HBCU Baseball’s Adjusted Plan of Action For The Upcoming 2021 Season

Nearly all HBCU Baseball programs one way or another have announced their adjusted plan of action for the upcoming 2021 season, including shifting of spring semester schedules. Of course, the health and safety of the students and staff are most important, so the recent decisions of the NCAA and NAIA are understandable. Black College Nines applauds the efforts of the organizations’ governing bodies to ensure proper safety measures for all collegiate student-athletes, coaches, and staff.

While HBCU baseball still hasn’t fully recovered from the cancellation of the 2020 college baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all programs are ready to look ahead to the 2021 season. The start date of the 2021 season is February 19th and for some, it looks like week one will be in March for the large school division and the last weekend in January for some HBCU small school teams. With the first pitch less than one hundred days away, we are beginning to get snippets as to what the season will look like.

Some programs in the MEAC and SWAC conferences are looking to their originally scheduled dates in the spring. Bethune Cookman, Florida A&M, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore have canceled spring sports at least in part to January 2021 as they made their announcements recently this fall.

We expect a full season of baseball competition beginning in February with a majority of all conference championship tournaments to stay intact at the end of April and into May as usual. If there is another hiccup to the HBCU baseball season, the NCAA and NAIA spring sports schedules will be adjusted.

Our sources have stated that MEAC and SWAC teams may opt out of playing non-conference games for the 2021 season. If this becomes reality, the lack of non-conference play puts the large school teams at risk of being left out of the NCAA post-season tournament, especially if a stout team emerges during the season when strength of schedules and the all-important power index determines NCAA regional seeding. Conference championship tournaments determine HBCU baseball NCAA post-season play with just two teams typically making the NCAA tournament.

Considering a predominantly conference-only schedule, SWAC and MEAC baseball conference teams will beat up on each other and play a potential four-game weekend series with a double header on one of those days. Mid-week games will be out of division conference games, but what won’t change is weekend scheduling. All conference series will be three-day series played over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a doubleheader sandwiched in on Saturdays.

The bright spot before the season starts is Alabama State, which was the number one team in the country preceding the cancellation of the last year’s season. There seems to be little reason to doubt that they’ll repeat as HBCU national champions in 2021 considering the players who return. Alabama State returns the entire roster of weekend and mid-week rotation pitchers and all position players. Our sources say they are moving full steam ahead.

In the small school division, only one baseball program has released its full schedule. Stillman College begins play February 7th, 2021 with a full tilt of conference and non-conference games against ranked opponents and the usual HBCU schedule, including a three-game series with Xavier University of Louisiana which will play its first baseball competition since 1960. Stillman and Xavier have a scheduled three-game series on February 26th with a doubleheader and then a single game on the 27th.

Black College Nines will keep you updated as teams prepare for the coming season.

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