Sportress of Blogitude

Historically Black Colleges Start Bowling Programs And A Bunch Of White Students Began Enrolling

Leave it to white people to come in and ruin everything. The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Delaware State are considered two of the power programs¬† in women’s bowling in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Throughout its history, the MEAC has been comprised of traditionally black colleges and universities.

In a lengthy piece for The Washington Post, Jon Brand examined the trend of white students filling up spots on the bowling teams at these institutions of higher learning. And he came out with some interesting observations, which shouldn’t be surprising at all, because bowling is so awesome and stuff.

Bowling was thought to be an excellent way to grow women’s sports in the conference, and a relatively inexpensive way at that. When the NCAA began to accept bowling as a legitimate competitive sport, the United States Bowling Congress stepped in and told schools that the start-up costs to develop a bowling program were minimal: between $20,000 and $25,000. By 2001, all twelve schools within the MEAC had women’s bowling programs. But once the bowling programs began to get their footing, the colleges saw the proportion of white students increase, which is exactly the opposite of what they suspected would occur.

“When the schools got involved, they thought bowling was a predominantly black sport, but that turned out to be a misconception,” Brummell said. “One of the NCAA reps asked me why so many [historically black colleges] were starting programs and I told him I didn’t know. I don’t think it’s a sport that the black community has traditionally had success in.”

Interesting. I am no great bowling mind – but a team I was on did win the league title back in 1998 (good times, heady times) – but when I can’t find my remote and bowling is on ESPN, I cannot once recall seeing a black professional bowler on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour. Not that my limited experience should be considered an indicator of anything, but it seems to me that if you were to ask most people, they would say that bowling is a predominantly white sport.

In any event, here is the state of women’s college bowling in the MEAC: 30% of the bowlers competing are non-black, a statistically-significant increase over the general student population at these schools. But in the more successful programs, the proportion of white bowlers is even higher: UMES currently has no black bowlers on its team and Delaware State has only two.

But most importantly, the bowling programs at MEAC schools have been a tremendous success. The programs have boosted interest in women’s sports and increased diversity and enrollment at the schools. Who knew bowling could accomplish so many wonderful things?

And for some reason or another, I could really go for a White Russian right about now. Maybe all of this bowling talk is causing me to think of The Dude, but it’s much more likely that it is simply because I have a raging alcohol problem.

Bowling increases diversity at MEAC’s historically black colleges and universities [The Washington Post]