The factual accuracy of parts of this article (those related to article) may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(September 2012)
The black college football national championship is a mythical national championship won by the best black college football team(s) in the United States of America. There has been some criticism of this title on the grounds that the schools in the various polls compete in different levels of competition (e.g. Division II vs. the FCS level of Division I).
Attempts have been made over the years to determine a non-mythical national champion with an actual football game contested by leading teams amongst historically black colleges and universities in the United States. The Orange Blossom Classic was often billed as such a game, but Florida A&M, as its annual host, was guaranteed a spot in this game and was not always of national championship-caliber each year that it was played between 1933 and 1978. The Pelican Bowl, a bowl game that pitted the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), was one such example, but this venture failed to draw enough attendance and lasted only a few years in the 1970s. Similarly, the Heritage Bowl was played in the 1990s featuring teams from the MEAC and SWAC, but this bowl game has not been held since 1999 and was often snubbed by the conference champions in lieu of the NCAA's then-Division I-AA playoffs. The two conferences had also been in negotiations concerning the creation of the "Legacy Bowl," with hopes for it to begin with the 2011 postseason, but it has yet to materialize.
It is worth noting that while black national champions have been crowned regularly in football for nearly a century now, the concept has never fully caught on with other sports. Men's basketball briefly had a similar movement at one point. In 1941, Southern, coached by the famed football coach Ace Mumford, defeated North Carolina Central, 48-42, in the National Invitational Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament. This tournament was held because the National Invitational Tournament would not invite majority black schools at the time. With the South's black population isolated from segregated Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conference schools, the NIIBT showcased a very high level of playing talent. In more recent years, BlackCollegeBaseball.com named several black national champions for baseball, including North Carolina A&T and Southern jointly in 2005 and Prairie View in 2006. Bethune-Cookman also defeated Alcorn State in a special postseason series in 2011.