A week after Grambling State was forfeited its game to Jackson State due to a player revolt, the reverberations are still being felt. The Grambling drama shined a light not only on the school, but both small-school and HBCU athletics as a whole. Professor Aaron N. Taylor called for Division I HBCUs to drop down to Divison II in an essay on Inside Higher Ed.
Taylor cites the Grambling incident as the latest case of a school living beyond its means to maintain Division I classification.
"In order to survive, under-resourced colleges must adopt substantive reforms that transcend short-term stopgaps. One of the most significant reforms would be leaving Division I for Division II. Such a drop would be a considered an insult at many institutions, but it could be a particularly attractive and necessary option for HBCUs.
Division I sports, even at the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level at which HBCUs play, are expensive. FCS schools are required to sponsor at least 14 varsity sports. The vast majority of these sports will net no revenue. It should be no surprise that no FCS athletic program, HBCU or not, turns a profit — and the programs that break even do so only after large institutional subsidies as high as 90 percent. In 2010, the median revenue for FCS institutions was $3.3 million against expenses of more than $13 million."