How Black College Athletic Programs Will Flourish Again

On Thursday, September 25th undrafted Larry Donnell, Tight End on the New York Giants, had an electrifying performance. He recorded 7 receptions for 54 yards and 3 Touchdowns. All eyes are on him because he delivered in a big game against his team’s rival, the Washington Redskins. Donnell calought 3 “jump passes” for touchdowns.

The Giants loved the matchups they were given and tossed him the ball. Teams that play the Giants in the future will certainly watch film to find out why Donnell was so explosive.

Larry Donnell stands with Larry Brown, Willie Davis, James Harris, Doug Williams and many others that have played for Grambling State and went on to play in the NFL. In lieu of Grambling’s success, it is clear that Grambling State has adopted what I call the model of successfully raising institutional funds through athletic programs.

Known as the “Black-Super Bowl,” Grambling and Southern generate $1.32 million dollars every year they play in the Bayou Classic, reports The Times-Picayune. Many Public White Institutions have found that this is a model that generates millions of dollars per year for their institutions, if they are successful.

The model is structured around hiring a great Athletic Director, top tier coaches, and invest much of the money they earn into attaining the best athletes in the country, who are mostly African-American, through recruiting. For an example, when Notre Dame lost in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game they earned $6.2 million dollars, according to Forbes.

What would happen if HBCU’s followed this model closely?

In fact, the groundbreaking work of William C Rhoden in his must read book: Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete, paints a vivid picture of the history of the fall of HBCU’s athletic programs:

“The integration of intercollegiate sports in the mid-1970’s created an insatiable appetite for black athletes, which in turn triggered a strip-mining of black communities across the United States. Talented Black athletes and their families were wooed and pursued with the promise of scholarship and, often, material gifts. Black athletes had become a vital a commodity in the sports industry, which necessitated a full-service delivery system to identify, prepare, and carry Black muscle to “market”. That system is the Conveyer Belt.”

In essence, when the superior talent of Black athletes returns to our HBCU’s, then these institutions can attain more financial revenue and with the rise of financial means these institutions will be able to flourish because of more funding.

Better athletes + Better Athletic Directors + Better Coaches = Better athletic programs. Better athletic programs = more funding. More funding = Flourishing HBCU’s.

Larry Donnell is an example of the type of athletes HBCU’s need to recruit in the future to be economically vital.

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