10 Feb 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
NNPA News Service
Curtis Symonds, former executive vice president of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and former chief operating officer for the Washington Mystics has announced plans to launch HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Network.
The new network will give HBCUs their own television network, anchored by college sports programming, courtesy of ESPN. HBCU network will present live athletics, a nightly wrap-up show, with the rest of the programming featuring lifestyle content and “edutainment” programming, a combination of education and entertainment programming.
“What motivated me was (the) fact that there was a lack of exposure for HBCU schools on television,” said Symonds. “I just feel that the African-American athletes today are not getting the proper exposure I think they deserve and that’s one of the reasons I was motivated to give these schools more exposure.”
There are 105 historically Black colleges and universities within the U.S. Most of the HBCUs were established after the civil war and many were in former slave states. The Morrill Act of 1890 and later the Higher Education Act of 1965 both helped establish institutions that have helped African-Americans seek a higher education.
“Black universities, HBCU’s, are known to be universities that are very, very nurturing,” said Symonds. “What people are beginning to see now, and what I think this network will spotlight more, is the equal, if not, superior quality of these universities.”
ESPN has entered into a programming agreement with the HBCU Network. ESPN ownd the rights to games from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
“I am hoping we will have it by September of this year,” said Symonds of the network’s debut. “That’s the goal, to put the switch on right after the Lakers game. This is history, this channel is history right here.”
(Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel)