Tennessee State University head coach Eddie George is preparing for a homecoming game against Norfolk State, but he was hit with a question in a recent news conference that had to deal with something much bigger than a football game.
Eddie George was asked during his weekly media session if he would have any role in advocating for Tennessee State University to receive as much as $2.1 billion that the school is estimated to be owed from the state by the federal government.
Here is his response in its entirety:
Right now I don’t have a big role in that. But I have a vested interest — clearly. This is bigger than an athletics program. It’s $2.1 billion that could really help this university become elite,” George told the media. “I don’t know why it’s been so long. I think we can look across the board holistically across the country and look at every HBCU and see that they’ve been underfunded. Let’s call it what it is — systemic racism.
We can’t candy-coat it. We can’t put lipstick on it. It is what it is.
I think the opportunity now is to rectify the situation and figure out how we can right this wrong. Because it is hurtful. It’s a shame that our schools have been under-funded and you’ve got to think about what the funds can do for Tennessee State University — for infastructure, for maintenance, for our endowment, annual fund. To bring in more staff — because we’re understaffed in a lot of areas. So you can bring in quality individuals to really enhance student educational experience. New buildings. New facilities. Housing. Nutrition. All those things make a difference on a day-to-day basis.
And being here now, going on my third year, that makes a big difference in the day-to-day lifestyle for our student-athletes and students. How they feel. Their morale. Their mental wellness. That helps.
To go into a dorm room where there’s mold and dark and it’s not clean — that’s tough on your mental wellness. You’re talking about 17, 18-year olds here. My son goes here. So it makes a big difference when it comes to that. And when you’re seeing other schools thrive at a high level that have been given their funds — like the University of Tennessee or Tennessee Tech or those other schools — it is hurtful that it’s come to this.
But I think that there is an opportunity for all the adults in politics to come to the roundtable and do what’s right and give Tennessee State the money that it’s owed. And to make sure that it’s transparent, that it’s going to go towards the things that need to be invested in so that this University can thrive at an elite level.
Tennessee State is currently 3-2 after defeating Kennessaw State on Saturday.