Race in America

NAACP encouraging Black student-athletes to leave Florida schools

As the University of Florida reportedly closes its office of diversity, equity and inclusion, the NAACP says Black athletes should go elsewhere.

Florida guard Will Richard (5) looks to pass during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game .
Florida guard Will Richard looks to pass during an NCAA college basketball game.
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The NAACP is actively encouraging Black student-athletes not to attend public colleges and universities in Florida due to the state's new diversity, equity and inclusion policies. 

The announcement comes as reports surfaced that the University of Florida is closing its DEI office after the passage of the Individual Freedom Act, commonly known as the "Stop WOKE Act." State officials say the act prohibits institutions from using state or federal funds to administer programs that "categorize individuals based on race or sex for the purpose of differential or preferential treatment."

"In Florida, we will build off of our higher education reforms by aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the Western tradition, eliminating politicized bureaucracies like DEI, increasing the amount of research dollars for programs that will feed key industries with talented Florida students, and empowering presidents and boards of trustees to recruit and hire new faculty, including by dedicating record resources for faculty salaries,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said last year. 

The NAACP called the policy "anti-Black."

"Florida's rampant anti-Black policies are a direct threat to the advancement of our young people and their ability to compete in a global economy," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement. "Diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount ensuring equitable and effective educational outcomes. The value Black, and other college athletes bring to large universities is unmatched. If these institutions are unable to completely invest in those athletes, it's time they take their talents elsewhere. The NAACP will remain unwavering in our efforts to hold Governor Ron DeSantis, and all oppressive elected officials accountable for their attempts to unravel our democracy." 

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The NAACP said it sent letters to current and prospective Black student-athletes of the NCAA dissuading them from attending public universities in Florida. 

"To all current and prospective college student-athletes — the NAACP urges you to reconsider any potential decision to attend, and compete at a predominantly white institution in the state of Florida," the letter reads. "This is not about politics. It’s about the protection of our community, the progression of our culture, and most of all, it’s about your education, and your future."

The University of Florida's athletic budget is among the largest in the U.S. This year, the university has budgeted over $167 million for its athletics department.