After creating tailgate pop-ups last year while team sports were put on pause, this season of college football is back – and so is ESPN’s College GameDay Built By The Home Depot.
This year, the first College GameDay broadcast was live in Atlanta with the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff. Known as an early-season rivalry game between two Historically Black College and University (HBCU) teams, the 2021 kickoff was between North Carolina Central University and Alcorn State University.
This matchup marks the first time that College GameDay has attended the early season Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff, and the third HBCU matchup ever covered live on the show. To celebrate, ESPN didn’t just cover the game itself, but also the tradition, legacy and values of HBCUs.
College GameDay also highlighted Home Depot’s Retool Your School Program, which offers campus improvement grants to HBCUs across the country since 2009. This year, The Home Depot tripled the program’s impact by doubling its commitment to $1 million.
For Kiyomi Rollins, a College GameDay VIP guest for the MEAC/SWAC Challenge and North Carolina Central University alumni, this was an event she couldn’t miss. “College GameDay was an amazing opportunity for the culture of HBCUs this year,” she says. “The energy always hits different when it comes from the love of those who have attended an HBCU. We treat each other like instant family.”
To learn more about the history of college football at HBCUs, watch ESPN’s video here.