Top
HBCU Game Time

NCCU, Moton in National Spotlight

I’m excited to write HBCU Game Time, powered by BOX TO ROW  for JET!  As host of the national sports talk radio show, From the Press Box to Press Row, I cover all sports, with an emphasis on our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with some entertainment sprinkled in occasionally.

The publicity that North Carolina Central University has received recently through the success of its men’s basketball program is immeasurable.

On Saturday, #NCCU was trending on Twitter after the Eagles valiant effort, but they eventually loss to #3 seed Iowa State 93-75.

The university must now capitalize on the publicity.

Head coach LeVelle Moton has been coming on “From the Box to Press Row” since 2011.  But appearing on other national outlets including CBS Sports and The Jim Rome Show is another ballgame altogether.

Having Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, and Craig Sager speak of you glowingly… priceless.

With all of this publicity, the quest for NCCU in obtaining marketing dollars will be a little different this year.  The interaction with prospective sponsors and donors should go from not having phone calls returned to decision makers now answering the phone because they want to be associated with a winner and an entity that’s in the spotlight.

Alumni giving, which is at a paltry 8.5 percent, will go up.

More recently, there has been quite a bit reported about financial issues at our HBCUs.  The issue with the Grambling players electing not to play Jackson State in October had to do with money.  Schools such as Savannah State and Florida A&M have been criticized for playing so-called money games.  These teams take a beating, but the guaranteed revenue from the games significantly helps to fund the entire athletic departments of the respective schools.

NCCU’s men’s basketball program even played a few of these money games.  The total payout to NCCU for men’s basketball in guaranteed games was approximately $295,000.  The difference is the Eagles only lost six games all season and their largest defeat – prior to last Friday’s NCAA Tournament game against Iowa State – was to Maryland by 14 points.  The Eagles lost to Wichita State by 11 and defeated North Carolina State by 10 points in overtime.

NCCU needs to do for Moton what Dayton did for Archie Miller.  Having made it to the Sweet 16, Dayton announced it had extended Miller’s deal.  Moton’s initial five-year contract was extended in July 2013 (at the end of the contract) through 2018.

To this point, Moton has done for NCCU what Miller has done for Dayton.

Just completing his fifth season at the helm, the Eagles earned back-to-back 20-win seasons and the program has improved every year under Moton’s leadership.  His record is 86-66 in those five years.

Even more remarkable is that this is the Eagles seventh season on the Division I level after leaving the CIAA, and in those first two years the program was 8-53.

NCCU should extend Moton’s contract by at least one more year and up his pay (initial contract was $100,000 annually) for a couple of reasons.  Moton is a hot commodity; the message boards are talking.  He has an excellent reputation and is respected and connected in the college basketball world and in due time, if he elects to, will be coaching a major program.

Being an alumnus of the school and the Eagles third all-time leading scorer means a lot to him, but doesn’t pay the bills.

In 2009, NBA All-Star John Wall, now in his fourth season with the Washington Wizards, ultimately chose Kentucky to play his one year of college basketball.  He did go on an official visit to NCCU.

That was because of Moton.

By extending Moton’s contract, NCCU further makes an investment in itself and basketball program and for sure will get a return on that investment.

He is the face of the basketball program and at this moment the face of the University.

The time is now for #NCCU to turn into $NCCU.

Donal Ware, HBCU GameTime

Donal Ware, HBCU GameTime

You can follow Donal Ware on Twitter @dware1 and @boxtorowPlease share your thoughts at digitalpitches@ebony.com.