Southern’s incredible ‘Human Jukebox’ marching band, one of the best bands in the land, will be on hand to perform. And while I am sure the Bulldogs’ marching band is a fine unit, they don’t stand a chance against the ‘Human Jukebox’.
As for the actual football game itself, it is going to be a joke. The Jaguars have no business even being on the field with the Bulldogs. If the Bulldogs wanted to, they could score a 100 points on Southern, just like Boston College could have done to Howard University earlier this season when they beat the Bison, 76-0.
So, why are they even playing?
Georgia is paying Southern $650,000 to be it entertained by the Southern band, and toy with the Jaguars on the field. It is a price Southern feels it has to pay, or at least thinks they have to pay, to field its athletic programs.
Sad to say, in some ways it almost seems like a minstrel show.
It is a price too heavy for proud, historic institutions like Howard, Southern, and so many other HBCUs to have to pay. But they continue to do so, year after year.
Earlier this season Alcorn State lost 69-6 to Georgia Tech. Two years ago Florida A&M, historically one of the premier HBCU football programs, traveled to Columbus, Ohio to take on the powerful Ohio State Buckeyes. The final score is just about what you would expect it to be. Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0. The Buckeyes scored 34 in the first quarter, 21 in the second, 14 in the third and 7 in the fourth quarter. I credit OSU coach Urban Meyer for not running the score up, because if he wanted the Buckeyes could’ve scored a 100 points.
The Buckeyes won the game, but the Rattlers were paid $900,000 for their visit. While that is chump change for OSU, those dollars are huge, and critically important to the very survival of the FAMU athletic department.
I get it. I understand it. And I realize it is something leaders feel must be done. But I hate it. I hate it for two reasons.
First, I know there was a time FAMU could’ve brought a team up from Tallahasee perfectly capable of kicking the Buckeyes in the ass, and Southern could have gone into Athens with a team good enough to beat the Bulldogs. During the hey day of the HBCU football (50s, 60s and early 70s) teams like Ohio State and Georgia had zero interest in playing schools like FAMU or Southern for any reason. They were too proud to lose to the HBCU’s.
Schools like FAMU, Tennessee State, Southern, Grambling and Jackson State were getting the finest athletes in the South, because they couldn’t go any where else. They fielded great teams and had great coaching. For years TSU tried to schedule cross-town Vanderbilt University, a member of the SEC. No way. But, now the Commodores schedule the Tigers every chance they get. Why? They know they can win now. Plain and simple.
When you see these mostly black teams at formerly all white schools like Ole Miss and Alabama, who literally rioted to keep blacks from enrolling, remember their DNA derives from Jackson State, Southern, Tennesseee State, Grambling, FAMU, South Carolina State, and the other southern HBCUs.
The second point is these money games are an embarrassment to the rich athletic traditions of those universities, that gave us so many great players and coaches, not too mention civic and school pride. And not only that, it is a slap in the face to the brand of the university today. Browse the web and read how little regard people in Boston had for Howard, one of the great academic institutions in our country. Granted, some of those folks are too ignorant to know any better, but it is nonetheless a stain on the Howard brand. Too many think Howard is a joke of a school, because its football team stinks. Yes, I know plenty of white FCS Division schools play money games, too. Ole Miss beat UT-Martin 76-3. However, when have black folk ever been able to get away with what white folk do? No one in Tennessee cares what UT-Martin does.
Those monies certainly help, but in the long run the losing 69-6 and 76-0 does far more harm to future recruiting and enrollment than it helps anything.
Now, this is partly the fault of the alumni and fans of these HBCU schools that they aren’t in better position. We haven’t given back and shared our gifts and talents with our universities to the point that they don’t need these games. We haven’t shared the legacies and traditions of these great schools well enough with today’s generation of students to make them consider an HBCU a viable choice.
We have not honored and respected these institutions (financially) that educated and nurtured our ancestors when nobody else did. Far too often, we have run to places like Ole Miss and Alabama, places where they literally rioted to prevent us from enrolling, and turned our backs on the HBCUs.
And, because we haven’t done better, we are often forced to go back to the entities that never wanted us to begin with.