Erwin Prentiss Hill is the Founder and President of Black College Sports Group, LLC (BCSG). BCSG creates sporting event opportunities that feature Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs).
NNG: I am excited to have you on NappyNaturalGirl.com. It is always good to have old friends on the blog. Plus, I am excited to feature a positive story on Chicago. There hasn’t been a lot of that lately. What event are you and your team working on?
EPH: We are hosting the second annual Windy City Hardwood Classic on the campus of Chicago State University which will run from November until January. Last year we started with four teams, and now we are up to 6 teams.
NNG: What inspired you to create BCSG?
EPH: I was working in the athletics department of Chicago State University. I saw something that I could bring; something that was needed to HBCU Athletics.
NNG: How are HBCUs benefiting from your tournaments?
EPH: Aside from bragging rights there are a lot of benefits to schools participating in our tournaments. First, we cover the cost of lodging and other participation fees for teams. Secondly, we pay each school a guarantee or participation fee. Thirdly, statistics show that athletics has a direct impact on student enrollment. These neutral-site games help give HBCUs an opportunity to gain visibility in regions of the country they might not have otherwise. The schools that participate have a chance to promote their brand and build relationships with prospective students as well as surrounding school districts.
NNG: How does BCSG pick teams to participate?
EPH: We use analytics to determine which teams we will invite.
NNG: Do you only work with basketball teams?
EPH: In our first year, we did the Magic City Diamond Classic which is a baseball tournament. It was held in Birmingham, Alabama. Our goal is to expand into a variety of other sports; golf, tennis and track & field to name a few. Right now, we have seven different events that happen in 5 different markets (Chicago, Memphis, Birmingham, New Orleans, and Dallas).
NNG: So do you have a non-profit component to BSCG?
EPH: Yes, we do a lot of ticket give-a-ways. We are also planning to host events that will educate and inspire students to seek careers in athletics outside of just playing the sports. We want to encourage students to become owners, coaches, etc.
I will be keeping an eye out for BCSG games happening in and around my area. I know a lot of mainstream media outlets are choosing to report on the negative aspects of Chicago (Chiraq), but everything that is happening isn’t all bad. There are a lot of positive and influential African American people adding value to the city. I am excited to see Prentiss and his various partners engage our youth in collegiate activities. Check out their hashtag #hoopin4peace.