Posted on April 16, 2021

Utah Gov. Claims It’s Not Racist for White Children to Be Excluded from Jazz-Funded College Scholarships

Libby Emmons, The Post Millennial, April 15, 2021

Governor Spencer Cox took a call during a the “Let Me Speak to the Governor” question period on a local radio station KSL on Thursday from a constituent who was concerned about the Utah Jazz’s new scholarship program. The scholarship program, implemented by the basketball this year, promised a college scholarship to a student of color for every win the franchise earned.

The caller, announced as David from Highland, asked “The Utah Jazz is excluding white children from consideration for their scholarship program. Do you think this is racist? And what would you do to prevent the Utah Jazz from acting in this racist manner?”

“Well I don’t think it’s racist,” Cox began. “I think it’s in response to unfortunately some very racist injustices that have happened for a long time. And I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do for the Utah Jazz: absolutely nothing.

“Because y’know what? I believe in the Constitution and I believe in the freedom of, of businesses to make decisions, and decisions that are right for them. Your kid or my kid, they, they have no right to the Utah Jazz’s money, and the Utah Jazz and Ryan Smith can do the things that they want to do with their, with their funds and their revenues.”

“And look, it’s an awesome program, it’s something that we should be celebrating. the cool thing is that the Utah Jazz have more wins than any team in the nation, which means that there are more scholarships available for kids in our state,” Cox continued.


“You know we live in a nation that does have a very difficult history and sometimes we try to ignore it. A history of racial injustice, a history where, where, where. Of course, slavery being the most severe and awful example of that.

“But that stuff just doesn’t go away overnight and kids that—we’re working very hard on, on equity, making sure that every kid in our state has the same opportunities as others. And so looking for ways to lift communities that have been historically and disproportionately impacted isn’t racist at all. In fact it’s a great way to overcome racist [sic]. In fact I’m really proud of the Jazz and the great things they’re doing there,” Cox said.


The program was announced in January by Ryan Smith, the new owner of the Jazz, on a podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN. The initiative, Smith said, was to award “someone from an underrepresented or minority community in Utah every time the team won a game. {snip}


The criteria for an award are that the student must be a person of color, a graduate of a Utah school, and enrolling as a freshmen during the specified semester. {snip}