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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (November 24, 2020) – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the nation's oldest historically black athletic conference, is partnering with CSL Esports, the world's largest provider of collegiate esports opportunities, and The Yard: HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA), a diversity and inclusion initiative designed to significantly increase the participation of HBCU students, alumni, and fans, to offer competitive gaming and educational opportunities for its member institutions.
Through HEA, CSL Esports will serve as the conference's esports provider for Madden, NBA 2K, and other select gaming titles and will begin offering exclusive competitive gaming opportunities to CIAA students in spring 2021.
"We're excited to be partnering with CSL Esports and the HBCU Esports Alliance to assist in our continued advancement within esports and gaming," said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. "I am pleased with our efforts to identify diverse partners to provide resources and access to our membership and students while creating exposure to the growth opportunities that exist within the STEM field for the HBCU community."
Additionally, HEA will offer two Esports Masterclasses this spring to CIAA students. HEA's Esports Masterclasses have awarded 91 esports internships over the past three years to college students across America.
CSL Esports engages colleges, universities, and high schools to provide an infrastructure that enhances opportunities for students to achieve a higher education through esports. Over the past 10 years, CSL Esports has worked with over 1,800 schools and 11,000 teams across North America.
"Our support for the HBCU schools through our partnership with CIAA and HEA will bring a variety of opportunities for the schools and the students," said Wim Stocks, Chairman of CSL Esports. "We are excited to inspire students at the CIAA with opportunities to engage in competitive play while representing their schools, and for the conference and schools, bringing collaborations for building esports and gaming programming, offering gaming and esports masterclasses and education, creating esports events, as well as internship and career opportunities."
"We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the most respected brands (CIAA) in all of college sports," said Dr. Marc Williams, Commissioner of HEA. "Our team and CSL Esports have been in talks with the CIAA the past three years on how can be best serve the CIAA member schools and their student population. We feel the timing is perfect to implement our award-winning Esports Masterclasses that will provide internships and employment pathways for CIAA students into the world of video games and esports."
The partnership with CSL Esports and the HBCU Esports Alliance further aligns with the conference's long-term plan to launch its own branded esports league.
For the latest information on the CIAA, visit theciaa.com. You can also like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
About the CIAA
Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first and longest running, African American athletic conference in the U.S. and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 14 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. In 2020, the conference celebrated the special 75th anniversary of its Championship Basketball Tournament - an event that has become a must-see in the African American community. The Basketball Tournament has been honored as a Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, for both 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 12 member-institutions: Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University. Chowan University is an associate member in football and women's bowling. For more information on the CIAA, visit theciaa.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
About CSL Esports
CSL Esports provides life-changing opportunities in education through esports. Working directly with High Schools, Universities, and Alumni associations, CSL Esports provides turnkey solutions for schools and students to compete and learn valuable skills in the rapidly expanding esports industry. Since 2009 CSL Esports has been North America's largest collegiate esports business, providing over $1 million in scholarships while partnering with over 1,800 educational institutions under its premier tournament series, Collegiate Star League. www.cslesports.com
About The Yard: HBCU Esports Alliance
The Yard: HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA) is a diversity and inclusion initiative designed to significantly increase the participation of HBCU students, alumni and fans in the $150B+ gaming and $1.5B+ esports industries. Built as a replicable model for on-campus or virtual HBCU campuses, HEA's "The Yard" features four distinct pillars (Competition, Education, Research and Pipeline) that will drive continued access to current and future aspects in gaming and esports. The Initiative will live at the intersection of HBCU campus life including esports, traditional sports, music, entertainment, fashion and more. Through its robust network of supporting alliance partners, HEA will offer great experiences for its HBCU member schools while developing the next generation of HBCU leaders and entrepreneurs through esports. For more information on HBCU Esports Alliance, please visit www.hbcuesportsyard.com or follow @hbcuesportsyard.on Instagram or Facebook.
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