Racism in College Football

3444 Words Jul 18th, 2014 14 Pages
Integration in Ole Miss Football Today, African American athletes play a strong and predominant role in the football program at the university however, this was not always the case. Less than fifty years ago, the Ole Miss football program was just as segregated as it had been in its early days. As a whole, the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA was the last to instrgarate black athletes with the current white ones (Paul 297, 284). Of the ten teams in the conference at the time, the University of Mississippi was the last to integrate (Paul 287). This integration of the team took place ten years after the University itself was integrated. Not only did the school refuse to integrate until years after other teams had already done so but, …show more content…
The Ole Miss football program faced a set back in its integration process as a result of its long standing racial mentality and the repercussions of the integration of the university itself however, once the team was integrated, a smooth transition was made. Of the multitude of reasons that exists why the Ole Miss football program was so delayed in its integration process comes the necessary role the football program played in keeping the university open during the integration of the university itself. As the entire university went into turmoil, the football program stood strong. During the 1962 season, which was played parallel with Meredith’s appearance on campus, the team went undefeated and still is considered one of the greatest teams since. In his essay explaining the parallel between the integration of Ole Miss and the ’62 team, Wright Thompson states, “The 1962 Ole Miss football team fascinated me. That year, perhaps because of the school’s near self-destruction over integration, or perhaps in spite of it, the team managed the most remarkable season seen in Oxford before or since” (1). This strong and winning team, lead by coach Henry Vaught, kept the university running when it looked as though it would implode on itself. Many turned to the idols of the campus, the football players, to keep