HBCU Scoreboard Vol. 2 The Athletic Conferences

By G. Napier Barnes, III.

Like most mainstream colleges and universities, HBCUs participate in intercollegiate athletic competition. Under the guidance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools are grouped based on size (student enrollment) resources (amount of money)and the region of the country that it is serving into conferences. History tells us that for a long time, most of the America would not allow a then so-called Negro to compete in athletic events against whites.  Especially in the Jim Crow south. Thus, so-called Negro school were not allowed to openly compete against their white counterparts. 

With that being the case some of the earlier HBCUs decided among themselves to organize their own athletic conferences and associations with the purpose of establishing athletic competition among the members. It was our version of separate BUT not equal. 

The first conference to be establish was the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1912. It is now known as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. (Name changed in 1950) The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) was founded a year later. The most visible of the HBCU athletic conferences is the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) which was founded in 1920. Fifty years later the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) was established in 1970. It must be noted that many of the present-day members of the MEAC and SWAC can trace their roots to either the CIAA or SIAC. Both the CIAA and SIAC are Division II conferences while the MEAC and SWAC are Division I sanctioned. 

Each of these four HBCU conferences offer football, baseball, men and women’s basketball, softball, volleyball, men & women track & field (both in and outdoors) as sanctioned sports. Some conferences offer golf, bowling or soccer. If you have an athletic skill, there is a place for you at one of our HBCUs.  The Chocolate Voice is determined to let you, our subscribers know, that you can get a quality education at one of our HBCUs.

Present CIAA participants are Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C Smith University, Lincoln (PA) University, Livingstone College, Shaw University, St. Augustine’s University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University.

The SIAC include Albany State University, Allen University, Benedict College, Central State University, Clark-Atlanta University, Edward Waters University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Savannah State University, and Tuskegee University. 

The SWAC include Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University, and Texas Southern University.

The MEAC include Coppin State University, The Delaware State University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University, and South Carolina State University. 

Next week Vol. III Conference Favorites on the gridiron.

Remember, “An HBCU will appreciate you for who you are, and not just tolerate you for who you aren’t”

George is a a proud alumni of historically black college or university (HBCU) Fayetteville State University, Kappa Alpha Psi, and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona and Fayetteville, NC.


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