As the newly expanded NCAA Council held its first meeting here today, Jesse Stone Jr., president of Southern University, was back at his desk in Baton Rouge, La., drawing a cartoon and planning strategy sessions about the NCAA's new rule requiring minimum scores on controversial standardized tests for initial athletic eligibility.
He said the possibility of withdrawing from the NCAA and the American Council on Education (ACE), which formulated the new rule, was one option leaders of the 16 historically black universities and colleges in Division I were planning to discuss with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader, in a conference call tentatively scheduled Tuesday in Baton Rouge.
In between business calls and interviews today, Stone said he was trying to finish his cartoon in time to take it with him to Atlanta to tape a television program there. "It's of a big colored athlete leaving a white university," Stone said, "and the coach is telling him: 'We have raped, cheated and exploited you all. Help save us from ourselves and don't come back.' "
He was referring to comments made by Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach, in support of proposals passed here to eliminate academic and recruiting abuses.
Stone said legal and political options would be discussed Tuesday, and that the group would be contacting other black educators, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and church groups for support in the future. He said such issues as boycotts of NCAA television sponsors and of white universities by black athletes would be discussed.
The new NCAA rule drawing this response is the one that sets tougher standards for freshmen eligibility. Required are a minimum test score of 700 out of a possible 1,600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or 15 out of a possible 36 on the American College Test and a 2.0 average on a core curriculum of 11 academic subjects in high school, including three in English and two each in math, social sciences and natural sciences.
According to published reports, fewer than 50 percent of blacks score at least 700 on the SATs and 28 percent score 15 or better on the ACTs.
"This issue is one that is pervasive as far as the black community is concerned," Stone said. "By that I mean it will hurt all black people and become a concern for the total black community. It has nothing to do with academics.
"We're for more units of English and math, and we're for a core curriculum. But research shows 700 is not a true indicator of academic success; a core curriculum is. The NCAA has cast out a lot of people for ghosts."
ACE spokesmen have said they insisted on the test scores to standardize requirements nationally and because the quality of a core curriculum was not the same nationally.
Southwestern Athletic Conference schools split approximately $1.2 million in NCAA football television football money last season. Stone said the Grambling-Southern game grossed $1 million and if the 16 schools decide to withdraw from Division I, they can "build the kinds of teams we once had and get the TV money."