The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the nation’s oldest historically black athletic conference, is partnering with CSL Esports and The Yard: HBCU Esports Alliance to increase the participation of HBCU students, alumni and fans to offer competitive gaming and educational opportunities for its member institutions.

CSL Esports will serve as the conference’s esports provider for Madden, NBA 2K and other select titles with exclusive competitive gaming opportunities offered to CIAA students starting in spring 2021. The HBCU Esports Alliance will also offer two esports masterclasses this spring to CIAA students.

“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.”

CSL engages colleges, universities and high schools to provide an infrastructure that enhances opportunities for students to achieve a higher education through esports.

“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.”

Over the past 10 years, CSL Esports has worked with over 1,800 schools and 11,000 teams across North America. The partnership between CSL Esports and the HBCU Esports Alliance aligns with the CIAA’s plans to launch its own branded esports league.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the most respected brands 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.”