We are planning to attend the Hampton vs TSU game on September. Since I am all in for cost savings, we are staying with a few relatives.
Our relatives offered to watch our kids during the football game. While it would be great to attend a game without constantly going to the restroom or concession stands, we politely declined.
My love for HBCU sports was shaped and molded by grandparents. I recognize that I actually attend HBCU games and specifically TSU games because of them.
My grandparents were Alcornites and avid HBCU fans pre-classic and during the classic boom (60-90s). Their lavish Fall football travels included trips to the Circle City Classic, Southern Heritage Classic, Atlanta Classic, Bayou Classic, and many Alcorn vs JSU battles.
They weren’t changing their plans for anyone. If we wanted to see them, you must attend the nearest HBCU game. Family interactions were constantly centered around HBCU football.
In the 90s, HBCU Classic games were booming and many HBCUs benefited from that exposure. Most of the classics payouts would cover the cost of band travel. They were also many recruiting and other events HBCUs participated in to grow their brand.
While our schools’ financial situations have changed over the years, I don’t think that my grandparent’s support of HBCU would have waned. They have attended many non-classic HBCU sporting events as well.
The classics and the two bands coming were a tradition. It was Not THE tradition. Home game attendance and interest in actually created the need for Classics in large cities to accommodate the crowds. The trend of HBCU supporters not attending home games and buying season tickets shouldn’t have occurred. Ideally, the classic should have encouraged more fans to attend the HBCU home games.
I don’t think HBCU football attendance should suffer just because a visiting school can’t bring their band. HBCUs might be able to get more creative when situations like that a occur. Could HBCUs bring in local High School bands, local marching bands, let other student organizations perform, or a celebrity performance?
You can still have a quality great game environment that highlights the black experience with only one band. I really attend these events for not only the enjoyment of rooting for TSU, but mostly for my kids. For my kids, they still get a chance to see black people in high leadership positions in charge of black institutions. They still get a chance to see many black professionals, black students striving for excellence, black cheerleaders and a royal court. They can see all that with or without two bands.
Since the economics of HBCU sports has drastically changed, HBCUs sending their bands to away games will increasingly become the exception more than the rule. I just find it odd that HBCU alumni often chide and ridicule HBCUs for not keeping traditions, while supporting PWIs whose traditions have constantly changed.
I hope to see you at the Hampton!