Bryce Witt has established himself as one of the top Division II quarterbacks in the country during his career at Chowan.
Witt’s senior season was indicative of that, throwing for 2,864 yards, 31 touchdowns and leading the Hawks to a 7-3 record, the most regular-season wins in school history.
It was no surprise that Witt was named CIAA Offensive Player of the Year and All-CIAA first-team quarterback.
Witt most recently was honored with an invite to participate in the HBCU Legacy Bowl, a postseason Black college all-star game showcasing NFL Draft-eligible players representing HBCUs that will be held the Saturday after the Super Bowl next February at Tulane University.
— HBCU Legacy Bowl (@HBCULegacyBowl) December 2, 2021
Witt, who is white, is among 26 players so far selected to play in the game along with notable quarterbacks Aqeel Glass (Alabama A&M), Felix Harper (Alcorn State) and Juwan Carter (Norfolk State).
But the social media reaction to Witt’s latest achievement was relatively mixed, with many suggesting that he shouldn’t have a place on the team as Chowan — despite playing in the CIAA — is not an affiliated HBCU.
Can someone explain to me how a player from a “ NON” HBCU is invited to play in the HBCU Legacy Bowl?
— HBCU HIVE (@hbcuhive) December 2, 2021
“we’re proud to announce that a non-hbcu football player has been invited to play in the HBCU Legacy Bowl”
… did that really make sense to yall?
— trinity (@_trinitysb) December 2, 2021
On Facebook, a similar sentiment about Witt’s place on the team was expressed.
“This makes no sense,” one commenter wrote. “Chowan University is NOT A HBCU….”
There were also those who defended the HBCU Legacy Bowl recognizing Witt despite his school’s unique circumstance.
By some of y’all logic, the Senior Bowl , Pro Bowl, shit the NFL, and any all star game that is not black run or specifically for black people/organizations should stop inviting black people then ? I get the sentiment, but not the logic behind it https://t.co/JMrrKWUTDg
— YAPumPum (@BeezySoSmoove) December 3, 2021
— Coach Stan Riley aka Coach Pops (@rexxx50) December 2, 2021
Chowan, located in Murfreesboro, North Carolina and home to 1,200 students, became the first non-historically Black institution to join the CIAA as a football-only member institution in 2008. The entire athletic program later became a full member in 2018.
According to collegedata.com, about 71% of its student body is Black while 18 percent is white.
HBCU Legacy Bowl in a statement provided to HBCU Sports responded to the public response of Witt’s selection to the team.
“Our Board of Directors felt it was appropriate to invite a high performing player that is in the CIAA, a Historically Black College & University Football Conference. Bryce made the All-CIAA first team as a QB,” the statement said.
“The HBCU Legacy Bowl is about providing opportunity. We proudly welcome Bryce Witt to participate.”