Racial inequities in college and professional sports remain prevalent and persistent despite the awareness of such inequities by those with the power to effectuate change. This Article proposes that explanations frequently offered for the slow pace of progress often fail to account for the hierarchy derived from a race-based caste system embedded in American society. Relying on the work of author Isabel Wilkerson, Part II describes major pillars of America’s race-based caste structure. Part III examines how stereotypes of Blacks’ presumed intellectual inferiority and a lack of fitness for leadership roles adversely impact their access to positions of power in both college and professional sports. Part IV discusses how the caste-system hierarchy and its accompanying mindset manifests in the academic marginalization of Black college athletes and the transfer of revenue disproportionately generated by them to predominantly White coaches, athletic administrators, and athletes in non-revenue generating sports. This Article discusses the limited effectiveness of legal doctrine, including anti-discrimination laws and contract law principles, to significantly diminish the above-referenced racial inequities in college and professional sport. In addition, it proposes specific policies that may assist in achieving greater racial equity in sport. It concludes, however, that a necessary step in moving toward greater racial equity in college and professional sports is an honest recognition that systemic racial inequities are, in part, a product of a caste-system mindset.
America’s Race-Based Caste Structure: Its Impact in College and Professional Sports,
Tex. A&M L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/LR.V9.I3.2