By Brianna Nargiso, Howard University News Service
Washington, D.C.– The National Football League (NFL) recently announced they would be hosting their first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) combine in March offering exposure to NFL prospects football players who are eligible for the draft but were not formally invited to the annual scouting combine.
The HBCU combine is the NFL’s “intentional” initiative to bring professional opportunities to students of color. These opportunities are not exclusive to NFL draft pick slots, but are available to students seeking off the field career opportunities.
The combine this year will be a part of the two new NFL combine series introduced this year, the Regional Combine Invitational and the HBCU Combine. Both combines will be held from March 27-29 at the Miami Dolphins’ Baptist Health Training Facility.
According to the NFL’s website, the partnership with HBCUs works to celebrate history, increase opportunities and “provide access to the business of sport and equip HBCU students with the skills needed to work in professional football administration.”
On Friday, March 27 the HBCU Combine will host measurements and interviews with players while work on-field workouts will be held on Saturday, March 28.
According to Troy Vincent, former player and vice president of football operations for the NFL, the combine will honor the rich history and provide opportunities for students and administrators from HBCUs.
“HBCU athletes will experience a world-class on-field evaluation of their talent by NFL scouts. In addition, NFL Legends and club personnel will network with 2020 Draft prospects and drive awareness of opportunities to be involved in professional football beyond the playing field,” Vincent said.
There is no minimum or maximum number of athletes that will be invited per university. Invitations will be consistent with normal combine invite strategies, including compiling recommendations through NFL club scouts, coaches and league personnel.
Invitations to the combine have already been sent to athletes.
The 2020 HBCU combine is the newest initiative made by the NFL to connect HBCU students with professional opportunities.
In 2016, The NFL partnered with two HBCU football conferences, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and has now extended partnership to two more conferences, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).
“NFL Legends and club personnel will network with 2020 Draft prospects and drive awareness of opportunities to be involved in professional football beyond the playing field,” said Vincent.