White QBs At HBCUs: Get Used To It
The struggles of Black quarterbacks to break into the mainstream football world has been pretty well documented. Almost as soon as majority institutions began accepting Black players, they conveniently moved them to other positions. And if a player was given a chance at the college level, they had little chance of making it under center in the NFL.
Slowly, but surely, these things have changed in the last 30 plus years of football. There are now several Black QBs starting in the NFL and dozens of them in major D-I football.
So with the changing dynamics of the quarterbacking world, it only makes sense that historically black colleges and universities are experiencing the ripple effects in their programs. When North Carolina Central and Shaw start their seasons on Sept 1, the starting signal-callers for both teams will be Caucasians for the first time in each school’s history.
Matt Goggans, a 6-2, 225lb quarterback from Pine Grove, California will lead NCCU’s offense on the field against Fayetteville State on Sept. 1. Goggans enrolled at NCCU in the fall after transferring from Fullerton College. NCCU coach Henry Frazier said he was impressed by his composure in the pocket.
“Matt came here in January, and he got the reps in spring practice. He’s a pure pocket passer, and his pocket presence is more comfortable to me as a coach.”
When James Stallons comes out on the field Thursday night against Charleston (WV) he will stand out not only because of his skin color but also his height. The 6’6 , 210 lb Macomb, MI product won the starting job over Quishon Odom, who led the Bears to the 2010 CIAA championship.
Despite the fact that some schools still have never had non-Black starters, White quarterbacks at HBCUs are nothing new. Eddie Robinson had a backup quarterback at Grambling as early as the 1970s. Chris Walley led Norfolk State to its first MEAC championship in school history, last year.
In a 2005 interview with Black America Web, former Florida A&M Sports Information Director Alvin Hollins explained why White players quarterbacks at HBCUs have become more prevalent in the last decade.
“Now that you see more black quarterbacks at bigger schools, what’s basically happening is that the white kids who can play are getting squeezed out, so they have to go to a Division I-AA or [smaller programs],” Hollins said.
Anyone who has been around HBCUs for any amount of time can tell you that they aren’t always the most “change-friendly” places of higher learning. Many of the alumni come from a time when they were the only option for black students and athletes, and they are resistant to change. The thing is, the days when HBCUs had the pick of the litter in terms of Black athletes is long gone.
Don’t get me wrong, the likelihood that you’ll ever see a five-star QB, Black or White, turn down Florida State for FAMU or Bethune-Cookman is never going to happen. But if your school had the chance to pick up a solid three-star recruit, would you be willing to take a lesser player simply because he is Black? Of course not. The goal at HBCUs athletic departments, like all athletic programs, is to win.
Having gone to an HBCU, I know from experience there is nothing like the spirit of community and pride that these institutions can inspire in the lives of young African-Americans. Hopefully this will stay intact for generations to come. But if HBCUs want winning athletic programs, they’d better get the best players they can on the field, regardless of color.
Posted on August 29, 2012, in CIAA, MEAC, Opinion and tagged Chris Walley, CIAA, Eddie Robinson, Florida A&M, MEAC, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central, Shaw University. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.