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Three HBCUs accept CIT bids, and the risk that comes along with it

The College Insider Tournament offers teams a chance to keep their seasons going, even if they don’t make the NCAA Tournament. Two MEAC schools, Norfolk State and South Carolina State have accepted bids to the fairly-new tournament, and SWAC’s Jackson State has decided to join the party.

Jackson State, who fell to Southern in the SWAC Championship Game, has reportedly accepted their invitiation to play in the CIT after inital reports indicated that they might not. JSU will play Sam Houston State on Monday.

// State, who fell to Hampton in the MEAC Championship Game, will play Grand Canyon University in the inaugural John McLendon Classic. The game will take place Monday at 10 p.m. in Phoenix. The game is named after the former North Carolina Central, Hampton, Tennessee State and Kentucky State coach who is a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Norfolk State (17-16) will travel to upstate New York to face Columbia on March 7th at 7 p.m. NSU finished second in the MEAC in the regular season, but fell to South Carolina State in the semifinals of the MEAC.

JSU reportedly thought about declining the invitation. Host teams in the CIT actually have to pay $30,000 to host the games, and away teams may have to cover some part of their costs.

// Southern Illinois turned theirs down. Coach Barry Hinson explained why.

“We carefully considered a host of factors before reaching the decision to end our season,” Hinson said in a press release. “Chief among them were the health and welfare of our players, as well as the budgetary implications of hosting games on our campus during spring break.

While everyone wants to play in the postseason, there are financial realities, as Hinson pointed out. And if Southern Illinois doesn’t think the reward is worth the financial and physical risk of playing in the CIT, how much better of a position is a school like South Carolina State or Norfolk State to take on those factors? And is the “exposure” of the CIT or the CBI  worth it?

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