The Supreme Court ruling Friday to end affirmative action procedures in college admissions has had quite the impact across the sports world. One of those impacts is prompting Charles Barkley to make a change to his will. The NBA on TNT analyst had already announced he plans to leave $5 million to his alma mater, Auburn University. On Friday, as per Roy S. Johnson of AL.com, Barkley said that ruling has motivated him to change what his bequest will be used for:
“In my will, I am leaving Auburn $5 million,” he said Friday. “I’m going to change it to be just for scholarships for Black students. That’s just my way of trying to make sure Auburn stays diverse.”
“I love Auburn,” he added. “I’ve actually changed it to be used for kids from poor homes. But after that ruling yesterday, my phone was blowing up. I was talking to my friends and said, ‘I need to make sure Black folks always have a place at Auburn. So, I’m gonna change my will and make it exclusive for Black students—all $5 million.’ It’s just for me the right thing to do. I always want to make sure that Auburn’s diverse.”
As per Johnson’s piece there, Auburn’s Black student enrollment was at 4.94 percent of the student population in 2022. That was down from 5.13 percent in 2020.
Thus, Barkley’s later comment of “We’ve always lacked diversity. I’m doing my part to make sure we are more diverse” certainly has some backing from the numbers. And it’s interesting to see him announce this change to his bequest plans around such a high-profile ruling, and one that’s received plenty of criticism and plenty of vows to continue diversity-promoting efforts from the sports world (including the NFL). But Barkley has never been shy about commenting on social or political issues, and he’s set to do more on that on his upcoming CNN show with Gayle King.