Gary Norris Gray-BASN Newsroom-Staff Reporter
As the yearly March Madness tournament comes to a close, cracks are surfacing all over the hardwood floor. In the men’s Final Four there will not be an African-American head coach.
In this Final Four, the players are still not being paid for their countless hours of practice, (HBCUs) Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Mid Majors are given the toughest road to the Final Four, and now the (FBI) Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the trail of the (NCAA) National Collegiate Athletic Association administration offices. The question remains – can this organization play fair?
The NCAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; and the so-called Student-Athlete is an employee of the university and the state. The players are given a yearly stipend with said player giving up all monetary rights gain by the university from their likeness and their service. These same players must sign these contracts every year or forfeit playing for that college or university.
Ed O’Bannon-UCLA and Chris Webber- University of Michigan learned the hard way with the EA-Sports NCAA basketball video game and the $20 dollar Michigan basketball jersey. These students should also get workman’s compensation when injured. When a student athlete is injured and cannot play his/her sport they lose that scholarship – 85% of the time. Ninety percent of injured African-American athletes graduate from HBCUs after being transferred from a Division One which dismissed them due to injury, problems, or disagreements. This is rarely talked about on any sports network because Division One schools know this is incorrect and needs to be fixed.
Basically, March Madness is the NCAA’s bread and butter. College athletics’ governing body will earn somewhere around $900 million in revenue from the tournament, representing about 90% of its annual revenue. On the surface that seems like cause for outrage, especially in light of how much the players earn: NOTHING!!!!!-(Source:Investopedia)-Bobbee Bee “The Hater” H.is A.nger T.eaches E.verybody R.eality (bobbeethehater.blogspot.com)
The NCAA increased the number of teams participating in the spring tournament from 64 to 68, adding wild card teams to each regional final in 2010. The vision was to grant mid-majors and HBCUs opportunities. This year they pitted two Black conferences (SWAC vs. MEAC) against each other in the guise of a Black National Basketball Championship.
This year Texas Southern-(SWAC) Southwest Athletic Conference played against North Carolina Central-(MEAC) Mid Eastern Athletic Conference, eliminating one of them. That was not a mistake.
The NCAA would never do that with mid majors for example pitting the Missouri Valley Conference vs. the Ohio Valley Conference in the first round, giving both teams of that conference to advance at least one team. They would never do that to a Jesuit school either example St. Joseph’s of Philadelphia against Villanova. It would not happen. This is a clear political, economic, and racial stunt by the NCAA.
The Chicago Ramblers from “The Valley” have made more money – 8,190,000 dollars in two weeks – and have funded the whole university’s sports program. The Chicago school could make another $ 2,300,000 dollars if they win the last two games of the year. The Ramblers basketball team’s expenses would only pay for the University of Michigan lacrosse and hockey teams that’s how out of whack monetary payouts of Division One schools have become; it’s a runaway money train and the HBCUs are not on it, they are not invited.
The Five Families this year made over $ 20,000,000 each (ACC) Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, (SEC) South East Conference, Big East, and the Big Ten leaving the HBCU’s, (MEAC) Mid East Athletic Conference, (SWAC) South West Athletic Conference, (SIAC) Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and (CIAA) Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to fend for themselves.
Five years ago The Lady Pirates (Hampton University) did everything the NCAA asked them to do. The NCAA asked the Lady Pirates to play 30 games… they did that winning 28-5.
The NCAA asked them to play a tough schedule outside of the MEAC. They did that by playing Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State, Louisiana State, South Carolina, DePaul, South Carolina State, and Florida Gulf Coast.
The NCAA asked them to beat ranked teams. They did that by defeating The Lady Golden Eagles of Southern Miss., the Lady Bulldogs of Mississippi State, and the Lady Tigers of LSU.
The NCAA asked them to win the MEAC regular season title and the MEAC Tournament, The Lady Pirates did that TOO.
The reward for the ladies of Hampton University Pirates, a date with the number one ranked Duke Blue Devils on their home floor in North Carolina.
The Pirates scared them to death coming within four points in second half. Hampton University moved out of the MEAC this past winter to the Big South Conference. It happened again for the Salukis of Southern Illinois men’s team. The Salukis came in second place in the Missouri Valley Conference and lost the third place Illinois State Red Birds in the Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. The selection committee just X-ed out the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference and really did not want to see Chicago- Loyola playing.
The Salukis lost three times to the Ramblers and only lost five more conference games. SIU clearly could be doing what the Ramblers are doing in the tournament but the Salukis stayed home while the Ramblers keep upsetting the apple cart with March Madness victories. This is the dilemma of the Mid-Majors and HCBUs
It is a shame and a disgrace Texas Southern University went 0-13 in non-conference games just to satisfy the NCAA qualification standards. The Tigers unlike the Lady Pirates five years ago were not required to win a non-conference game because they won their conference and league title. If Texas Southern had lost either one of those requirements they would have been sent home like the Southern Illinois Salukis.
The only solution for the HBCUs is to separate themselves from the NCAA and create their own leagues with their own funding sources, since the NCAA cannot treat small schools and HBCUs fairly.
This was done with the old Negro baseball leagues in 1919-1959 and it was a special brand of baseball. The Major Leagues finally accepted Black players in 1947 and baseball became America’s game.
Will the NCAA learn from this historic event.. I have my doubts because money now overrules morals and justice in America today.
As the Staple Singers stated, “Let’s do it again.”
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email Glcgray@gmail.com
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