Tigers make HBCU sports a mockery

Prairie View A&M University is officially off the hook.

No longer will its men’s basketball team be the latest inductee to the ultimate Hall-of-Lame (too many columnists have already used Hall-of Shame) by not winning a game for an entire season.

The dubious distinction now belongs to Savannah State University. The Tigers ended their miserable season with a 49-44 loss to the FAMU men’s basketball team.

The fact that FAMU shot a dismal 28.3 percent, and all but gave the game away will be saved for another column.

Today’s space is reserved for the travesty that is Savannah State athletics.

With FAMU’s victory Monday night over its over-matched opponent Savannah State, the Tigers became the fifteenth team in history to lose every game of the regular season. For the record, the last non-HBCU to post a bagel for the season was The Citadel in the 1954-55 season.

“Its unbelievable,” Sherard Reddick said to the Associated Press. “I don’t believe it. It doesn’t feel like we lost 28 games this season. I guess God is testing us.”

God is not who is testing Reddick and the rest of the athletes at Savannah State – the athletic department is.

Monday’s occurrence was not the first and certainly not the last time a team will go winless in a season.

However, the travesty that has become Savannah State sports is not concentrated to men’s basketball.

And that is a problem.

The softball team, who was outscored 166-0 over a 20 game stretch last season, could have trouble beating FAMU High-that is if it ever fielded a team.

The football team went 2-8 last season with one of those losses being a 50-14 spanking to a less than stellar FAMU team Oct. 23. To top things off, the athletic department’s Web site has been “under construction” since last May.

Such futility makes the tragedy that is FAMU look like its cross-town neighbor instead of another black college with turmoil in its athletic department.

A Savannah State student might as well have been talking about his school’s athletic department when he told the Associated Press the basketball team was “out of their league.”

If only the athletic department at Savannah State had as much insight as that student, SSU might once again stand for Savannah State University rather than Sorry Student-athlete U.

Savannah State’s move from Division II in 2002 was as smart as last week’s shooting outside the Cafe – which is to say it wasn’t.

On a more serious note, it is hard not to feel sorry for Reddick, Donald Carson, Winston Martinez and the rest of the senior athletes at the small Georgia school.

They signed to play for a Division II school, not a pseudo-Division I school that can only dress nine players for a home basketball game.

It is sad that black colleges around the country are gaining more attention for their athletic folly than academic excellence.

Savannah State Athletic Director Tony O’Neal told Espn.com’s Pat Forde, “I want people to remember, we’re not talking about pros. We’re talking about kids.”

What I want people to remember is that members of the Savannah State’s athletic department are not the only people who owe their kids an apology.

Will Brown is a junior newspaper journalism student from Rockledge. He is The Famuan’s Sports Editor. Contact him at wwbrown19@yahoo.com.