With Art Briles now at Grambling, are HBCU – and its fans – ready to pay the price for fame?


“Everyone has a price” was the slogan of the former rasslin‘ the villain Ted DiBiase.

This message apparently made his way to HBCU football.

In a sense, it may be a unexpected consequence of the tendency of certain schools to hire so-called famous coaches.

the waves made by Deion Sanders in Jackson State and Eddie George at Tennessee State, and the push to put HBCU athletics in the spotlight, has some considering hiring people who were apparently part of unwritten pacts against them to get jobs in college athletics.

It’s kind of like when Batman stopped in “Batman Begins” and started beating up criminals, only for those criminals to hire the Joker in “The Dark Knight”…with disastrous results for them.

According to media reports, Grambling head coach Hue Jackson signed John Simon as an assistant in December. This was after Simon left Memphis around the start of spring 2021 training amid a sexual misconduct allegation.

This week, Jackson hired former Baylor head coach Art Briles to the Tigers staff as the new offensive coordinator after then-offensive coordinator Ted White accepted a position with the Houston Texans.

A quick Google search for Briles provides some insight into why the decision was controversial for some in the HBCU world and the sports world at large.

Meanwhile, former LSU wide receiver Drake Davis listed in the south after being fired from the LSU program before the 2018 season.

According to The Advocate, the dismissal came after Davis was arrested for two counts of battery on a romantic partner in August 2018. He left LSU altogether after being kicked from the football team.

Then-coach Dawson Odums confirmed in October 2019 that Davis was signed up to south but was not part of the football program.

Also Read: Doug Williams ‘Very Disappointed’ Grambling State Hired Art Briles

Davis then thanked Southern in a now-deleted tweet for giving him a opportunity but wasn’t clear what that opportunity was.

Some outlets interpreted the tweet as an announcement that Davis would attempt to resume his college career at Southern. According to the university, Davis was admitted for the spring 2022 semester. The conflict I see with the HBCU fan is as following:

An HBCU fan, for years, said things in casual conversations, message boards, and social media like “we don’t do things like them white people“, Where We are a family. We care about our children, Or “It’s not only “run N-word run” here.

We venerate the Eddie Robinsons, Jake Gaithers, AW MumfordsJohn Merritts and others because they – on the surface – did not operate as prominent whites Soccer coaches in predominantly white institutions.

Some HBCU fans have expressed their displeasure with Briles’ hiring, saying it sends the wrong message to their black female students.

Ray Carlin – USA TODAY Sports

Some saw the news positively in the vein of “delete this! He’s going to help us win games and get a place in the Celebration Bowl.

Could your HBCU handle a Baylor rape scandal? Or deal with the smoke of a top footballer accused of rape like Georgia linebacker Adam Anderson?

We already don’t have influential people in these newsrooms and other levers of power in our communities to help sweep things under the rug.

The powers of access journalism that protect and isolate schools don’t work for HBCUs like they do for their PWI counterparts.

It took an investigation by USA Today, not the Baton Rouge-based attorney, to blow the doors off the LSU sex assault quagmire that implicated Davis and cost Ed Orgeron his job.

Hell, the hazing death of Florida A&M Drum Major Robert Champion gave birth to a Association of Southern Colleges and Schools — the people that accredit colleges throughout the Southinvestigation and placed FAMU on probation for two years.

This was the pinball fanfare. Do you think a student organization in a PWI will do something that opens the door to an accrediting agency investigation?

The underlying question is: are our schools – and their fans – willing to pay the blood money for the glory of athletics? Are they ready to look away a little more than they have in the past?

For years, HBCU fans have vilified PWI athletics like everything from plantations to stockyards to houses of disrepute. Now that Briles is at Grambling, have HBCUs and HBCU fans lived long enough in the athletics landscape to become the bad guys themselves?

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