Indiana U. Bans Director of All-Black Cycling Team for Alleged Recruiting Violations
The Indiana University Student Foundation, which helps run the annual Little 500 bicycle race, has banned the director of one of the cycling teams it said because he violated recruiting practices by promising scholarships to riders.
The foundation took no action against other members of Team Major Taylor, IU’s first all-Black team, and team representatives would not confirm whether they would race this year.
In 2002, former team riders reported to university officials that the team’s director, Courtney Bishop, offered them scholarships to cover tuition and room and board to ride in the Little 500, an annual bicycle race made famous in the 1979 movie “Breaking Away.”
It was a promise that the foundation said Bishop never fulfilled causing the two riders substantial debt. One rider said he was forced to transfer from IU to New York University.
Offering scholarships to participate in the race is a clear violation of the Little 500 rules, Rob Rhamy, foundation director and former race coordinator, said when the controversy started.
Bishop told the Indiana Daily Student that he disagrees with the lifetime ban, which he felt was “based on lies.”
“I am devastated that they decided to do this,” Bishop said. “It has ruined my life.”
Bishop he said he was particularly distraught because he feels that Major Taylor, Team Marshall, IU’s all-Black women’s team, and Team Mezcla, a Hispanic team, all enhance the race experience and that his ban could jeopardize that.
“I have been involved in diversity outreach for years,” he said. “For 55 years, there weren’t any Black or diverse teams in Little 500, and we were able to add these diverse teams in just three years.”
The university, after a two-year investigation, authorized the foundation to ban Bishop.
Rhamy said he and Lucas Calhoun, current race coordinator, felt it would have been unfair to punish the entire team because the university’s investigation identified Bishop as them sole decision-maker for the team.
The foundation did not hold a formal hearing or hear any comments from Bishop. It notified Bishop, and the riders who reported him of the decision through letters sent Dec. 22, and e-mails.
— Associated Press
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