How MSU Changed College Football Forever

How MSU Changed College Football Forever

– The 1966 Michigan State University football team won a national championship, but its most important legacy was its role in the integration of college football. Michigan State’s efforts to
integrate its football program began in 1913, when Gideon
Smith joined the team. By 1966, the Spartan roster
included 20 black players, a number unprecedented
at a time when many major college football programs
remained segregated. Michigan State University Head Coach, Duffy Daugherty traveled the South and recruited players who were denied an opportunity to play
in their home states. Those recruits included
multiple All-Americans and featured Jimmy Raye,
the first black quarterback from the South to win a
national championship. (inspirational music) Inclusion, an integral part
of MSU land-grant mission, was front and center during
the Civil Rights era. In 1957, MSU President
John Hannah, was appointed to serve as the first chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission. In 1965, Doctor Martin
Luther King, Junior spoke on campus and praised Hannah
for his efforts, noting, “Time is neutral, and the time
is always right to do right.” MSU and Daugherty did
what was right by creating the opportunity for
change, but change would not have been possible
without the 20 brave and accomplished black athletes who proved they could compete and
win at the highest level. This was witnessed by 33 million viewers, when number one ranked Notre Dame faced number two Michigan State in 1966. The game ended in a 10-10 tie and became known as the Game
of the Century, MSU went on to be award it’s 2nd consecutive
National Championship. In the seasons that followed,
college teams from coast to coast began to fully integrate
and while much attention is paid to the 20 points scored
in the Game of the Century, the impact that Michigan
State and those 20 Spartans had on college football
is far more significant. (inspirational music)

3 thoughts on “How MSU Changed College Football Forever

  1. I wonder how the '66 Spartans would have matched up with '66 Alabama Crimson Tide? Before the '67 Rose Bowl Game of course.

  2. The integration of college football completely decimated HBCU football programs that at one time produced multiple pro football hall of famers and left HBCUs on the outside looking in at a billion dollar bonanza that wouldn't have been possible without black players, and for which the players themselves still aren't paid market value for their labor.

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