For years, students and athletes at HBCU’s have had their facilities, campuses, and programs compared to traditional Colleges and Universities. A comparison that is full of bias and often places HBCU’s at a major disadvantage from a “reputable” standpoint. 

Well, it has been reported that black athletes launched a legal assault on what they are calling the chronic bias by the NCAA. Last month in federal court in Indianapolis, a lawsuit was filed alleging the governing body of college sports singles out historically Black colleges and universities for bans from postseason play in Division I, the highest level of competition.

It’s not that the competition is that much different. It’s the number of top tier athletes and coaches traditional universities get. Yet, even with an uneven playing field, those at HBCU’s want and deserve to face competition that could play a role in them reaching the next level of athletics. 

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Jessica Meeder, an attorney filing the lawsuit, said, “HBCUs serve the people most at risk of being left behind, and the NCAA is leaving them behind even further.” Another attorney partnering on the lawsuit, Je Yon Jung, said, “People are using the term ‘systemic racism’ a lot but are not really sure what that means. This is an example. How can HBCUs be so few of the teams in Division I and account for so many of the penalties?”

The class-action suit, which was filed on behalf of three former and recent HBCU athletes at Savannah State and Howard universities, focuses on NCAA rules that state a sports program must maintain about a 50% graduation rate to qualify for postseason tournaments, championships, and bowl games. The NCAA imposes that standard on programs regardless of a school’s mission or its resources.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Typically judgments in matters like this are unfair. Yet, they spark the conversations that need to be had in order to see change take place. We will keep you all updated as more details are made available. 

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