Due to a typographical error, a quote by Howard University football coach Doug Porter concerning recruiting was changed in yesterday's editions. It should have read: "I'm not going to lie. If I feel it would be better for him not to come to Howard, I just won't try to recruit him here."
Two dozen Howard University football players yesterday backed Coach Doug Porter's claim that university support of them team has decreased each year since Porter arrived in 1974.
"It's about time these things came to light," said Theodore Robinson, a starting cornerback. "There are just so many things wer don't have. Our program would be much, much better if the administration gave us a little help. We are not asking for the impossible."
"Coach Porter sort of set himself up as a sacrificial lamb for us," said another starter who requested anonymity. "But I just think that shows the deep feelings he has in his beliefs and for us."
In a 90-minute interview, Tuesday, Porter spoke out publicly for the first time about his frustrations with the Howard administration. He said that his budget has been reduced each year since he became coach in 1974 and that commitments made by the administration at that time have not been implemented.
During Porter's first season, James Cheek university president, expressed a desire "to be No. 1 in the university division and attract top athletes." As a result, Howard's schedule was upgraded in anticipation of a better program. Now, Porter said in the Tuesday interview, considering the schedule and what he has to work with, a 500 season represents "an outstanding coaching job."
Howard's team is 2-4 this season, after past seasons under Porter of 8-2-1, 8-3, 5-5-1 and 5-5.
A spokesman for Cheek said yesterday the president would not comment on Porter's remarks at this time. Carl Anderson, vice president of student affairs whose balliwick includes athletics, and Athletic Director Leo Miles did not return reporters' phone calls yesterday.
However, the university yesterday released a statement by Porter expressing dissatisfaction with the headline and tone of the story in yesterday's Post. But asked last night if he had any problem with the headline or content of the story, Porter said no.
Meanwhile, in the football locker room yesterday, the players talked about their coach's statements as they waited to tape their own ankles because student trainers last week quit, claiming they had not been paid.
"After three years, I felt I should have seen some improvement," said spitt end Greg Scott. "I could have gone to other schools, but I felt after a couple of years things would have gotten better."
"Our weight room should be much, much better," said defensive lineman Tony Prince. "In order to stay on the field with a South Carolina State or Florida AM&, we need a first-class weight program. We make do, but at times it's a problem. This is a major school and we should not have to face these problems every day."
The failure to complete the weight room was one of Porter's major concerns. He also cited cutbacks in recruiting, lack of a full-time tutorial program, failure to implement an athletic dormitory and the diminishing emphasis on public relations and advertising to help put Howard on an equal footing with at least half the teams on the Bison schedule.
"When we play on the road and visit other dorms, those players have everything they need. We have to go outside to get anything," said Robinson, a former All-Met at Anacostia High School.
"The coaches have pushed and gotten what they could for us. But it hasn't been enough," said tight end Wallace Mason.
Most of the players interviewed said they were told when they were recruited that the Howard program would be improved.
"The program looks like it's going downhill, and recuiting will not be easy from now on," said Robinson.
On Tuesday, Porter talked about the differences his players see between Howard's program and those at some of the opposition schools. He cited North Carolina A&T, Howard's homecoming opponent last weekend.
"They came here this year and they stayed at the Marriott Twin Bridges," the coach said. "We'll go down there next year and we'll stay wherever they put us. These are the kind of things (with which) you can't continue to just fool a kid.
"When we recruit a kid, he's going to ask you, 'How do you travel? Where do you stay?' He's going to want to visit your dormitory. His parents are going to ask you about the tutorial - can you give him help with his books? He's going to ask you about summer schools (which is not covered by Howard's grants in aid).
"I'm not going to like. If I feel it would be better to like. If I feel it would be better for him not to come to Howard, I just won't try to recruit him here, because I've still got my own self-respect and I've got to keep the self-respect of the youngsters I work with every day."
"I respect Coach Porter and I know what he did for the good of us," said linebacker Scott Facyson, the team's leading tackler.
"We've learned to make use of what we have, but we could use some more things. For instance we call our field 'The Dust Bowl.' The school did put forth some effort to try to fix it up."