Sports at HBCUs get a major boost

Maker at Howard University during campus visit. Photo courtesy @makurmaker1 on Instagram

Makur Maker, a 5-star basketball recruit, made history last week when he announced that he was going to further his career playing for the Bison at Howard University. In so doing, he  passed up offers from powerhouse programs such as UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

Maker became the first 5-star prep player to select an HBCU. His decision to choose an HBCU over a PWI has stirred up conversations among sports and culture aficionados.

In his decision to play for an HBCU, Maker is giving up a ton of luxuries that would be granted at other schools.

This past season at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, the 19-year-old Maker averaged 17.5 points, 1.8 blocks, and 10.1 rebounds for the Bruins in 12 games.

Vaughn Wilson, 53, is a former FAMU assistant athletic director and a keen fan of FAMU and sports in general. He considers Maker’s choice of Howard a possible game-changer for the Rattlers and other HBCU programs.

“This opens up a new conversation to athletes and fans to consider HBCUs. It is starting to open up and change the game, to enter more possibilities to 5-star athletes and the HBCU community. It is becoming a reality instead of the common what if,” Wilson said.

Although Howard’s basketball team did not have the best season, going 4-29, that did not change Maker’s outlook or his decision.

In an interview on ESPN Daily with Pablo Torre, Maker said, “Everybody’s got to take a stand and do something. If I’m doing this, it’s going to bring awareness to the choices that we have to make. As time goes on, we have to make choices that are responsible and to better our community.

“With everything that’s going on in our country today, that definitely had a big impact on it,” Maker added.

Micheal Randolph Jr., a starting guard for the FAMU basketball team, welcomes the spotlight that Maker will bring to Howard and, by extension, other HBCUs.

“As high-ranking athletes make most of the money that comes in to all of the top colleges now, if highly ranked athletes decide to attend HBCU sports programs, this will bring in so much more revenue for the programs to improve facilities for their athletes,” Randolph said.

Maker’s decision to go to Howard is in a lane of its own. It’s certainly possible that this could change the dynamics of the “norm” in college sports.