After deciding not to hire NFL Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed as their next head coach, the students on the campus have decided to protest the decision.
The University decided that Coach Reeds comments about the schools could not go unpunished. Ultimately, the contract negotiations between Coach Reed and the administration at Bethune-Cookman halted. It should be noted that Bethune-Cookman announced the hire in December.
However, Coach Reed had been on campus most of January to begin his tenure even though he was still in contract negotiations. In his brief time on campus, Coach Reed noticed some issues with the facilities.
Instead of waiting, Coach Reed took it upon himself to start cleaning up the grounds around the facility. Additionally, the players from the team volunteered to help.
On January 21st, Coach Reed’s short and unofficial tenure ended. Coach Reed held a meeting with the players, staff, and parents to break the news with a heavy and disappointed heart.
Although Coach Reed’s comments could have been said differently, the students on campus agreed with the issues at Bethune-Cookman. Students have outwardly said that Coach Reed told the truth about the University.
Many of the facilities are in need of major renovations. Coach Reed was prepared to put in the work to help as best as he could.
Students mentioned mold in dorms as well as the conditions of the water in the showers. Having Coach Reed as a outsider looking to highlight the issues and solve as many as he could was seemingly a huge win for the students.
Since the news broke, students have protested and signed petitions for the university to restart the negotiations with Coach Reed. Still, the University expresses that they’re looking for another coach as of Monday.
Nonetheless, student protest have sprung up in the wake of Coach Reed’s departure. Some of the protest have centered more so around the conditions and mold on campus then the firing of Coach Reed.
As much as Coach Reed would have benefitted from Bethune-Cookman, Bethune-Cookman would have benefitted just as much. NFL Hall of Fame and former Miami Hurricane, Edgerrin James, broke the news that Coach Reed was in talks with wealthy individuals ready to invest in Bethune-Cookman.
Just as Coach Deion Sanders did for Jackson State, Coach Reed was preparing to do the same. Unlike Jackson State, Bethune-Cookman does not have a college football stadium.
Currently, the Wildcats play in the Daytona Beach community high school stadium. With the right sponsors and donors, Bethune-Cookman could’ve built a new stadium on campus in the future.
Furthermore, multiple opportunities for the campus and the student-athletes to gain exposure similar to that of Jackson State. In a NIL world, Bethune-Cookman under Coach Reed would have provided the visibility needed for greater markability.
Although, many alums of HBCUs have wondered why would these businesses and new donors walk away after Coach Reed’s departure? Simple, people like to invest in the relationships they have.
Like Coach Sanders, Coach Reed would have provided the much needed relationships many HBCUs need in order to compete on the field and as institutions.
First, I would like to say I do not discredited or dismiss what HBCUs have done in the classrooms, professionally, and on the field. However, no one can continue to be blind to the needs and issues HBCUs need to solve.
A great athletics program, especially football, can bring in millions to an entire university weekly. We quickly noticed the financial impact Coach Sanders had on Jackson State.
Many of the major Power 5 universities are held up by the their athletics program. Lastly, the communities of these major institutions benefit from the added revenue that is brought in by football.
Sadly, these opportunities might go away and the future of Bethune-Cookman football program looks weaker then ever before.