By: Jack Lester
Walter Payton and Jerry Rice, to name a few, are two names synonymous with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) sports teams.
The aforementioned athletes were college stars over two decades ago.
Fast forward to 2015: the golden age of HBCU athlete stardom has long ended along with the prestige of the players represented.
An entire piece of black history has been transferred into the present and future triumphs of major universities present and future.
Nevertheless, the production and occurrence of marquee players hasn’t ceased.
The athletes have simply decided to choose other universities besides a HBCU in enormous numbers.
Through integration, black athletes have migrated to major universities.
This migration has been fueled by access to larger fan bases, larger endowments, greater booster club funding, and far better chances of notoriety—awards, television and the Internet.
In turn, majority universities continue to boost revenues off the efforts of athletes they refused to recruit until they saw benefit to.
College athletics is a large business, with all of Division I’s top 120 teams generating over $10 million through sports, none of which are HBCUs.
Without substantial revenue, HBCUs have no chance of advancement through upgraded facilities and school infrastructure.
Lack of money has already proved hindrance to HBCU South Carolina State, who will battle school closure in search of restabilization money.
Athletic revenues wouldn’t have seen the school dip into this state of emergency.
The “grass is greener” approach has left HBCU athletic programs with a depleted talent pool to choose from and to place on the field.
So much so that certain HBCUs endure mammoth beatings from large, non-HBCU universities, which lure players with the promise of lucrative, six-figure paydays.
HBCUs only receive top-tier talent when majority universities no longer need certain players.
In the case of top recruit and freshman standout Isiah Crowell, the University of Georgia dismissed him after a string of off-the-field incidents.
He landed on his feet at Alabama State, a HBCU.
It is comical that top high school athletes snub HBCU for fear of hurting chances of a pro career.
With the NFL only drafting less than 300 players per year against 10,000 football players, the logic in the decision is of weak value.
No community thrives without its most talented individuals.
To change HBCU culture, it needs a major athlete of color to change the status quo.
Whoever he or she is, would be an adrenaline shot in the arm.