By Alvin A. Reid
A pair of Power 5 conferences are teaming with HBCU athletic departments to raise awareness and big-time pay days for the smaller schools.
The Big Ten announced last week that it has worked with Coaches Vs. Racism (CVR) to create the “HBCU Roundball Experience.”
Basketball teams from the Big Ten and other major universities will play HBCU teams “to place an emphasis on HBCUs, which traditionally lack resources and equipment and are routinely overlooked by professional talent scouts,” Darryl Woods, CVR executive director said during a press conference.
“Our focus is to shine the spotlight on systemic racism as a root cause of the inherent disparities that exist in the sports. Economic inequality continues to exist today in our elementary and high schools, colleges and universities and is detrimental to our youth.”
The inaugural game will feature Juwan Howard’s nationally ranked University of Michigan Wolverines against Byron Smith’s Prairie View A&M University Panthers at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) in Washington, DC., on Saturday, November 13.
The PAC 12 announced a partnership with the Southwestern Athletic Conference for member schools to trade home-and-home dates in men’s and women’s basketball beginning with the 2022-23 season through the 2025-26 season.
“It’s a great opportunity for Colorado, and all Pac-12 student-athletes for that matter, to learn more about the proud history of HBCU schools and what they’ve meant to those that have benefited from the educational experience at these institutions,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said in a statement released by the league.”
“We look forward to the competition on the court and furthering the educational process through this endeavor.”
Colorado against Grambling will be one of six Pac-12/SWAC games Nov. 10-13 in 2022.
Arizona vs. Southern, Oregon vs. Florida A&M, and USC vs. Alabama State) will be played on Pac-12 home courts.
Arizona State visits Texas Southern and Washington State travels to Prairie View A&M. Rematches will be held the following year with the sites reversed.
“As part of our Pac-12 Impact initiative to find ways to support and promote diversity and inclusion through sport, we could not be more proud to join with the SWAC on this first-of-its-kind initiative,” said Pac-12 deputy commissioner and lead men’s basketball administrator Jamie Zaninovich.
“All credit goes to the basketball head coaches and athletics directors from both conferences for wanting to go above and beyond by creating a truly inclusive and meaningful partnership that will help raise awareness of the important role of HBCUs in higher education. On behalf of our membership, coaches, and student-athletes, we thank (SWAC commissioner Charles McClelland) and our friends at the SWAC for embarking on this historic initiative with us.”