The Southern University baseball team won’t be playing in the inaugural HBCU college World Series game Friday after all.
The Jaguars decided against the trip to Chicago to play North Carolina A&T when organizers failed to meet terms of a contract signed earlier this week, Southern athletic director Roman Banks said.
“It was a done deal and they failed to execute what was in the contract by this (Wednesday) morning,” Banks said. “We weren’t comfortable going forward with the unanswered questions about the travel and weather situation. We’re not going up there looking for uncertainty. We want to make sure our student athletes have a good experience. We felt Wednesday morning they weren’t ready.”
The game was being organized and promoted by BCSG 360, a non-profit organization that hosts HBCU events, and was expected to be preceded by an HBCU admissions and career fair with thousands of students participating. Plans for the same type of game last year also fell through.
The Southern baseball team is going to the Word Series — the HBCU World Series, that is.
The teams were scheduled to play at 1 p.m. in Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. The original plan had the Jaguars flying out on Thursday and home on Saturday. The two sides tried to work out a deal to bus the team to Chicago. Banks said the organizers failed to have the busses secured by Wednesday morning.
There was also no contingency plan in case weather prevented the game from being played.
“The first obligation is travel,” Banks said. “They downsized the travel and didn’t meet the expectations of the arrangements in the contract. It was supposed to be a flight to Chicago. We were looking to work with them, even talking about busses and being able to stop overnight, but the busses weren’t in place.
“They didn’t have a weather contingency plan. Part of the reason we’re going is to play in that stadium and give the student athletes a great experience. I don’t think they thought through it.”
Southern was hoping to play the game to stay sharp as it awaits its NCAA tournament destination. Southern won the Southwest Athletic Conference’s automatic bid with a tournament championship Sunday and will now go almost two weeks without playing a game.
“We all wanted to play the game but we’re going to do everything the right way,” Banks said. “We tried to work with them and were willing to make some adjustments. That group has the right intentions but they’re not fiscally responsible to what we agreed on.”
Southern University’s baseball team battled the jitters almost throughout the Southwest Athletic Conference tournament last week until an unli…