Where Will HBCUs Go in Revamped NCAA?

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Commissioner Greg Moore recently told the Montgomery Advertiser that growing talks about revenue possibilities in NCAA sports are being made without consideration for historically Black colleges and universities.

“I believe the gap between the have and have nots is growing to the point where it’s becoming alarming,” Moore said. “When you have the average payout at a Power 5 conference school exceeds the top line revenue of all the HBCU conferences combined, that’s a problem,” Moore said. “That should be discussed. No one is talking about it.”


According to Moore, the combined revenue of all Division I and II historically Black conference member institutions is around $18 million annually, while one member school in the five ‘high-visibility’ athletic conferences is likely to make $20 million in a year.

The comments followed remarks made by Big 12 President Bob Bowlsby on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, where he said the five power conferences are being forced into a position of creating a new division, because policies on compensation and amateurism will prove harmful to mid-major DI programs.

And outright dangerous for HBCUs who face real prospects of limited guaranteed games against BCS opponents in the near future.

Assessing HBCU athletics in 2014 is simple – we don’t know our athletes, we don’t attend our games, we don’t travel with our teams, and the companies we support don’t advertise with our programs. Changing one or two of these elements could have seismic results on developing historically Black sports – Southern University and Bethune-Cookman University are perfect examples.

But for the rest of the member institutions who rely on DI membership for scholarship funding support to bolster enrollment, is the question as much about what the NCAA can give up, or what HBCUs can do to recalibrate the appeal and accessibility of good competition? More marketing and more targeted fundraising initiatives seem to be the obvious answers, but nothing is obvious when dealing with few dollars and even fewer staff members.

Potential solutions are complex and far too great for one umbrella fix. What is good for Jackson State and Hampton may not be good for Mississippi Valley State and Coppin State. And what works for the CIAA Basketball Tournament in 2015 may not be practical for the tournament three years from now. Part of the equation – fans understanding their roles as financiers, marketers and brand managers of the game day and conference experience.

The other side? The HBCU have-nots considering a secession plan from the NCAA. Because larger, richer DI member schools will not continue subsidizing a product that can’t generate buzz and revenue from its own fan base.


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4 comments
  1. This is so true, the NCAA is not having that converation. The real problem is also with how the NCAA penalizes HBCU for not having the resources. It is a double edged sword, HBCU need the revenue in order to high staff to market and stay in conpliance. Without the resources to do both the gap between HBCU athletics and PWI Athletics is growing wider and wider with no talk on how to resolve. This is just a systemic issue with HBCU’s and PWI’s across the country. States have cut funding and instituted racist legislation to damage public HBCU’s and now it has trickled down to the athletic programs being adversly affected.

    1. Its simple people black folks not willing to spend millions of dollars for their student athletes,and schools.It takes that much year afther year to be respected across the country,the whites school been doing it for years now,plus they have the advantage of having blacks money along wit theirs hbcu`s have only black dollars to depend on.I have been investing in Grambling State University Athlectics since 1997, attend all home games,travel to lots of road games,even have flown to some classic games,like the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis,In.Was in grambling,la week of the boycott,didnt blame the young men one bit for their fustration,and its not just grambling kids that feel this way.Sponsors want to see thousands of fans in the stands week afher week in all sports,they also looking at how much we spend on our schools,the kids looking for all the small perks,and amenities they can geat,and wear.As black supporters we do everything backwards,we spend whatever the ” classic game” host cities charge us,but then spend the bare minium at our home games,all our money go to these cities year afther year for food,lodging,entertainment,etc case and point last year me,and 28,000 other fans spent $35 million dollars in houston,tx for the swac champion game,and neither southern university,nor jackson state university recieved a $1 million dollars from that game,but the swac commissoner,and folks celebrating because its in houston,tx thats backwards.Look arounnd the country D1 schools fans,alumni spending anywhere from$50-$400 per ticket per game all season long for all their sports teams,thats the difference between the haves( them) ,and the havenots( us) year afther since intergration was passed years ago.Unless we spend this type of money on our students,and schools reapectively we may as well discontinue our athlectic programs WHITE AMERICA STATES not going to ever support us finacially,because that would lead to us being on a level playing field wit them,which will lead black athletes back to our campus white folks not blind to this fact we are,we not spending they are,and thats why they have the talented players,sponsors,t.v. deals,fly uniforms,top notch facilites,and all that make college athletics

  2. They won’t have that convo because a lot of the people that are in control of college football are buddy buddy with the people running the states that a lot of these HBCU’s are located in (where substantial budget cuts have occurred and would have gone unnoticed if not for the Grambling protest).
    We also have to get people at our schools who will bring in fresh new ideas in to adjust to this shift instead of what worked for us in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s because if we don’t, we will be left holding the bag like the non-Power 5 conferences are seeing

    1. There are a number of HBCU athletic directors with fresh ideas, but resources are key. If we aren’t moving t-shirts, hot dogs and season tickets, we are moving the needle on how to become larger athletic imprints. And all schools have to buy in – UConn basketball and FSU football would struggle if they didn’t have quality in-conference opponents to make the regular season interesting and lucrative.

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