Life Matters!!

I remember when I made that promise as a super kid

That was back when I was just a stupid kid

Naïve to the fact the world is threatened by black

All I see in the news is another Brown man down

That’s what makes me antsy when Blue men come around

Every life matters no matter the gender or color

But the public will never understand life as a Brother

It’s almost like a puzzle  or even a mystery

Why do the ones losing life look like me

Dallas was a tragedy no excuse for it

Innocent lives lost did we not see the warnings

The protests and hurting people in the news stories

It’s like people don’t respect or appreciate life anymore

I just wonder will our flag remain standing after this senseless war.


Braves breakout the brooms in weekend series

Brandon Blakney
Braves break out the brooms with sweep
Uncp recently swept PBC conference foe Georgia Southwestern over the weekend at Sammy Cox field. The sweep marked the fourth of the season for the Black and Gold..
In Game one, Uncp displayed a dominant balanced performance. Starter Jesse Stinnett (5-0) was solid on the rubber for the hosts, he fanned eight batters in eight innings, and only surrendered four runs.
On offense Junior second baseman Nick Salisbury proved to be the catalyst, he finished 2-for-3 on the day with one RBI.
Christian Snider and Nolan Pierce also turned in solid hitting days,Snider delivered on a huge RBI double to help uplift the home team. Uncp erupted in the fourth inning 11 different batters saw the plate.
Dakota Long led the way for the Hurricanes, he homered and drove in four runs on the day. Zach Barron and Brandon Weaver got GSW on the board in the top of the third.
Gsw held a 3-0 lead momentarily until the fourth inning when the Braves were able to bat six runs in.
Earl Dupree was charged with the loss and dropped to (2-4) on the season.
Alex Britt came on in the ninth for relief duty and was able to add his fifth decision on the season.
Game 2 was a close contest that saw the Braves triumph 6-4 over PBC foe Georgia SouthWestern.
Designated hitter Stibel Aleman Saba proved to be the hero of the contest after he hit a three run bomb over to right field. The play occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning all but sealed the deal .
Nick Debo had a very productive effort, he finished the day 2-for-5 and scored twice.
The visitors again drew first blood and put themselves in position to take an early lead.
Davey King lead the way for the Hurricanes he went 2-for-5 at the plate, both slaps were doubles, he also drove a run in.
After falling down early Uncp was able to capitalize on a fielding error made by GSW third baseman Alex Kranick.
Nick Salisbury was able to reach base. A few batters later, Aleman Saba crushed a pitch over the middle for a three run homer.
Alex Britt (3-1) has been effective all year out of the bullpen and he proved why he is the closer. In 2 ⅓ innings he sat down seven batters and only allowed two toes.
The Visitors left base runners stranded multiple times and it seemed to come back and haunt them.
Uncp completed the full on sweep in game 3 victory 9-6. Logan Cook got the start in the series finale and delivered in a big way. He finished the day with seven strikeouts and 2 earned runs. With the win Cook earned his 20th all time victory as a Brave.
With the third consecutive win the Braves (18-8.7-5) have now taken the last five at home.
Junior Drew Beaver and Pierce went 3-for-4 on the afternoon, Christian Snider also contributed in a big way to the offence. Snider homered and brought in two RBI’s.
The hosts jumped out early to a 8-1 lead.
The visitors swung the bats effectively as well combining for 10 total team hits. The Braves defense did a solid job not allowing the competition any extra bases.
Dakota Long went 2-for-5 on the day to lead the effort for the Hurricanes. They made a push late in the seventh and ninth innings to close the gap but ultimately fell short.
Freshman Hank Simpson earned a milestone of his own picking up his first collegiate decision in his career.
He gave up back to back hits in the ninth but finally settled down with the bases loaded, and forced Zach Barron to hit into a serious double play, Simpson recorded the following out for the hosts.
Layne Gusher (1-4) was charged with the loss for the visitors, he surrendered seven runs off seven hits before being yanked after completing 4 ⅓ innings. With the sweep GSW falls to (15-13,2-13) on the season.
Uncp (18-8,7-5) will look to carry this momentum into a midweek series with regional rival Chowan (8-12).
Both contests will be played at Sammy Cox field the first scheduled for 6.p.m, the latter half will follow suit at 6 p.m.


College Athletics drawing attention of Major Brands

Brandon Blakney


College Athletics drawing attention of Major Brands


Over the last several years there has been a growing correlation between major shoe companies and college athletics.

On a large scale university athletic sponsorship is a multimillion dollar industry involving million dollar investments and lots of free advertising “Brand Ambassadors” aka university athletic departments.

Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas, invest money and offer product allowances to colleges all around America. In exchange the athletic programs receive free gear and equipment or receive a steep discount on items.

In return these brands are seen all over national TV being worn by the top sports programs. This helps with extra exposure for companies and for schools it offers an idol recruiting tool.

On a smaller scale these same major shoe companies find their way on subdivision and division II campuses as well. Here at The University of North Carolina Pembroke we are what you call an Adidas school. All our athletic programs are supplied with Adidas apparel and products.

Athletic Director Dick Christy addressed some details regarding our apparel deal and the reason adidas was the right choice for UNCP..  

Christy was very familiar with dealings of this sort, coming from N.C.State University which coincidentally is also an Adidas affiliated school, although their six- year 38.7 million dollar deal (6.45 million annually), is a tad bit steeper.

The current deal in place for us is over a five- year period. This is the part of the deal where the difference of school size and recognition comes into play. Division II programs aren’t typically paid by these companies to wear their products, instead they are given extremely friendly discounts on items making them easier and more affordable to attain.

With this system smaller programs save thousands that can be invested in other areas.

When Christy first took over as head of the athletic program there was no apparel deal in place, each team sought out their own individual sponsor agreements and hoped for the best. He knew something had to be done.

“While I was interviewing here, It was made abundantly clear to me by our coaching staffs that we didn’t have a department -wide deal and that was something that people saw that could have some value.” Christy said.

Athletic departments see the business benefits to these agreements.  They have a valuable product if presented in the right way, and it takes a savvy leader to take recognition and capitalize on potential opportunities.

Uncp entered the process openminded and gave all three major companies a shot before settling on the right fit.

““My experience from where I came from was you know we really needed to leverage the strength of all our business, try to bring it all to the table and then have the apparel members negotiate with us collectively.” Said Christy

After hearing from multiple companies the decision was made to sign with Adidas. The department was sold  on it for the next half decade of Braves Athletics, and it has been a happy partnership since.

“ In the end Adidas by far had the best financial package that was going to provide the most for our students, and obviously from a quality standpoint there’s no fall off there from other vendors they had great products.” Christy said

There have already been noticeable pluses as a result of the apparel deal. It sets the Braves apart from majority of other Division II rivals lacking department wide deals which can prove to be a plus on the recruitment trail.

“With apparel for us you got e huge upside with recruiting another obvious upside being able to provide better and more apparel for our kids, I wouldn’t say it’s as universal in division II level not everyone has department -wide deals.” Said Christy

“For us from a recruiting standpoint and just a national recognition standpoint it’s been really good.”

The apparel battle may not be as hectic in division II but it is prevalent, and smaller programs are taking notice of the business structures at other major programs and they want a piece of the action.

For now UNCP remain team Adidas but when the time comes for renegotiations dollars will talk and steps will be taken to capitalize on the next deal wherever it may lie.


UNCP Athletics Address Concussion Risk

Brandon Blakney

A recent study conducted by Dr. Bennet Omalu  has brought national attention to the serious issue of concussions in sports.

His efforts and research  to correlate years of head injuries with the National Football league has trickled down into all athletics. There was a similar study conducted by one of our very own professors here at Uncp that examined concussion statistics department wide.

Although football was the main focus,t it goes beyond just contact sports. All athletes are at risk of head injury occurrences and department-wide our coaches and staff have taken notice over the years and are very cautious of players. Of the 16 varsity sports offered at the university only one sport, golf reported zero concussions occurred other teams weren’t as fortunate.

I recently held interviews with five different head coaches and the head of Campus rec here at Uncp,  to gauge how concussion protocol has changed over the years and how it’s affected their respective squads.

In the past concussion symptoms didn’t raise as many red flags in athletics because the effects and long term damage wasn’t known or understood. It was unanimous all the coaches felt this way but with new technology offers new insights.

Softball in particular have effectively cut down concussion numbers by implementing face masks on helmets to protect players. Uncp felt the masks were a necessity  after a pitcher was nailed by a line drive back at her last season.

“We have more players wearing masks on defense.” Coach Hobbs said.


Longtime basketball coach Don Haskins has seen a lot on the job in his many seasons of experience. He recalled one concussion case this season which is down from past years when three or four cases occurred.

“There’s not a year gone by where we haven’t had two or possibly three concussions.”

In fact about four years ago one of our better players who was an all conference player her senior season she didn’t really play that much because of reoccurring concussions.” he said

In basketball concussion symptoms have been monitored closer and coaches and staff are more cautious of these injuries than before.

“When we probably maybe had these situations occur years ago and just there wasn’t the education there wasn’t the emphasis. Now if anybody gets dinged whether they take an elbow, bang heads, or hit the floor our trainers are on top of it there giving them concussion testing and protocol.” Coach Haskins said.

Uncp’s swim team is set to compete in their inaugural season next school year and the staff is already taking precautions for potential concussion injuries that could occur in the pool. Head coach Blank is well aware of the rise of head injuries in sports and the long term damage they can cause in her young career.

“It’s definitely raised awareness as far as concussions and the impact that it has on somebody over a period of time.” She said

Concussion awareness doesn’t stop at varsity level athletics. Club teams and intramural teams have also taken safety measurements to prevent or identify these head injuries.

“I’d say it is definitely the nationwide  trend to be a little more cognizant of what’s going on. It has filtered down to all realms of campus life not just Athletics but campus recreation as a whole.”

Campus recreation has taken their own precautions to protect students and keep competitors out of harm’s way.

“Having the right equipment, the right training, preventive measures on safety and risk management, within each one of the programs,” said Winans, “.And then if something like that does happen having individual staff that are able to act on their training.”

Concussions have always been a serious issue in sports but now necessary precautions have been implemented to proper handle these cases. The safety of the athletes is always the priority here at UNCP, and although concussions aren’t totally avoidable students and athletes can rest easy knowing we have a well trained and knowledgeable staff to handle the situation properly when it arises.