Black College Football is Dying, and the Bands Will Play On

HBCUDigest.com —  November 20, 2012 —

Even a historically bad SEC team can beat up a solid team from the SWAC.

Except at halftime. The battle of the bands was as big a mismatch as the game, but in reverse. The Auburn band was good, as usual. The Alabama A&M band put on what had to be the best halftime show ever in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The great migration of high achieving black students and premier black athletic talent defecting from HBCUs to predominantly white institutions has cost historically black colleges and universities billions in unrealized sports revenues and alumni giving.

But desegregation’s untold ravaging of black communities and their talent pool will remain just that, untold, because our bands play on.

That’s not to disparage the accomplished work of HBCU student musicians or their directors. They live out what millions in stands and on fields across America every Saturday have either long forgotten or never came to learn about black colleges. Hundreds of thousands of student musicians and singers bring great acclaim to HBCUs with their talent, and they take pride in breeding excellence at schools made, maintained and molded for their experience as African-Americans.

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Until a majority of HBCU executives learn to balance the promotion of marching band culture within the larger context of athletic success, Saturday’s sweet music will soon evolve into a brass band funeral dirge for many of our proud sports programs.

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