Why is HBCU Money talking about marriage? We thought this was a site about money. Well, there are many economists and community developers that agree that one of the most fundamental ingredients to wealth building is marriage. It allows for scaling of capital towards savings and investment, reduction of expenses, and an ability to provide familial stability. Unfortunately, like our median income and wealth, there is no group less likely to actually get married than African Americans. The hurdles to African American marriage are deep and complicated and the solutions to them potentially even more deep and complicated. All that said, anything that leads to higher marriage rates between African Americans can only add to the community’s ability to actually stabilize and empower itself socially, economically, and politically. We of course acknowledge that marriages come in all forms, but the most important form is a healthy, happy, and loving marriage.
National African American Marriage Rate – 29.7%
Virginia – 34.0%
Maryland – 33.2%
Delaware & Texas – 32.8%
Florida & North Carolina – 31.3%
Georgia – 30.9%
Oklahoma – 30.0%
Arkansas – 29.8%
California – 29.7%
Alabama & South Carolina – 29.4%
Mississippi – 28.9%
The question then becomes how can HBCU, their alumni, and others support organizations encourage more marriage among African Americans at HBCUs? This becomes vital for HBCU’s future because it could be suggested that a couple who both went to HBCUs would be more likely to send their child to an HBCU. Whereas a couple with only one HBCU parent present or no HBCU parents present is far less likely. To encourage coupling as part of an HBCU’s development strategy would by no means be simple given the ratio of women to men on HBCU campuses these days. Simply put, there are not enough men for women to choose from in the heterosexual relationships. And unless more data is collected on LGBTQ HBCU students, there may not be a viable quantity there for them either. This is why it would be important if this was to be considered that a network of HBCU development offices strategize together and increase the probability of matchmaking.
Tracking the statistics on HBCU marriage and family would also be immensely valuable information. An opportunity that certainly presents itself for further research by Hampton University’s National Center on African American Marriage and Parenting. Very little data is actually known on HBCU marriages and families.
Ultimately, HBCUs and their alumni though who can encourage more marriage among HBCU students/graduates must do so through ensuring those relationships are healthy. This means that there must be more mental and physical health development, financial literacy, and relationship etiquette taught. With seven of the ten HBCU states exceeding the national average for African American marriage the ingredients are certainly there for this seed to grow, but it indeed must be watered if we truly plan to see more marriage and healthier marriage which we know can also be one of the key tenets to community formation and building.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin
Only one HBCU/PBI state has an African American high school graduation rate above 90 percent (Maryland) and only one has a high school graduation rate below 80 percent (Mississippi). The U.S. high school graduation rate is 90.04 percent, while the African American high school graduation rate is 87 percent. There are 23 HBCU/PBI states and only five have an African American high school graduation rate above the African American national average and only one is above the overall national average.
This does not even begin to address the extreme direness that is African American male graduation rate which among the most recent reports by the Schott Foundation shows the African American male high school graduation rate at 59 percent, lowest among all groups in the U.S. Unfortunately, that data is from 2015 so where exactly it stands in the current is hard to know. Any assumption that is has improved greatly or that males have moved out of last place can be quickly dowsed with the gender gap review of colleges and universities and HBCUs in particular. The result is that on campuses like Howard University there are almost 75 percent women and just barely above 25 percent men.
Making the future for forming African American families and equitable partnerships that much more complicated. An argument that African American communities hyper focus Black boys on sports from an early age and Black girls on academics certainly must be part of the conversation. The educational achievement spectrum shows an immense gender gap across all levels of educational obtainment. Further complicating this dynamic is in employment African American women have almost one million more jobs than men. There is no other group where the women outnumber the men in terms of employment. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Did low education lead to low employment or vice versa?
What is for certain is that the future of HBCUs lie in more investment in early childhood through 12th grade education. A conversation of how HBCUs, their alumni, and other organizations can invest in a more coordinated and strategic way to impact the pipeline of African Americans that will ultimately matriculate to college is vitally necessary. If HBCUs could show themselves at the vanguard of that movement, then perhaps HBCUs would see an increase in the market share of African Americans who go to college choosing HBCUs. As it stands, while the populations at HBCUs are increasing, the percentage of African American students who go to college choosing HBCUs remains at around 9 to 10 percent.
“If you are an adult and — as a physician and a pathologist — I educate you on the dangers and risks of some activity, like smoking or playing football, and you make up your mind to play, I would be one of the first to stand by you to defend your right,” he says. “Even if you take a gun [and] place it on your head to shoot yourself, you have the right to do that. This is America. But as a modern society, I believe we are morally bound to protect the most vulnerable — our children —like we have done with smoking.” – Dr. Bennet Omalu
The NFL has arguably made more African American men millionaires than any other organization in America. Perhaps even more millionaires than even African America men have made themselves in all other non-entertainment industries, but that is a problem to discuss for another time. Football, may also be the leading cause of brain damage for African American boys and men. Let us say that again, football, where many African American boys start playing as early as parents believe they can, may also be the leading cause of brain damage for African American boys and playing a key role in their educational underachievement. America’s most popular sport grabs African American boys as early as five years old and begins the process of violently running them into each other and as they grow up the speed and viciousness of those collisions grows exponentially. This is of course well before the male brain becomes fully mature at the age of 25.
There is immense amounts of research that has been conducted on the post-playing career health issues that many former NFL players face. In an article by Mackie Shilstone for 4WWL he reports, “According to “Musculoskeletal Injury History Is Associated with Lower Physical and Mental Health in a Historic Cohort of Former National Football League players”, which appeared in the June 2021 issue of the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, “as a collision sport, American football has a high risk of serious physical injury. Data from the National Football League (NFL) indicate that up to 68% of NFL players may be injured in a season.” The article cites a study by University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC, and Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, “among this historical cohort of former NFL players, over 90% reported sustaining at least one musculoskeletal injury during their professional careers. Respondents self-reported that many of these injuries required surgery, resulted in their professional playing careers prematurely ending, and still affected them. The additional findings highlight the large percentages of NFL players reporting surgery (60.7%), a premature end to their professional football career (40.3%), and still being affected by injury (74.8%), further augment the concern about the effects from musculoskeletal injuries on overall functioning across the lifespan,” commented the investigators.” The Washington Post in an internal survey of former NFL players in 2013 reported, “Nine in 10 said they’re happy they played the sport. But fewer than half would recommend children play it today. Nine in 10 former NFL players reported suffering concussions while playing, and nearly six in 10 reported three or more. Two in three who had concussions said they experience continuing symptoms from them.” The damage on these men’s health and brains playing football for most of them over 20 years of their life and during the formative years of their brains primary development is truly astounding. As it pertains to youth football’s damage specifically, “A CDC study published in Sports Health reports youth tackle football athletes ages 6 to 14 sustained 15 times more head impacts than flag football athletes during a practice or game and sustained 23 times more high-magnitude head impact (hard head impact). Youth tackle football athletes experienced a median of 378 head impacts per athlete during the season versus 8 in flag football.” That means an African American boy participating in youth football is experiencing 1.04 head impacts per day for an entire year if they were evenly spread out, but we know the season is not a year long which means the bulk of those impacts come in very short windows and in abundance. And yet, there is so much more we do not know.
We do not know what happens to brains that have played football from age five to twelve and how it impacted their long-term cognitive development. There have been millions of Black boys who never make it playing football beyond high school or college, but have just as likely suffered acute brain damage along the way for decades. African American boys have the lowest high school graduation rate and the highest participation rate in youth football K-12. Coincidence? Perhaps, but not likely and even the mere suggestion of it seems too upset many diehard African American football fans who see football as a path to American delusional meritocracy. Are there other factors at play impacting African American education? Certainly, but African American girls are experiencing much of those same systemic realities. One of the major differences though is football and arguably the brain damage that degrades African American boys minds collision after collision and concussion after concussion for as long as that boy plays, but the echoes and reverberation of the damage echoes for much longer. Potentially causing damage in the brain’s fragile state that may never be repaired. While we do know the health implications are grave and acute, we do not know to what extent. However, we do know that the social and economic costs have been and continue to be immense.
In every educational statistic, African American boys are either last or next to last (Latino/Hispanic boys being the only other option and that gap is starting to widen). Resources that could be and should be pouring into African American boys education from early childhood are instead poured into sports. Money being raised to participate in youth sports is money not being spent on education or education supplement. A few troubling statistics from a 2015 Education Week article showed, “Black boys are more likely than any other group to be placed in special education classes, with 80 percent of all special education students being Black or Hispanic males. A U.S. Department of Education report found that in schools with at least 50 percent Black students, only 48 percent were certified in the subject, compared with 65 percent in majority white schools. In English, the numbers were 59 and 68 percent, respectively and in science, they were 57 percent and 73 percent. In 2014, the Black Star Project published findings that just 10 percent of eighth-grade Black boys in the U.S. are considered “proficient” in reading. In urban areas like Chicago and Detroit, that number was even lower. By contrast, the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress found that 46 percent of white students are adequate readers by eighth grade, and 17 percent of Black students as a whole are too. The achievement gap between the two races is startling, but the difference between the NAEP report on Black students as a whole and the Black Star findings of just Black boys is troubling too. It is not simply Black children in general who appear to be failing in the basics – like literacy; it is the boys. Black students make up just 18 percent of children in U.S. preschools, but make up half of those youngsters who are suspended. Black boys receive two-thirds of all school suspensions nationwide – all demographics and both genders considered. By 18 years of age, 30 percent of Black males have been arrested at least once, compared to just 22 percent of white males. Those numbers rise to 49 percent for Black men by the age of 23, and 38 percent of white males.” Between special education, illiteracy, and discipline, there are certainly arguments for systemic attacks on Black boys, but there is also internal community conversations about the allocation of resources we pour into our boys to counter those issues. Instead, we are pouring resources into a sport that is compounding the issues.
Then there is the damaging psychological impact on Black boys’ mental health. William Rhoden in his book $40 Million Dollar Slaves describes that impact in these terms, “Though integration was a major pivot in the history of the black athlete, it was not for the positive reasons we so often hear about. Integration fixed in place myriad problems: a destructive power dynamic between black talent and white ownership; a chronic psychological burden for black athletes, who constantly had to prove their worth; disconnection of the athlete from his or her community; and the emergence of the apolitical black athlete, who had to be careful what he or she said or stood for, so as not to offend white paymasters.” Black boys from as early as they show any modicum of athletic talent (and in a lot of cases even when they do not) are taught their bodies are all that matter. Football especially takes the approach that more instinct and less thinking is better. It encourages aggression, which of course are great on the football field, but not in classrooms, communities, and relationships. Unfortunately, Black boys are rarely given the chance to be well rounded with things that allow them to think and develop healthy expression so that they know when to turn on and off that aggression. Instead, they operate in life like a bull in a china shop and the African American community suffers the consequences. Unless of course they show exceptional talent that major college football and NFL teams can profit off of and then they are given a pass for their toxic behaviors further incentivizing African American boys to want to invest their time into the sport. And if everyone else is profiting off of it, then why should HBCUs be any different? If African America loved Black boys, then HBCUs would be different.
HBCUs in a lot of ways parrot what PWIs do. Our models at HBCUs are rarely African American centered. While the student body may be predominantly African American, the agenda and the mission objectives are rarely so focused on the empowerment of African America’s social, economic, and intellectual interests. Deion Sanders at Jackson State, to no fault of his own, has renewed a falsehood that many HBCU alumni believe – if the football talent that went to PWIs came “home” to HBCUs, then the financial windfall would be the answer to our prayers. HBCU alumni ignore all of the realities of things like boosters’ wealth, affluent and large alumni bases (Penn State University has approximately 700,000 living alumni) that attract multimillion dollar sponsorships, businesses owned by alumni who provide all types of indirect monies into these programs, and lastly the anti-Blackness that many PWI programs and their leadership operate with treating Black athletes as nothing more than a commodity to be used and thrown away like an orange for their Sunday morning breakfast. The SWAC/MEAC spent $213 million in expenses as of 2019-2020 on their athletic programs, while only generating $52 million in revenue (without counting student subsidies). It is safe to say that the bulk of that money goes to football – just like every other college and university. Perhaps we think that more players going to the NFL and getting drafted will result in more large donations to our institutions. Historically, athletes have never been the major donors to any college or university. The largest donors to colleges and universities have been, continue to be, and will be those who have founded, own, or have some sort of business wealth. Phil Knight, the owner of Nike, in 2021 was the second largest donor to a college and university (an anonymous donor was number one), donating $500 million to the University of Oregon. Knight and his wife have donated over $1 billion in total to the university over the years. An amount greater than any HBCU endowment. So instead of chasing a bridge to nowhere, what could HBCUs be doing with more of their athletic budgets?
HBCUs could be redeploying a consequential amount of that $200 million into programs that would significantly impact the K-12 pipeline for which many African American boys treacherously traverse as mentioned. It would even help to support the number of African American young men they have on their campus where there is also a major enrollment and graduation gender gap. Ensuring that increasing the graduation rate among existing HBCU men would be highly prudent. Many HBCUs have a significant case for starting and founding their own K-12 school system, which would increase the pipeline of African American students into their institutions and would especially allow for African American boys to be seen as something to be cultivated intellectually instead of just physically. The notion that we could do something more impactful for African America rather than give it more of something that we do not need and is ultimately detrimental to our community development seems to be a comfort zone that we are unwilling to breach or even have a rational conversation about. The brain damage to African American boys who then suffer from notable academic achievement has had acute consequences on family formation in our community because African American women are in mass unable to find intellectually and economically equitable partners in African American men who once the cold water of their pro athlete dream is doused wander in a proverbial desert. Along with a community that desperately needs more Black boys to become doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, and ultimately men who are capable both physically and mentally available. All things it is arguably we are complicit in taking away from them. So if HBCUs are truly to be institutions for African America’s empowerment, then we must – absolutely must – do everything we can do to save African American boys, even from ourselves.
In the fourth HBCU Money report on the SWAC/MEAC’s athletic finances, there has been one trend that is consistent – an acute amount of red on the balance sheet of each respective HBCU as it pertains to their athletic departments and it continues to grow redder and redder. Since HBCU Money first began reporting the SWAC/MEAC Athletic Financial Review, there have been losses of $128.6 million (2014-2015), $147.1 million (2016-2017), $150.7 million (2017-2018), and this year they continue their trend of the athletic black hole with losses over $161 million through athletics with no correction in sight. Not exactly the cash generating juggernauts that HBCU alumni have in mind when it comes to how deeply many believe that athletics can be the financial savior to HBCU financial prosperity. Instead, athletics seems to be potentially at the crux of many HBCU financial woes. Almost unfathomable is that many in the SWAC/MEAC have athletic budgets higher than their research budgets.
The harsh reality is that even with all the popularity buzz generated by Jackson State University’s head football coach, Deion Sanders, the factors working against HBCU athletics ever achieving real profitability remains a pipe dream at best. To land a major television contract, which is the only reason on mass that the SEC and Big 10 are the profitable athletic programs they are requires something that HBCU alumni bases severely lack. Large fan bases that have high incomes and an affluence. The harsh reality that HBCUs have small alumni bases, a reality that has been exacerbated post-desegregation where now HBCUs only get 9 percent of African Americans in college, combined with African America having both the lowest median income and wealth do not make for a recipe for advertisers to pay top dollar to television stations who would then healthily compensate HBCU institutions. HBCU athletics can be profitable, but it requires a completely different business model than our PWI counterparts. See, “The 5 Steps To HBCU Athletic Profitability”.
HBCU athletic revenues went down while expenses and subsidies went up in 2019-2020. That is usually a trend all would prefer be flipped. Students continue to bear the brunt of generating HBCU athletic revenues. This year’s review shows that approximately 73 percent of HBCU athletic revenues are generated through subsidies, up from 70 percent the year prior. Something to consider when 90 percent of HBCU students graduate with student loan debt.
REVENUES (in millions)
Total: $200.4 (down 1.2% from 2017-2018)
Median: $10.3 (down 4.6% from 2017-2018)
Average: $10.6 (up 5.0% from 2017-2018)
Highest revenue: Prairie View A&M University $18.7 million
Lowest revenue: Coppin State University $2.8 million
EXPENSES (in millions)
Total: $213.0 (up 0.5% from 2017-2018)
Median: $12.5 (up 15.7% from 2017-2018)
Average: $11.2 (up 5.7% from 2017-2018)
Highest expenses: Prairie View A&M University $18.7 million
Lowest expenses: Mississippi Valley State University $3.9 million
Total: $148.4 (up 4.9% from 2017-2018)
Median: $6.4 (down 18.4% from 2017-2018)
Average: $7.1 (unchanged from 2017-2018)
Highest subsidy: Prairie View A&M University $15.5 million
Lowest subsidy: Coppin State University $1.7 million
Highest % of revenues: Delaware State University: 92.0%
Lowest % of revenues: Florida A&M University: 37.0%
PROFIT/LOSS (W/ SUBSIDY)
Total: $-12.7 million (down 40.0% from 2017-2018)
Median: $0 (up 100.0% from 2017-2018)
Average: $-666,295 (down 46.3% from 2017-2018)
Highest profit/loss: North Carolina A&T State University $615,094
Lowest profit/loss: North Carolina Central University $-6,264,082
PROFIT/LOSS (W/O SUBSIDY)
Total: $-161.0 million (down 6.8% from 2017-2018)
Median: $-9.8 million (down 40.0% from 2017-2018)
Average: $-8.5 million (down 13.3% from 2017-2018)
Highest profit/loss: Mississippi Valley State University $-2,177,123
Lowest profit/loss: Prairie View A&M University $-15,417,471
CONCLUSION: At current, it would take an approximately $4.3 billion endowment dedicated to athletics to ween the SWAC/MEAC off of these subsidies onto a sustainable path. A sum greater than all HBCU endowments combined. Perhaps through merchandise sales, Jackson State could see its way to profitability without subsidies. Perhaps, but as former HBCU alumnus and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe recently said, “There is only one Deion Sanders”. One thing is for certain, HBCUs have not done a proper cost-benefit analysis for the money they spend and subsidize to their athletic departments nor have they explored potential alternative models.
Editor’s Note: Howard and Bethune-Cookman are excluded in this report because they are private institutions and their athletic finances were not included in this report.
All banks are listed by state. In order to be listed in our directory the bank must have at least 51 percent African American ownership. You can click on the bank name to go directly to their website.
OTHER KEY FINDINGS:
African American Owned Banks (AAOBs) are in 15 states and territories. Key states absent are Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. Liberty Bank & Trust is headquartered in Louisiana, but has a presence in both California and Tennessee. OneUnited is headquartered in Massachusetts, but also has a presence in Florida.
There has not been an African American Owned Bank (AAOB) started in 22 years.
Alabama and Georgia each have two AAOBs.
14 of the 16 African American Owned Banks saw increases in assets from the previous directory.
African American Owned Banks have approximately $4.8 billion of America’s $22.8 trillion bank assets or 0.02 percent.
African American Owned Banks control 1.5 percent of FDIC designated Minority-Owned Bank Assets, which is down from 1.7 percent in 2020. A fourth straight year of declines.
2022 Median AAOBs Assets: $192,932,000 ($106,140,000)
2022 Average AAOBs Assets: $302,218,000 ($225,519,000)
For comparison, Asian American Owned Banks have approximately $66.7 billion in assets spread over 61 institutions. Asian American Owned Banks saw a decrease of $62.6 billion increase (48.4 percent) since 2020.
TOTAL AFRICAN AMERICAN OWNED BANK ASSETS: $4,835,494,000