December 26, 2008

NCAA athletes by ethnicity

I decided to start off after the Christmas break with some data analysis. Here are the NCAA two statistics on Division I college athletes by ethnicity.

Let's take a look at Asian - Pacific Islanders (which, I must say, for the purposes of sports is the silliest aggregation):


Fencing 8.5
Gymnastics 7.0
Squash 6.0
Tennis 5.1
Volleyball 4.2
Swimming/Diving 3.0
Golf 2.9
Rowing 2.6
Water_Polo 2.5
Sailing 2.1
Soccer 2.1
Skiing 2.0
Rifle 1.7
Football 1.6 Samoans
Wrestling 1.6
Track,_Outdoor 1.3
Baseball 1.2
Track,_Indoor 1.2
Cross_Country 1.0
Lacrosse 0.6
Ice_Hockey 0.5
Basketball 0.4
Archery -
Bowling -
All_Sports 1.7

Notes: Fencing is one of those classic I-didn't-know-they-hand-out-scholarships-in-this sports. One of the reasons Asians do so poorly in basketball is because they do pretty well in volleyball, a sport that requires a similar skill set. (Asians and Hispanics tend to have a California-orientation to their sports -- they are a little more likely to play the kind of sports, such as volleyball and water polo, that are big in California and the Olympics). The 1.6% of NCAA Division I football players who are Asian or Pacific Islander are probably mostly Pacific Islanders, such as Samoans, who tend to be huge. Asian women are 2.5 times more represented in college golf than Asian men.

Here are Hispanics:


Soccer 7.3
Tennis 7.2
Cross_Country 6.0
Baseball 5.4
Wrestling 5.4
Fencing 5.2
Volleyball 5.2
Water_Polo 5.0
Track,_Outdoor 4.5
Track,_Indoor 4.4
Swimming/Diving 2.9
Rowing 2.8
Golf 2.6
Gymnastics 2.3
Football 2.2
Basketball 1.8
Lacrosse 1.0
Skiing 1.0
Rifle 0.8
Ice_Hockey 0.7
Squash 0.7
Sailing 0.5
Archery -
Bowling -
All_Sports 3.8

Overall, this is pretty unimpressive, with Hispanics represented at only about one-fifth of their share of the college-age population.

Hispanics are best represented in Division I soccer, but only at a rate of about half of their share of the total population and perhaps 40% of their share of 18-22 year olds. And that's their favorite sport. Baseball at 5.4% is weak too, below the level of blacks (6.0%). With blacks, you are always reading about what a tragedy it is that African-Americans have lost interest in baseball.

Cross country at 6.0% isn't bad -- underrepresented versus their share of the population, sure, but it's not like soccer where they have a tradition of the sport.

The tennis share (7.2%) seems high. I suspect that a lot of the Hispanics playing Division I tennis are rich kids from Latin America (38.4% of all Division I male tennis players are "non-resident aliens").


Basketball 60.4
Football 45.9
Track,_Indoor 27.5
Track,_Outdoor 27.2
Cross_Country 11.1
Soccer 9.3
Baseball 6.0
Wrestling 5.2
Tennis 4.7
Fencing 4.4
Gymnastics 4.4
Volleyball 3.7
Golf 2.7
Lacrosse 1.8
Rifle 1.7
Swimming/Diving 1.7
Water_Polo 1.2
Rowing 0.7
Sailing 0.5
Skiing 0.5
Ice_Hockey 0.4
Archery -
Bowling -
Squash -
All_Sports 24.7

Not too many surprises here: basketball first, then football, then track. The cross country runners are probably almost all East Africans. A remarkable fraction of the star black high school cross country runners are East African immigrants. I wonder what % of the blacks playing golf, lacrosse, water polo and the like have a white parent?


Bowling 100
Rifle 90.8
Lacrosse 90.5
Archery 88.9
Sailing 88.0
Ice_Hockey 85.5
Golf 84.8
Baseball 84.5
Swimming/Diving 83.9
Wrestling 83.1
Rowing 82.7
Gymnastics 80.5
Skiing 79.8
Water_Polo 77.2
Cross_Country 76.5
Volleyball 76.5
Soccer 72.6
Squash 72.0
Fencing 71.0
Tennis 62.1
Track,_Indoor 61.9
Track,_Outdoor 61.9
Football 47.0
Basketball 32.5
All_Sports 64.2
I have no idea why the formatting comes out like this.

The low figure for whites in tennis is due to 21% registering as "Other" which is likely due to 38% being non-resident aliens. The NCAA doesn't appear to be as obsessive about making foreigners check off ethnicity boxes as it is about Americans.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Soccer's very popular in Latin American countries.

Fencing's always been something of an 'intellectual' sport, I think; apparently MIT and Columbia have strong fencing teams.

Rifle and bowling strike me as 'red-state' sports whites would do well in.

Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the white list is even more interesting as it shows a numberof different but still predominantly white subcultures.

The red-state South and Midwest: Bowling, rifle;

The New England elite: lacrosse, archery, sailing, rowing, water polo

Standard corporate culture: golf

The frozen North: ice hockey, skiing.

Basketball you've written on endlessly.

As for Asians and gymnastics: have you noticed how hard it is for the girls to get fat?

Anonymous said...

The number of taxpayer funded tennis scholarships is a bit of a scandal. I don't see why the taxpayers of CA are supporting players from Slovakia, Tunisia, Egypt, Britain, and Israel.

Anonymous said...


Tax payers funds do not fund any athletic scholarships. Scholarships are first funded out of athletic department income. Then they are funded from non-appropriated funds such as student fees.

Steve should look at the same numbers for women. The percentage of women college atheltes who are black women is much lower than black men. The same applies to Hispanics. Sexism in cultures is easy to see when comparing male and female athletes.

Anonymous said...

The difference between taxpayer appropriations and student fees leaves me unmoved. In fact, it's worse. Why would any ordinary student want to fund a foreign scholarship student with his fees? That's obscene.

Anonymous said...

I hope we live to see justice done and the Black Man take his proper place in the world of squash.

michael farris said...

"The NCAA doesn't appear to be as obsessive about making foreigners check off ethnicity boxes as it is about Americans."

When I worked in a bureaucracy dealing with graduate students (around 20 years ago) I was told that the 'race' box for non-citizens was never used for anything.
On the other hand, we entered whatever the person claimed, so if a citizen named Raji Mutterjhee clicked the box "American Indian" that's what we entered in the data base.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see why the taxpayers of CA are supporting players from Slovakia, Tunisia, Egypt, Britain, and Israel."

When a culture is fully "cracked" (in the Marxist-Gramscian sense) its energy will be largely directed toward the repudiation of its own preservation and continuation of itself.

So now we see the citizen taxpayers supporting foreigners (at many different levels) instead of the citizens' own progeny. This marks a late stage in the transformation process. At this point, the apparatus known as the State of California has been largely repurposed to serve the interests of foreign populations, college-bound or otherwise.

To state the obvious: this is a highly flammable political situation and it is intrinsically unsustainable. The utter bankruptcy of California (longterm, chronic) is the result and the emerging reality; no matter how the politicians try to spin it. Citizens can no longer afford to pay their own bills -- much less the bills of foreigners.

This is uncharted territory in more ways than one; no population, no citizenry, has been swamped by foreigners to this extent without a war -- and also forced to pay for their own dispossession.

Historians will say that the elites of the late twentieth century jettisoned the idea of America as a nation state. And California is ground zero for this utterly radical experiment; that is why "the taxpayers of CA are supporting players from Slovakia, Tunisia etc."

They should change the state motto in California to "May you live in interesting times"...

Anonymous said...

A remarkable fraction of the star black high school cross country runners are East African immigrants. I wonder what % of the blacks playing golf, lacrosse, water polo and the like have a white parent?

I want to know which blacks make up the 9% of soccer players. Foreigners? Half-whites? East or West African origin?

Soccer has a pretty brutal stamina requirement, so you'd think East Africans would excel and West Africans fail, as in long-distance running. But the actual picture is, as one of Sam Francis's blog readers described John Kerry, a "tangle of nuance":

East Africans love the sport as much as anyone in the third world, but register near the bottom on world rankings. Bad coaching? Lack of teamwork?
West Africa produces mediocre teams at home, but stellar individuals in Europe. (I suspect their white teammates are giving them a breather on the pitch, since they can't take one on the bench, as in basketball.)
Brazil's great "black" stars are the result of many generations of mulattism. They could get their stamina from one set of ancestors, their élan from another.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that the tax payers are supporting the foreign players. Those players could be paying out of state tuition that is usually set at 100% of costs. The Athletic Departments has to come up with the funds to pay for them through donations, direct revenue, or student fees.

Anonymous said...

With regards to Major League Baseball's declining percentage of Black players (and the resulting news stories each year), you're correct. And you're also correct that relative to the general population, Hispanic Americans make up an even smaller percentage of Major League Baseball than Blacks.

This receives very, very little attention because the great majority of foreign born players in Major League Baseball are Hispanic. What's interesting is that Spanish speaking blacks, like Valdimir Guerrero, David Ortiz, and others that come from the Caribbean and Central and South America aren't considered Black to the same extent that their lighter skinned countrymen are considered Hispanic.

Asian Americans are even more underrepresented. Here, again, that a significant number of foreign players come from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea seems to provide some sort of unacknowledged compensation.

The obvious thing to point out is that baseball has next to no hold in Africa. South Africa competed in the inaugural World Baseball Classic (baseball's equivalent of soccer's World Cup), and is competing again in the spring of 2009. But their team is mostly comprised of white South Africans that are converted cricket players.

A very important development came about recently, just this winter. The Pittsburgh Pirates just signed the first two ever players from India, two pitching prospects under the age of 20. With a population of a billion people and a cricketing culture that easily translates to baseball, it's something that bears watching.

A large error made by the people that talk about the declining percentage of Black Americans in baseball is that they fail to adjust for the percentage of foreign born players. If you look at just Blacks' percentage of American born players, their percentage is down, but not down much.

albertosaurus said...

Over the holidays they have been rebroadcasting episodes from The World's Strongest Man.

Look at this picture.

Mariusz Pudzianowski won this year for the fifth time. Mariusz is a Pole. There were a lot of Poles this year. Formerly there have been disproportionate numbers of Swedes and Icelanders. That is to say - Nordics and Slavs.

America is coming back with a new generation of strong men - all white.

This competition has gone on since 1977. There has never been a black champion. Indeed there has hardly ever even been a black winner of a single event in the finals or the preliminaries.

WSM is only the most famous of the strength events. Most of the top competitors come from power lifting. These strength competitions are much more white than basketball and track are black.

Bodybuilding would seem to be a similar kind of event. Arnold Swartzenegger once won the title of Strongest Man in Europe. Arnold's bodybuilding buddy Lou Ferigno (The Hulk) entered in 1977 but in general bodybuilders have under performed in WSM. That may be because bodybuilding favors narrow waists and the majority of body builders are rather small men whereas WSM competitions are dominated by thick waisted giants.

Bobybuilding is over represented by blacks and always has been. In the pre-Swartzenegger era there was Sergio Oliva and Serge Nubret. Today thete is Ronnie Coleman. All of these black men were and are very strong by general population standards but none could probably qualify for the World's Strongest Man competition. They are not Caucasian enough.

matt williams said...

With blacks, you are always reading about what a tragedy it is that African-Americans have lost interest in baseball.
There are plenty of Black Hispanics in American baseball. There are far fewer African-American baseball players.

Anonymous said...

re: white strength athletes

I've heard this nutty theory before. There's a reason why there aren't many black competitors in these goofy fringe events. It has to do with the fact that they can make real money in the NFL or even in ultimate fighting.

WSM is a very specialized sport. You have to train the specific events to do well. It is no more a pure test of natural strength than bench pressing or power cleans -- technique matters a lot. If you follow the careers of the American competitors this should be obvious -- only when the Americans got serious about training full time in goofy events like truck pulling or "farmer's carry" could they compete with those oddball poles and nordics who have nothing better to do than train for WSM.

albertosaurus said...

I've heard this nutty theory before. There's a reason why there aren't many black competitors in these goofy fringe events. It has to do with the fact that they can make real money in the NFL or even in ultimate fighting.

WSM is a very specialized sport. You have to train the specific events to do well.

- Anonymous

You probably heard that nutty theory from me. I have posted about this phenomenon here a couple times before. I am not particularly invested in this "nutty theory" but it does seem to persist year after year. Its hard to ignore when blacks dominate so many sports a set of events where blacks have made so little penetration.

You offer in response the theory that blacks are wiser and more attuned to market forces than are whites. Blacks according to your way of thinking realize that there is more money in professional football and avoid strongman events. Whites on the other hand being simple dumb creatures have not noticed where the real money is.

I can still remember when the popular press first took notice that blacks were beginning to dominate basketball. They theorized that blacks just practiced more. Oh those lazy shriftless white people!

As to Ultimate Fighting, actually there are relatively few blacks in this half boxing half wrestling sport compared to pure boxing where blacks often dominate. It may very well be that after a decade or two blacks may dominate mixed martial arts too, but that certainly isn't true today.

You also point out that success in WSM responds to training. And you call me nutty!

All competitive sports have arbitrary rules. Baseball and football success are strongly dependent on very specific rules and skills. Look up the year Yastremski won the batting title. Consider the leftield fence at Yankee Stadium and the Babe.

Michael Jordan wasn't the World's Best Athlete, maybe the World's Best Basketball player but certainly not even a good Major League baseball player. Baseball success requires very, very specific skills. BTW Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) is the only professional major league baseball and basketball player I can think of.

It's true, there is no single event that demonstrates total strength. Therefore WSM has a variety of events some of which favor tall men and some of which favor shorter men. Some favor strong arms and others strong legs. The mix of events differs from venue to venue. WSM measures a class of abilities (strength) pretty well.

There are almost no really young men in WSM unlike tennis or swimming - the other two sports where whites do well. Maximum strength seems to be about the age of thirty. Probably this is because the tendons, bones and ligaments need years to proprly develop. There don't seem to be any 18 year old strongmen.

Finally as to the charge that WSM is a "fringe" sport - true. But it is less fringe than most track and field events. Who watches the TV coverage of even the 100 meter dash except at the Olmpics?

Steve has made an excellent case that simple running reveals racial patterns that are obscured in more complicated sports full of specific and arbitrary requirements.

The World's Fastest Man for the last twenty years or so has been black. The World's Strongest Man has been white for more than thirty years. I don't think this observation alone definitively proves anything but it is interesting.

Anonymous said...

There is no pro sport for a big strong guy in northern Europe or Poland. Here such people would gravitate to pro football. What is the analogue in those countries? No wonder you see more of them in the throws (shot, discus) and fringe sports (WSM).

Take any state in the US and you will find the HS throws dominated by some big strong kids, *most of whom end up taking a college football scholarship and dropping the sport*. Same thing in wrestling at the heavier weight classes, etc.

It's not that only blacks follow economic forces, it's that the WSM guys are from countries where there isn't a big economic force pushing them into a particular pro sport.

There's also an easy answer for why there are relatively more white guys in ultimate fighting. It's called wrestling, which is more popular in areas of the country which are predominantly white --e.g., midwest, plains states. Wrestling is the most common base sport for American fighters just like BJJ is for Brazilians. But the best wrestlers tend to come from certain regions of the country.

The broader lesson is that if you want to identify genetic group differences you have to be *very* careful about societal or cultural effects. Commenters on this blog tend to want to believe in such things, and often get to their desired conclusion through sloppy reasoning.

Anonymous said...

"I have no idea why the formatting comes out like this."

Embedded tab characters?