The commissioners representing the four major HBCUs conferences have agreed to partner in more collaborative ways to strengthen their value and to protect and amplify the HBCU brand.
In a joint statement, the commissioners of the CIAA, SWAC, SIAC and MEAC acknowledged the differences in division, size, and makeup, but value that “our conferences are the same in our foundation and mission to serve and advance students and athletes at HBCUs.”
The statement said each institution mobilize Black culture, tourism, and communities to the tune of a $1.4 billion economic impact as measured by the United Negro College Fund.
“Collectively, in our membership footprint from north to south, the four power conferences institutions’ economic value ranges from $22 million to $1.5 billion in our HBCU communities,” the statement said. “We agree that we are here to advance the mission of our institutions as members of the NCAA and to support the center of what brings us all together.”
Since 2019, the four conferences have met and worked together collaboratively to identify immediate and future opportunities that align with our conference strategies, according to the statement. That has included a partnership with the NFL, Black College Hall of Fame, the NCAA office of Inclusion, championships and selective events “that support our mission and student-athletes in higher education.
The group also maintained that events such as the annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge football game and the Celebration Bowl inspired the SIAC and CIAA to explore possible Division II versions of those games.
“Leadership of the CIAA and the SIAC Board of Directors met in the summer and agreed that we must identify opportunities to advance our brand and institutions collectively,” the statement said.
The commissioners of each league will continue to meet monthly.
“We have already shared in the experience of inviting our members to our individual events and programs to support mental health, leadership, career development and more,” according to the statement. “We agree that we have a collective work and responsibility in this season to use our platform, passion, and presence to advocate and support the mission of our HBCU institutions and student-athletes in higher education.”