Just Because HBCU Sports Culture is Different Does not Mean it’s not Valuable

Negating the Stereotype that Sports at Historically Black Colleges “Suck”

In the past , the best way to enjoy an HBCU classic was to be there in person. It was not
until recent years that networks such as ESPN promoted the streaming of HBCU football games
on their channels. The increased awareness of historically black colleges–especially through
social media–has aided the process of recognizing non PWI sports teams. Nevertheless, this does
not stop many from questioning the validity of sports at these schools. Several sports fans, and
even students themselves, genuinely believe that the sports culture, and talent at HBCUs are
nonexistent. However, just because we do it a little differently, doesn’t mean we don’t do it at all.
Sports teams at HBCUs are real, skilled, and very much appreciated, within the black

Often a plethora of negative stereotypes plague historically black colleges. Having
“incompetent” or “substandard” sports teams is often an idea that gets connoted with these
Universities. Yet, despite being underfunded, under appreciated, and largely ignored: athletes at
HBCUs remain valuable.

A consistent theme that is present within the community of Historical Black Colleges is family. This theme is noticeably extended to the sports sector of these schools. Although tailgates may not always garner hundreds of thousands of people, we make sure to represent. 

Classics during football season are often a great way for students and alumni to celebrate their school. Locals in the area can also use the game as an opportunity for a weekend activity. Essentially, game days at HBCU’s present equally a chance for community building, as their “white” counterparts.

Furthermore, athletes also share a special fondness for the athletic programs at their respective schools. Student athletes at Hampton University, in particular, note of the genuine nature in which they were welcomed into the school. An anonymous track athlete from the freshman class stated that out of all the places she was offered to attend, “Hampton didn’t feel like just a contract, it also felt like family”. 

A football player in the same class also defended the stereotype which questions athletic ability at HBCUs. He mentioned how although the resources, or funding is not always present, the talent is there.

For example, in 2022 Travis Hunter was a top ranked high school football player, and chose to attend Jackson State university his freshman year. His decision proved that great athletes can be fostered at historically black colleges. Especially when teams are funded, recognized, and have good coaching staff.

Simply put, we may not have a direct invitation to the Rose Bowl every year, but our athletes, athletic programs, and school spirit are alive and thriving. Sports culture is one that many overlook at black colleges typically due to dated assumptions. Therefore, one should consider buying a ticket for a classic or two this football season. It would be a great opportunity to experience the blossoming treasure of HBCU’s.

Where the HBCU Culture Resides