Could Baseball Return to the CIAA?

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) recently announced the restructuring of the nation’s oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) conference, when it held its annual Board of Directors meeting this month in Charlotte, North Carolina. The meeting resulted in the approval to strengthen, and the strategies identified to support the growth and stability of the CIAAs future.

The CIAA and the SIAC are the only HBCU NCAA Division II conference. The CIAA board’s vision is to strengthen its position as the best NCAA DII conference and promoting standards to meet the goals that have been set forth.

The CIAA has not formally sponsored baseball as a championship sport since the 2017 season.

The lack of financial support from the CIAA administration forced baseball programs to compete as independents like Winston Salem State before it did away with the baseball program in favor of golf after the 2018 season.

Programs like Lincoln University (PA) and Virginia State University felt the sting when the CIAA canceled baseball.

Baseball could return to the CIAA with the announcement by the conference to support the growth and stability of the CIAA’s future.

When the CIAA dropped  baseball as a conference, Lincoln University became an affiliate member for baseball in the East Coast Conference in 2019, Claflin, after making its only NCAA DII Regional appearance in 2016, joined the Peach Belt Conference for baseball in 2020 and Virginia State baseball currently competes as an NCAA DII independent.

The addition of Bluefield State University as a full member, effective July 1, 2023, can boost the conference to formally support baseball. Bluefield State won the inaugural HBCU Black College World Series winning its first ever national title in 2021.

The NCAA bylaws state that teams competing in conferences must have at least six members in the league in order to keep its automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

The CIAA won’t have to search outside of its conference for four baseball members. With Lincoln, Virginia State, Claflin, and the addition of Bluefield State, the CIAA could consider two or more of its members to formally bring back baseball as a member.

Those CIAA members that currently no longer support baseball are Bowie State University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University.

The fact that the CIAA will not have to search outside of its normal pool to field baseball teams is a good reason to officially return baseball as a championship sport.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is an NCAA Division-II conference consisting of twelve historically African American institutions of higher education. Established in 1912, the CIAA is the nation’s oldest black athletic conference. Member schools are in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.


3 comments for “Could Baseball Return to the CIAA?

  1. I played for Shaw University for 1980 to 83 two time Captain and All CIAA twice, it’s a shame that CIAA can’t bring back Baseball…. lot Good players came out of the CIAA….

  2. i was the pitching coach at Saint Augustine University when the program was dropped. It was the best six years in baseball that I ever participated in. My ” boss” Charles Whitaker was more than just the head coach, he was and still is a friend. I would love to see the CIAA bring baseball back. I could never understand how an HBCU could drop baseball. It was so much a part of the civil rights movement.

  3. Please bring baseball back to the CIAA. I have a high school senior player who would rather play at an HBCU.

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