Early Signing Day Basketball

Juward Howard

A pair of Power 5 conferences are teaming with HBCU athletic departments to raise awareness and big-time pay days for the smaller schools.

The Big Ten announced last week that it has worked with Coaches Vs. Racism (CVR) to create the “HBCU Roundball Experience.”

Basketball teams from the Big Ten and other major universities will play HBCU teams “to place an emphasis on HBCUs, which traditionally lack resources and equipment and are routinely overlooked by professional talent scouts,” Darryl Woods, CVR executive director said during a press conference.

“Our focus is to shine the spotlight on systemic racism as a root cause of the inherent disparities that exist in the sports. Economic inequality continues to exist today in our elementary and high schools, colleges and universities and is detrimental to our youth.”

The inaugural game will feature Juwan Howard’s nationally ranked University of Michigan Wolverines against Byron Smith’s Prairie View A&M University Panthers at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) in Washington, DC., on Saturday, November 13.

The PAC 12 announced a partnership with the Southwestern Athletic Conference for member schools to trade home-and-home dates in men’s and women’s basketball beginning with the 2022-23 season through the 2025-26 season.

NCAA UCLA Michigan Basketball

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard directs his team during the first half of an Elite 8 game against UCLA in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament.

“It’s a great opportunity for Colorado, and all Pac-12 student-athletes for that matter, to learn more about the proud history of HBCU schools and what they’ve meant to those that have benefited from the educational experience at these institutions,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said in a statement released by the league."

“We look forward to the competition on the court and furthering the educational process through this endeavor.”

Colorado against Grambling will be one of six Pac-12/SWAC games Nov. 10-13 in 2022.

Arizona vs. Southern, Oregon vs. Florida A&M, and USC vs. Alabama State) will be played on Pac-12 home courts.

Arizona State visits Texas Southern and Washington State travels to Prairie View A&M. Rematches will be held the following year with the sites reversed.

“As part of our Pac-12 Impact initiative to find ways to support and promote diversity and inclusion through sport, we could not be more proud to join with the SWAC on this first-of-its-kind initiative,” said Pac-12 deputy commissioner and lead men’s basketball administrator Jamie Zaninovich.

“All credit goes to the basketball head coaches and athletics directors from both conferences for wanting to go above and beyond by creating a truly inclusive and meaningful partnership that will help raise awareness of the important role of HBCUs in higher education. On behalf of our membership, coaches, and student-athletes, we thank (SWAC commissioner Charles McClelland) and our friends at the SWAC for embarking on this historic initiative with us.”

Former East St. Louis High School and NBA star Darius Miles among 18 former NBA players who have been charged with defrauding the league’s health care and welfare benefit plan out of roughly $4 million, according to an indictment in New York. Miles and Ruben Patterson, former Portland Trailblazer teammates, and Anthony Wroten are the only players that averaged double-digits during their respective careers…Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden swears he’s not racist and is over-the-top apologetic for an email he shared with a then-Washington Redskins executive in 2011, in which he said NFLPA Executive DeMaurice Smith, has

“lips the size of Michelin tires.”  Gruden said he refers to people who don’t tell the truth as having rubber lips. Yeah, right. Gruden should be suspended for the rest of the 2021-22 season…Jaylen Brown and Boston Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum have no soap opera going on between them.

“If y’all want to hear it from me, that’s my dog,” Brown said of Tatum last week… An Arizona State University Global Sports Institute study covering 2010 to 2019 “found that despite the same or more playing experience, (Major League Baseball) managers of color had fewer pathways to jobs, were hired in a more condensed age bracket, had shorter tenures and were given fewer second chances.”

DUH!...C. Vivian Stringer, the 73-year-old longtime Rutgers women’s basket all coach and Hall of Fame member, skipped Big Ten Media Days because of her COVID-19 concerns. Included are lack of testing this season compared with last season, the delta variant and her desire not to transmit the disease to her 40-year-old daughter, who has required special care since contracting spinal meningitis at age 2.

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