Thursday, May 28, 2015

Former HBCU basketball legend Bob Hopkins dies at age 80

As a player at Grambling State,  Hopkins set an NCAA career record of 3,759 points and has been No. 2 on that list for the past 43 seasons.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Robert M. "Bob" Hopkins Sr. was a tremendous basketball coach and player. Hopkins, the head basketball coach of Xavier University of Louisiana from 1969-74, died on Friday, May 15, 2015, of heart and kidney disease. He was 80.

Hopkins' Xavier University stint was his longest in 17 seasons as a college head coach — he also worked at Prairie View A&M, Alcorn State, Grambling, Southern and Maryland-Eastern Shore — and it was one of his best. He jump-started an Xavier University program which had resumed in 1967 and produced NAIA District 30 championships and appearances in the NAIA National Championship in 1972 and 1973. His 1972-73 team — led by Donald "Slick" Watts and Bruce Seals, both eventual NBA players — upset top-ranked and unbeaten Sam Houston State 67-60 in the second round of the NAIA's national tournament. Until 2012, the 1972-73 Gold Rush were the only Xavier University team in any sport to reach the NAIA national quarterfinals.

"Once I met the vice president [Anthony Rachal] and president [Dr. Norman C. Francis], I was elated," Hopkins said in November 2013 of his interview with Xavier. "They did everything in their power to enhance the program. They were very supportive. I didn't even have to negotiate with them. We had some great teams at Xavier. We won the City Series. We beat Tulane, a major D-I at the time. You didn't need an airplane and a million dollars a year to make a good program."


Alabama State Claims Second Consecutive Commissioner's Cup

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The Southwestern Athletic Conference has recognized Alabama State University as the winners of the Sadie Magee/Barbara Jacket Award and James Frank Commissioner’s Cup for the 2014-15 academic year. ASU brought seven SWAC championships back to Montgomery this past year to garner the honors. Texas Southern University won the C.D. Henry Award.

The announcement was made during the league’s annual spring meetings. This is the third consecutive year that ASU has won Magee/Jacket Award, and its second consecutive Commissioner’s Cup.

Magee/Jacket Award
The Magee/Jacket Award is presented to the top women’s athletic program in the SWAC. The Lady Hornets beat their point total from last year, finishing over 20 points ahead of second place with 104. They captured five team titles: cross country, volleyball, indoor track and field, golf, and outdoor track and field.

Texas Southern finished second with 83 points and Prairie View A&M University placed third with 76.5 points.

C.D. Henry
The Henry Award is presented to the top men’s athletic program in the SWAC. It was a tight race this year with only five points separating the top three universities. This is the first time in program history the Tigers have won the men’s all-sport award. They finished with 70.5 points after winning three team titles in basketball, indoor track and field, and baseball, and finishing second in three others: cross country, golf, and outdoor track and field. TSU beat out second place Alabama State by just two points.

The Hornets earned 68.5 points and Prairie View A&M finished a close third with 65.5 points.

James Frank Commissioner’s Cup
The Commissioner’s Cup is awarded to the university compiling the highest combined total of men’s and women’s all-sport points. With 104 points from the Magee/Jacket Award and 68.5 from the Henry Award standings, ASU took first place with a 172.5 points. Texas Southern came in second at 153.5 points. And Prairie View earned third at 142 points.

Click here to view a summary of the Commissioner’s Cup and all-sport award points.


SWAC approves a seven-game football schedule starting in 2017; Annual Spring Meetings Completed

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- The annual Southwestern Athletic Conference Spring Meetings concluded Thursday in New Orleans as the league office hosted the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, Senior Woman Administrators, Faculty Athletics Representatives, Director of Bands and various corporate partners for its 10 member institutions and the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The meetings launched on Tuesday with administrators discussing key topics, including the all new Celebration Bowl, gender equity, scheduling, revenue distribution and strategic planning.

The conference approved a new seven game conference football schedule starting with the 2017 season. The league’s current format is a nine game schedule.

The SWAC baseball regular season series will now be a Friday, Saturday and Sunday format migrating from the Saturday/Sunday layout. This goes into effect for the 2016 season.

In an effort to address the Academic Progress Report (APR) issues, academic support staff at member institutions will be required to become members of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A).

Sites for conference championships and tournaments were determined for 2015-16. The SWAC Football Championship has been set for December 5, while the 2016 SWAC Basketball Tournament is scheduled for March 8-12. Both will be held in Houston, Texas at NRG Stadium and the Toyota Center respectively.

The first official event of the 2015-16 year begins with the SWAC Football Media Day which is slated for July 17 in Birmingham, Alabama.



11th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge – September 6 - Orlando, Florida

Basketball Tip-Off Media Teleconference – October 14 – Via Teleconference

Cross Country - October 26 - Clinton, Mississippi

Volleyball Tournament - November 20-22 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Football Championship - December 5 – Houston, Texas

Celebration Bowl – December 19th – Atlanta, Georgia

Indoor Track and Field Championship – February 20-21 – Birmingham, Alabama

Basketball Tournament – March 8-12 – Houston, Texas

Bowling Championship – March 25 – 27 – Arlington, Texas

Tennis Tournament – April 15 – 17 – New Orleans, Louisiana

Golf Championship – April 18 – 20 – Alexandria, Louisiana

Softball Tournament - May 4 – 7 - Decatur, Alabama

Outdoor Track and Field Championship – TBA - Huntsville, Alabama - TBA

Baseball Tournament – May 18 – 22 – New Orleans, Louisiana



TSU Football works to improve academic standing following NCAA Notice of Postseason Ban

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Tennessee State University has implemented new programs to improve academic performance of its football-student athletes. This comes following notification from the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance that the program will be banned from postseason competition for the 2015 season.

 The notice states that the TSU football program failed to meet the academic standards required by the NCAA Academic Progress Rate. This year marks the first time that a TSU athletic program has ever been issued a post-season ban or Level I penalty since the NCAA started collecting APR data 11 years ago.

“While 14 of our athletic programs have scored at or above the NCAA’s APR benchmark, unfortunately, the football team fell short,” said Teresa Phillips, director of Athletics. “We take the academic progress of our student athletes very seriously and have implemented new processes and procedures for our coaches and students to address this issue and improve the overall administration of the football program. I am confident that these new measures will rectify the problem going forward.”

The sanctions against TSU are a result of the multiyear APR calculations—a four-year measurement covering the academic years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. The football team’s multiyear APR score was 915, falling short of the 920 benchmark set forth by the NCAA for limited resource institutions.

As a result, the football program will be subject to a Level I penalty. This penalty reduces the number of hours allowed for regular season athletic related activities – an amount that must be replaced with activities related to academics. Last fall, the TSU athletics department made serious and substantive modifications to the football program to address the APR score decline. Some of the measures include:

• Developing and submitting an improvement plan outlining future expectations;
• Increasing academic support for student-athletes, including the proposed addition of an advisor specifically assigned to football;
• Improving accommodations, support and access to student-athlete tutoring services;
• Relocating to an upgraded facility that includes a larger computer lab, tutoring room and quiet study area;
• Developing a new policy that requires increased study-hall hours for students with GPAs that are below standards;
• Implementing a zero-tolerance policy for class and study hall absences; and
• Requiring head football coach and key assistants to attend the yearly NCAA Rules Seminar

TSU President Glenda Glover issued the following statement regarding the NCAA's announcement citing the university.

“Educating and graduating our student athletes is a top priority for all our programs, including football," said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover. "It is clear we should have done a better job monitoring the academic progress of our football student-athletes. However, recent changes within our (football) program have already had a significant impact in achieving the success we expect in the classroom. We will strive to maintain that standard as we move forward. Winning on the field is important, but the most important thing to all of us is for our student-athletes to obtain their degrees.”

All intercollegiate sports programs at NCAA member institutions receive an APR score during the academic year. Scores are compiled based on points given for eligibility and retention for student-athletes that receive athletic scholarships and financial aid each semester. Teams lose points when a scholarship player is not academically eligible to play at the end of a semester or transfers without a minimum 2.6 GPA.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Four schools given postseason ban for poor APR scores in NCAA report

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- The NCAA has released its annual Academic Progress Rate scores, and once again, a few schools were not able to meet proper standards.

Four schools who failed to clear the minimum APR multi-year bar of 930 points will be ineligible for postseason play in 2015-16. Those schools: Alcorn State (SWAC), Florida A&M (MEAC), Stetson (Atlantic Sun) and Central Arkansas (Southland). These four schools combined for a total of 19 wins last season.

APR postseason bans have been a constant since its inception more than a decade ago, but at least the number of schools affected is going down. Last season eight programs were barred from postseason play due to poor APR scores. That number's been cut in half, though Central Arkansas and Florida A&M are repeat offenders.


ASU ineligible for 2015 football postseason for poor APR

Alabama State is the only SWAC school ineligible for postseason.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Poor Academic Progress Rate marks continue to haunt Alabama State's football program.

The NCAA reported Tuesday the Hornets are ineligible for postseason play this season due to poor APR results under former coach Reggie Barlow from the 2010-11 academic year to the 2013-14 academic year.

An ASU graduate, Barlow coached eight seasons from 2007 to 2014 before being fired and replaced by former Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins.

So ASU won't be eligible to play in the newly formed Celebration Bowl that pits the SWAC and MEAC champions against each other Dec. 9 in Atlanta, NCAA associate Michelle Hosick confirmed Wednesday. An ESPN network is televising the bowl at the Georgia Dome.


All-America Awards Announced for 2015 NCAA DII Outdoor Season

NEW ORLEANS – All-America honorees for the 2015 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field season were announced Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Student-athletes earned First-Team USTFCCCA All-America honors by virtue of finishing among the top eight in their events, including as a member of a relay, at this past weekend’s NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Allendale, Michigan.

For the first time, Second-Team honors were bestowed upon those finishing ninth through 12th. Those athletes who qualified for, but could not compete in, the final of his or her event(s) earned Second-Team honors.

The Saint Augustine’s men outlasted Findlay, 53-50, to win their third consecutive outdoor national title, thanks to a nation-leading 12 First-Team All-Americans. Those 12 All-Americans were the best of the meet, regardless of gender.

Eighth-place Texas A&M-Commerce and 11th-place Johnson C. Smith both earned 11 All-America awards.

Saint Augustine’s women also led the way for their gender, posting 11 to tie host Grand Valley State for the national lead.

However, those teams finished eighth and fourth in the final team standings, respectively. It was Central Missouri’s women with nine All-Americans that prevailed over Lincoln (Mo.)’s 10, 59-50, in a team race that came all the way down to the 4×400-meter relay and was decided by a dropped baton by Lincoln.

No individual earned more All-America awards than the meet’s high-point scorer in Salcia Slack of New Mexico Highlands, who came home with five First-Team honors and another Second-Team award. She was the heptathlon champ and runner-up in the two hurdles races.

Four more women finished with three First-Team honors apiece, including high jump champ Erika Kinsey of Central Missouri, 400-meter hurdles champ Tia-Adana Belle of Saint Augustine’s and 100-meter/4×100-meter relay champion Janae Johnson of Lincoln (Mo.). Southern Connecticut State’s Shatajah Wattely also claimed three awards.

Two men shared top honors with four apiece in Waynee Hyman of Johnson C. Smith and Dontavius Wright of Stillman. Hyman was a national champion as part of the 4×100 relay and finished runner-up at 200 meters, while Wright was the national runner-up at 400 meters.

Four more men earned three All-America awards each, including two-time national champion and high-point scorer Emmanuel Matadi of Minnesota State. His teammate Kyran Stewart joined him as a three-time winner, as did Burkheart Ellis, Jr., of Saint Augustine’s and Miguel Barton of Lincoln (Mo.).

The GLIAC was the best-represented conference for the men with 34 First-Team honors, followed by the MIAA with 33 and the Lone State with 31.

For the women, it was the MIAA that came out on top with 35 First-Team honors, followed by the GLIAC with 29 and the CIAA with 23.

Find the list of All-Americans below. The lists are separated by men’s and women’s and First-Team and Second- Team.

2015 USTFCCCA First-Team All-America – NCAA Division II Men (HBCUs)

Patrick Campbell Johnson C. Smith 4×400 Relay
Joshua Cunningham Johnson C. Smith 4×100 Relay
Joshua Cunningham Johnson C. Smith 4×400 Relay
David Ellis Johnson C. Smith 4×100 Relay
Waynee Hyman Johnson C. Smith 200 Meters
Waynee Hyman Johnson C. Smith 400 Meters
Waynee Hyman Johnson C. Smith 4×100 Relay
Waynee Hyman Johnson C. Smith 4×400 Relay
Michane Rickets Johnson C. Smith Long Jump
Rajiv Service Johnson C. Smith 4×100 Relay
Rajiv Service Johnson C. Smith 4×400 Relay
Miguel Barton Lincoln (Mo.) 200 Meters
Miguel Barton Lincoln (Mo.) 400 Meters
Miguel Barton Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Wesley Best Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Roger Blake Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Winston Edwards Lincoln (Mo.) 400 Meter Hurdles
Romone Hill Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Moussa Dembele Saint Augustine’s 110 Meter Hurdles
JaQuan Demiel Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Burkheart Ellis Jr. Saint Augustine’s 200 Meters
Burkheart Ellis Jr. Saint Augustine’s 400 Meters
Burkheart Ellis Jr. Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Khari Herbert Saint Augustine’s 400 Meters
Kevaughn Hewitt Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Immanuel Hutchinson Saint Augustine’s 800 Meters
Daniel Jameison Saint Augustine’s 100 Meters
Daniel Jameison Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Omar Johnson Saint Augustine’s 400 Meters
David Shaw Saint Augustine’s Triple Jump
De’Mon Anderson Stillman 4×100 Relay
Solomon Atosona Stillman 4×100 Relay
James Bigham III Stillman 4×400 Relay
Michael Newton Stillman 4×100 Relay
Michael Newton Stillman 4×400 Relay
Marcus Victorian Stillman 4×400 Relay
Dontavius Wright Stillman 200 Meters
Dontavius Wright Stillman 400 Meters
Dontavius Wright Stillman 4×100 Relay
Dontavius Wright Stillman 4×400 Relay
Clive Cameron Virginia State 4×400 Relay
Te’Shad Chambers Virginia State 4×400 Relay
Devon Thompson Virginia State 4×400 Relay
Justin Williams Virginia State 4×400 Relay

2015 USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America – NCAA Division II Men (HBCUs)

Joshua Cunningham Johnson C. Smith 400 Meters
Darius Hyacinth Stillman Triple Jump
Berfrantz Charles Virginia Union 4×100 Relay
Malcolm Morris Virginia Union 4×100 Relay
Artneil Reid Virginia Union Triple Jump
Antoine Whitaker Virginia Union 4×100 Relay
Ed’Treon Wilcox Virginia Union 4×100 Relay

2015 USTFCCCA First-Team All-America – NCAA Division II Women (HBCUs)

Krishanda Campbell-Brown Benedict Triple Jump
Trisana Fairweather Claflin 100 Meters
Trisana Fairweather Claflin 200 Meters
Kimberley Bailey Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Keja Christie Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Yanique Ellington Lincoln (Mo.) 200 Meters
Yanique Ellington Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Jhevere Hall Lincoln (Mo.) 800 Meters
Janae Johnson Lincoln (Mo.) 100 Meters
Janae Johnson Lincoln (Mo.) 200 Meters
Janae Johnson Lincoln (Mo.) 4×100 Relay
Ladonna Richards Lincoln (Mo.) 100 Meter Hurdles
Ladonna Richards Lincoln (Mo.) 400 Meter Hurdles
Quanera Hayes Livingstone 200 Meters
Quanera Hayes Livingstone 400 Meters
Sherri-Ann Ashman Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Sherri-Ann Ashman Saint Augustine’s 4×400 Relay
Tia-Adana Belle Saint Augustine’s 400 Meter Hurdles
Tia-Adana Belle Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Tia-Adana Belle Saint Augustine’s 4×400 Relay
Shakinah Brooks Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Shakinah Brooks Saint Augustine’s Long Jump
Fanta Fofana Saint Augustine’s 4×400 Relay
Ornella Livingston Saint Augustine’s 4×100 Relay
Cherrisse Lynch Saint Augustine’s 4×400 Relay
Amenze Uhunmwangho Saint Augustine’s Long Jump
Raven Covington Winston-Salem State 4×100 Relay
RoDaijah Faucette Winston-Salem State 4×400 Relay
Raven Hamilton Winston-Salem State 4×400 Relay
Ty-Leah Hampton Winston-Salem State 4×100 Relay
Ty-Leah Hampton Winston-Salem State 4×400 Relay
Tajanel McNeill Winston-Salem State 4×100 Relay
Tajanel McNeill Winston-Salem State Triple Jump
Nya Michaux Winston-Salem State 4×100 Relay
Tametris Morrison Winston-Salem State 400 Meter Hurdles
Tametris Morrison Winston-Salem State 4×400 Relay

2015 USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America – NCAA Division II Women (HBCUs)

Krishanda Campbell-Brown Benedict Triple Jump
Carrie Byrd Claflin 4×100 Relay
Chante Durant Claflin 4×100 Relay
Trisana Fairweather Claflin 4×100 Relay
Aliyah Miller Claflin 4×100 Relay
Tovea Jenkins Johnson C. Smith 400 Meters
Yanique Ellington Lincoln (Mo.) 4×400 Relay
Jhevere Hall Lincoln (Mo.) 4×400 Relay
Lovan Palmer Lincoln (Mo.) 4×400 Relay
Willomena Williams Lincoln (Mo.) 4×400 Relay
Amenze Uhunmwangho Saint Augustine’s Triple Jump
Raven Covington Winston-Salem State 100 Meters
Nya Michaux Winston-Salem State 200 Meters

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA