It has been a banner spring for Mississippi Valley State athletics. The men’s basketball team ran away with the SWAC championship in March and the women’s softball wrapped up their seventh conference title this past weekend.
Overall, the Delta Devils program has done it all on a shoe string athletic budget compared to their Division 1 counterparts.
“We are the lowest in the totem pole in resources and finances,” former MVSU head coach Sean Woods told USA Today in reference to the economic plight many small school face to stay competitive. “We can’t compare to anyone else in the country.”
Woods, who is the new men’s basketball coach at Morehead State lamented about how difficult it is to run a successful program with the mounting challenges around.
MVSU brought in $4.1 million in total revenue in 2011, according to data complied by USA Today. Morehead State, which makes its home in the Ohio Valley Conference, has a $9.3 million budget.
And it is just not MVSU fighting an uphill battle either. Of the 20 lowest revenue-generating Division I programs on the list, six represent the SWAC.
- Alabama A&M: $6,003,172
- Alabama State: $10,614,081
- Alcorn State: $5,995,743
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff: $7,032,570
- Grambling State: $6,212,914
- Jackson State: $6,909,322
- Prairie View A&M: $9,509,384
- Southern: $6,799,370
- Texas Southern: $10,108,775
As a result, lower D-1 coaches like Woods are expected to take on the jobs of entire support staffs.
“Eighty percent of my job is not basketball. I have to deal with kids’ scholarship information … dorms, food, anything you can think of,” said Woods. “My assistants have to teach to supplement their income.”
While stories like this might be new to those who could quite frankly care less about lower level college leagues or even the SWAC for that matter, these constant reminders of how far down the 10-team conference is from the one percent or even middle class of Division 1 is a reality HBCU institutions have dealt will for decades. And more stories will be written until there is drastic changes at the state and local government level and within the NCAA itself.