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But that brings us to an interesting
point: Since the bigger, predominantly
white schools are gobbling up every
dominant black basketball player in
the country -- and in Africa as well - is
there any hope for the so-called bigtime
black college basketball teams?
Will we ever see Mississippi Valley in =
the?Final -Four? Will Maryland Eastern-Shore
ever participate in the
Only time will tell, but the odds are
stacked high against those black college
teams who comoete in the same
division with the UCLAs and Kentuckys.
Some say it is a merely a joke, a
dream if you will, to find moneystrapped
colleges such as BethuneCookman
College and Prairie View
A&M battling in the same league as
North Carolina State and Georgetown.
Some say black colleges basketball
teams are all but being prostituted to
^-satisfy an NCAA requirement so that
their football teams may compete in a
special division called I-AA.
Unlike the black college basketball
teams, the black college football teams
don't compete in the same league with I
the really big boys.
Five years ago, the NCAA establish- I
ed a separate division for small I
schools, which has grown to about 70
members^ teams like Furman, I
Tennessee-Chattanooga, Southern Illinois
and other not-ready-for-prime- I
become a perfect situation. For all but
a handful of the black basketball
teams, the move to Division I has been
nothing more than 7-21 records, long f
nights on the road, cheap travel plans
and fierce beatings at the hands of
It all began in the early 70s, when
football powerhouses began grumbling
about smaller schools being classified I
in the same division as they. \
The NCAA tried to head off the pro- |
blem by creating a new football divi- fl
sion -- Division I-AA. The idea was for I
some of the smaller schools who had
been ranked in the big time to drop to jj
Division I-AA in football, and leave "
Division I-A for the Oklahomas and g
That was in 1978. But the plan didn't
work. Not only did the smaller schools
stay in Division I-A, but about 30
teams left Division II to move UP to D
Division I-AA. They also went to Divi- to
sion I in basketball.
Among those 30 teams were the 13
black colleges in two conferences - the in
Southwestern Athletic Conference, le
which includes such teams as Alcorn lo
State and Grambling, and the MidEastern
Athletic Conference, which in- te
eludes Howard and North Carolina at
A&T, among others. lo
Just like that, black college basket- Tl
ball teams were in the big time. sc
Or were they? tr
"That was the biggest mistake they cc
ever made," says Winston-Salem State w
basketball Coach Clarence h<
"Bighouse" Gaines, whose school was th
one of those that chose not to move to at
|tt|2^9r^ 9 flv --^Hr j^S
Istrict of Columbia's Earl Jones (3
ir Brian Branch-Pricc).
Gaines, the winningest active coach
i college basketball, figures black colge
teams in Division I are fighting a
"You can't compete with those
ams as far as the recruitment of
hletes goes/' he says. "I remember
olrino in a newsnaner the other dav.
hey had a list of the Top 100 high
hool basketball players in the couny
and where they had signed to go to
)llege. Not a one of them had signed
ith a black college. Not one! Now,
>w in the hell can we compete with
ose big schools if we can't get the top
Gaines* sharply delivered point has
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1), one of very few big men who have el<
been borne out on more than one occasion.
Both Division I black college conferences
receive an automatic berth in
the NCAA basketball tournament, but
the results have not been good.
Howard, which has made it to the
tourney once, was beaten by more than
North Carolina A&T lost to West
Virginia by 30 points in its first NCAA
appearance, and lost to Princeton by
12 points last year.
Southern University lost by more
than 30 points in its only NCAA
Of the black schools that have made
the tourney, only Alcorn has held its
I _ X Y'
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ected to attend black schools (photo
own. The Braves, under Coach Dave
"Wiz" Whitney, have won two of the
five tournament games, and played
Georgetown tough last year before losing
Whitney, however, shares some of
the same concerns that bother Gaines.
"Certainly it is a two-edged-sword
situation," he says. "Being in Division
I hoc KAAM nrtrvrl ^ ?
m luo WWII 5VAAI IVI US 1 llldl IClilll y. un
the other hand, it is difficult to compete
because we don't have the kind of
depth the larger schools do. We don't
get as many quality players as they do.
"What we have had to do is take
home-grown talent that may be a little
Please see page 14
SSSSSSSSSDecembcr. 1983-Page It