Joint MLB and Players Association Foundation is The Official Game Ball Sponsor of HBCU Championship Tournament
The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation (YDF) today announced its support of the 2023 Black College World Series (BCWS) presented by Tyson Foods. The YDF will be the Game Ball Sponsor, covering the entire cost of all baseballs for games of the BCWS. The 2023 tournament, which is returning to Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama from May 10-13, will feature eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“On behalf of the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, we want to congratulate each of the eight teams competing in this outstanding event,” said Jean Lee Batrus, Executive Director of YDF. “Our support of the Black College World Series is perfectly aligned to our existing efforts to highlight both HBCU baseball and the general love of the game among diverse communities. We’re looking forward to seeing the great competition among the BCWS teams.”
The teams in the two BCWS brackets are as follows:
1. NCAA DII
1. Albany State (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
2. Savannah State (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
3. Bluefield State (DII Independent)
4. Edward Waters (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
1. Talladega (Southern State Athletic Conference)
2. Rust (Gulf Coast Athletic Conference)
3. Wiley College (Gulf Coast Athletic Conference)
4. Paine College (National Christian College Athletic Association)
“Black College Championships would like to thank the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation and their support that sheds a brighter light on HBCU baseball programs for embracing the Black College World Series with the Game Ball support,” said Michael Coker, Executive Director of Black College Championships.
The HBCU national championship baseball tournament is an 8-team tournament that starts in May. After two rounds of play (which each consist of multiple games), there are just two teams left based on seeding in each bracket in DII and NAIA Divisions. The first-ever HBCU baseball tournament was in 2021, founded by Michael Coker (Executive Director – Black College Championships, Lead Contemporary Reporter at Black College Nines, Special Consultant National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, HBCU Baseball guru). The games are played at Riverwalk Stadium, the home of the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Southern League.
In December, MLB, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who is the YDF Global Ambassador, announced the creation of the inaugural “HBCU Swingman Classic,” an All-Star experience for baseball student-athletes from Division-I programs at HBCUs. The philanthropic & educational event will center around an “HBCU All-Star” Game will be held on Friday, July 7th, during 2023 MLB All-Star Week, at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners. The HBCU Swingman Classic, which will be powered by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, will highlight the history and legacy of HBCU baseball programs while also providing 50 HBCU baseball players with the opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage. The student-athletes will be selected by a committee that will include Griffey Jr., representatives from MLB and MLBPA, and scouts.
About MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation
MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation (YDF) is a joint initiative by Major League Baseball and the Players Association to support efforts that focus on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and internationally. From local-based programs to the Hank Aaron Invitational and HBCU Swingman Classic, the foundation helps make youth baseball and softball more accessible – creating economic opportunities, strengthening communities, and building character – on and off the field. Click here to learn more.