Earlier this month, Tuskegee University athletic director and football coach Reginald Ruffin suggested that Nick Saban's Alabama program schedule Tuskegee or other HBCU teams — a suggestion he now says led to death threats.
“To see those comments over what was misconstrued from my post — my post was not to suggest to coach (Saban), to tell coach or demand coach or tell him what to do,” Ruffin told HBCU Sports during a phone interview last week, as reported by Sports Illustrated. “My post was something that someone asked me what I thought of the situation.”
Saban had been in the news after calling out Jimbo Fisher and Deion Sanders' respective programs for the perceived influence NIL deals may have had on their recruiting classes.
Ruffin’s post suggested Alabama rotate games between HBCUs in Alabama, which he thinks would be good for both sides, SI reported. He also added he wants HBCUs to have more exposure against the best teams, especially against teams that are in the same state.
“I’m just serious about HBCUs having the opportunity to play schools in the state for the revenue and the tourism and just keeping money in the state,” he said. “I just pointed out that Alabama has not played an HBCU nor have they played North Alabama or those other [FCS] schools.”
That attempt to defend HBCUs didn’t sit well with many people, as Ruffin claims people took his post the wrong way. However, Ruffin said he isn’t totally surprised that mostly Alabama fans attacked him over this opinion.
“I’m going to put it out there if it needs to be said. The same people that have given me hell are the same people who won’t buy a $20 ticket to an HBCU game but will buy a $300 ticket to an Alabama or Auburn game. That’s what you’re dealing with. I’m not going to change who I am.”
As for his personal safety, Ruffin doesn't seem too concerned. “I believe in the man upstairs,” Ruffin said, according to The Spun. “If it’s my time, it’s my time. I’m not a person who treats people badly. I’ve got a great personality. I’m not going to change where I go or who I’m with. I’m not going to change."