Great Strides, But A Sobering Finish

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: December 1, 2008

Prairie View Panthers HOUSTON — The Prairie View Panthers football team had their best season this year going 9-1, during their 2008 campaign. Their only loss came at the hands of the Grambling State Tigers in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

The football program has come a long way, just like the many other athletic programs on campus. This year, Prairie View, currently ranked in the latest BoxToRow/BASN HBCU Top 10 Football Poll, celebrated their 100th year of athletics.

Many things have changed for the better, and you can’t help but note that the football program has made great strides. However, it was brought to our attention that the 9-1 record could go down the drain depending the outcome of the Bayou Classic game, which was won by Grambling.

The Tigers’ win over the weekend ended the Panthers chance of reaching the postseason. What a horrible way to end the season constantly waiting for the other SWAC teams to finish their season.

Prairie View had a chance to play for the SWAC Conference championship that will take place in Alabama on December 13th. Coach Henry Frazier has brought back the pride in Pantherland for the past few seasons.

However, it bothers me that his players won’t have a chance at playing in the postseason. The Panthers were forced to wait and see what happened in the Bayou Classic in New Orleans over the weekend, to hopefully have a chance for one more game, but waiting cost them the opportunity to play in an at large Division I-AA game.

Don’t get me wrong, Coach Frazier welcomed the opportunity for his troops to play again, that’s why they had their slogan theme for the season “Unfinished Business”.

However, it was sad to find out that the decision wasn’t left up to Coach Frazier or Mr. Washington , the interim athletic director. It was handled by the SWAC office.

You see, someone in the SWAC office told the Panthers that they couldn’t accept the other at large bid. They either waited to play in the SWAC championship or they played in nothing.

The SWAC is not just about Grambling State and Southern. It’s about many schools within the Texas,Louisiana,Alabama,Mississippi, and Arkansas borders. It’s not about two schools.

Why wouldn’t the SWAC want the exposure of having another one of their programs entered into another game. Are they content with just having one team in the NCAA tournament?

President Elect Barack Obama brought about a message of change to the United States, and I feel that its time that the SWAC starts bringing about change to how they deal with all of our athletic programs.

I’m a SWAC product and I love Texas Southern University, but I also ditto what Obama said in his message- “We’re all in this together”, and we are.

Whatever any SWAC school does, it’s a reflection on the conference as a whole. We should support each other, and most importantly, remember, it’s not about us, it’s about the kids that get out and work hard and practice everyday.