WILBERFORCE — The vote was unanimous and next year, Wilberforce University athletics will officially join the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC), the only historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Wilberforce’s involvement will enhance the university’s presence in the league of college athletics and will attract superior student-athletes, which will foster continued growth in overall academic achievement.
We are excited about being a part of the GCAC,” said Wilberforce Director of Athletics John Hill. “Wilberforce has excellence, and joining the GCAC gives us the opportunity to display that. We are building on a multitude of levels and this energy is one of those levels. We want to engage further and this is a way to bridge the gap between the university and the community.”
As GCAC commissioner Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes mentioned in a prior interview, “We are elated to have Wilberforce in our conference. Adding members strengthens our ability to execute every aspect of our strategic plan and own the narrative of HBCU excellence.”
Wilberforce president, Dr. Vann Newkirk says this change will greater expand the university’s vision. He commented, “We don’t expect to earn millions like the big schools, but we know that at our level every penny counts, and running an athletic program is a business. This move will energize our alumni base which in turn will help us to increase attendance and overall interest in the University.”
The Wilberforce GCAC membership will become official in the 2024-2025 academic year. Right now, there are 10 universities in this conference, with several others scheduled to join WU next year.