The NFL has a unique opportunity to highlight the talent of candidates from historically black institutions and universities on a national level.
In wake of Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL over racial hiring policies, equality in the league is once again being scrutinized. Meanwhile, the inaugural HBCU Combine and Legacy Bowl provide significant exposure for draft prospects. The focus on equality is vital, and it must not be diverted.
NFL prospects from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have a unique opportunity to exhibit their abilities on a national level.
It should, however, be more than a prime, defined window, more than an opportune spotlight for players who merit the all-encompassing publicity afforded to college football’s Power 5 teams.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame will host the inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl from Yulman Stadium in New Orleans a week after Super Bowl LVI, establishing a historic televised tryout for around 100 of the best NFL Draft-eligible HBCU players.
While the postseason all-star game will be the main attraction, the event will also feature a week-long celebration of Black culture and history, as well as a Careers Fair that will present seniors with job prospects and career counseling.
Donald Driver, a Green Bay Packers legend and Alcorn State alumnus, told the NFL, “I wish they had this opportunity for me 23 years ago.”
The Reese’s Senior Bowl teamed up with the NFL to organize the HBCU Combine in Alabama from January 28-30, where scouts and executives from all 32 clubs interviewed and evaluated 39 players from 22 HBCUs in a procedure similar to the annual NFL Combine.
Furthermore, eight members of the HBCU Development and Women’s Pipeline Initiative attended the Combine as athletic trainers this year, adding to the diversity.