As if HBCUs didn’t have a hard enough time keeping talent at home and away from PWIs, seedings for two black college basketball champions in NCAA post-season tournaments are making the run at local talent much harder.
Norfolk State University will face Virginia in the opening round of the men’s National Invitational Tournament tomorrow night in Charlottesville. The MEAC regular season champions fell in their opening game of the MEAC men’s basketball tournament to Bethune-Cookman last week, opening the door for one of the NCAA’s signature backhanded slaps to black college athletics – putting an HBCU in a bracket or an opening round game against a predominantly white regional counterpart.
This isn’t the first time for Norfolk State – when the Spartans won the 2011 MEAC football title, their opening round opponent was cross-town PWI Old Dominion.
Prairie View A&M’s Lady Panthers won the SWAC women’s tournament last week in an epic four-overtime classic against Mississippi Valley State. Their reward, Brittney Griner and the defending national champion Baylor Lady Bears.
PVAMU, a certifiable women’s basketball dynasty with its third consecutive conference championship, draws perhaps the greatest player in women’s college basketball history, with the game to be played in Waco. Coincidentally, this will be the second time in three years PVAMU opens against Griner-led Baylor.
Maybe the NCAA should just put out a notice to the MEAC and SWAC – “get your plane tickets and head to the closest PWI that draws a top seed in the tournament, because that’s where you and the best high school athletes deciding between an HBCU and a mid-major PWI are headed.”
But it could be worse – the NCAA could have resorted to it most devious and most common move of forcing the two HBCU conference winners to face each other in a play-in game.