Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have not only prided themselves in developing some of the brightest and most skilled students in the classrooms. They have also developed some of the top student-athletes in the country. Many of these athletes going on to become well-established professional athletes in their respective sport.
In recent years, though, there has been a gap created between the student-athlete from a black college going to the professional stage.
According to The Maroon Tiger, “Some of the NFL’s greatest talent has come from the HBCUs top conferences, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Although these conferences were once hotbeds for NFL scouts, they now have extreme trouble getting the prospects that they once enjoyed. With HBCUs struggling to keep producing talent, it’s been hard for them to keep up with major Division 1 programs.”
I have comprised a list of the schools that have been “spearheading” the development of professional athletes over the years, the Top 10 list shown below is based upon the number of athletes in the sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, Olympics, and Canadian League) within the past four decades.
(The data used in this author’s post is based on information provided by The Maroon Tiger article “HBCUs: The Forgotten Source of Great Athletes,” and several sources from black college athletics websites.)
9Bethune Cookman University
Bethune Cookman has things heating up on the other side of the country. With 43 professional athletes coming out of their program, Bethune Cookman has earned the No. 9 spot on the list. Alumni include Cy McClairen who was Bethune-Cookman’s first alumnus in the NFL for 5 season and then went on the become head basketball coach and Athletics Director at the school.