Miles Simon

Last week Howard University became the latest HBCU to break new ground in the sports world.

The only HBCU school  to have men and women’s swimming and diving teams competing for conference titles saw its men’s team prevail  over five days of grueling competition to win the Northeast Coference (NEC) In a dominant manner.

They scored 928 points over the five day event. In addition, they had a team member named the most outstanding performer. 

Senior Miles Simon of Atlanta was named NEC Outstanding Swimmer after a performance that saw him shatter multiple records.

For Howard, it was the team’s first conference title in 34 years. Though they didn’t win a title, their women’s team has also been very competitive throughout the season. 

The event, which was held in Geneva, Ohio, actually garnered national attention as well as attracting a sold-out crowd.

The Howard achievement follows in the footsteps of Fisk University recently becoming the first HBCU to form a gymnastics  team and later compete in national meets. Though they also have yet to win a title, they are only in their first season and they’ve already been able to lure some top notch talent to the Nashville campus. 

Whether that ultimately results in any championships or not, the team has generated widespread recognition and attention for Fisk, and also helped to continue demolishing myths about what  sports Black athletes can or cannot be successful

Possibly coming soon on the campus of Tennessee State in Nashville  may be another pioneering enterprise. The Tigers are vying to become the first HBCU institution to have a hockey team. Last year they began a fundraising campaign aimed at establishing the first men’s and women’s hockey teams on any HBCU campus. They would be Division 1 programs. TSU athletic director Dr. Mikki Allen and Nashville Predators president and CEO Sean Henry made the announcement at a joint press conference on campus. “We have tremendous partnerships with the NHL and Sean Henry and the Predators behind us 110  percent,” Allen said at the time. “Now we are establishing a TSU Friends of Hockey Fundraising Team.”

It will be interesting to see if Monday’s announcement that there would a change in general managers for the Predators will have any impact on the proposed TSU hockey team. Earlier last month, the Predators displayed during warm-ups a special commemorative Black History Month jersey made in conjunction with TSU and MTSU.

Also last year the NHL Black History Tour Museum made its first stop on as HBCU campus when it visited TSU.

So while football and basketball remain HBCU staples, with track and field a solid third sport, it’s good to see other  athletic endeavors finding a place on HBCU campuses across the country.