WINSTON-SALEM, NC - With the close of the 2016-17 season, the CIAA has discontinued sponsorship of its baseball programs. The conference dropped to five teams in 2014 after the departure of the Elizabeth City State University program while the NCAA requires a minimum of six teams for sponsorship. The 2017 Baseball Championship marked the end of the CIAA's grace period, officially concluding conference-wide support of the sport.
WSSU was granted an automatic bid for this year's 2017 Atlantic Regional after defeating Chowan University for the CIAA Championship, the sixth in seven years. The WSSU Rams would go on to do the unthinkable, advanced all the way to the regional final, out of the losers bracket, where the Rams would eventually fall to West Chester University, the eventual National Champion.
"The conference is looking at options for expansion as a whole moving forward in the future but for 2018 we will be an independent D2 school in the NCAA Atlantic region", added Kevin Ritsche, WSSU Baseball Head Coach. "This will not change our status as far as competing for regional and national championships, in fact, it actually is a better move for us since we will be able to schedule non-conference games that will significantly increase our strength of schedule and chances of obtaining an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as that is the focus of the program", says Ritsche.
"Our goal is to bring a National Championship to WSSU", added Ritsche.