Many High School Athletes Can’t Pronounce “Eligibility”

In Texas, last year’s 5A High School Football Championship was won by a majority minority populated school with an “academically unacceptable” school ranking. Apparently “no pass, no play” has become a myth in our public education system and now athletic eligibility guidelines have been all but gutted to protect failing minority student participation in extracurricular activities.

The 2011 Texas High School Football Champions were students at DeKaney High School which is located in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. Dekaney High School is predominantly African American with whites, Hispanics, and other ethnicities accounting for just 2% of the student population. Not only is it an atrocious excuse for a public school, but it’s a pretty dangerous place to spend the day regardless of your ethnicity. The local news is constantly littered with stories of violent clashes between students and authorities and many parents live in real fear for the safety of the teenagers attending this school.

So why is a public school with a history of failing standardized test scores allowed to participate in athletics competitions? Why are failing students allowed to participate in extracurricular athletics when they can’t do grade-level work, and more importantly, why should they be allowed to compete against schools whose students are rated academically acceptable or exemplary? Where does the University Interscholastic League stand and more importantly why isn’t it a violation of education law to allow extracurricular athletics participation by failing schools?

For decades “no pass, no play” was a moral policy of our National Public School System established to protect academically challenged students from victimization at the hands of overzealous athletic programs. For good reasons our public education system took an historic stand against sacrificing minority athlete’s academic health for fleeting Friday night victories. The public education system spearheaded a movement to enact academic eligibility guidelines borrowed from the NCAA and in doing so put coaches on notice that education standards must be achieved before an athlete could participate in school sponsored athletics. Now it seems that a mind is no longer a terrible thing to waste as long as the black kids win the State championship.

Among other tolerated Affirmative Action Athletics practices, it has become commonplace to allow holding a minority student back in elementary and/or intermediate school (for no other reason than being black) in order to insure academic success and future athletic advantage in High School. In other words the Championship football team from Texas is probably made up of kids almost two years older and bigger than the “exemplary rated” white school that didn’t make it to the State finals.

Across our nation the athletic contribution of minority students has taken precedence over academic eligibility standards compliance. Schools with high black populations are academic and social money pits with little to no adherence to the rules everyone else is required to respect. Where is the black outrage? Has High School athletics become another race based entitlement endangering the safety of disciplined non-minority families that take education seriously?

High School athletics has become a very expensive luxury for our failing minority school community. Perhaps lowering academic standards wasn’t in the best interest of minority education after all. No pass, no play should be a respected and enforced system-wide standard not the joke that it has become. University and College level athletics is fostering the disintegration of academic standards in our national high school athletics programs to service hollow minority advancement. It only serves to rob hard working kids of the privilege of playing a sport. We are sending a lousy message to minority communities by allowing unqualified people to steal opportunities from hard working kids of all races.

Today Dekaney High School is ranked “academically unacceptable,” but the defending football champs are 3 and 1. Go figure.