South Carolina HBCU Sports This Week

August 26, 2022

*Claflin Takes Home Three Dr. Freddie Vaughns Highest Team Academic Awards Panthers, Lady Panthers Teams Bring Home The Most Academic Honors In The Conference*
CHARLOTTE, NC - The academic honors just keep coming in for the student-athletes of Claflin University. When the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announced the recipients of the 2021-22 Dr. Freddie Vaughns Highest Team Academic Awards, Claflin University led the way with three teams earning the top grade-point average (GPA) for their respective sports.
The Claflin Lady Panthers softball team and the Lady Panthers outdoor track & field team were the women’s teams to earn the highest GPA honor for their respective sports. In addition to a dominating performance on the field and claiming the 2022 CIAA Softball Championship, the Lady Panthers also led the way in the classroom with a combined 3.53 GPA while the Lady Panthers outdoor track & field team combined for a 3.36 GPA. It was the Panthers’ men’s indoor track & field team that rounded out the trio. The team posted a combined 3.26 GPA to give Claflin University its third team to claim the honor and put the Panthers ahead of the rest of the conference.
The academic honors come at the end of a terrific academic year for Claflin University athletics. The student-athletes at Claflin University combined for a 3.27 GPA with a total of 103 student-athletes to reach a 3.0 or higher GPA, including 19 student-athletes with a 4.0 GPA. In all, 11 of the university’s 12 teams recorded at least a 3.0 GPA.

*Benedict, Savannah State Football Game Selected For ESPNU*

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) enters into the second year of its relationship with ESPN that will feature 22 football games this fall aired exclusively across ESPN platforms, including ESPNU, ESPN3, and ESPN+.
The Benedict College Tigers will appear on ESPNU on Thursday, Sept. 15 when they host Savannah State. Benedict will also appear on ESPN+ on Nov. 5 when they play at rival Allen University.
Every week, from September 4th to November 12th, will feature a SIAC matchup.
Two SIAC games will air live on ESPNU this season. One of those games will be the Boeing Red Tails Classic, which will take place on September 4th at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. between Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State University. The second game, featured on the ESPNU platform, will be a Thursday night matchup between Savannah State University and Benedict College on September 15th.
ESPNU reaches approximately 51 million television households in the United States. It is available on many satellite and cable services, such as Dish (channel 141); DirecTV (channel 208); AT&T U-Verse (Channel 605); Benedict College (Channel 30); as well as streaming services Hulu (channel 34); YouTube (channel 117); and SlingTV (channel 44), as well as ESPN streaming services.
The reigning SIAC champions, Albany State Golden Rams, will be featured five times on the streaming schedule with two road games, two home games, and their annual appearance in the Fountain City Classic.
New SIAC members Allen University and Edward Waters University see their air time increase significantly this year with five total appearances, including their end-of-the-season rivalry in the A.M.E. Classic on November 12th.
Rivalries continue to be the highlight of this year's schedule. A week prior to the conference championship, five of the SIAC's biggest rivalries will be aired during Week 10 including Miles College versus Tuskegee University, Benedict College versus Allen University, the Battle of the AUC between Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, Central State University versus Kentucky State University, and the conference's largest rivalry the Fountain City Classic in Columbus, Georgia between Albany State University and Fort Valley State University.
The season will conclude with the SIAC Football Championship presented by Cricket on November 12th and will be hosted by the East Division champion. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and re-aired on ESPNU the following Sunday.

*NFL Hosts Third Annual HBCU Open House*

The National Football League (NFL) is hosting the third annual NFL x HBCU Open House, bringing together stakeholders across Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and football landscapes to discuss NFL initiatives, areas of opportunity, and an aim to further strengthen relationships.

Participants from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Mid-eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) will hear from NFL leadership and personnel including representatives from football strategy, development, talent acquisition, experienceship programs and more.

"Our annual HBCU Open House is critical to the cultivation of diverse talent at every level of the League," NFL Senior Vice President of Football Operations Policy, Education and Relationship Management Arthur McAfee said. "The NFL is committed to providing opportunities, mentorship, and support to the students and alumni of HBCUs. Through this program, we are proud to highlight opportunities that exist on the business side of the industry and provide students with the full scope of what they can expect from a career at the NFL and other sports institutions."

"As a former NFL Media intern, recent HBCU graduate, and current member of the NFL Junior Rotational Program, I have witnessed firsthand the NFL's commitment to opening doors for diverse talent like myself," A'Maiya Allen, NFL Junior Rotational Program participant, said. "These early professional development experiences have shaped the early trajectory of my career and cultivated my passion for making an impact through sports, and I look forward to seeing a stronger relationship formed with the League and HBCUs through this Open House."

In addition to the Open House, the NFL's Football Operations department will host a roundtable discussion moderated by NFL Network reporter and senior writer, Steve Wyche and the four HBCU Conference Commissioners: SIAC Commissioner Anthony Hollman, SWAC Commissioner Charles McClelland, MEAC Commissioner Sonja Stills, and CIAA Commissioner Jacqueline McWilliams. The panelists will discuss Title IX (the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education), the landscape of sports at HBCUs, and the League's ongoing partnership with all four conferences.

This discussion will be recorded and produced by the NFL Media team.

"We are thrilled to be working again with the NFL to provide our students with the tools and information they need to thrive in the world of sports," the HBCU Conference Commissioners said in a joint statement. "We have successfully worked with the League to identify areas of opportunity for our individual HBCU conferences and as a result, thousands of HBCU students have participated in NFL programs over the years. We thank the NFL for their continued commitment to diversity and collaboration."

Since the partnership was created between the NFL and the HBCU conferences in 2016, more than 3,000 HBCU students have participated in programs supported by the NFL's Football Operations department.

The HBCU Open House is the latest initiative championed by the league to support diversity in the sports industry. Last week, the NFL together with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS), announced the roster of medical students who will participate in the inaugural season of the NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative, which aims to increase and diversify the pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine and, over time, help to diversify NFL club medical staff.