Segments in this Video

San Jose State University Football (01:41)


Former football player Lamar Ferguson explains how tough it is to get off the streets and out of gangs in Inglewood, CA. He believes that gangsters who think they are the hardest are the ones who die and that student athletes get respect.

Former SJSU Coach (03:09)

Fitz Hill explains how male African American students want to pursue athletics as a way out of their environment. His goals for the San Jose State University football team include: education, graduation, winning championships, a good collegiate experience, and making the world a better place.

Player Sets Sights on NFL (04:06)

Trestin George of Berkeley, CA was highly recruited by such schools as Washington, Colorado, and Notre Dame, but chose to attend SJSU after his mother had a stroke. He describes his feelings and dreams in his poetry. His goal is to go to the NFL.

Using Football to Get off Streets (03:04)

Lamar Ferguson came to San Jose during Fitz Hills' first year as coach. He was a star at Inglewood High School in Los Angeles. He wants to support his daughter and wants her to be proud of him. Ferguson was the first member of his family to attend college.

Media Focus on Rare Success Stories (02:15)

Professor of African-American Studies Steven Millner explains that it is unrealistic to expect high school and college sports to be a stepping stone to the NFL. The reality of college life often shatters the dream of a professional career.

Commitment to Classes vs Playing (02:56)

Former Athletic Director, Ricardo Hooper explains how football players learn up to 100 plays each week. He believed his players had the capacity to perform at that same level in the classroom. He expected them to be as dedicated to learning as they were to the playing.

Grueling Schedules for Profit (03:07)

Former Athletic Director Chuck Bell explains that money games are prearranged games that are outside of the required conference games played to get money for the school. He believes them necessary to balance the football budget; this money also helps pay for other sports.

Different Standards (02:16)

Coach Hill states that one of the realities of coaching is that African-American coaches are evaluated collectively while white coaches are evaluated individually. He cites examples of coach evaluations for hiring and firing.

Attempt to Increase Game Attendance (03:07)

Spartan Stadium has a potential capacity of 30,000 attendees, but the team rarely sees more than 10,000 and most of them are alumni. Some students do not likely football and others prefer to study and exclude social activities. San Jose State has a difficult time meeting the criteria as outlined by the NCAA rules for Division 1-A college football teams.

Pressure to Drop Football Program (04:42)

The new SJSU student body is older and from different cultures that are not interested in football. English Professor Don Keesey explains the financial drain football has on the school. Spartans for Sanity is a group of faculty that wants to terminate San Jose State's participation in Division 1-A football.

Can SJSU Thrive Without Football? (03:47)

San Jose's "Mercury News" reported on the ten year anniversary of Santa Clair University getting rid of its football team. The university is getting more donations than ever. Cal State Long Beach also got rid of its football program.

Opportunity to Address Illiteracy (04:43)

Opening the Martin Luther King Library coincides with the Literacy Classic. The library is one of the largest west of the Mississippi. Football players tutor at various children's centers to give back and boost interest in the game.

Sitting Out Due to Ineligibility (03:11)

The demands of football begin to take a toll on coursework. Student athlete Trestin George realizes he has to balance school work and football. Former Athletic Director Rich Chew believes practice is out of proportion with the academic mission of a university.

Medical Hiatus (03:19)

When injuries force student athletes to take time off they get behind in classes. Students drop out, skip classes, or some use the opportunity to break down the stereotypes that student athletes are just there getting passed along by the teachers to play in games. Some view school and athletics as two totally different entities. Football gives some students a free education.

Frustration When Team Does Poorly (03:48)

Former Interim President of SJSU Joe Crowley states that there is tremendous pressure on African-American head coaches in football to do well. A frustrated Coach Hill takes out his anger over the team’s defeat in the locker room.

Faculty Advisory Vote on Football Program (01:47)

Some faculty members are ask others to sign a petition to call upon the Academic Senate to get out of Division 1-A. The vote is 310 to 113 to get out of Division 1-A. Chuck Bell, Former Athletic Director of SJSU, finds it sad that a campus group would push for the eradication of another.

Black Coach Steps Down (04:41)

Hill hopes his players will leave the university motivated to be leaders in their communities. Larnell Ransom was recruited by Coach Hill and considers him a father figure. He is respected for the way he has handled adversity.

Credits: Playing for Keeps (00:44)

Credits: Playing for Keeps

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Playing for Keeps

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Playing for Keeps follows the challenges facing several African-American football players and their coach, Fitz Hill, at San Jose State University, as they struggle to overcome obstacles on the field and in the classroom. This timely and provocative documentary highlights the national debate around the social and financial costs and consequences of maintaining competitive football programs on college campuses. Fitz Hill, one of only four African-American head football coaches at Division 1-A schools and one of only two with a doctorate degree, came to San Jose State in 2001 pledging to combine football and academic success. Playing for Keeps traces his tenure as coach in his attempt to get players from inner city, high crime neighborhood to see football as not only a way out of troubled neighborhoods but as a vehicle for placing greater importance on classrooms achievement. Over the next four years, until being forced to step down in 2004, the coach and team are confronted by the lack of a winning record on the field as well as student and faculty apathy and even opposition toward the football program. In Playing for Keeps, football becomes more than just a game. The factors shaping victory and defeat reflect larger social realities confronting American society at the beginning of the 21st century.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL118590

ISBN: 978-1-63521-515-1

Copyright date: ©2006

Closed Captioned

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