Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
Alumni Group to urge Tuskegee movement to Division I ?
INSIDE has learned a group of Tuskegee alumni met in Atlanta September 22 to discuss the possibility of urging their alma mater to step up the athletic program from Division II to Division I. The group, which made clear in their invite memo to other colleagues that they are not affiliated nor speaking for the school’s alumni association or the school itself, states that their primary focus is “to improve the athletic program, improve the academic status and increase enrollment at Tuskegee University.
” Actually, this isn’t the first time discussion has been raised about moving Tuskegee sports up a notch. When Rick Comegy was head coach at Tuskegee, he trumpeted the movement and even attempted to create a committee to explore moving the SIAC to a two-tier conference of Division I and Division II schools. This latest talk also comes at an interesting time in the history of the history-making university.
Last weekend, the school’s board of trustees named Dr Gilbert Rochon as its sixth president.. Rochon, who comes from Purdue University, is a native of New Orleans and did his undergraduate work at Xavier University.
Hard-core fans of ‘Skegee may be in a better disposition to discuss such movement to another level when their Goldens win another ball game. Last weekend, they embarrassed themselves by getting turned every way but loose against Albany State University, 34-6, before 7,857 bitterly disappointed partisans at Cleve Abbott Stadium.
Ole ‘Skegee hadn’t lost a homer since 2004, and then it was to Albany State, 33-29, which turned out to be their only loss of the regular season. This weekend, they play the Tigers of Texas Southern University (1-2) in Mobile Alabama.
Unfortunately, the loss to ASU also cost the Tigers in the polls. They were dropped from the D2.com rankings ,slid from 10th to 25th in the NCAA’s AFCA top 25 poll, from 4th to 9th in Donal Ware’s PressBox to PressRow poll and suffered a similar plunge from 4th to 8th in the Sheridan Broadcasting Network (SBN) rankings.
By contrast, the wins by Albany State (3-0) and Morehouse (4-0) have both teams advancing in the same polls, Albany cracked the coaches poll at 16th as did Morehouse at number 20. The Marooners have also cracked the SBN poll for the first time since the black-owned radio network began keeping one in 1973 at number 10. ASU moved up in the same poll from 7th to 5th.
While being nationally ranked and widely applauded is almost old-hat to the Rams, it’s a new fit for “the House”. Head Coach Rich Freeman admits the feeling is nice.
” I can believe and I’m not saying that arrogantly. I say it because I watched these guys work and I watch our coaches work. I said it before and I’ll say it again, we got some special kids.”
Morehouse’s pre-season all conference linebacker Charlie Wilson agrees and even took it one step beyond.
“This means a lot to us because people always underestimate us saying we don’t have an athletic program. Now, we’ve proven we have athletics to go along with our academics”
The athletes at Morehouse are also joining other SIAC superlatives in the national D-2 rankings. Defensive lineman Derrin Nettles is second in the NCAA in forcing fumbles and 5th in tackles for loss. Clark-AU’s Darel Strong is third in the same category. Albany State’s Stanley Jennings is the second best passer in Division II as well
Football fans who watched the Falcons beat the red off the Arizona Cardinals last week on regional TV also got another look at referee Jerome Boger. Boger, in his 7th year officiating at the pro level, is a native Atlantan and a graduate of Morehouse College where he was a starting quarterback for the Maroon Tigers in the mid-70s. Many of us old timers in Atlanta remember young Jerome romping and roaming around the Morehouse campus where his father served as a professor…
Hal’s Picks this week in the SIAC
Tuskegee over Texas Southern-Mobile Alabama
Albany State over Savannah State-Waycross Georgia
CAU over UAPB-Gateway Classic, St Louis
Stillman over Benedict-Columbia, SC
Kentucky State over Miles-Fairfield Alabama
Morehouse over Lincoln-Atlanta Ga.
…and in the Atlanta Football Classic
FAMU over TSU