OCTOBER 19, 2017

Legend of the Harambelt: an Oral History

Tulane could make history in more ways than one on Saturday

By Sam Vancini

This Saturday, the #13 ranked South Florida Bulls will face off against the Tulane Green Wave at Yulman Stadium, live on ESPN 2. This game is crucial for the Green Wave for a number of reasons. Sure, Tulane has not beaten a ranked opponent since 1984, an upset Saturday would be huge for both the program and head coach Willie Fritz.

Why this game really matters though, ultimately boils down to a topic beyond the realm of football. I’m of course referring to the implications this game has on the status of the famed “Harambelt”.

Harambelt: Remembering a Fallen Hero

“What is the Harambelt?”, one might ask. It is a storied tradition beginning a little over a year and a half ago: May 8, 2016. Harambe, a 17-year-old Western Lowland Gorilla, residing in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, was just minding his own business.

Tragically, after an incident involving a child in the enclosure, Harambe passed away. This event made national headlines. Throughout social media around the world, people shared their grievances for the Gorilla, voicing their opinions on the injustice that had occurred to him.

People were outraged so much, that the Cincinnati Zoo had to suspend their Twitter account at some point, due to the harassment they were receiving. The rage carried on for several weeks; but, in the wake of the rage dying down, people began to share their sympathies for the Gorilla, offering up any sort of memorial they could so that Harambe’s death would not be in vain.

Remembering Harambe Through College Football

This is where the Harambelt comes in. A “belt” in College Football is a metaphorical prize of sorts. If team A has a “belt” and then team B defeats them, then team B is now the owner of the belt.

The Harambelt is a belt created by @RedditCFB, specifically, reddit user /u/jayhawx19.

I got a chance to talk to /u/jayhawx19 and he told me that he decided that it would only be logical to start the belt out at the University of Cincinnati, since that is the city of Harambe’s demise.

I also asked him what he thinks Harambe would think of the belt were he here today, he told me, ”I think Harambe would be honored by the tradition...he is a part of college football history”.

Tulane Can Honor Harambe

So how does Tulane play into this equation?

Well, as aforementioned, the Harambelt began at Cincinnati. Since then, Houston defeated Cincinnati, Navy beat Houston, and on October 28, 2016 USF defeated Navy to take control of the Harambelt. Now, almost a year later, USF is still in control of the Harambelt, they have not lost a game since acquiring the belt.

This means that when the Green Wave kickoff against USF saturday night, the Harambelt will be on the line. And the founder of the Harambelt himself thinks the Green Wave may have just what it takes to pull off the upset stating “Tulane has embraced the belt more than any other program I’ve seen… I think it’s time for (the belt) to change hands. Tulane-38, USF-28.”

So there you have it Greenies. Saturday’s matchup is a huge one for multiple reasons: it is a ranked matchup, the first game with the Angry Wave monument atop the scoreboard, there will be Yulman Fest activities; but rising above all of those is the implications that the game will have on the Harambelt. It is indeed time for the Harambelt to exchange hands, and I think Tulane should be the ones to wield it.