College Basketball Coaches Urge Supreme Court to Preserve Affirmative Action

Coach K Duke Basketball

On Monday evening, hundreds of men’s and women’s college basketball coaches asked the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve race-based affirmative action in a friend of the court brief.

UConn women’s basketball Geno Auriemma, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Penn State women’s coach Coquese Washington, former coach and current ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale, and former Georgetown coach John Thompson were among the 285 men’s and women’s coaches who filed “an amicus brief in Fisher v. University of Texas, which is being heard by the nation’s highest court for a second time this fall,” according to an Associated Press report. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the University of Texas’s affirmative action policy, but the Supreme Court, in a 7-1 decision in 2013, sent the case back to lower court, which “again upheld the university’s admissions policy,” as the AP noted.

Abigail Fisher, “a white woman who was denied admission to Texas’ flagship campus in Austin,” originally brought the case after she “was passed over for a spot among the 25 percent of the class reserved for special scholarships and people who meet a formula for personal achievement that includes race as a factor.”

“Many of us have competed against each other on the court, but we join together here,” the coaches wrote in the brief. “We understand — from our work every day — the value that diversity and increased perspectives give our student-athletes and the campus community as a whole.”

They added that, “almost all of us know, firsthand, the difficult and challenging areas that still exist in this country, often in urban environments; some of us are from those areas personally.”