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The No. 16 player in the ESPN 100 announced that he would attend Howard University in the fall. Standing just once inch shy of seven feet, Makur Maker is hard to miss. His profile as one of the nation’s elite prep stars only heightens his visibility. Maker is the type of athlete that Black colleges routinely got in yesteryear but only dream of today. That tide is now shifting and rather than bringing more riches to Kentucky, Memphis or UCLA, Maker is bringing it back to the yard, at Howard University.
Maker wrote on Twitter, “I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow,” Maker wrote. “I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney.” The “HBCU movement” Maker speaks of isn’t merely a matter of where one chooses to pay tuition: this is about dollars. Ohio State University’s athletic department took in $210 million in revenue last year, alone. $210 million, a one year haul for OSU, happens to be far greater than the entire endowments of Clark Atlanta, North Carolina A&T and Cheyney Universities (the oldest HBCU in the country), combined. Cheyney, incidentally has no endowment at all, in fact. Cash rules everything, including education.
Ohio State, Duke and other universities generate tremendous revenues, on the backs of Black athletes. Those funds should rightfully be recycled into Black institutions. Rather than protest, Maker is making a conscious choice to move dollars, through his athletic skills. The young man is also challenging other athletes to follow suit but that shouldn’t be the focus. Rather, Black people should follow Maker’s lead and move Black dollars to Black institutions. Send checks, big or small. Rather than purchasing that USC cap, buy one from Harris-Stowe State University or Alabama A&M. Throw away the Penn State sweatshirt and get one from Miles College, instead. Maker is young but somehow, he is showing a level of leadership that few others possess and we simply need to follow him.