Hip-hop mogul Master P is committed to levelling the playing field for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but for now his son Hercy Miller is transferring from the Tennessee State basketball program because of what he believes is a lack of medical resources within the athletics department.
Master P, whose given name is Percy Miller, said his son did not receive proper medical attention after suffering a hip injury in the Tigers’ first game of the season Nov. 9 against Alabama A&M, and an improper diagnosis nearly led to the end of Hercy’s playing career.
“We’ve got a great program at Tennessee State, we’ve got great people, we loved the culture, we just don’t have enough trainers,” Master P said. “We don’t have enough medical people to take care of what needs to be taken care of. We don’t have the technology that the Dukes and all these major universities have. An injury like this could have been prevented.”
Master P told The Tennessean on Tuesday he does not blame the medical staff at TSU and instead blames the disparity in medical resources between major universities and HBCUs on an overall lack of funding.
Earlier this year, a legislative report by the Office of Legislative Budget Analysis estimated TSU had been underfunded by $544 million in land-grant funding over the years.
However, TSU athletics department officials told The Tennessean the school’s sports medicine department, which includes seven fulltime sports medicine employees, isn’t understaffed or underfunded compared to schools its size.
“The issue is not that we’re underfunded at all,” TSU director of sports medicine Trevor Searcy said. “It’s actually the opposite. The issue is that since (athletics director Mikki Allen) has been here we’ve been growing and when you grow your facilities have to grow as well and that’s what we’re in the process of doing now.”
Timeline of Hercy Miller’s injury
Hercy Miller was cleared after the injury, Master P said, by TSU’s medical staff to play in the next game four days later. The freshman played nine minutes against Norfolk State and then 17 minutes in the following game against Fisk.
Master P remained concerned about Hercy’s injury, so TSU sent Hercy to a doctor who said he needed to take six months off to allow the injury to heal. Hercy was ruled out for the season on Nov. 30 after averaging 10.2 minutes in six games.
Master P then took Hercy to be evaluated by a specialist.
“The specialist said if we would have waited any longer he probably wouldn’t have been able to play basketball anymore because next his ACL was going to go out and all other kinds of injuries,” Master P said.
“That’s when I said I have to bring awareness to what’s going on at all these HBCUs — underfunding with no resources. I’m going to be with all the HBCU programs to bring awareness to this but I’m not going to sacrifice my son’s career and his future.”
Master P said Hercy has returned home and will begin rehabilitating the injury Monday and is open to returning to the Tigers if changes are made.
“If they got the right funding and resources and doctors and nutrition like all the rest of the state-funded schools,” Master P said. “He loved the coaches, he loved the school, he loved Nashville, my family loved Nashville.”
How TSU compares to other programs
Since he was hired in 2020, Allen has made it a goal to improve TSU’s sports medicine staff. On Tuesday, he said he is satisfied with the progress that has been made.
The staff works closely with orthopedic surgeon Damon Petty, who also serves as team physician for the Tennessee Titans.
The size of the TSU athletics medical staff pales in comparison to major college programs — Tennessee and Vanderbilt each have 37 staff members ranging from directors to athletic trainers to rehabilitation specialists to interns — but it is comparable to schools closer to its size.
Austin Peay, which competes in the Ohio Valley Conference along with TSU, has seven fulltime sports medicine staff members, including four fulltime athletics trainers, two interns and one graduate assistant. Austin Peay also has a team doctor who attends all home games.
Middle Tennessee State, which competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision, has 11 sports medicine staff members — six full-time certified athletic trainers and five certified graduate assistants.
“In terms of what we look like right now, I’m definitely comfortable with where we are,” Allen said. “I always want to grow and there are always going to be times when you have to assess the organization at-large and say ‘I need to make a tweak here from a personnel standpoint.’ But it’s all relative to the sports programs that we service and the amount of kids in our program and I feel good about that right now.”
Allen said he is not discouraging Master P from trying to help HBCU programs.
“What it looks like in the HBCU space, Master P has been on other campuses and what it looks like there it might not look like here so I can’t speak on that,” Allen said. “But I’ll tell you that we’re the best in this space and not only in this space but I’ll put us up there with other conferences as we continue to grow and reach heights we’ve never reached.”
Transfer won’t impact Hercy Miller’s NIL deal
Hercy Miller agreed to $2 million name, image, likeness sponsorship deal with Web Apps America after signing with TSU.
He was a three-star prospect who said he also has scholarship offers from Vanderbilt, LSU, UCLA, Southern Cal, Missouri, South Carolina, Arizona and Georgetown.
Master P said Hercy’s NIL deal is still intact as long as he remains a college athlete.
Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Master P’s son leaving Tennessee State because of lack of resources