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HBCUs Success in the Pros

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011

Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2011 21:09

 

When it comes to professional athletes, many got their chance in their respective sport by playing on collegiate teams. These athletes come from colleges and universities all around the country, but the power conferences such as the Big Ten, PAC-12 and SEC seem to always have more prospects for professional sports careers than other divisions.

 

"I don't think HBCUs are represented well in the pros," said junior political science major, Anthony Miles.

 

With 75 percent of both the NBA and NFL players being African American, the players who come from HBCUs seem to be underrepresented.

 

"I believe they [students] just go to the big time sports schools because those schools have more to offer," Miles said.

 

Back in February, ESPN's Donald Hunt did a piece that highlighted professional prospects hoping to be drafted to the 2011 NFL Draft including those from HBCUs.

 

"You can never underestimate the quality of football players from historically black colleges and universities," Hunt said, according to ESPN's website. "The Super Bowl was well represented by players from HBCUs, such as Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver and free safety Nick Collins and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Isaac Redman."

 

Hunt made a point to highlight the impact that HBCUs have had on premiere teams in the NFL already. Players like Donald Driver, who attended Alcorn State and Nick Collins, who attended Bethune-Cookman, both played a major role in the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl run. But the path to professional level sports from an HBCU may be a little harder than from a power conference team because those teams receive massive amounts of coverage from major television stations.

 

In the NBA, students of HBCUs don't have as much of an impact as they do in the NFL, but there are a few exceptions. The success stories that are tied to professional basketball are mostly older or former players such as Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, who attended Winston-Salem State; Sam Jones, North Carolina Central University, and four-time Defensive Player of The Year Ben Wallace, who attended Virginia Union.

 

The disparity of HBCU players in the NBA could be caused by the difference in eligibility rules between the NBA and NFL, causing high school players to desire going to the big name school for at least one year in college. The notion that there are not many HBCU athletes participating in the professional arena is somewhat true depending on which sport is under the microscope.

 

The success stories prove that participating in HBCU athletics does not prohibit one from professional athletics. There are NFL and NBA Hall of Famers to Super Bowl winners who have come from these same backgrounds. Not to mention Howard University's own Antione Bethea, safety for the Indianapolis Colts, who has a Super Bowl ring of his own.

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