To most this is an easy question with an easier answer. Hell Yeah!!! Keep our Black athletes and talent in our schools. I get it. Why allow our Black Student Athletes to get exploited and mistreated at PWIs when they can just go to HBCUs?
I’ve seen this discussion on my TL multiple times before and I’ve always been on the fence about it. I was a borderline Power 5 Track Athlete. Most of my offers were from smaller D1 schools though I ended up going to FSU. I wasn’t offered by HBCU coaches. Many of my peers who were definite Power 5 talents also recall never being offered by HBCUs and that’s where my position on the discussion ended. They aren’t offering us anyway so…
But it wasn’t until recently my perspective shifted. In one of the series I’m writing the Main character’s brother is a top 5 basketball talent and he’s seriously considering going to an HBCU. That fictional storyline brought me to a realization.
Let’s say hypothetically all the Kentucky, Duke, Clemson and Bama boys go to Howard, FAMU, NCAT and TSU. What happens to the athletes who only got offers from Howard, FAMU, NCAT and TSU?
Seriously what happens to them? Try to answer that question for a bit.
Like I said before, Many Power 5 talents weren’t offered by HBCUs. I know athletes that were top twenty in the nation in their event in track. They sent in questionnaires to schools and still weren’t offered.
When Black Power 5 athletes share those anecdotes, some shift the blame to HBCU coaches. Claiming that they aren’t doing a good enough job recruiting, but this isn’t about coaches being “bad” recruiters per se.
Since they were formed, HBCUs have always been about giving the black community the opportunity for and a chance at higher education. It’s always been about giving Black people a space to earn degrees.
Many star and power 5 talents didn’t need an HBCU for that opportunity at higher education. They had dozens of coaches knocking their door down. They were fine without an HBCU offer. But what about the athletes that Kentucky, Duke, Clemson and Bama won’t offer? Where’s their opportunity for higher education?
There are NCAA scholarship and roster limits. Everyone can’t play. Hell everyone can’t even ride the pine. Coaches can’t offer everyone. So they skip out on the kids with 12 offers and look for the kid who wasn’t going to college until they went an asked about them.
My father is a high school Track coach at Hallandale High. Go Chargers!!! You can discredit and hate on Hallandale’s track program all you want, but one thing you have to acknowledge is that they get kids into schools. Coach Battle, My dad and Coach Heaven work hard marketing athletes to coaches. I’ve seen them call, email and literally chase down college coaches at track meets first hand for years.
Sometimes athletes aren’t Power 5 caliber but they still have to talent for the next level. That’s where HBCUs come in. That’s why the three of them have more HBCU coach numbers in their phones than PWIs. That’s why HBCU coaches come to their practices looking for “Diamonds in the rough”. I’ve had teammates that had no plans of going to school until an HBCU called them.
Lives have been changed for many thanks to their one HBCU offer. For them, HBCUs were the only chance at college. If all of our Star Black athletes decide to go to HBCUs they would indirectly be eliminating opportunities from their peers.
I’m not saying Black Student Athletes shouldn’t go to HBCUs. Everyone should go to a school that they want to go to. If a few top 100s go to HBCUs instead it would be great, but before we force this mass exudes think about who’s being hurt by all of it.
You’re probably saying well if the top athletes got to HBCUs then offers will open up for athletes that weren’t originally power 5 talents. All of that sounds good, but the kid with the Kentucky offer can’t just trade offers with the kid going to FAMU. Power 5 coaches are paid millions to win. They aren’t looking for “Diamonds in the rough”. They aren’t trying to give kids a chance at higher education. They are trying to win Championships. They’ll go overseas before they offer a kid that wasn’t on their radar.
Let’s say Power 5 coaches started lowering their offer standards. It would take years probably decades for that shift to happen. How many classes of high school seniors are you willing to sacrifice for HBCUs to become the new Power 5s? How many degrees unearned by black people is enough for you so that 10 HBCUs can be in the top 25?
The idea of four HBCUs being in the College Playoffs, HBCUs taking over march madness and the Number One Draft Picks coming from HBCUs is be great. But every time you dream that dream think about all the black student athletes that will be fucked over for it. Think about all the black high schoolers that would miss out on the chance at college if Howard and FAMU were trying to out recruit Bama and Clemson.
Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re an HBCU coach and you have three offers left. Are you going to give it to three top 100s with 20 other offers or three kids with no offers that are depending on yours to change their situations?
If you say three top 100s, then I have to tell you your vision of star athletes going to HBCUs is NOT Pro-Black at all. You don’t want to see more black people furthering their education. You just want to watch your school play in a New Years Bowl Game.
Until higher education is free or affordable to all so that students don’t have to depend solely on athletics to go to college, I think we should pump the breaks. This’ll do more harm than good.
Yeah HBCUs would take over D1 and Power 5 sports, but what about the kid at home unable to go to college because the next Michael Jordan took his offer at NCAT instead of going to UNC?
Yeah the schools will benefit and profit from it. Better buildings, better professors, better resources etc. Yeah black student athletes would be subject to way less racism if the went to HBCUs, but they’ll still be exploited. They still won’t be paid their worth. The NCAA will still make billions off their backs whether if they go to HBCUs or not.
The Problem isn’t star athletes going to PWIs. The problem is that the College and Higher education institution was built on racism to purposely keep black people out. The problem is that we needed HBCUs in the first place. The problem is that in the wealthiest nation in the world students have to rely on sports because Higher education is ridiculously Unaffordable. The problem is that the NCAA is allowed to exploit and use our athletes to make billions in return for “free education” while students athletes are less likely to graduate.
This is way more than picking a school to play for. There are serious Structural and Institutional flaws that won’t be corrected by playing football at Tuskegee instead of Alabama.