HBCU Sports 2022: Top 10 Moments (Non-Deion Sanders Edition)

Another year of HBCU sports has come and gone, and it’s time to take a retrospective look at it. Of course, Deion Sanders and Jackson State dominated headlines all year long enough to dominate a list like this, so we’ll give them their own.

Honorable mention: NC A&T loses track coach

North Carolina A&T track and field dominated the MEAC in the 2010s and then had a monster 2021 season under head coach Dwyane Ross Sr. has been hired to take over the track program at the University of Tennessee. He took several key athletes with him, including his son. A&T will look to rebuild under new head coach Allen Johnson.

10. Grambling State Coach hires/fires

Grambling State until 2022 after hiring Hue Jackson to take over its football program. Jackson came into the spring looking to make a splash, and he did that by tabbing embattled head coach Art Biles as his offensive coordinator. The move was publicly criticized by many people, including Grambling State legend Doug Williams. Eventually, the cans were sold.

Meanwhile, a passing hire eventually led to a shootout before the game was ever played. Volleyball coach Chelsey Lucas was accused of dumping the entire team after arriving from UAPB. After months of allegations, GSU ‚Äč‚Äčultimately terminated his employment before the season.

9. HBCU ballers show off at Rucker Park

HBCU basketball doesn’t get as much love as HBCU football, but for a few days this summer at Rucker Park it sure does. HBCU United, a group of all-star HBCU alumni, led by Norfolk State head coach Robert Jones, won a pair of games in The Basketball Tournament. Our Pitt guardians have a front seat to the action and take viewers straight to Harlem.

6. SWAC basketball wins Power Five

The SWAC and Pac-12 announced the legacy basketball series earlier this year, giving SWAC teams the opportunity to host teams from Power Five conferences as well as travel to them. While the idea may seem like a nice gesture at first, SWAC programs have taken advantage of it with Grambling State, Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M all excelling on their home courts. Southern, meanwhile, actually went to California and came out with a win. This is definitely an eye-opening experience that shows how far SWAC basketball has come.

5. A & T, Hampton land in CAA

The 2021-2022 athletic season is the first year former CIAA and MEAC members North Carolina A&T and Hampton compete together in the Big South. It will also be the last time both programs announce their move to the Colonial Athletic Association. Hampton joined the league completely in July while A&T kept football in the Big South for 2022 as it will move all sports minus women’s bowling to the CAA.

The MEAC started the year with a transition in commissioner from Dennis Thomas to Sonja Stills. A few months into Stills tenure several reports indicate that Howard University is preparing to transfer to CAA – which recently landed former MEAC member Hampton and NC A&T. Ultimately the league kept HU in the fold and found a partnership with the NEC to help the baseball program become eligible to compete for a playoff autobid. With another win over the SWAC in the Celebration Bowl, the conference looks to have new life heading into 2023.

A lot of noise was made in 2021 when no HBCU players were selected in the NFL Draft. 2022 is a different story with four HBCU athletes – Josh Williams (Fayetteville State), Decobie Durant (South Carolina State), James Houston (Jackson State) and Ja’Tyre Carter (Southern) – selected in the NFL. Draft. A number of players signed undrafted free agent deals per usual, but it’s good to know some names actually mentioned on the podium.

2. NC Central knocks out Jackson State in Celebration Bowl Thriller

Central North Carolina entered the season under the radar – we left them out of our top ten – but finished the season out on top. NCCU took on the nation’s top-rated defense and put up 41 points in a thrilling overtime victory that also featured memorable performances from Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter in their final game as Jackson State players.

1. Byron Allen acquires HBCU Go, secures media rights

Perhaps the biggest moment of the year in HBCU sports doesn’t happen on the field or court. Television mogul Byron Allen purchased streaming service HBCU Go in late 2021, setting the stage for major changes in the number of HBCU sports programs available and their profitability. HBCU Go connected with the SWAC first, grabbing the secondary rights to games not tagged to ESPN (or in the case of the Bayou Classic, NBC) for a deal rumored to be worth at least $100 million over a decade.

The coverage will extend into the basketball season and into other HBCU conferences with CIAA basketball games on tap in January.

HBCU Sports 2022: Top 10 moments (non-Deion Sanders edition)

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