FROM THE GRIO — Spelman College, the all female HBCU, has made the difficult choice to abandon its athletic program in exchange for improved fitness facilities and a more inclusive wellness program for its students.
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“When I was looking at the decision, it wasn’t being driven by the cost as much as the benefit. With $1 million, 80 student athletes are benefiting. Or, should we invest in a wellness program that would touch every student’s life?”
Spelman might not influence other schools in the region where sports are more intertwined with the identity of the university. But some schools suffering from deep budget cuts could consider following suit.
Tatum is more concerned with the students’ health and the responsibility to help. She told the Journal-Constitution, “one out of every two students has high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or is obese.”
“I have been to funerals of young alums who were not taking care of themselves,” she said, “and I believe we can change that pattern not only for them but for the broader community.”
HBCUs have endured bleak financial reports in the recent months, including the collapse of Morris Brown and alleged money woes at Morehouse College.
Recently, $228 million in grants were given to HBCUs by the Department of Education. Many have speculated about how that money would be managed when schools like Morris Brown were in financial peril due to financial mismanagement, corruption, financial aid theft and foreclosure.