U of A Officials Cite Nolan Richardson's Firing as Reason for Drop in Enrollment Among Black Students

MARCH 3, 2005 - Posted at 7:40 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The chancellor of the University of Arkansas says the firing of basketball coach Nolan Richardson was probably part of the reason for a decline in enrollment by black students at the Fayetteville campus.

Chancellor John A. White says a 2.4 percent decrease in the number of black students was "the worst news" in a report released Wednesday by the university's 2010 Commission.  The report sets goals for the university to reach by the end of the decade.

White fired Richardson in 2002 after the longtime coach said that, if the university wanted, it could buy out his contract.  Richardson sued, alleging he was discriminated against because he is black and outspoken.  A federal judge ruled against the ex-coach after a trial last spring and summer.

White said feedback from parents indicated continuing fallout from the firing.  White says fewer than expected black students were taking advantage of scholarships.

But he said any effect the firing had on enrollment by black students should eventually be reversed.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)