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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y Patsy Collier-Lamar

Was ‘Skegee snubbed from a fourth consecutive trip to D-2 playoffs?

ATLANTA- Since Tuskegee qualified for post-season play via the NCAA Playoffs in 2013, they have never been out of that mix. In fact, the Golden Tigers have shined like new money since their first appearance in round one, which they lost to North Alabama 20-17.

Willie Slater’s elevens returned to  second season action in 2014 but again lost in the first round to West Georgia 20-17 in Tuskegee. The Goldens came back in 2015 and made serious history by winning rounds one and two to Catawba 26-16 and North Alabama 35-33, avenging the 2013 loss to the same school. Tuskegee became the first SIAC school to make it to quarterfinal action. They lost the quarterfinals and their third straight playoff game on the road to West Georgia 35-6.

tu willie slater sidelinesSlater

But the NCAA D-2 playoffs were not devoid of the Golden boys for another year. In 2016, The Alabama elevens defeated Newberry 35-33 (again on the road) but lost in round 2 to North Greenville (and guess where they played-hint, it WASN’T in Alabama) 45-26.

Now comes 2017. Tuskegee finishes the regular season 4-0 in division play, 6-0 in conference play and 9-2 overall. The Goldens won this year’s SIAC championship game over Fort Valley 13-6 in Fort Valley ( guess this time, home field advantage didn’t help).  Season ending stats from the NCAA and from football ranked Tuskegee 9th in super regional two. Only the first seven finishers are picked for post-season activities and some are contending that Tuskegee should have been amongst that happy number. They weren’t  and HBCU,  Tuskegee and other allies are convinced there is some shaky business or real bad record keeping going on.  The periodical HBCU Digest  did a bang-up job with looking closely into NCAA D-2 rules and how this applies to the situation involving the Golden Tigers. Take the time to read this and judge for yourself. Did Tuskegee get “skinned” as a result. Check out

XTRA POINTS: subr dawson odomsOdomsThis year’s Bayou Classic ought to be a real “do” and I don’t mean just the usual frollicking. Grambling State will enter the Louisiana Superdome like they did last season with a strong , strong finish (3-0 division, 6-0 conference,9-1 overall) with their only loss opening  day to Tulane 43-14). But  nestled right underneath the “G-Men” in the western division of the SWAC is Southern University. The Jaguars under Dawson Odoms, who once coached in the SIAC (Clark-AU), won their last six ballgames and currently hold a 3-0 mark among division opponents, and 5-1 in conference play. A win by Southern could snatch victory from the jaws of the Tigers while giving Southern another shot at the 2017 SIAC championship. Statistics available to INSIDE show the two schools have met 61 times with Grambling leading the series 32-29. Last year, 67,845 watched Southern lose 52-30. The stakes are higher this year and Dawson’s Jags are within whispering grasp of a trip to Houston Texas. I would be surprised if this year’s game draws the other 8623 needed to fill the 76,468 seat Superdome to capacity…………….

lang mike garrettGarrettThis news item is long overdue but I learned it late. In 2015, Mike Garrett, the former Heisman trophy winner from 1965 and second African-American to win the trophy, resigned as Athletic Director at Langston University of Oklahoma in 2015, Garrett told the Daily paper of Oklahoma City that he wanted more time to spend with family residing in Kansas City Missouri. As I was reading the account in the Oklahoman, I noticed that Garrett came to Langston to replace Patric Simon. I was curious about the name until I remembered that he was once Athletic Director at Tuskegee University and a coach at near half a dozen high schools including my alma mater, CL Harper High in Atlanta………

The recent suspension of an entire officiating crew from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)  over a game between Prairie View and Southern and a resulting “erroneous” call reminded me of a somewhat similar suspension in the SIAC back in 2008 during the annual Thanksgiving Day contest  between Tuskegee and Alabama State. It resulted in the  suspension of only one official who ruled that an apparent touchdown catch by Tuskegee was out of bounds. A photographer’s catch of the action was reviewed by the SIAC who concluded the official erred on the call which cost Tuskegee the ballgame . The rule resulted in the officials’ permanent expulsion.

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