Five Reasons Money Games Aren’t The Answer For HBCUs

Savannah State’s 77-7 loss was one of three Money Game blowouts on Saturday. (SB Nation photo)

Money Games. Money Games. Money Games.

Unfortunately, saying the phrase three times won’t make them go away. Almost 36 hours after three HBCUs (FAMU, BCU and Savannah State) made just under $2 million to get outscored 207-13, water coolers and message boards are still abuzz. Basically, there are two camps of thought when it comes to the type of games we saw this weekend. Those who see Money Games as a part of the business of college athletics, and those who think they are embarassing HBCUs.

Before we start this list, let me just say what we aren’t saying: We aren’t saying all HBCUs need to abandon ship and jump to Division II. Lord knows several Division II programs have financial and competitive issues of their own.

We aren’t here to knock anybody’s hustle, but getting broke off to get beat down has far more negative consequences than positive. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but ignoring the obvious definitely isn’t the solution.

Here are five reasons Money Games are NOT the answer.

1) Money Games are a short-term fix to a long-term problem.
Just as the programs that schedule these games don’t find themselves in these situations overnight, money games won’t cure their financial bottom-line long term. Savannah State received 375k for its services in a 77-7 loss to Miami. While that sum will no doubt be put to good use, it doesn’t take long to spend 375k when you factor in athletic scholarships, coaching salaries and travel expenses. Once that money is gone the programs that chronically depend on them will find themselves in the exact same position. It’s a vicious cycle that few have managed to get out of.

// Money Games don’t make teams better
One of the big selling points athletic administrations push for these games, in addition to the money, is the premise that playing better competition will improve the on-field product. That may be true when it comes to matchups against top FCS teams, like NC Central hosting Towson or Delaware State traveling to North Dakota State. But excuse my shortsightedness for failing  to see how getting embarrassed on national television by a team that you would never meet in the postseason helps you improve.

Even the dream scenario of Appalachian State’s win over Michigan wasn’t as fairy-tale like as some would have you to believe. Appalachian State was coming off its second straight FCS championship and up against an overrated Michigan team. FAMU was picked to finish fifth in the MEAC, matched against a team in the running for the BCS national championship.

3) Money Games will soon be harder to come by
Earlier this year, The Big Ten Conference announced that it will stop scheduling FCS schools starting in 2016. With the the FBS schools moving to a playoff system, look for other schools and other conferences to make similar moves. We’re not saying they will totally go away, but even if they were reduced in half, many programs would be in trouble.

4) Money Games are a public relations nightmare
Earlier this year, North Carolina A&T’s mascot found its way on to the front page of USA Today after the school picked up its first NCAA Tournament win in school history. Many recognized, and rightfully so, that it was the kind of publicity that can’t be bought and that HBCUs rarely get. The flipside are games like the FAMU-Ohio State matchup, where ESPN announcers chuckled about how overmatched FAMU was. Today’s kids likely don’t know that FAMU as the school where Jake Gaither built a program that was an NFL factory. All they know is the Buckeyes put up over 50 points in one half against the Rattlers.

5) Money Games reinforce the stereotype of HBCU inferiority.
Over this weekend, many supporters of Money Games have pointed to the fact that HBCUs aren’t the only schools that play these games. And that’s true. But the fact is, the consequences for HBCUs are always steeper than they are for majority institutions.

// These games reinforce all the stereotypes that HBCUs fight against every day. Money games make HBCUs look broke, unable to compete and simply outclassed by majority institutions. HBCU Digest’s Jarrett Carter explains it quite eloquently in this column.

Did we get it right? Tell us what you think below. 

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