By Laurin Huffstetler
Posted Friday Mar. 26, 2010 10:01 AM
Reports say that star black Gamecock recruits are receiving phone calls from members of the South Carolina Legislature's Black Caucus. Caucus members are urging black athletes to reconsider coming to the University of South Carolina because the school's Board of Trustees could lose its only black member.
Leah Moody was appointed by Governor Sanford to replace a former African-American trustee who resigned before pleading guilty to tax fraud. Some legislators think she will not have enough votes in the Statehouse to be appointed to a full term.
Representative Todd Rutherford, who heads the Black Caucus, is afraid the board will soon lack diversity. Rutherford says this is not a battle with USC, but a battle with the Republicans in the General Assembly.
"We're asking that Republicans in the house respect the fact that we need diversity in the premiere institution of this state which is USC," said Rutherford.
Former Gamecock athlete and current Representative Anton Gunn denied reports he is the one calling recruits. He says he fully supports the University and would not to anything to jeopardize their success.
"I disagree with mixing football, politics and race" says Gunn. "What we should be doing is voting for people because they are the most qualified candidate and they have the most experience on the board. We should also be encouraged to have diversity, I believe diversity is good and whenever you lose that it should be a concern."
Representatives are urging Gamecock fans to call their legislators and ask them to vote for the most qualified candidate instead of doing political favors. Election to fill the seat will be held in April.