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The Wide World of College Sports

The Wide World of College Sports

It takes time and effort to be an outstanding student. And one must practice, practice, practice to be a stellar athlete. But to truly excel at both, for example, an honor student playing a revenue sport, i.e., football or basketball, at a Division I school, takes extraordinary discipline, dedication and commitment.

More than 600 students were nominated for our annual Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award. And they all are remarkable students, juggling academics and athletics extraordinarily well. Therefore, it’s not easy selecting one male and female Sports Scholar of the Year. But I think you’ll agree that David Castillo and Sarah Lowe are truly the quintessential student-athletes. Coincidentally, both students attend Florida universities.

Castillo, a center for the Florida State University Seminoles football team, is pre-med. He has already wrapped up one degree and is working toward another in dietetics. Honored by the university for having the highest GPA on the team, he is only the second player in the team’s history to follow a pre-med curriculum. He hasn’t had much time to “hang out” during his college career, but he says he was 100 percent committed to his studies and to football. He credits his parents for putting academic and athletics in perspective for him at a young age. If the grades drop, the sports go, was  his parents’ philosophy.

Lowe, a point guard for the University of Florida’s women’s basketball team, has a 3.9 GPA, is double majoring in political science and Spanish and got all the members of her team to register to vote in the last presidential election. Not to mention, she was a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

This is a packed edition, with several interesting articles examining various angles of the college sports world. Ernest Holsendolph looks at the role of athletic academic advisors in “When Academics and Athletics Collide.” Kimberly Davis examines the NCAA’s recent academic reform measures and the sanctions that have followed. Despite their intention to bring all schools, large and small, into compliance, the new rules so far seem to disproportionately affect historically Black colleges and universities. Diverse contributing editor Lydia Lum highlights the Asian student-athlete and their growing visibility and participation in college sports. And lastly, senior writer Ronald Roach wraps up our annual focus on college athletics with a profile of Charlotte Westerhaus, who has the task of strengthening the NCAA’s diversity programs as the organization’s first vice president for diversity and inclusion. A veteran diversity specialist in higher education and business, Westerhaus is known as a consensus-builder who’s expected to lead improvements in the hiring of women and minorities in sports leadership positions.
This edition reminds us that college sports contribute so much to the development of thousands of young people. With all the media hype surrounding the big money activity in college sports, I like to think that the Arthur Ashe Jr. edition, and indeed his legacy, gets us in touch with the values that count most.

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics
American sport has always served as a platform for resistance and has been measured and critiqued by how it responds in critical moments of racial and social crises.
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A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics