March 10, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. -Recently the Ole miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) had a chance to participate in a roundtable discussion with Sam Freedman on the topic of Diversity in Sports. The roundtable, sponsored by the Ole Miss Athletics department in conjunction with the Journalism Department, followed a panel discussion with Dr. Charles Ross, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies (University of Mississippi), Dr. Doug Davis, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership (University of Mississippi), Dr. Rosusan Bartee, Professor of Leadership and Counselor Education (University of Mississippi) Samuel Freedman, Professor of Journalism (Columbia University), and Dr. James Thomas, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology (University of Mississippi)
The panel, moderated by Ole Miss Assistant Athletics Director for Internal Operations, Dr. Jamil Northcutt, discussed what the participants understand to be diversity and inclusion in the sports world. They also shared their experiences in regards to race and gender issues and their many intersections, while offering solutions to promote environments of acceptance, respect, and dignity for everyone.
During the roundtable at the Ole Miss SAAC meeting, Mr. Freedman, a professor of Journalism at Columbia University and a columnist for the New York Times, talked about his book, Breaking The Line. The book is a suspenseful story about two rival football teams, two legendary coaches and two star quarterbacks. Together they broke the color line, revolutionized college sports and transformed the NFL.
"Hearing the various perspectives of scholars was very informative," said Northcutt. "Their candor about the realities of the current state of diversity and inclusion practices helped to drive the discussion to possible solutions to improve conditions for underrepresented and marginalized groups in sports. We were fortunate to have someone as distinguished as Sam visit with our student-athletes. Our student-athletes truly enjoyed meeting him and discussing multiple issues related to diversity, careers, and effective communication".
Ole Miss SAAC President and Track and Field athlete, Ben Lapane agreed that Freedman's approach was about more than just the game of football.
"In this day and age where college football fans care most about the sports' current trends, Samuel Freedman did a fantastic job educating us on perhaps the most important event of the game's history," said Lapane.
Senior Associate Athletic Director, Shannon Singletary was also impressed by the panel discussion.
"This discussion reminded us that creating a system to ensure inclusivity and diversity of the candidate pool not only brings forth the best candidates but creates a workforce of leaders that better represents those that are being led," said Singletary.
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