Morehouse’s Newly Restored Track & Football Field is Step Forward in Attracting Top Recruits
Photo by Kollin Washington, Photo Editor
The blueprint has been laid out on how to attract recruits to HBCUs and improving the athletic facilities at HBCUs put them on path to seriously compete with PWIs in the recruitment process.
By Miles Johnson, Managing Editor
Restoring the Edwin C. Moses Track & B.T. Harvey Stadium Football Field is a huge step in giving student-athletes at Morehouse the facilities they deserve and another step in attracting top recruits. On Aug. 23, the opening ceremony for the newly renovated track and football field took place. Notable people were in attendance that were big contributors to the formation of this multi-million dollar stadium including: Billye Suber Aaron, widow of the great Hank Aaron, NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier, and the most decorated Morehouse athlete of all time, Edwin C. Moses ‘78.
Edwin C. Moses is a two time gold medalist in the 400 m hurdles in 1976 and 1984, four-time world record holder, and nearly a decade stretch of not losing in that event. He believes that the new renovations to the track and football field will bring more recruits.
“A lot of kids that wanted to go to Morehouse had a better field at their high school stadium so they used to come here and say I think I should go somewhere else so we lost a lot of good possibilities so this is definitely going to enhance recovery,” said Moses.
Back when Edwin C. Moses attended Morehouse, it was common for the top college athletes in the country to be at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Athletes such as Jerry Rice (Mississippi St.), Walter Payton (Jackson State), Althea Gibson (Florida A&M), Earl Monroe (Winston Salem St.) Wilma Rudolph (Tennessee St.) all attended HBCUs. A deciding factor as to why these athletes attended HBCUs was because black student-athletes were not allowed at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs).
As more PWIs realized that they were missing out on the best talent in the country, they started to accept black student-athletes. Eventually the norm for top high school recruits in the country was to attend a PWI rather than an HBCU. A key reason recruits have turned down HBCUs is because of the difference in athletic facilities at PWIs vs. HBCUs.
The newly renovated Edwin C. Moses Track and B.T Harvey Football Field will help Morehouse in its efforts to attract top level recruits. Morehouse football captain Elijah Soup talked about what the newly restored track and football field means to him after playing without a home field last season.
“We remember everything we went through. Driving ourselves everyday across Atlanta to find a place to practice. This new track & field means everything to us,” Soup said. “I believe the new track and field will attract new football recruits to Morehouse. The beauty of it is that we are just in phase 1 of installments. It’s only up from here.”
Head football coach Rich Freeman highlighted the seniors last year that endured playing last season knowing they wouldn’t reap the benefits of the new field.
“It took some special people to be able to endure what they were able to endure knowing that they were not going to get a chance to play,” Freeman said. “It’s been many nights that we’ve prayed and cried for this field and track and through the blessing of the good lord we were able to reap the benefits that Joshua reaped.”
Coach Freeman also ackoweldged President Thomas, who has attended the most practices, games and addressed the team more than any president he’s ever worked with. The football team has high hopes of returning to a top 25 college football program and the division II playoffs.
We see the work Deion Sanders is doing at Jackson St. and it has shown that there are top level recruits that want to come to HBCUs. The blueprint has been laid out on how to attract recruits to HBCUs and improving the athletic facilities at HBCUs put them on path to seriously compete with PWIs in the recruitment process.