March Madness is among the most fun occasions within the sports activities world, and all of it involves a head in the course of the Final Four, the place the final groups left standing battle it out for faculty basketball supremacy.
On Sunday (April 4) the day after the NCAA Males’s Last 4, CBS can be that includes a three-hour block of programming that celebrates the historical past, tradition, and influence of Traditionally Black Schools and Universities (HBCUs) on school basketball. The community will air Large Home, The Pearl and Triumph of Winston-Salem State, Soul of The Sport: The John Mclendon Story, and HBCUs: Elevating The Sport. Additionally, ViacomCBS announced its dedication to HBCUs, by establishing an annual scholarship fund and internship alternatives devoted to HBCU college students with each applications starting this 12 months.
BET.com spoke with Harold Bryant, Government Producer & Government Vice President of CBS Sports, in regards to the contributions of Black coaches and Black athletes to varsity sports activities, why investing in these establishments is part of his mission, and the significance of highlighting HBCUs throughout Last 4 Sunday CBS.
BET.com: The NCAA event is among the most anticipated occasions of the 12 months. Why did CBS select this weekend to showcase the significance of HBCUs on Last 4 Weekend?
Harold Bryant: Effectively, HBCUs are so wealthy within the historical past of sports activities and tradition. And, you realize, at occasions they have not been given, they’re simply due for all they’ve contributed to American society. We believed that this was the perfect time to focus on these nice colleges, applications, and initiatives which might be actually close to and pricey to me. I did not go to an HBCU however my father went to Fisk College, my mom went to Spelman, and I’ve loads of uncles, aunts, and cousins who’ve gone to HBCUs. So, a part of it’s wanting to ensure we acknowledge such an necessary a part of the material of American society.
BET.com: I learn that you just had been planning an HBCU All-Star recreation that can be part of the Last 4 Weekend custom. Who got here up with the concept for an All-Star recreation for HBCU graduates?
Bryant: We had been working in partnership with Travis Williams who coached at a number of HBCUs and he’s been growing this concept for a number of years. So, Travis Williams and his firm HBCU All-Stars LLC and our programming group got here collectively and stated, “, let’s create an all-star recreation as some extent of entry to spend money on extra HBCU programming.” So, the HBCU All-Star recreation was born. It will have been nice to do it this 12 months but it surely was tough with COVID restrictions. However subsequent 12 months, we’ll maintain the primary recreation in New Orleans, and it is gonna be nice. It is gonna be an thrilling and spectacular occasion after we do it.
BET.com: CBS can be exhibiting a block of applications that includes the tales of legendary HBCU coaches like John McClendon and Clarence “Large Home” Gaines. As a Black government producer and content material creator, how does it really feel to capable of showcase these tales on such a big platform throughout one of many community’s most-watched occasions?
Bryant: Proper off the bat, it makes me proud. It simply makes me so proud to have the ability to spotlight these tales and educate the world about these heroes that they might have by no means heard about and why they’re so necessary to the essence of the sport. For example, the good John McLendon, many individuals do not know that he is one of many best coaches ever. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of school teaching. It is a man who studied basketball beneath James Naismith. He went to Kansas and studied basketball with the inventor of the sport, after which took that and improved the sport to what it’s at the moment. Gamers will let you know in the event that they know their historical past, we might have by no means had, you realize, Nolan Richardson’s “40 minutes fo Hell,” or Showtime in the NBA with out McLendon as a result of he realized the sport wanted to be quicker. He created the fashionable tempo of the sport.
Then, in fact, you have got Clarence “Big House” Gaines who was an imposing determine and a tremendous coach. These nice coaches had been educating, not simply on the basketball courtroom, however off the courtroom to create future leaders. That is what’s nice about telling these tales and the legacy of HBCUs basically, that, there’s such a wealthy historical past and tradition of growing not solely athletes however leaders in the neighborhood.
BET.com: A typical thread of HBCU coaches is that they wished to educate nice athletes however in addition they wished to develop nice leaders who would serve their communities and the world of their respective vocations.
Bryant: Completely! The scholar a part of it all the time comes first, in student-athlete. The scholar leaving school with a level is simply as necessary as enjoying on the staff for 4 years.
BET.com: Lastly, what main takeaways would you like the viewers to go away with after watching the HBCU applications?
Bryant: I need them to be taught, to be educated, and to know what these males delivered to the sport and the way at occasions they went unnoticed for his or her contributions. So, I need folks to stroll away with this data and spirit of how necessary these people had been and are to the sport.
The HBCU basketball block of programming will air on CBS Sunday (April 4) from 3 p.m. to six p.m. ET, beginning with Large Home, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State (3:00 PM, ET), continues with Soul of the Sport: The John McLendon Story (4:00 PM, ET) and wraps up with HBCUs: Elevating The Sport (5:00 PM, ET.)