updated 4/2/2004 5:23:04 PM ET 2004-04-02T22:23:04

While Paul Hornung has offered an apology for saying Notre Dame should lower its academic standards “to get black athletes,” his comments have focused on competitive college sport frenzies that use African Americans as cannon fodder.

Black student-athletes bring in the bucks to erect new buildings and hike faculty salaries, but they are often used up and tossed out without a degree once their service to the college or university sports department is over.

According to the latest NCAA graduation data, 16 of the 65 teams selected for the “March Madness” playoffs had player graduation rates of 25 percent or less. Four of the schools did not graduate a single basketball player within the six years of the study.  Of the four teams in the final “Sweet 16,” only four schools – Duke, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Xavier – had graduation rates of 50 percent or better.

"What we’ve got is one out of 100 student-athletes able to make a living out of their sport, documented recruiting violations, academic fraud, an overemphasis by the TV networks on commercialism and coaches who make 10 times the salary of the college’s president – this has got to stop," former University of North Carolina President William Friday tells

Friday, now the executive director of Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, says “we have created an entertainment industry [that] has eroded the integrity of the university."

Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, has said that his own studies over the past 10 years found that more than 50 Division I basketball programs had failed to graduate even one African American player.

Athletes need to speak up
Floyd Keith, a 30-year basketball coach and now into his third-year as executive director of the Black Coaches Association, tells that the black student-athlete needs to speak up about his education.

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