UT Summit Looks to Offer Support, Workshops for Black Student Athletes

AUSTIN, Texas -- Student athletes, coaches, and professors are in the Capital City for the third annual Black Student-Athlete Summit at the University of Texas at Austin.

Launched in 2015, the event offers workshops and sessions to discuss racism, stereotypes, and academic experiences of black student athletes.

During town hall discussions, speakers addressed what it's like being a black student athlete in the age of Black Lives Matter.

"Now they're having to deal with some of these emotions and some of the fear associated with that on top of the already demanding schedules they have as student athletes," said Darren Kelly, chief of staff with the University of Texas Academic Diversity Initiative.

George Rushing is a receiver for the University of Wisconsin's football team.

He attended the event, and says the challenges on the field don't stack up to what matters off the field.

"Football at the end of the day is just a game, I mean nothing lasts forever. But I'm going to be forever black, and there's going to be forever issues with race, whether we like it or not," said Rushing.

Thee summit also touched on political activism in light of NFL Player Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem before games.

"We've seen more athletes start to speak up and speak out on social issues that are affecting them and their communities. So we wanted to take a look and see what the intersection of social politics and getting involved and speaking out, how is that impacting student athletes at the college level as well?" said Kelly.

"Us being black student athletes, whether we like it or not, we have a platform. I feel like it's important for us that we don't have to go out there and be activists, but the things that we see that are going on, we should acknowledge it," said Rushing.

The conference runs until Friday and is free for undergrad students.

Athletic and academic professionals can still register for the event.

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