what I am told is accurate. However, why are all the portrayed players black?

The world of athletics is, mostly, one of institutional racism. Just examine the crowd at many sporting events and you will see predominantly White crowds watching teams of mostly Black players, especially in basketball, that are predominately owned by White men. These academies give us one more example, I suggest, of a system of White owners using Black athletes for their profit.

Now, I want any young athlete to be able to use her or his talent for success. I used mine to attend college and that changed my life. I understand that. But, I  not only wrestled, I got an education, and I hope these young people are given the same opportunity. However, at least one of the academies uses on-line learning for its players. They practice ball in the mornings and take long-distant classes in the afternoons. So much for what we learned about education during the Pandemic.

I hope these talented young athletes succeed in basketball and academics and are given the life skills required for a life of quality. But I have deep reservations because the adults involved in their lives seem to concentrate mostly on basketball.

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