Joseph Johnson, the president of Grambling State University, has been named to the executive committee of the NCAA by the NCAA Council. He is one of the expanded committee's three new members.
The committee oversees the NCAA budget, reviews policy decisions by the council and sets regulations for all NCAA championships.
Johnson is one of the leaders among black educators who oppose the standardized test score portion of a controversial new NCAA bylaw, scheduled to become effective in 1986, that would significantly increase requirements for first-year eligibility for athletes in Division I. He was a leader of the debate on the issue at the recent NCAA convention in San Diego.
Johnson, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, apparently was named to the executive committee without his knowledge. John Toner, NCAA president and the athletic director at the University of Connecticut, said he has been trying to reach Johnson since late last week. The NCAA News, the organization's official weekly newspaper, announced the appointment in its editions published Monday.
Toner said that Johnson's appointment was not a result of the emotional controversy at San Diego. Johnson and other leading black educators there described the new rule as "discriminatory and patently racist." Toner said the expansion of the committee enabled the council to guarantee members from two Division I constituencies--the second tier I-AA football schools and the basketball-only schools. The historically black schools make up almost 20 percent of the I-AA membership.
(The representative from the basketball-only school named to the committee was Bob Frailey, athletic director at American University.)
"We've got two conventions to improve it (Proposition 48, as it is called), and that's the challenge," said Toner.
Johnson and Jesse Stone Jr., president of Southern University, have said that their options include legal action and possible withdrawal from the NCAA and the American Council on Education, whose ad hoc athletic committee drafted and pushed for passage of Proposition 48. The committee is heavily weighted toward the major-college football powers.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader and national president of Operation PUSH, is seeking a meeting with Walter Byers, NCAA executive director. Toner said that the six-member administrative committee, which includes the five NCAA officers and Byers, would hold a conference call today to "discuss whether or not we should propose a meeting with black educators."
Jackson, in a recent interview, said that the remedies taken by the NCAA at the recent convention to curb academic and recruiting abuses were "simplistic answers to a complex problem." He also said such problem areas as drug abuse and corruption of athletes and coaches must be addressed.
Jackson said he and the leading black educators agree with the ad hoc committee on all aspects of Proposition 48 except the test score provision. It requires 700 out of a possible 1,600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) and 15 of a possible 36 on the American College Test (ACT). Proposition 48 also requires a 2.0 average in a core curriculum of 11 academic courses in high school. Another bylaw passed at the convention requires progress toward a degree. That rule is effective in 1984.
According to officials of the Educational Testing Service, which administers the SATs, 51 percent of black males and 60 percent of black females score less than 700. The proposition also adversely affects other minorities and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. "The issue cuts across racial lines in addition to affecting minorities disproportionately," Gregory Anrig, president of the testing service, told the Associated Press.
Jackson said the standardized test score issue is so emotional because it is considered a vehicle to close another door to blacks, as literacy and blood tests did in the past. He said the tests "should diagnose and develop, not delete and destroy."
John Thompson, Georgetown basketball coach, said: "I don't believe in standardized tests, unless we have standardized opportunities . . . The intent of the cotton gin wasn't to perpetuate slavery, but it certainly did."
Jackson said the University of Georgia had graduated only six black athletes since 1971, the first year Georgia recruited black football players.
In reply to questioning yesterday, Vince Dooley, the school's football coach and athletic director, said that Jackson's "information is not correct. We counted three times that many football players." Dooley said he did not have a count on how many black football players had received scholarships in eight recruiting classes, the last of whom would be seniors in the current academic year. But he agreed that 80 would be a reasonable number.
Dooley said it was his experience that the chances of football players who score less than 600 on the SATs are "slim" that they will graduate. But he also said that black athletes who score in the 620-650 range usually can handle the academic load, although it takes them longer to graduate.
If Proposition 48 was already in effect, at least 50 percent of the players on one Big Eight Conference football team and at least 30 percent of the players on two other teams, would not have qualified for initial eligibility, according to a conference survey. The teams were unidentified.
When asked, Ray Chapel, faculty representative at Oklahoma State, said his school was one of the two in the "at least 30 percent" category. "It would have a serious effect right now, but three years from now it won't," he said.
About 30 major-college teams probably would be adversely affected by the new rules, according to a number of delegates at the recent convention.
"It will affect all programs," said Ron Ferguson, athletic director at Bradley. "I don't think there's a school in the country that doesn't have at least one (who wouldn't have qualified). There probably are some where no one would make it."