UB Football's Black Academic All-MAC Problem Continues

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The headline is critical, but before I go there, two points:

1) Congratulations to UB's three Academic All-MAC Football players and the three Academic All-MAC Honorable Mentions.

Alex Neutz was able to keep a 3.5 GPA in Business while excelling on the field, never letting his desire to go pro interfere with his desire to be excellent in both phases of student athletics.

Tyler Grassman was able to elevate his game, transforming the punting team from a liability into a strength in 2013. The true Sophomore was also able to put up a 3.8 GPA in Business, a daunting feat considering the widowmaker of the Business curriculum Accounting 201 is generally taken during football season in the Fall Semester Sophomore year.

Senior Colby Way has a 3.5 GPA in computer engineering while anchoring one of the best UB defenses of all time.

Jake Silas (3.4 Computer Engineering), Lee Skinner (3.3 Business Administration) and Matt Weiser (3.4 Communication) all earned All-MAC honorable mention for their excellent combination of smarts and athletic skills.

2) If you don't want to hear my opinion about race and college football, stop reading now and enjoy the contributions of six great Bulls, unmarred by negatives or the so-called "race-card".

There is a systematic problem with UB Football.

Six academic honorees, zero Black honorees, again.

Personal responsibility is ultimately a culprit. It is hard to excel in college as a full-time student, add in a second role, be it parent, part-time or full-time worker, caretaker for family members or student athlete, it becomes much harder to excel.

However, as the years go by without a Black honoree, I think it becomes something the Football program needs to address.

85 scholarship players on a football team over 12 years, this equals 1,020 scholarship player years. 52% of all FBS players identify as African American so we can assume that in the past dozen years, African Americans have held 530 scholarship years at Buffalo. 1 out of 530, scholarships resulted in a Black athlete honored as a scholar athlete.

0.2%

- Probability you'll be born with extra toes or fingers*

0.189%

- Assumed probability you'll be a black Academic All-MAC selection in Football at UB

0.143%

 - Probability you'll die crossing the street**

This isn't an Athletic Department problem, it's not a revenue sport problem. Basketball proves that. Despite a roster a tenth of the size of Football's, UB Basketball has had seven Academic All-MAC selections, three of whom are Black: Turner Battle (3X), Byron Mulkey and Tony Watson.

This isn't a Quinn problem, because it has spanned the reign of 3 coaches. However Quinn did cut the only Black Football athlete to be honored for his academics at UB since 2002, Rudy Johnson.

Every semester since Quinn has come to campus, it seems the Football team has broken a School record in overall GPA. That fact makes it even more frustrating that there still seems to be no Black Football Athlete excelling in the classroom.

A week ago, Jeff Quinn tweeted a photo surrounded by 3 Black men with the caption of "The best is yet to come!"

Signing day will bring 10-15 more Black student athletes to UB Football. Brought to UB for their ability to excel on the field. Jeff Quinn, and UB Football has the responsibility to make sure those athletes also excel in the classroom. I hope the best is yet to come in that aspect, because while the play on the field is no longer embarrassing, our history of scholarship from our Black Football athletes is.

*http://www.sodahead.com/living/people-born-with-extra-toes-fingers/blog-110519/

**http://www.nsc.org/NSC%20Picture%20Library/News/web_graphics/Injury_Facts_37.pdf

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