March Madness is likely one of the most fun occasions within the sports activities world, and all of it involves a head through the Final Four, the place the final groups left standing battle it out for school basketball supremacy.

On Sunday (April 4) the day after the NCAA Males’s Closing 4, CBS will likely be that includes a three-hour block of programming that celebrates the historical past, tradition, and impression of Traditionally Black Schools and Universities (HBCUs) on school basketball. The community will air Huge Home, The Pearl and Triumph of Winston-Salem State, Soul of The Recreation: The John Mclendon Story, and HBCUs: Elevating The Recreation. Additionally, ViacomCBS announced its dedication to HBCUs, by establishing an annual scholarship fund and internship alternatives devoted to HBCU college students with each packages starting this yr. spoke with Harold Bryant, Govt Producer & Govt Vice President of CBS Sports, concerning the contributions of Black coaches and Black athletes to school sports activities, why investing in these establishments is part of his mission, and the significance of highlighting HBCUs throughout Closing 4 Sunday CBS.

——————— The NCAA match is likely one of the most anticipated occasions of the yr. Why did CBS select this weekend to showcase the significance of HBCUs on Closing 4 Weekend?

Harold Bryant: Nicely, HBCUs are so wealthy within the historical past of sports activities and tradition. And, you already know, at instances they have not been given, they’re simply due for all they’ve contributed to American society. We believed that this was one of the best time to spotlight these nice colleges, packages, and initiatives which can be actually close to and pricey to me. I did not go to an HBCU however my father went to Fisk College, my mom went to Spelman, and I’ve loads of uncles, aunts, and cousins who’ve gone to HBCUs. So, a part of it’s wanting to verify we acknowledge such an necessary a part of the material of American society. I learn that you just had been planning an HBCU All-Star sport that will likely be part of the Closing 4 Weekend custom. Who got here up with the thought for an All-Star sport for HBCU graduates?

Bryant: We had been working in partnership with Travis Williams who coached at a number of HBCUs and he’s been growing this concept for a number of years. So, Travis Williams and his firm HBCU All-Stars LLC   and our programming group got here collectively and mentioned, “You understand, let’s create an all-star sport as a degree of entry to spend money on extra HBCU programming.” So, the HBCU All-Star sport was born. It will have been nice to do it this yr but it surely was troublesome with COVID restrictions. However subsequent yr, we’ll maintain the primary sport in New Orleans, and it is gonna be nice. It is gonna be an thrilling and spectacular occasion once we do it. CBS will likely be displaying a block of packages that includes the tales of legendary HBCU coaches like John McClendon and Clarence “Huge Home” Gaines. As a Black govt producer and content material creator, how does it really feel to capable of showcase these tales on such a big platform throughout one of many community’s most-watched occasions?

Bryant: Proper off the bat, it makes me proud. It simply makes me so proud to have the ability to spotlight these tales and educate the world about these heroes that they might have by no means heard about and why they’re so necessary to the essence of the sport. As an example, the good John McLendon, many individuals do not know that he is one of many biggest coaches ever. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of school teaching. This can be a man who studied basketball beneath James Naismith. He went to Kansas and studied basketball with the inventor of the sport, after which took that and improved the sport to what it’s right this moment. Gamers will let you know in the event that they know their historical past, we’d have by no means had, you already know, Nolan Richardson’s40 minutes fo Hell,” or Showtime in the NBA with out McLendon as a result of he realized the sport wanted to be quicker. He created the fashionable tempo of the sport.

Then, in fact, you might have Clarence “Big House” Gaines who was an imposing determine and a tremendous coach. These nice coaches had been educating, not simply on the basketball courtroom, however off the courtroom to create future leaders. That is what’s nice about telling these tales and the legacy of HBCUs normally, that, there’s such a wealthy historical past and tradition of growing not solely athletes however leaders in the neighborhood. A standard thread of HBCU coaches is that they needed to teach nice athletes however additionally they needed to develop nice leaders who would serve their communities and the world of their respective vocations.

Bryant: Completely! The scholar a part of it all the time comes first, in student-athlete. The scholar leaving school with a level is simply as necessary as enjoying on the crew for 4 years. Lastly, what main takeaways would you like the viewers to go away with after watching the HBCU packages?

Bryant: I need them to be taught, to be educated, and to know what these males dropped at the sport and the way at instances they went unnoticed for his or her contributions. So, I need folks to stroll away with this information and spirit of how necessary these people had been and are to the sport.

The HBCU basketball block of programming will air on CBS Sunday (April 4) from 3 p.m. to six p.m. ET, beginning with Huge Home, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State (3:00 PM, ET), continues with Soul of the Recreation: The John McLendon Story (4:00 PM, ET) and wraps up with HBCUs: Elevating The Recreation (5:00 PM, ET.)