Our Young People
Our young people have developed an almost tunnel vision concerning sports and far too many are putting all of their eggs in the sports basket as the best way to “make it.” Statistics paint a different picture and of the 1.2 million young people who participate in high school basketball, 64 will be drafted by NBA teams. Nearly 600,000 young people participate in high school football and only 244 are drafted by NFL teams. The numbers are equally staggering in baseball, the third of the so-called “major” sports.
Sports Illustrated and others media sources have reported that nearly 8 in 10 of the players who do go pro in football will be bankrupt, divorced and/or unemployed within 2 years of their last game. Nearly 7 in 10 NBA players suffer the same fate within 5 years of their last game. With the chances of going pro being slim at best, personal development is essential if our young people are to avoid the crash and burn syndrome and/or leverage their athletic participation into the competitive job market or entrepreneurial opportunities.
We have developed programs and strategies and marshaled resources to stop the insanity.
Recognizing that race does matter, and in order to “even-out” the playing field for minority businesses, the government organized benefits to corporations who utilized Black-owned businesses. Today, most federal, state and municipal entities have supplier diversity programs that have enabled minority businesses to grow exponentially in traditional areas of business. In addition, private corporations have developed supplier diversity programs to provide contracting opportunities to historically under-represented groups and businesses.
Supplier diversity programs have at their root the enormous spending power of minority consumers and the effort by corporate American to increase their purchases of goods and services from the folk who purchase the goods and services produced by corporate America. Originally, the programs were designed to aid Black businesses. Today, diversity is now synonymous with “multicultural” and supplier diversity programs have come to include Asian, Hispanic, Native-American, Women-owned, disabled veteran and disadvantaged business enterprises. According to DiversityBusiness.com, the nation's primary resource portal for small businesses and large organizational buyers, the diverse spending of Fortune 500 companies has grown from an estimated $86 million in 1972 to over $100 billion in 2010.
Years ago, a significant portion of the diversity spend would have been spent with Black businesses. That is hardly the case today, and only 2 of the top 10 diverse companies are Black-owned. Moreover, 40% of spend with the top 500 companies went to the top 10 diverse companies. The shift in these dollars represents a huge setback to both mature Black business owners and new startup entrepreneurs, a group that continues to be under-represented and economically deprived of participation in the American dream.
In sports, Blacks are more than consumers. Our young people are the product, and a $500 billion per year industry has been built around Black athletic talent and we have developed programs and strategies to capitalize on that fact and difference.
One of college football’s most lucrative food contracts will be bid soon….OhioStatePutFoodContractOutForBid