Halftime is game time and it’s time again for the ESPN/The Undefeated HBCU Band Rankings, which rate the top bands from historically black colleges and universities. This year, the rankings will include bands from NCAA Division I and Division II schools, which include the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA) and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).
The rankings, conducted by two panels of current and former band directors with HBCUs roots, evaluate bands on musicality, drill and design, percussion, auxiliary corps, drum majors, and other factors. The Undefeated, ESPN’s digital platform focusing on the intersection of sports, race and culture, will unveil five more rankings this season – in October, November and December.
These initial rankings for the season were compiled based on last season’s finals rankings and performances by bands far this season. The first evaluation was extremely close, especially among the first six bands. Only six points separated first-place Bethune-Cookman from fourth-place N.C. A&T, and only 11 points separated the first six bands. This close scoring illustrates how outstanding the bands are nationwide.