Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
I know this is not an SIAC situation and I will get to conference athletic biz in a moment. But all of us who have devoted our journalistic abilities to write and/or broadcast about our cherished historically black colleges (if they are not cherished, they damn well should be) have to wade in some on the situation at Grambling State University.
With the 40th Bayou Classic just seven weeks away, movers and shakers within the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Southern and Grambling have to wonder what kind of impact this might have on the game. This contest has been a big revenue producer in the past for all three aforementioned as well as the city of New Orleans which usually rakes in a pretty penny from hard-core football fans and visitors who congregate in the “who dat” city. I shutter to think what cancellation of this game would do to the rapidly depleting coffers of these colleges and the ripple effect it will have on all of the schools within the conference.
I read the letter that was sent to the Grambling administrators by the disgruntled football players and applauded the authors for risking their scholarships and education trying to right the wrongs they see on campus which they contend stops them from being the Grambling College they could and should be. I hope when they wrote that letter, they copied it to the Louisiana Legislature, the state’s board of regents and every state senator and representative who control the dollars the state spends on these institutions (see separate and unequal perhaps?). Also, I hope the alumni of these schools read the words from these young men and vowed to pledge more financial support for their alma mater. Too many of us walk away from these institutions with no thought of sending something back (it could start if more of you bought tickets to the games in lieu of running around campus soliciting freebies). It’s bad when the longest lines at the stadiums are at will-call.
I believe Grambling is a microcosm of events going on in other HBCUs but kept quiet.. Grambling’s situation was just the one that got “exposed.” Finally, we cannot allow the future of our colleges to be decided by outside forces and oppressors who never gave a tinker’s damn about us and now encircle the campuses like sharks smelling blood. If these schools survive, it will be by us. Remember, today it’s Grambling.
Is your school next?
BACK TO THE SIAC: First some scolding to the CAU and Morehouse grid schedulers. How is it that two schools within one college center scheduled their homecomings on the same day and at the same time? I can’t believe Morehouse and CAU officialdom who take on Benedict and Albany State respectively could have worked SOMETHING out .The simultaneous grid matches are quite bothersome for some Atlanta football buffs (and sportswriters like me who want to see BOTH games) who will be forced to toss a coin to see which of the games will be covered and/or watched. Both of the grid mixings will be good ones because they are pivotal for the hosts as well as the guest teams. The lack of cooperation between the two campuses forces them to miss out on a homecoming bonanza.
Albany State is second in the SIAC’s eastern division with at 1-0 and an 2-4 overall. They need the win to keep their chances of overtaking division leader Fort Valley alive. Clark-AU, despite its 1-2 division and 2-4 overall has a shot at finishing no worse than second in the division and certainly could prove a spoiler for the Rams’ chances. Morehouse with its 0-2 division and 2-5 overall, can avoid finishing in the division cellar and seriously wound Benedict’s chances of battling to the top of the division rankings.
Last weekend, both CAU and Morehouse managed to contribute to the win columns for both ASU and Benedict via their losses to both and,ironically, as their homecoming guests.
Clark-AU, hoping to stretch their two game win streak over Morehouse and the visiting College of Faith in Tennessee to three instead got themselves shut out by Benedict 24-0. The Panthers, who run continuously but pass sparingly, kept the game tight, trailing the host Tigers 3-0 at halftime. But in the third quarter, Benedict exploded with 21 unanswered points thanks to three touchdowns. One came courtesy of a CAU fumble , while another developed via a 52 yard punt return by senior Harlon Samuels.CAU was outrushed 197-89 and out-passed 103-26.
Morehouse, meanwhile, gave Albany State a reason to celebrate homecoming by surrendering a 42-20 victory to their hosts in front of 10,500 mostly partisan fans last Saturday afternoon. The victory by Albany State was a huge one for several factions including players, their head coach James White and hard-core Ram fans who were growing impatient with their elevens who had dropped four of their first five games of the season.
The key to the ASU victory was their strong first half. The Rams scored five times, four of them off the hot hand of junior quarterback Frank Rivers, who last season was playing for the Grambling Tigers and even saw limited action in the Bayou Classic.
Morehouse actually outscored Albany State 14-7 in the half but ASU’s defense stopped most of Morehouse’s offensive threats including a fourth quarter push by the Marooners that was drowned at the Albany State 24. The win by ASU which stopped their two game losing skid came perilously close to parroting last year when the Rams turned things around in the fifth game of the season and reeled off five straight victories before falling to Fort Valley 38-29.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Fort Valley State travelled 14 hours by bus to Topeka Kansas just to get whitewashed 41-0 by Washburn University. The only sunlight that peeked through the Wildcat losing cloud was the 115 yard passing performance of Eugene Smith who was also intercepted twice and sacked four times….Tuskegee quarterbacks collectively passed for 253 yards and threw three touchdowns to lead the SIAC western division leading Golden Tigers to a 35-7 win over Stillman……Lane had its homecoming spoiled as well as its two game win streak when they were upset by 2-4 Central State 37-34..Miles decided to get revenge against someone after losing to Central State a fortnight ago and took it out on Kentucky State, defeating the Thororbreds 40-17 and winning their homecoming, The game wasbroadcast by Bounce Cable TV. Miles redshirt senior David Thomas passed for three touchdowns and 195 yards
XTRA POINTS: A sad note from South Carolina, Former CAU Head football coach Daryl McNeill Sr, passed away October 19 in his hometown ofSeneca, South Carolina. He served as head coach for the Panthers from 2010-2012. I had the great blessing of meeting him and getting to know him. He always kept an open door for media no matter what he was doing and didn’t back away from the hard questions. Any of you who want to sign his memorial guest book can go to www.legacy.com/obituaries/independentmail/obituary. Homegoing services are scheduled for October 25, 1pm at St Mark’s United Methodist Church of Seneca. …Former Tennessee State basketball star and retired Atlanta pastor Gerald Durley has turned motivational speaker. Durley also informed INSIDE that a national Islamic group has named him their lifetime achievement winner for 2013, the first time that the honor has been bestowed on a non-Muslim...And is case you haven't heard, after a 57 year absence, football has returned to Augusta Georgia's Paine College. The Lions under head coach Greg Ruffin ( said to be a cousin of Miles head coach Reggie Ruffin) have already played one game and lost narrowly to Georgia Prep Academy 20-13. Their next club football outing will be November 2 vs. Orangeburg Tech. In 2014, they will play a full SIAC schedule.......
THIS WEEK’S SIAC GAMES AND PICKS
Miles over Lane
Stillman over Central State
Tuskegee over Kentucky State
Albany State over CAU
Fort Valley over Concordia-Selma
Benedict over Morehouse
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net