Edward Waters College Will Take Big Step to NCAA Division II Baseball Competition in 2022

Excitement and emotions were at an all-time high when Edward Waters College was approved by the NCAA to become a member of Division II competition. The Tigers accepted an invitation to join the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), but it will not be until the start of 2022 academic year in January that the teams would officially be permitted to compete for conference and Division II national championships. The baseball program will start competitive DII play in the spring.

Edward Waters had success in the NAIA and had thoughts they would be successful at the next level, but did not know how quickly it would come. The athletic department had the support of the president and administration after a two-year study that established strategic planning and organizational goals. They have assembled an outstanding group of coaches and had a support staff that was second to none. No one should have been surprised by the success they’ve had over the years.

The baseball team has won the Award of Excellence for academics in the NAIA. The award was based on athletic, academic and extracurricular achievement in the last ten years under head coach Reginald Johnson.

During the last ten years, Tiger baseball teams have finished in Black College Nines HBCU Baseball Top 10 polls and were named Black College national champion in 2010. The baseball program knows it has to work hard to stay competitive, but I believe the coaching staff and student athletes are up to the task.”

Throughout Johnson’s tenure, the Tiger club has battled the nation’s best. Johnson has impressive wins against teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25, small college Top 10, and HBCU baseball Top 10 polls.

Why is moving into the NCAA Division II an important step for EWC?

The guiding principle behind Edward Waters’ participation in intercollegiate athletics is its belief in its educational value for the students. The institution is looking to advance learning, develop leadership skills, foster personal growth and play an important role in creating a sense of community.

Edward Waters has aligned with the NCAA because the school believes participation will allow athletics to excel in those values. The NCAA is a highly recognized national brand that parallels those values.

NCAA Division II is comprised of more than 300 institutions that emphasizes “life in balance”, provides student-athletes with the opportunity to excel in the classroom and fully engage in the broader campus experience and competitiveness.

The biggest challenges for the baseball program is facing a challenging transition moving into Division II. This is a higher level of athletics competition. Over time, the Tigers will successfully transition through exceptional coaching, student-athlete development, outstanding recruiting, resiliency, hard work, and – most of all – enthusiasm, because baseball in DII and the SIAC is highly competitive. 

What will be missed are the HBCU baseball rivalries with Florida Memorial and Talladega College and knocking off ranked opponents in the NAIA and small college baseball. 

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