The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Board of Directors has voted to formally accept an application for membership from Claflin University, as announced by the conference office on Wednesday. Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, the Panther athletic program sponsors 10 of the CIAA’s 14 championship sports.
“It is my pleasure to welcome Claflin University’s student-athletes, administration, staff, alumni, and fans to the CIAA,” said Jacqie McWilliams, CIAA Commissioner. “The institution is a fit for our conference based on their location within our demographic region and commitment to sponsoring sports programs that bring competitive and championship growth in the CIAA. They will expand our footprint into the South Carolina market, reinforce our commitment to the student-athlete experience and employ strategies that engage alumni and fans within the region to support our mission and vision.”
Claflin has formally notified the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAC) of its departure and will join the CIAA as a full member effective July 1, 2018. The newest CIAA member will be eligible for competition for the 2018-19 academic year. A historically black university founded in 1869, Claflin has a tradition of excellence in intercollegiate athletics led by men’s basketball, who recently won the SIAC men’s championship title. Other sponsored sports include women’s basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, and men’s and women’s cross country.
“The CIAA is committed to sponsoring a range of male and female sports programs that bring competitive and championship growth within the conference and to the regions that all our participating schools represent,” said CIAA Board of Directors Chair and Fayetteville State University Chancellor Dr. James A. Anderson. “The CIAA will seek to sponsor additional men’s sports like baseball and tennis to maintain a healthy number of automatic qualifications. The addition of Claflin University allows the conference to facilitate this goal while expanding our geographical footprint.”
Claflin is the first addition to the conference since Lincoln (PA) University re-joined in 2010. The conference’s 13th member institution, Claflin will strengthen the breadth of CIAA competition, including that of the league’s Olympic programs. Claflin boasts a plethora of championship trophies. Since stepping in to NCAA Division II competition by joining the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) in 2008, Claflin has won volleyball, baseball, softball, and men’s basketball championships. An impressive number of student-athletes have won top individual honors, including an Olympic qualifier.
“We believe this is a win-win situation for the University and our student-athletes,” said Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. “The CIAA aligns with our institutional profile and the proximity of its members to Orangeburg is very attractive for our alumni and supporters.”