Black Caucus says USC board lacks diversity, urges recruits to reconsider

Members of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, concerned that the University of South Carolina is likely to lose its lone black member, are reportedly urging black football recruits to reconsider playing for USC.
Black lawmakers says that Rock Hill attorney Leah Moody does not have the votes in the legislature to be appointed for a full term on the board next month. Moody was appointed to the USC Board after Board Vice Chairman Samuel Foster, who is black, resigned July 1, 2009 after being indicted for bank fraud. Foster had been on the board since 1984, and was set to become the board’s black chairman prior to his resignation. Foster served on the board since 1984.
Former USC football player and current LBC member Richland County Representative Anton Gunn says he is concerned about a lack of diversity on the USC board and the boards of other state institutions but he has not and will not call recruits about the issue.
“I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done anything whatsoever. Am I hearing their rumors and concerns in the hallway that people are talking to recruits and their families? Yes, I am hearing that. Have I talked to anybody? No”.
Gunn played football at USC from 1991 to 1994. He earned a Bachelors and a Masters degree while attending USC.
Gunn says he personally is frustrated how politics are played in the state of South Carolina. “I will be frankly honest with you, there is so much politics behind everything that goes on in this state that it will make your head spin. As a former football player and as a (USC) Gamecock I live in the world of X’s and O’s. I like things plain and simple. I know how to do the small things to make the big things better and that gets you across the victory line. But in politics it clearly isn’t like that and this story is one of those,” Gunn said in a live interview on SCRN’s Sports Talk.
Members of the LBC say that members of the black community have been calling USC football recruits and asking them to rethink attending USC. Gunn says how recruits are affected by the issue is up to each individual and their family. Gunn remembers when he was recruited to play football at USC from his native Virginia in 1990 when the Confederate flag issue was looming. In responding to an earlier question from a reporter, Gunn says he’s not clear how youngsters will react to certain issues now and adds, “In 1990, the Confederate flag was not on my radar screen. I did care about it then, and I really don’t care about it now. But I said to him, it is now 2010 and we have had a lot of negative political stories in our state,and the Confederate flag has been at the top of that list for a long time. So who knows what a recruit may respond to as it relates to whether they decide to go to school there or not?”
Gunn says at the time of he was recruited he was impressed that USC had a black student population of 14 percent which was the highest percentage of any major state university in the country. USC now has more than 28,000 students, 11 percent are black.