|Tuskegee’s AD accused of racism after an unusual request against North Alabma. (Montgomery Advertiser)|
Tuskegee made history last month by appearing in the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first-time either. While the Golden Tigers lost 30-27 to North Alabama, many saw it as a big step forward for one of the premeier HBCU athletic programs decided to measure itself up against the best teams in its Division. That accomplishment may soon be over-shadowed by some shocking allegations.
Times Daily columnist Mike Goens is reporting that Tuskegee Athletic Director Curtis Campbell insisted that the UNA and TU crowds be separated from each other based on potential “danger” along racial lines. Goens called his request “illogical and totally lined with racism.” Below is an excerpt from Sportige.
What was it? He asked, well more insisted, on the UNA (North Alabama) band and student section, along with the rest of the Lions’ fans, be moved from the stands opposite the press box, and forced to concentrate all in the press box side of the field. Why? According to him, most Tuskegee fans are black. Most of North Alabama fans are white. Allowing the two fan bases to sit together on the same side of the field would be risking danger, he said.
This was a home game for North Alabama. It’s a seating arrangement that has been constant in recent years; NCAA guidelines were being followed. UNA officials, naturally, refused to comply with his request. There has never been any crowd problem at any NCAA playoff event or at any of the 27 national championship games played at Braly Stadium.
So what did Campbell do? He called up a connecting in the NCAA. It took minutes, and no explanation was offered by the governing body of collegiate sports. UNA was ordered to move its band and students to the press box side of the field.
From the outside-looking-in, this looks pretty bad. Had UNA made this type of request at Tuskegee, this would definitely turn heads in a bad way. Goens says there is no reason for this request. I think that’s a stretch.
As far as whether or not there have been any incidents involving individuals and crowds at UNA or any other school is really hard to quantify. Alot of things go on in the stands that don’t always get reported because cooler hands prevailed.
You have to wonder why Campbell was so adamant about getting this done. Had he received threats of violence? Was there some inside source that told him what might happen? If so, that changes the storyline quite a bit.
Either way, Campbell is going to have to come up with some answers quick before Tuskegee finds itself in a real PR nightmare.