ESPN’s Whitlock Nails Current State of HBCU Athletics

Savannah State alum and Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. (Savannah Now photo)

Love him or hate him, Jason Whitlock has never been afraid to say what is on his mind. We don’t always agree with him, but his latest article for ESPN, “At What Price, Perfection” was pretty spot on in our opinion.

Whitlock argues that African-Americans have not only abandoned HBCUs and their athletic institutions, many don’t even see the need to support them. He used his recent conversation with Pro Football Hall of Famer and Savannah State alum Shannon Sharp as evidence.

“During our discussion, I asked Sharpe whether he financially supported his alma mater. He unashamedly told me he did not. When I pressed him on the subject, he explained that he felt he did not owe Savannah State support. In his mind, he was a good football player, he stayed eligible and the school sold football tickets in exchange for his scholarship.

It’s been my experience that Sharpe’s mindset is pervasive throughout black athletes and black people. I attended Ball State University, a mainstream school. When I speak to my former teammates and other athletes about financially supporting the school, they constantly say their performance as athletes years ago was their giveback.

I could tell a thousand stories about talking with my black friends about supporting their alma maters. Sharpe’s story is the only one that had an instant happy ending. He pledged at the end of my podcast to write a check to Savannah State. He seemed to understand his responsibility to ensure that the next Shannon Sharpe had a place to evolve physically and mentally in an academic environment.”

Whitlock goes on to talk about how you don’t have to be rich to give back, and how federal funding has hurt HBCUs. It’s a good, solid column and well worth the read. 

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