Top-tier collegiate golf is coming to Howard University, thanks to a gift from one of the NBA’s biggest stars.
Steph Curry announced Monday that he is partnering with the historically black university to fund the first six years of a new NCAA Division I golf team.
The Golden State Warriors star and three-time NBA champion is an avid golfer and says he was inspired to help kick off a program when a current Howard senior struck up a conversation about golf with him this year.
“Golf is a sport that has changed my life in ways that are less tangible, but just as impactful,” Curry said in a release. “It’s a discipline that challenges your mental wherewithal from patience to focus, and is impossible to truly master. … I feel really honored to play a small role in the rich history of Howard University, and look forward to building their first men’s and women’s golf teams with them.”
Men’s and women’s golf teams — yes, there’s another layer to Curry’s plan. Curry says he is very invested in gender equality within the program and will sponsor two women’s and one men’s scholarships in the team’s 2020-21 inaugural season.
Curry joined Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick and other university leaders for a celebratory tee-off on Monday at the historic Langston Golf Course in Washington. The course was named after the late Virginia congressman and Howard University Law School Dean John Mercer Langston, who was the first African American to be elected to public office. It’s considered one of the most important sites in black golfing history.
Golf programs at historically black colleges and universities are generally underdeveloped, and some schools have even had to scrap their teams in the face of financial hardship. According to a 2018 report from ESPN’s The Undefeated, even when the teams are successful, black men and women are often statistically underrepresented on their rosters.
Frederick alluded to this reality in a statement Monday.
“Expanding the competitive opportunities for student athletes, especially in arenas where they are underrepresented, is consistent with the university’s strategic plan,” the Howard University president said.