NCAA

Maryland's Mike Locksley, Damon Evans comment on college football's diversity problem

Maryland's Mike Locksley, Damon Evans comment on college football's diversity problem

In a predominantly white college football landscape, Maryland became the first school in the FBS with a Black president, athletic director and head football coach Wednesday by hiring Dr. Darryll Pines to lead the university. 

Damon Evans is one of 14 Black athletic directors in the FBS, while Mike Locksley is one of 14 Black head coaches in Division I. Over 86% of D-1 head coaches are white and if you exclude Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the percentage of white coaches in Division-I football rises to nearly 93%.

Black head coaches aren't afforded an extended window to run their program either. White coaches are considered to have more time to build a program, leaving Black head coaches with undesirable results, less time to turn things around and worse odds at getting another job because of it.

In a story from Yahoo Sports' Lila Bromberg, Evans and Locksley shared their thoughts on college football's lack of diversity and how they're striving for an increased presence of African Americans in the nation's top programs. 

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“We haven't been afforded those opportunities of five years at one position to really build it and grow it the way that you need to when the jobs that some of us take or have to take open up," Locksley said. "So there's no doubt there's some things that hinder our ability to have the success we need to have to keep that door open for others.

With Evans heading the athletic department, Locksley has the job security to where he can build Maryland's football program to the best of his ability.

Just one season into his tenure, Locksley has already turned some heads on the recruiting trail. He recently secured a big-name transfer in quarterback Taulia Tagovalioa and was one of Gonzaga superstar quarterback Caleb Williams' final three schools before the upcoming senior chose Oklahoma. 

“We all know the responsibility that we carry as Black men in these leadership positions,” Evans said. “Not only the responsibility to the institution as a whole in carrying out our jobs and the responsibility to our communities, but we also have a responsibility to help to grow the pool of minority candidates and to help others rise through the ranks to be able to achieve what we've been able to.”

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2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

When five-star big man Makur Maker announced his final four schools Thursday and Howard University was on the list, it certainly raised some eyebrows. Now, it appears Howard has landed one of the biggest recruits in its history. 

Maker tweeted early Friday morning that he had committed to Howard and head coach Kenny Blakeney over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

"I was the first to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream “what if,'" Maker wrote. "I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney."

Top high school recruits such as Maker and 2023 five-star Mikey Williams are the first to show real interest in playing their college ball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Maker is the first of his caliber to make a commitment amid a worldwide movement against the systematic oppression of Black people. 

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Maker, the brother of Pistons big man Thon Maker, is the 18th-ranked 2020 recruit in the nation according to 247sports. The 6'11, 235-pound big man is known for his blend of size, mobility and perimeter skills at the center position.

Maker was born in Kenya and immigrated to Australia when he was one year old. He then played high school basketball at multiple schools in California before playing his final season at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, AZ. 

Maker will join a program in need of a boost in talent. Howard went 4-29 last season and will surely improve with their newest addition. But perhaps Maker's decision will have a bigger impact on college basketball moving forward. As top recruits begin to consider avenues outside the traditional powerhouse programs, the game's landscape could look a lot different in a few years.

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Maryland finds itself in absurd new conference in reimagined CFB landscape

Maryland finds itself in absurd new conference in reimagined CFB landscape

With the coronavirus pandemic threatening the 2020 college football season, the game could look a bit different if games ultimately go on this fall. 

In response to potential change, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde reimagined the college football landscape with sweeping changes to conferences, regular-season schedules and the college football playoff. Here's an overview of his proposal:

120 teams (10 conferences with 12 teams each)
Conferences are designed to minimize travel, with no more than eight Power 5 schools in each league
Each league plays a round-robin schedule with one non-conference game
No conference championship games
10 conference champs and two at-large teams go to the College Football Playoff (Top 4 get a bye)
Bowl games for some who don't make the playoff

The major takeaway for the Terps? Their conference is kind of brutal.

Forde has Maryland in the "Yankee" conference along with Penn State, Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pitt, Army, Navy, UConn, UMass and Buffalo. 

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Now, it wouldn't be the most brutal schedule, as Maryland would find themselves as one of the top five teams in the conference. But the travel schedule is rough. The Terps would be one of the southern-most teams in their league and would have to travel to New England and New York on multiple occasions in the fall and early winter. 

Coming from someone who went to UMass, football season in New England after the first four weeks of the years is just cruel. And no, it's not because of the snow. It's the soul-crushing wind gusts that won't go away no matter how much you plead to mother nature. 

Ideally, the Terps would be in the Mid-Atlantic Conference with schools like Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Geography just seems like it's going to bite the Terps here if the NCAA ever decided to go this route. 

If they do and Maryland ends up playing a good chunk of its schedule up at Winterfell, Mike Locksley and his players are going to need long-johns, knit hats and hand-warmers. Lots and lots of hand-warmers. 

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