BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Southern is a heavy favorite for its home-opener and first-ever meeting with Edward Waters College out of Jacksonsville.
Established in 1880, Southern is the largest HBCU in the state of Louisiana and the flagship program for the Southern University System. It is HBCU Week across the US, so it’s fitting the Jaguars play their first home game of the season Saturday.
HBCUs face their own sets of challenges that many other programs don’t, specifically financial strain and a low budget athletic department. Head football coach Dawson Odums has never been shy speaking about these problems and being brutally honest with the Jaguar nation fan base about solutions and what it will take to bring more revenue into the program.
“In order for us to get where we want to go as a program, as an athletic department, we need our fans in the stadium at A.W. Mumford," said Odums. "Yeah, everyone love for us to go on the road. They love to schedule us on the road because our fans travel well, but those dollars go to the opponent. In order for us to get this program where it needs to be - they complain about five home games - let’s just put the truth on the table, we only have four home games because our attendance is not where it needs to be in order to have five. It costs money to have a home game. So, if your fans are not going to attend, then we have to make money. The athletic department needs money to run. So, we have to schedule some of these games outside of Southern University, where teams are going to pay us so that we can have money to be able to keep a program afloat. Not only this program, but other programs we have in the athletic department. I know our AD will have no problem with bringing a fifth game back to Southern University campus because we understand the value of that. But it has no value if you’re going to put 11,000 people in the stands.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.