The NCAA today announced new rules which will make it easier for athletes good enough to make it to the NBA to return to school if those dreams fall short.
north carolina central university
Less than 24 hours before today’s investiture of North Carolina Central University Chancellor Johnson Akinyele, news broke that a lawsuit had been filed against him and two members of the University of North Carolina System Board of Trustees by a former NCCU vice-president, alleging improper spending on a luxury SUV and being fired after raising concerns over an attempt to skirt procurement rules on a multi-million construction contract for student housing.
A historically black university will have an opening round win on Thursday night’s prelude to March Madness, as Texas Southern University and North Carolina Central University will play in the ‘First Four’ round of the NCAA men’s basketball playoffs. But that win will come at the expense of another black college, and in given the history of HBCU basketball in this tournament and the tenor or racial politics in sports and beyond, the selection committee should have had more grace and insight than it showed with this seeding.
A 19-win MEAC champion NCCU team could be legitimately argued to post as a 15-seed. A sub-.500 Texas Southern team doesn’t get to escape the 16-seed line. Both teams have been perennial contenders in historically black conferences which have improved steadily over the last decade, and which have scored signature wins over power conference teams during the same period.
But facing each other to kick off March Madness is culturally offensive and financially shortsighted to HBCUs and the NCAA as it would be for two bottom-feeding teams from the Pac-12 or the SEC playing in the First Four.
Forget the underlying racial politics of two black coaches from two historically black athletic conferences facing each other in a contrived college basketball version of the Celebration Bowl; why would the selection committee limit the opportunity for Texas Southern and NCCU to both win into the field of 64, and thus giving both of their conferences a chance at more money coming in from tournament splits? The LIU-Brooklyn/Radford matchup on the other side of the First Four mini-bracket is as statistically unlikely to beat Villanova as the winner of NCCU-TSU is to defeat Xavier.
Why not split the difference and have the two HBCUs, which could have just as easily fit into the 16-slots of the East and West brackets respectively with wins, play independent of each other?
And why take your two biggest ‘One Shining Moment‘ conference brands to have one canceled out in the first game of the tournament? The MEAC and the SWAC have produced some of the tournament’s signature upsets, so why would the NCAA cut two chances for that opening round upset narrative in half with its only two participating HBCUs?
Maybe race doesn’t matter, it the committee’s charge is to evenly pair teams regardless of money, storylines, race, and other factors. That would make sense if the NCAA wasn’t positioning itself as a partner for improving Division I HBCUs in academic progress and graduation rates. The NCAA has given millions to help black colleges improve their academic and career development infrastructure for black colleges not just because it looks good to help struggling black schools and black people, but because it improves their brand to avoid ng giving HBCUs the death penalty for deficiencies in compliance.
Especially when bigger, whiter institutions avoid similar punishment for more egregious actions.
Of course, the HBCUs have a role in this outcome. They could win more games, build more competitive leagues, recruit better athletes, hire better coaches, or even leave Division I outright and compete in Division II, where HBCUs attract just as many fans are a million times more likely to win a national championship.
(And by the way, NCAA, don’t think we didn’t notice that Virginia State-Virginia Union seeding in the opening round of the Division II tournament, either).
But that doesn’t exempt the NCAA and the selection committee from doing the right thing for two conferences that carry the water for its mid-major branding in football and basketball, and which drive cheerful narratives about the can-do, anything can happen on a given night spirit of college sports.
There were alternatives for the selection committee which would’ve given a lot more dignity to two Division I conference champions. Syracuse has to play into the tournament as one of the ACC’s worst performers this year, and still doesn’t have to face the possibility of facing conference rival Duke until the Sweet 16, and if by some miracle advanced beyond that round, wouldn’t get to see historic rival Villanova until the Final Four.
The selection committee considers things like that when it completes the brackets. HBCUs, their coaches, and their fans deserve that kind of consideration; even if just for one round.
North Carolina Central University was recently announced as the first historically black university to join the Triad Universities Nuclear Laboratory research consortium, a collection of researchers which manage particle accelerators for academic and scientific development.
North Carolina A&T State University head football coach Rod Broadway announced his retirement today, capping a career which has claimed championships in three historically black athletic conferences and which forced HBCU football into discussions of mid-major relevance.
North Carolina Central University’s (NCCU) Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Department of Music assistant professor Lenora Helm Hammonds are on the preliminary ballot for the 60th Grammy Awards. The ballot is the first stage in a two-part voting process.
The acclaimed prosecutor was a member of NCCU’s inaugural ’40 Under 40′ alumni honor roll.
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Officials at North Carolina A&T State University today announced plans to consolidate its departments of political science and history, while making its criminal justice program a standalone department.
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Meharry Medical College, North Carolina Central University and Tuskegee University were this week announced as members of a consortium of seven colleges and universities awarded a five-year, $122 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish campus-based research centers for minority health issues.
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, will fund seven new awards to support the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Specialized Centers program. RCMI is designed to support institutional research capacity and foster the career development of new and early career investigators conducting minority health and health disparities research.
The grants will provide support and training for future scientists in public health treatment and research, while expanding research capacity at the participating institutions. The three HBCUs will have focus on awareness building and training for HIV/AIDS, forms of cancer and substance abuse in underrepresented communities.
Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., chancellor of NCCU, said, “The significant research funding provided by the National Institutes of Health elevates North Carolina Central University’s noteworthy work investigating solutions to some of the nation’s toughest health disparities that persist as challenges to communities of color. Through this grant, I am thrilled that Dr. Kumar and his team are already fulfilling three of the six strategic priorities represented in ‘The Eagle Promise’initiative, which focus on expanding research, facilitating innovative strategic partnerships with the Research Triangle Park and building new infrastructure for the university.”
In an interview explaining his sudden retirement decision, Norfolk State University President Eddie Moore said that his personal health and the university’s need for more energy were key factors.
NORFOLK Eddie N. Moore Jr., Norfolk State University’s president and CEO who was formally inaugurated a year ago, plans to retire by the end of the year. He became interim president in September 2013 and signed a two-year contract early last year to take over.
But he also summed up the biggest challenge for HBCUs of the 21st century:
“It is an arms race in higher ed, and we’re at the tail end of the arms race,” he said. “We really need to increase our capabilities with nonstate money to remain competitive.”
Alumni donations will not be enough because there aren’t enough alumni with enough disposable income. Corporate donations won’t be enough because it will be harder to score big money from big companies away from big predominantly white institutions with their own shrinking budgets.
The key will be HBCUs expanding or creating their own business auxiliary opportunities. How can we live beyond the bookstore, parking passes and police-issued tickets? The answer may not be as difficult as it seems.
Two years ago, former Fort Valley State University president Ivelaw Griffith talked about the school’s efforts to bring its agricultural extension programs to commercial market in the surrounding region.
Kentucky State University will next month open a gift shop in a downtown Frankfort hotel temporarily housing students as a result of an influx of first-year student enrollment this fall.
“Every time someone comes to the state for business, they will see a Kentucky State University gift shop in the Capital Plaza Hotel,” KSU President M. Christopher Brown II told board members.
Six years ago, Hampton University purchased the tallest building in Hampton’s downtown area, which has added to the school’s portfolio of commercial space generating leasing revenue, residential and conference space.
Jackson State University’s One University Place is a valuable anchor for residential and commercial expansion in and around downtown Jackson, MS.; and is a revenue booster for a university in need of cash flow.
When this newspaper started 15 years ago this week, promising a rising creative class in Jackson on its cover, the capital city was a different place that nearly everyone said they wanted to leave. Jackson was the butt of suburban jokes, and its champions were always on the defensive. Not fun.
Other schools like North Carolina Central University have established or are in the process of establishing tech and entrepreneurial space to create synergy between the academic enterprise and entrepreneurial development for external communities.
These are just a few examples of revenue building beyond tuition and fees, but it will take much more development from more historically black campuses to lessen the impact of higher education’s bursting bubble on HBCU communities nationwide.