CIAA welcomes Claflin University this fall
Fred Jeter | 8/23/2018, 6 a.m.
The CIAA has extended its southern footprint to the state of South Carolina.
Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., becomes the historically black athletic conference’s 13th member this fall and will compete in the CIAA Southern Division.
The privately endowed school of some 2,000 students previously was affiliated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, or SIAC.
The CIAA addition from the Palmetto State will make for some lengthy bus rides. It is 382 miles from Richmond to Orangeburg. It is more than 600 miles from Orangeburg to the CIAA’s northern-most member school, Lincoln University in Lincoln., Pa.
Claflin is 136 miles from CIAA headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte also is the site of the CIAA annual men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
Nicknamed the Panthers, Claflin University does not compete in football. It joins the CIAA with five men’s and six women’s programs.
In men’s sports, Claflin will compete in CIAA basketball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and baseball.
The CIAA needed another baseball playing member to regain its NCAA automatic qualifier.
Claflin’s women’s teams will compete in CIAA basketball, bowling, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and volleyball.
The women’s volleyball squad will travel to Virginia Union and Virginia State universities this September for the CIAA Roundups.
The South Carolinians have excelled in men’s basketball. Last winter, the Claflin Panthers posted a 26-7 overall record while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Southern Regional in Atlanta.
Coach Ricky Jackson’s Panthers won the SIAC Tournament title in Birmingham, Ala., to earn an automatic qualifier in the NCAAs.
Coach Jackson is a former assistant coach at Shaw University.
Claflin plays basketball on campus in the 3,000-seat Edward Tullis Arena.
Claflin is one of two historically black colleges in Orangeburg. The other is South Carolina State University, a member of NCAA Division I MEAC.
The CIAA was founded in 1912 as the nation’s first historically black athletic conference. Original members were Howard, Hampton, Lincoln, Shaw and Virginia Union universities.
Until Claflin came aboard, the most recent addition to the CIAA was Chowan University of North Carolina in 2009. There are now CIAA affiliates in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.