Six historically black colleges and universities are adding a new sport during the 2020 – 2021 school year. Morehouse College in Atlanta, Paine College in Augusta and Ft. Valley State University, as well as Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, are all adding men’s volleyball programs. The teams will play a regular season, with a year-end tournament in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Javarro Edwards, the interim athletic director at Morehouse, said their first challenge is bringing in a coach that meets the profile of the mission of Morehouse, which is “to develop men with disciplined minds who lead lives of leadership and service.”
Challenge number two is finding players for the team. While the initial plan at Morehouse is to look for talent among the existing student population, SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore said in a recent interview with NCAA.com that adding the sport at HBCUs will create recruitment opportunities for the schools in the Caribbean, Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa where the volleyball is especially popular.
The programs are being funded with a $1 million grant from First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball as part of an effort to increase diversity in the sport. The grant will fund the first three years of the programs at the NCAA Division II schools.
However, in order to qualify, the schools had to demonstrate the ability to sustain the program after the grant money runs out.