( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Coaches Vs. Racism Hosts, Second Roundball Classic to Promote Talent From All Schools While Focusing on HBCUs’ Lack of Resources and Equipment
ENSPIRE Contributor: Alexandra Rivera
NBA Agent Darryl Woods founded Coaches Vs. Racism in 2020, CVR for short. CVR is a nonprofit leading the charge to end systemic racism through sports. As a part of its mission, the nonprofit launched the HBCU Roundball Classic. The Classic is a series of high-profile match-ups that include Division I schools vs. HBCUs. Last year’s featured the University of Michigan and Prairie View A&M. The games seek to amplify talent from all schools while emphasizing historically black colleges and universities who lack resources and equipment and are overlooked by professional talent scouts.
They held the event on December 13 and 17 of 2022. The Classic hosted the University of Houston Cougars, North Carolina A&T Aggies, Prairie View A&M Panthers, the University of Montana Grizzlies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the Jackson State Tigers. The games were held on neutral territory at James M. Delmar Fieldhouse. The group aims to create a positive sports environment for all players using education, conversation, and community to build equality and understanding.
ENSPIRE spoke with founder Darryl Woods on the importance of CVR and why he started the nonprofit.
Why did you create CVR? And what are your goals for the organizations?
Coaches Vs. Racism was built to shine a spotlight on systemic racism and bridge the racial divide through sports. We team with coaches across the country at the pro, college, and amateur levels to promote awareness of Social Injustice, Economic Divide, Equality, Reform, and Systemic Racism (SEERS). Sports are a powerful platform to reach people and we want to use that power for good. Together, our major goal is to inspire cultural and societal change and that starts with our commitment to youth empowerment and the emotional wellness of athletes.
How is CVR trying to end systemic racism in sports?
The best example of our mission in action is the annual HBCU Roundball Classic, a first-of-its-kind series featuring high-profile college basketball match-ups that bring Division 1 schools and HBCUs together for high-level competition and meaningful discussions about important topics like reform, equality, social justice, and more. The games help us amplify awareness of incredible athletic talent from both schools and place an emphasis on HBCUs that traditionally lack resources and equipment and are routinely overlooked by professional talent scouts.
What do you recommend for young athletes who may have had racist encounters in their sports to overcome those experiences?
Student-athletes are afforded some high-level access, including playing sports in front of a big audience. An athlete must understand that with access comes a great deal of notoriety. This also grants opportunity. for fans and others (good and bad) to comment and have an opinion on you and your platform. One of our goals at CVR is to educate our youth.
My advice for an athlete who’s encountered racism at any level is to educate themselves as much as possible about the history of racism and find meaningful ways to combat what they have experienced. We have created an organization we feel will not only assist with the education of racism but also help people to learn about being anti-racist and what that actually means.
Do you have any events you are excited about for the CVR this year?
2023 will mark the third year of the HBCU Roundball Classic. We haven’t announced the schedule yet, but our plan is to host games in three cities with 12 schools participating, including both men’s and women’s teams. Follow CVR on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.
What are some ways people can get involved in your organization?
One of the best ways to get involved is to come out to the HBCU Roundball Classic to support the teams and athletes in 2023. If the games aren’t coming to your city, you can always tune in online or on TV (we share the specific details of how and where to tune in closer to game day). The more fan support we have, the bigger the platform we have to showcase these young athletes and shine a bigger light on the important issues and conversations around social justice, systemic racism, and equality.
You can also donate to CVR through our website. Donations go directly to support marginalized students and student-athletes who cannot complete their education because of a lack of tuition funds.
Woods and CVR dedicate their time to putting an end to systemic racism while showcasing young athletes and their talents. Through their platforms and events like the HBCU Roundball Classic, they continue to spread awareness and create a more positive environment for young athletes.