Coach Robert Jones, the men’s basketball coach at Norfolk State University, discussed ways to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He also sheds light on his perspectives on why HBCU sports aren’t major networks and get passed up in recruiting.
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Norfolk State University Coach Robert Jones
Norfolk State University men’s basketball coach Robert Jones linked with SOHH to chat about HBCU athletics. Coach Jones has been the head coach for ten seasons with the Spartans at a 20-9 overall record and second place in the Mid-Eastern conference.
In a chat with SOHH, Coach Jones detailed his perspectives on the lack of HBCU sports on national television and recruitment processes at the collegiate level.
Q&A With Coach Jones
SOHH: Why aren’t HBCUs highlighted on national TV?
Coach Robert Jones: “A lot of TV/media outlets don’t give HBCU sports very good media packages. ESPN sponsors four to five games per year per Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) leagues each, but it’s not on every game. This is starting to change a little as we are starting to see more games on national TV. I think before the media didn’t think there was a fan base or a need to have HBCUs on television. But I believe that is starting to change a little.”
SOHH: Why do HBCUs get overlooked in the recruitment process?
CRJ: “This kind of stems back to question one. Because high-level recruits don’t see HBCUs on television often they think they can’t go to an HBCU and make it out to the big leagues. When this isn’t the case. There are HBCU football/basketball/baseball players that have all made it to the pro ranks. Also, some HBCUs need facility upgrades but the keyword is SOME. The problem is everyone sees that and thinks that all of us are the same, and we are definitely not.”
SOHH: How can people invest in HBCUs more consistently?
RJ: “Alumni can start giving back more and see the need/purpose of HBCU Sports. Also, we need more sponsors to put dollars and real dollar amounts behind HBCUs.”
SOHH: Are HBCUs just stepping stones for coaches to get to the big programs?RJ: “I think any lower-level collegiate sports job can be a potential “stepping stone” not just HBCUs. Until there is more funding in HBCUs to make millions of dollars like some of the high major schools there is always going to be a financial threat of an HBCU coach moving up. And it’s really just a financial up. But, most people have to take in consideration what’s best for their families. If HBCUs get more funding to pay more I think that this notion will go away.”
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