This isn’t a new topic. The relationship between back athletes and historically black colleges has been well documented. That documentation has sparked other discussions on the topic, specifically revolving around furthering the relationship between the two entities. This time, however, the conversation was started by someone with a very unique perspective on the subject.
Caleb Hines is a pitcher at Prairie View A&M. While most people can simply discuss the idea of black athletes attending HBCUs, he is actually doing it. The freshman chose A&M for a number of reasons, one of them being his belief that more elite black recruits should attend HBCUs. This take is actually what was included in the original tweet that allowed the two of us to cross paths to begin with.
When this this topic is discussed, some people are quick to point out the potential opportunities that larger universities may offer in comparison to HBCUs. When I asked Caleb about this, he responded by saying "Yeah, HBCUs can be underfunded, we all know this. They may not be able to provide the same things that SEC schools can provide, but a lot of times people don't even know what HBCUs are. Sometimes they don't even look at them if they're a top notch player, because people just expect them to go to bigger schools." He went on to state that "if players went on even one HBCU visit, they might change their mind."
Although this is an issue that most people are well aware of, a lot of people are unable to articulate it to this degree. As Caleb stated, there is a perception problem when it comes to athletics at HBCUs. In response to that issue, he suggests that "If you have more players of color going to these schools (HBCUs), that would strengthen the whole time. Even if it's one or two players, it starts with one person to have that domino affect".
As previously stated, Caleb has a very unique perspective on this subject. As a freshman at Prairie view A&M, he was able to give his take on his experience at the school so far. "Prairie View kind of felt different, I don't know why." He then told me a story about racing to the campus for his visit after his triple-overtime football game the night before. "When I stepped on campus, I just knew. I just felt the vibe...I was like 'yeah, this is it'. I just knew".
He knows about the perception. "I've had people say, 'your school doesn't count because it's a black school.' I even had a teammate say 'going to an HBCU and playing D1 is like going to a PWI and playing D2.' Just give it a chance. A lot of my friends got drafted, a first round pick in the NFL (Tytus Howard) just came from an HBCU."
The opportunities exist, and he is a prime example of that. Caleb Hines is a talented athlete that will be molded by a fantastic HBCU, and he wants to make sure that he is just one of many that take the same route.