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Monday, July 8, 2013

HBCU Rivalry Week: Hampton Vs. Norfolk State

Norfolk State defenders swarm running back Jeremiah Schwartz in the annual "Battle of The Bay." (Photo Credit: Tumblr)


Nickname: The Battle of The Bay 

All-Time Series: Norfolk State leads 25-24-1.

Longest Winning Streak: Norfolk State: 6 (1969-1974)

Biggest Win: Hampton 60-0, 1992

Latest Result:  Hampton 28-14, 2012

Next Meeting: October 19th, 2013

What Makes It Special:



Norfolk State students display engage in a little HBCU Trash Talk via t-shirt. (Mark Sutton photo)
When it comes to Hampton and Norfolk State, it doesn’t matter what the sport is, they hate each other with a passion. -Photographer Mark Sutton
 
The Past:

Separated by less than 20 miles, Hampton and Norfolk State are two HBCUs that have their distinctions, but are joined at the hip athletically. Hampton, a small private school in the Virginian Peninsula, has been a fixture in HBCU athletics for over a century. The CIAA was founded on the campus of the Hampton Institute in 1912. The Pirates won nine of the first 20 CIAA championships. Norfolk State joined the CIAA 50 years after it started, and behold, The Battle of The Bay was born.

Norfolk State dominated the series after the CIAA in joining winning 16 of the first 20 contests. The two teams competed as CIAA rivals for over 30 years before Hampton jumped to the MEAC and Division I in 1995. Norfolk State followed the next year, and so the rivalry continues. Hampton owns a 12-4 advantage since NSU moved up to Division I.

The Present: 

This rivalry is pretty close to Duke and North Carolina, not so much in the intensity category as in the makeup of the schools and the students themselves. Hampton is a private HBCU with a large out-of-state population. According to the school's website, over 60 percent of its students are not from the state of Virginia. Conversely, Norfolk State is composed heavily of in-state students. The contrast between the two kind of make it an "outsiders vs. insiders" thing, which is always great for rivalries.

The Future: 

Both teams are coming off tough seasons, and should be jockeying for position in the MEAC by the time Oct. 19 comes around. As long as both teams are in the same conference, this will be a game worth watching.

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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.