Introduction to Urban85

Published September 18, 2011 by Jeff Hinson

Who we are

Urban85 is a group of social architects that partner with educational institutions to meet the needs of black males, with a particular focus on Black Male Student-Athletes (BMSA). Dr. Leonard Moore created the vision of Urban85 from his work with BMSA’s while a graduate student at Ohio State from 1994-1998, and then as a professor at LSU from 1998-2007. Dr. Moore has been at the The University of Texas at Austin since 2007, where he has mentored Black athletes from multiple sports.

Helping Academic Institutions Address the Crisis of the Black Male Student-Athlete

Hardly a week goes by without ESPN or some other sports media outlet reporting on a serious NCAA infraction involving student athletes and affecting the reputations of colleges and universities across the nation. Over the past two years Black Male Student-Athletes have been charged with a variety of offenses, including but not limited to domestic violence, DUI, burglary, aggravated assault, drug possession and various NCAA infractions.

It has become so common that off-the-field behavior of student-athletes now has an annual award called the the Fulmer Cup in honor of the college football program that collectively has the worst criminal record. 

We have a problem. And while white student-athletes get arrested too, there are unique issues involving Black Male Student-Athletes that cannot be addressed with academic support structures. Colleges and universities must take into account that the social support structure for many Black Male Student-Athletes is virtually non-existent.

 The Urban85 Solution

We work with high school and college athletic departments to put in a social support structure that is based upon the cultural needs of the Black Male Student-Athlete. 

Many BMSAs enter college with personal, family, cultural, and community baggage, and then they arrive on campus to face the pressure to live up to expectations on the field and in the classroom at predominantly white academic institutions. Based on our experience working with multiple academic organizations, Black athletes are susceptible to inappropriate behavior as a coping mechanism. 

Urban85 works directly with athletic departments/coaches and their staffs to incorporate and conduct a ten session character development program with Black Male Student-Athletes on your campus. As part of this program, we will advise you on how to implement a support structure based upon feedback in the character development sessions.

We will provide professional development opportunities for coaches, academic personnel, and other athletic department staff and teach you our system, “An Analytical Framework for Understanding the Black Male Student-Athlete,” so that you can handle these initiatives in-house.

Finally, we will work with you to establish a community engagement initiative that will help your athletic department to better connect to the African American community. 

We welcome the opportunity to partner with you and your college, university or high school. For more information, contact Dr. Moore at or Darren Kelly at