Dr. Fritz Polite, a clinical professor of sport management at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and his co-editor Dr. Billy Hawkins from the University of Georgia have completed a book titled Sport, Race, Activism, and Social Change: The Impact of Dr. Harry Edwards’ Scholarship and Service (University Readers: Cognella Publishers, 2011).
According to Polite, a Drake Group Advisory Council member, “before Harry Edwards little scholarly attention was paid to the specific role of the black athlete on predominately white campuses or universities. Few research perspectives were developed to understand the invisibility of blacks in power positions within sport. Patterns of exploitation, lack of positive assimilation, and the valuing of participation while devaluing education were critical points of Edwards’ philosophy.” Last year, the Drake Group presented its Robert Maynard Hutchins Award to Dr. Edwards for his courageous defense of academic integrity in college sports.
Dr. Polite has been instrumental in helping the Drake Group remain focused on the role of race, social cultural ramifications and the paradox of the black athlete in current debates about academic integrity in collegiate football. Like Edwards, Polite has focused on the negative consequences of sending the message to young African Americans that athletic prowess is valued far more than academic ability in the recruiting process. He has also been proactive in seeking equality in hiring practices of people of color and women in the workforce.