One possible solution to our lack of success in the college athletic arena is for us to take a closer look at NCAA Division II schools, particularly those known as HSIs or "Hispanic Serving Institutions." Similar to HBCUs for African Americans, these schools offer incentives through programs and scholarships, and are far more receptive to the cultural needs of Latino students. Standardized test scores are widely thought to carry a heavy bias with the exception of their math and science sections, and these schools take more consideration into students' overall grades than they do in standardized tests scores. Basically, if you are a Latino student and just happen to be a poor test taker, don't fret; these schools do not make scholarship recommendations on those scores alone. To date, there are 228 HSIs across the country and many of these schools have very strong athletic programs as well. Now, Latino student athletes are not simply "relegated" to these schools and foregoing possible professional athletic careers. Instead, many of these schools' athletic and degree programs rival those of Division I schools, and offer comparable scholarship programs and student grants. The NFL, MLB, WNBA, and NBA all send recruiters to these DII schools as well, so the ultimate professional opportunities are definitely possible for attendees.
Another solution is to hold ourselves accountable for our own opportunities. It all boils down to this; as a culture, we must stop letting any outside factors deter us from participating in collegiate athletics or from obtaining a higher education in general, and simply push our own youth to succeed. The fact of the matter is that socially now more than ever, there are opportunities out there that were once roadblocks to many Latinos in the United States than there have ever been previously. There are more minority scholarships available for all ethnicities as the U.S. is working hard under President Obama to regain its reputation for being the nation with the highest population of post secondary education among adults. In this past 2010 election, The Supreme Court upheld legislation that illegally born immigrants can be afforded in-state tuition at California Universities. ESL programs are more prevalent as well throughout public schools, and there is no better time than the present to begin to change our passive efforts in seeking higher education. This goes beyond the "if-other-minorities-can-do-it-so-can-we" comparison mentality, because our student athlete and scholarship numbers pale in comparison to those of other ethnic minorities in the United States anyway. We've simply got to take a bigger role in participating in youth sports and education and realize that without advances in those two arenas, we can only expect to suffer as a people.
Latinos Not Yet Scoring With College Athletics By Paul Ruffins
87% of Hispanics Value Higher Education 13% Have College Degree By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Trevor Tompson, The Associated Press
Teams are Teaching Players More Than Just English By Kevin Baxter
Barriers Found to College Degrees for Hispanics By Jacques Steinberg
President Says DII Can Play Key Higher-Ed Role for Hispanics By David Pickle