Sports, and especially eSports are a popular attraction amongst students at HBCUs, but not every student and campus may be able to afford getting in on the action. The non-profit HBCU Heroes has made it their mission to find creative ways to raise funds for HBCU sports programs by providing scholarships and other resources. Now this Wednesday December 16, 2020, they are hosting a special celebrity virtual event for the holidays to provide even more support to HBCUs! Major players have been added to the talent line up for their “HBCU eSports Holiday Showdown,” so read their press release below for more details!

HBCU Heroes was founded by NBA veteran George Lynch and entrepreneur Tracey Pennywell, so you can expect heavy hitters to show up! Streaming on multiple platforms, the 2 p.m. ET tip off will kick start the action, with official NBA2K League commentator Jamie “Dirk” Diaz Ruiz calling the plays.  ESports enthusiasts can watch on  Hawks Talon GC  and HBCU Heroes’ Twitch channels, Facebook Gaming, YouTube, HBCUgoTV, HBCU Gameday, and Competitors from HBCUs across the nation will face off for a chance at up to $50,000 in scholarships, prizes, and eSports lab funding to their institutions, sponsored by Intel.   

Celebrities and athletes will suit up to win bragging rights as well as eSports funding for their HBCUs of choice — $2,500 going to the match winner’s selected institution, while $1,500 will be awarded to the runner up’s HBCU pick.  Marquee participants include Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears running back and proud HBCU alum of North Carolina A & T State University (NCAT) facing off in an exhibition match VS. Boston Celtics NBA2K League gamer Sheriff Cruz aka FTW, playing on behalf of Hampton University.  Old school players will join the fun, showing off their new school skills in a head-to-head NBA veteran’s showdown. HBCU Heroes’ co-founder and former Philly 76er George Lynch is playing to support Cheyney State University opposite Etan Thomas, former player with the OKC Thunder.  Thomas competed against Lynch in the NBA and now faces off against him in this exhibition match to benefit Langston University, Oklahoma’s only HBCU.

In a match themed “Battle for the AUC,” dynamic Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams goes up against Hawks Talon Gaming Club’s Lee Lamb aka LEE. Hawks Talon is the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks. This match will benefit four Atlanta HBCUs with $5,000 split evenly to assist Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown colleges with their eSports efforts.  

HBCU Heroes is producing the event as a gateway to HBCU gamers, who are experts at playing with friends, but may not have had the opportunity to compete in a league or tournament. Joining in the effort, Southern Law University Center will sponsor returning HBCU gamer Jamaal Young with a $1,000 scholarship donated to him through this tournament for his continued esports competitions and studies at Southern University.

Other highlights include returning players from the HBCU Heroes’ summer eSports tournament, such as reigning champion Ahmahd Moore from Fayetteville State University and Jamaal Young representing Southern University. The response from HBCUs has been enthusiastic about participating in the tournament, as well as efforts to boost their eSports curriculum and programming.

Morris Brown College became the first college in Georgia to offer a certificate and degree program in Esports Performance. We are excited about the new program and expect vast interest. We look forward to becoming a leader in Esports, not just within higher education, but beyond,” said President Dr. Kevin E. James.

The event can be live-streamed by eSports fans primarily through the HBCU Heroes Twitch channel and their website on Wednesday, December 16 starting at 2 p.m. ET. Follow them on Instagram as well to stay up-to-date with more opportunities!