More Physicists, Fewer Fullbacks

Why black colleges need to focus more on science and less on sports.

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While HBCUs already do an admirable job in making a substantial contribution by teaching agriculture, computer science and the physical sciences, it's time for them to do even more.

We need not look further than George Washington Carver for inspiration. To serve the greater good, Carver passed up other opportunities to head the agricultural program at Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute and helped revolutionize farming. How wonderful it would be if today's HBCUs could begin producing scientists and engineers with Carver-like potential.

Given that their budgets and access to resources are limited, how can HBCUs increase their science and technology focus? They should not "Rob Peter to pay Paul." They should simply take "Peter" out of the equation. The HBCUs' Peter is money-losing athletic programs.

HBCUs should consider converting resources set aside for athletic programs into resources for scientific research and development. For example, Howard University reported that its athletic program in fiscal year (FY) 2006 would have incurred a nearly $1.1 mill