The Role Diversity Plays in App State Athletics
App State’s lack of diversity has been a recurring theme throughout the school’s history, and the effect it has on the athletic department is surprising.
A big chunk of App State’s student population is white at 84.5%, opposed to 3.6% of African-American students. There is an obvious lack of diversity. The biggest and most well-known athletes that we love and cheer for on game days are a part of one of the smallest minority groups on campus.
App has a renowned football program comprised of both white and black athletes. The team has been very successful within the past few years and has established a die-hard fan base. Every Saturday during football season, one can find The Rock’s stands packed full of Mountaineer football fanatics, cheering on the reigning Sun Belt champs.
“The people here are great,” said sophomore lineman, Baer Hunter. “I rarely see a problem with being around Caucasian people.”
Hunter is from Winston-Salem and came from a racially diverse high school, West Forsyth High School. He said the transition from leaving a diverse school to a not-so diverse school did not have an effect on him.
“The team itself has diversity, there are people of all races. I like it here at App State,” Hunter said.
From being a former athlete at a predominately white high school and attending Gardner Webb prior to transferring to App State, sophomore defensive lineman, Josh Houser, was not worried at all about pursuing his football career at App.
“App State is a very liberal college, so many athletes do not have to worry about racial issues.”
When asked about App’s attempts to include and make minority students and student-athletes feel welcome and included, Houser said he does notice App’s efforts and acknowledged that they do try as hard as they can to make minority students and minority student athletes feel welcome and included.
“I have never felt out of place. My teammates include me in a lot. The lack of diversity does cross my mind sometimes, but I am not worried about it.”
Freshman forward for the App State women’s basketball team, Dominique Jeffrey, came from Florida A&M High School high school in Tallahassee, Florida, where there was a large amount of diversity. She admits that she did not realize it was mostly white students when she came and visited. She said she sometimes feels uncomfortable when she or her teammates are the only black people in an area.
“I do notice they offer clubs for minority students here,” said Jeffrey. “But, I really don’t know everything they try to do to make minority students feel welcome and included because I’m practicing, playing games, or doing homework.”
The lack of diversity at App State is a known issue, and it has been noticed and experienced by minority student-athletes that attend the school. App State must continue its mission to increase diversity and continue to maintain all efforts to make minority students and student-athletes feel completely welcome, acknowledged, and included.