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Publish date: Dec 8, 2010

African-Americans gain first majority in Division I football

For the first time since the NCAA began tracking student-athlete ethnicity data 11 years ago, African-Americans compose the highest percentage of the players in Division I football.

According to the 2009-10 NCAA Student-Athlete Race and Ethnicity Report, 45.8 percent of student-athletes in Division I football (including the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Football Championship Subdivision) were African-American, followed closely by white football players at 45.1 percent.

Men’s sports ethnicity percentages 1999-2010 (all three divisions)
Sport %White %White %Black %Black
  1999 2010 1999 2010
Baseball 85.2 86.1 4.6 4.1
Basketball 52.0 46.7 37.8 45.6
Football 63.1 57.4 28.1 34.5
Lacrosse 90.2 91.4 1.5 2.2
Soccer 76.3 74.6 5.6 8.0
Track (IN) 68.7 69.1 19.7 21.2
Track (OUT) 67.2 67.5 20.2 22.0
Wrestling 80.9 81.3 6.0 5.8

           

Men’s sports ethnicity percentages 1999-2010 (Division I)

Sport %White %White %Black %Black
  1999 2010 1999 2010
Baseball 83.0 83.4 6.6 5.6
Basketball 34.6 30.5 55.0 60.9
Football 51.3 45.1 39.5 45.8
FBS 48.7 43.0 40.3 47.4
FCS 54.3 47.6 38.5 43.9
Lacrosse 91.0 90.2 1.3 1.9
Soccer 72.1 68.2 7.3 11.0
Track (IN) 61.3 60.8 26.9 27.3
Track (OUT) 61.2 60.7 26.4 27.0
Wrestling 80.0 79.5 7.8 5.6

           

Women’s sports ethnicity percentages 1999-2010 (all three divisions)

Sport %White %White %Black %Black
  1999 2010 1999 2010
Basketball 67.7 58.9 22.4 32.8
Lacrosse 89.1 90.6 1.9 2.4
Soccer 86.5 84.9 2.4 3.8
Softball 84.0 83.3 6.0 5.8
Track (IN) 69.1 68.8 19.1 21.5
Track (OUT) 68.8 67.9 19.2 21.8
Volleyball 79.4 79.9 8.3 9.8

           

Women’s sports ethnicity percentages 1999-2010 (Division I)

Sport %White %White %Black %Black
  1999 2010 1999 2010
Basketball 53.6 40.2 35.7 51.0
Lacrosse 89.9 90.0 2.5 2.3
Soccer 83.8 79.9 2.9 5.7
Softball 80.3 77.5 8.6 7.7
Track (IN) 61.2 59.7 26.9 29.2
Track (OUT) 61.9 59.6 26.8 29.1
Volleyball 76.9 75.4 11.1 12.4

African-Americans had composed the highest percentage of football student-athletes in the Football Bowl Subdivision the two previous years, but it is the first time that they have been the dominant demographic in all of Division I football.

The percentages represent a significant jump from the first report in 1999-2000 when African-Americans composed 39.5 percent of the football players in Division I (40.3 percent in what then was known as Division I-A).

In the Football Championship Subdivision, Caucasian student-athletes continue to compose the majority at 47.6 percent, followed by African-Americans at 43.9 percent in the 2009-10 report. The percentage of African-Americans in that subdivision has steadily increased from 38.5 percent in 1999-2000 to the current level.

The 2009-10 report also shows that the highest concentration of black male student-athletes in Division I sports is in basketball (60.9 percent), followed by football (45.8), indoor track and field (27.3) and outdoor track and field (27.0).

Basketball also has the highest concentration of black females in Division I (51 percent), followed by bowling (40.6), indoor track (29.2) and outdoor track (29.1).

The percentages for African-Americans in basketball also are higher than they were in the inaugural report when 55 percent of the male players and 35.7 percent of the female players were black.

Other findings from the 2009-10 NCAA Student-Athlete Race and Ethnicity Report:

  • In all sports among all three divisions, the highest percentage of male and female student-athletes was white (70.4 and 77.2, respectively). The next highest percentage of student-athletes was black (18.7 for males and 11.6 for females).
  • The percentage of black male student-athletes in all sports among all three divisions has increased from 16.3 percent in 1999-2000 to 18.7 percent in 2009-10. Black female student-athletes have increased from 9.4 to 11.6 percent in the same period.
  • In all three divisions of football in the 2009-10 report, Caucasians composed the highest percentage of student-athletes (57.4 percent), followed by African-Americans at 34.5. Caucasians also were the dominant demographic in all three divisions of basketball (46.7 percent for males and 58.9 for females), followed by African-Americans at 45.6 percent for males and 32.8 for females.
  • In Division II, the highest percentages of male and female student-athletes were Caucasian (64.7 and 75.7 percent, respectively), followed by African-Americans at 24.4 percent for males and 13.6 for females.
  • In Division II football, Caucasians composed the majority at 50.6 percent with African-Americans at 42.2. The percentage for African-Americans in the first report in 1999-2000 was 31.9.
  • In Division II basketball, African-Americans composed the majority for males at 54.2 percent, while Caucasians were the dominant demographic for females at 53.4 percent. The percentages for African-American male and female basketball players in Division II have risen from 44.8 and 24.9 percent, respectively, in 1999-2000 to 54.2 and 37.2 percent, respectively, in 2009-10.
  • In Division III, the highest percentages of male and female student-athletes were Caucasian (80.7 and 85.3 percent, respectively), followed by African-Americans at 10 percent for males and 5.6 for females.
  • In Division III football, Caucasians composed the majority at 75.7 percent with African-Americans at 16.7. The percentage for African-Americans in the first report in 1999-2000 was 11 percent.
  • In Division III basketball, Caucasians were the dominant demographic in both genders (63.7 percent for males and 76.5 percent for females). The percentages for African-American male and female basketball players in Division III have risen from 21.1 and 10.5 percent, respectively, in 1999-2000 to 29.1 and 16.2 percent, respectively, in 2009-10.