Howard University has been and continues to be one of the best universities in the world. In order for Howard University to thrive, it must market itself as such. Simply, Howard University has to be as widely known as Harvard or Yale. The only way this can be done effectively is through sports.
It is completely absurd that the best Black university does not have the best Black student athletes. We must convince our athletes that the quality education and benefits that Howard offers is of far greater value than the dreams of going pro that Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) concoct.
Televised sporting events give free marketing to the university, and financial support is sure to follow if we win our games. Institutions like University of California, Los Angeles, who graduate no more than 60 Black people on record every year, do not appreciate their minority students; it seems that these institutions only value the physical abilities their Black athletes possess.
Howard University, with the understanding that this is clearly racism, has the obligation to step in and correct the wrongs that are perpetrated by predominately white institutions. Howard University should market itself as an institution that appreciates the physical and academic prowess of its students. It is high time that Black people are no longer treated like money-making mules for PWIs.
Furthermore, to a large degree, we must be able to free ourselves from government funding. The job of maintaining Howard should be the responsibility of Black people and others throughout the world. We need to appeal to the Black world for economic support because we are the best Black university.
There are too many people who no longer see the importance of historically Black universities; we have to prove these people wrong. As an institution, we are best suited to nurture our own. The job of Howard University is to empower all Black people, and this is something that must not be taken lightly; it must be marketed to the fullest.
It is undeniable that over several generations, predominately white institutions have created an almost impenetrable financial security, but if Howard develops a “do it for the self” attitude, it has the potential to surpass the Harvards and the Yales.
Jason Davis is a sophomore African-American studies major at Howard University.