SAU to Launch First HBCU Ultimate Team in the Country
Photo courtesy of Triangle Ultimate/Brian Whittier
Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) will field the first HBCU Ultimate team in the country in the Fall of 2022. Dr. Mark Janas, a professor in the Accreditation Council for Schools and Business Programs (ACSBP)-accredited SAU School of Business, Management & Technology, is the leader of the university’s virtual and club sports programs.
“Ultimate fits in well with our club sports mission to introduce sports that are not traditionally part of the HBCU experience. But we want to do more than introduce the sport. We want to contend for championships against other big-school brands in the area,” says Dr. Janas. “It’s exciting to have Ultimate-related topics and content included in various courses in our sports management program starting this Fall.”
Ultimate, formerly known as Ultimate Frisbee, is a fast-growing, non-contact sport played with flying discs with the objective of scoring points by passing a disc to a teammate into the opponent’s end zone. The Triangle area of North Carolina is rich with Ultimate talent. The University of North Carolina (UNC) men’s and women’s Ultimate teams are defending national champions. The area also boasts two professional teams that play in Durham, with high-profile Ultimate matches broadcasted on ESPN.
“At SAU, we are an institution of firsts,” says SAU President Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail. “The work of Dr. Janas and his team has now repositioned the university as a global leader in virtual and club sports.”
The SAU Ultimate team will hold tryouts starting in August and plans to compete in exhibition matches against local collegiate teams this Fall. Official collegiate tournament play will begin in the Spring of 2023. The team will initially be supported through coaching and other resources by Triangle Ultimate. This community-based nonprofit organizes Ultimate Frisbee leagues, tournaments, camps, and clinics in the region.
“Triangle Ultimate is excited to help support the start of SAU Ultimate frisbee. The Triangle region has over 3,000 local Ultimate players,” says Tristan Green, Executive Director, Triangle Ultimate. “It is quickly becoming one of the best places in the world for Ultimate frisbee, with recent championships at the youth, collegiate, and adult club & pro levels. Triangle Ultimate’s vision is to collaboratively build a community that represents the Triangle through the sport of Ultimate. We are excited to collaborate with SAU to help further that vision and community.”
SAU formally started its club sports program in Fall 2020 when it launched the first HBCU cycling team in the country. In addition to cycling and Ultimate, other club sports offered at SAU include women’s rowing and a variety of simulation and virtual sports, with additional sports planned. The program receives support through a new curriculum and coursework in esports, simulation sports, and sports technology. For more information, visit https://www.sauclubsports.com.