NCAA

Class of 2020 five-star prospect, Makur Maker is considering Howard in his final four

Class of 2020 five-star prospect, Makur Maker is considering Howard in his final four

Howard men's basketball is in the running for arguably the program's biggest recruit in its history. 

On Thursday, 2020 consensus five-star recruit Makur Maker, cousin of NBA star Thon Maker,  announced that the Bison are amongst his final four teams he is considering. UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis make out his list.

Just to be in the same breath of those programs and to be an option for a player that has the upside of Maker is a huge boost to school. But on a larger scale, it is signaling that the wave of top Black basketball prospects weighing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as an option will continue.

Last month, one of the top recruits of the 2023 class Mikey Williams -- who has wowed followers on Twitter with his highlight videos -- tweeted, "Going to an HBCU wouldn’t be too bad..." That sparked a massive amount of traction on social media and even contributed to HBCUs reaching out to other five-star prospects. Two five-star prospects picked up new offers from HBCUs in the weeks that followed, according to ESPN

And it didn't stop there, four-star Nate Tabor actually signed with Norfolk State.

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Thursday, Williams -- with a new Twitter account -- doubled down. He sent two more tweets indicating that an HBCU is an option, or to tip off the Maker news that was coming out later.

Howard's recruitment of Maker is not a part of this new trend from the past month. The Bison have been in on the 6-foot-11 center since 2019. In October, he made his official visit to the school. 

Listing them in a four-team grouping and committing are two separate things, too. The other teams on the list have far more national prominence and resources compared to Howard. Going to Kentucky or Memphis would boost his profile and better prepare him for the NBA. And, there's also the option of him turning professional -- which has led Oregon and Kentucky, to an extent, to tone back their recruitment, according to Forbes

Choosing Howard, though, would be a gamechanger to HBCU basketball. He might be HBCUs' biggest prospect since Ben Wallace when he went to Virginia Union in the 1990s. Singlehandedly, he would vault Howard into relevancy from a 4-29 season last year and pack gyms across the East Coast in the MEAC.

It would also open up doors for other elite prospects to join the wave. Help turn the schools from the long-overlooked MEAC and SWAC (the two biggest HBCU Division I conferences) to actually having a stronghold in the college basketball community.

Nothing is set in stone until Maker makes his decision. The allure of a Power 5 program with all the amenities could win him over, so could jumping to the professional ranks. But for now, Howard is in the running and so is the option to take a path less traveled. 

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NCAA president Mark Emmert says fall championships can't happen at this time

NCAA president Mark Emmert says fall championships can't happen at this time

While conferences and schools across the nation are withdrawing from the 2020 fall sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic, others remain adamant that games and seasons can be played.

However, for those who are planning on having a fall campaign, their hopes of competing for a championship could still be derailed. According to NCAA president Mark Emmert, all Division I sports besides football --- which operates on the bowl schedule -- are in jeopardy of losing a title season due to the lack of teams involved.

“We cannot, now at this point, have fall NCAA Championships because there’s not enough schools participating," Emmert said during the NCAA Social Series on Thursday. "The Board of Governors also said, ‘look if you don’t have half the schools playing the sport you can’t have a legitimate championship.’”

Emmert noted that the fall can still be beneficial to universities as programs can put all their focus into safety protocols and maintaining the health of players. Additionally, players can still remain on campus and prepare for the spring season.

As for actual competition in the coming months, Emmert has begun to look ahead to 2021 with the hope that teams have the opportunity to compete when the spring comes around. Specifically, he wants to make sure that winter and spring sports -- who already lost a season in 2020 -- are not forced to suffer through the same fate again.

In order to do that, he's considering numerous altercations to sports such as modified bubbles and smaller brackets for postseason play. The procedures will become clearer in the coming months as more questions about the virus and its impact are answered.

For now, Emmert is optimistic that the NCAA has the capability to bring sports back in a safe way. But to do so, a lot of work still needs to be done.

“There’s a way to do it. Will it be normal? Of course not, you’ll be playing fall sports in the spring. Will it create other challenges? Of course. But is it doable? Yeah, it is doable and we want to do that," Emmert said. "We want to, again, make it work for these students.”

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Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Despite growing momentum to cancel the fall football season, the Big 12 reportedly is moving forward with their plans to play.

ESPN reporter Sam Khan Jr. reported on Wednesday morning that the Big 12's board of directors met for over an hour yesterday to discuss the fallout of decisions made to postpone the fall season from conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12. 

Following days of speculation the Big Ten would cancel fall sports, the conference officially pulled the plug Tuesday citing concerns of the myriad of complications that come along with playing a season during a pandemic. 

The Big 12, however, is leading the charge in trying to set up safe way to play the fall season. ESPN reported there will be revised conference-only schedules coming out shortly after the season was again pushed back to Sept. 26. Stadium reported the Big 12 may have more news. 

The decision also comes on the back of growing support from athletes to find a solution in making sure this season gets played. The face of college football, Trevor Lawrence, has repeatedly tweeted his stance that going forward with a season will actually be safer for the athletes

Whether or not more Power 5 sides like the SEC and ACC follow suit remains to be seen, but it is widely speculated that these football-crazed conferences are determined to find a way. 

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