Trustee, Faculty, and Student Committee Report
On September 23, 1970, Chancellor Corbally announced the appointment of a twelve-member University committee to investigate the allegations of racism in the football program. Comprising members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, and students, they spent ten weeks hearing testimony from over forty people.
The committee issued its lengthy report on December 10, 1970, concluding that “racism in the Syracuse University Athletic Department is real, chronic, largely unintentional, and sustained and complicated unwittingly by many modes of behavior common in American athletics and long-standing at Syracuse University….The definition of the spring boycott of the Black athletes merely as an issue of violating coaching authority, and the penalizing of these athletes without taking into consideration the broader context of their protest was an act of institutional racism unworthy of a great university.” Chancellor Corbally called the report a “fair conclusion.”
Finding the Athletic Department “showed an unwarranted insensitivity” and was dismissive of concerns raised by Black players on the team, the committee recommended changes to Syracuse University athletics. Some of these recommendations included establishing a new Athletic Policy Board and directing it to develop a new Code for Student Athletes where they “enjoy the same basic personal rights as all other students at Syracuse University, and thus such things as personal appearance, social activities and political expression are matters of individual choice….” The committee also endorsed making changes to the Athletic Department, including appointment of Black staff, and setting up a new grievance procedure for athletes to encourage dialogue and reduce the fear of penalization.
Audio recording of Syracuse University press conference announcing the Report of Trustee, Faculty, and Student Committee on Allegations of Racial Discrimination in the Football Program, December 10, 1970. Chancellor John Corbally Records, University Archives.
Please note that listeners may find some content objectionable.