By Jabari Richardson, Staff Reporter
The entire world of HBCU sports has evolved in the past few months. With the help of elite athletes and activists in the sports world, the recognition and attention to black athletics are growing.
In the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Howard seized national attention for garnering top basketball recruits Nojel Eastern and Makur Maker this summer. Meanwhile, in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC conference), Jackson State University started to catch the eye of all college football fans with a notable addition to their squad.
NFL Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders, joined the Tigers football team this past year. According to Sanders, he has big plans of putting the overlooked Mississippi team in the championship title game for years to come.
The Jackson State Tigers were always labeled the underdogs of the south, having a record of 4-8 in their last played season in 2019 and a 5-5 record in 2018. With past coaches T.C. Taylor and Otis Riddley’s direction, they were able to hold an average of 26.08 ppg and still be held in slightly higher regard, in comparison, to other SWAC competitors.
Analysts expect the team to become one of the most highly regarded teams not only in the SWAC but now in HBCU history. As a result of the precedent that Primetime and other notable athletes are going to JSU, they now have the No. 1 ranked class in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), the highest rank ever assembled by an HBCU.
Deion Sanders becoming coach of any college football team is an outstanding feat because of his impact on the sport. However, his decision to lead an HBCU, especially one not always seen in the limelight by sports media outlets, makes his move to Jackson monumental. Sander’s decision to coach in Jackson, a less nationally recognized institution, is significant for the HBCU community.
HBCUs are often overlooked by most Division I athletes and elite coaches searching for career opportunities due to the stigma that HBCUs are less likely to house remarkable sports programs with elite talent.
The effect that “Coach Prime” and the athletes he recruited to the Tigers squad are about to make history in collegiate sports in their upcoming season.
A new day is arising for black athletes.
The sports world will see how meaningful HBCUs are to black athletes and the impact that they have. In the long run, the impact of HBCUs in sports will be undeniable and a force that will not ever be questioned again.