Saint Augustine’s University, in Raleigh, NC, launched the first HBCU cycling team in the country. The team was formed as a club sport by their Department of Sports Management in the School of Business, Management, and Technology. The team was approved by USA Cycling and will compete in the Atlantic division with dozens of other schools in the Southeast.
According to the press release, the team’s roster will start with approximately ten student-athletes. Several of them already compete in other collegiate sports. They will begin this fall with virtual events already scheduled.
Professors Umar Muhammad and Dr. Mark Janas are coaching the new cycling team, which has been in the works since the summer of 2019. Currently, Professor Muhammad and Dr. Janas teach sports management courses under the Department of Sports Management in the School of Business, Management, and Technology.
The new cycling team will spark opportunities for Saint Augustine’s to have many more ‘firsts.’ Their efforts go beyond the cycling team and they have established new sports IT and e-sports management content for their sports management department.
As the first HBCU to officially have a cycling team, they are well aware of the special history with African Americans and the sport. Professor Muhammad acknowledged Major Taylor, a cycling superstar. Also, Taylor was arguably the first international superstar in sports. While the team has pioneered as a HBCU in cycling, they hope to shed light on Taylor as an African American cyclist.
“What many may not realize is that while cycling might be new to most HBCUs, African Americans have made huge contributions to the sport of cycling,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad also stated that Saint Augustine’s is excited to be the first HBCU with a cycling team. This isn’t just the beginning of cycling for the school, but it is a starting point for much more to come. They are ready to offer students e-sport courses in the Department of Sports Management. This will open doors for new avenues of learning in sports.