Students from 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will compete in NBA2K21 and NFL Madden esports tournaments as part of the inaugural “HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic,” an all-virtual invitational event this Saturday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. EST exclusively on Twitch (

During the event, which is a collaboration between The Yard: HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA) and CSL Esports — the largest collegiate esports business — student finalists from HEA member schools will compete in NBA2K 21 and Madden NFL 21 for a chance to win $5,000 in scholarships and prizes. CSL Esports, which engages colleges, universities, and high schools to provide an infrastructure that enhances opportunities for students to achieve a higher education through esports, is powering the HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic.

Organizers said the classic was created to support HBCU schools and students and will feature a halftime show that will highlight HBCU culture and lifestyle, including live performances by Atlanta-grown hip-hop artist and reality TV star Soulja Boy. The show will be hosted by radio/TV personality “Fly Guy” DC.

“We are pleased to have great partners like Twitch and Zaxby’s join us in our first event supporting the advancement of HBCUs in the gaming and esports industries,” said Rod Chappell, the general manager and associate commissioner of HEA and CEO of Atlanta-based HBCU Direct. “Without partners like them, accomplishing our overall mission of driving workforce development from HBCUs would be impossible.  We are already preparing for year two of the Classic.”

Christened ‘The Yard’ to commemorate the rich legacy of HBCU campus life, the HEA and CSL Esports are working closely with HBCUs to provide an understanding of the esports ecosystem, the vast opportunities within it, as well as bring both casual and serious competitive engagement for their students.

“CSL Esports is proud to produce events with HEA: The Yard and a variety of the HBCU schools, especially events that create opportunities for educational advancement,” said Wim Stocks, chairman of CSL Esports. “We are inspired by the great legacy and culture of HBCU and we are pleased to help provide esports opportunities and engagement that benefit the schools and their students.”

Twitch and Zaxby’s have signed on as the presenting partners for the Classic with Twitch serving as the exclusive live streaming music partner.

“Twitch looks forward to supporting HBCUs in every way possible including the HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic and future ventures that help drive education in emerging new and digital media,” said Mark “Garvey” Candella, Twitch’s director of student and education programs.


The goal of the HBCU esports league is to produce more gamers such as Terrence “TerrenceM” Miller, one of a few Black Hearthstone competitors in the world. (Photo: DreamHack)

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