NEW YORK, N.Y. - The seventh edition of the The Major League Baseball Urban Invitational will shift from Houston to southern Louisiana.
This year's Invitational will feature four teams from the state of Louisiana to include Southwestern Athletic Conference and rivals Southern and Grambling State.
The Urban Invitational, played in Houston the past two years, will be held Feb. 14-16 and will be played in the citites of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Four venues -- Southern University, Louisiana State University, Zephyr Field and the New Orleans UYA -- will host games.
In 2013, the Urban Invitational exclusively featured HBCUs with all four teams coing out of the SWAC. Alabama State, Southern, Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M played in the round-robin at Minute Maid Park.
Southern will become the only school to have played in all seven editions of the Urban Invitational. Grambling State makes its third appearance with LSU and UNO participating for the first time.
The Urban Invitational has been held since 2008 in which 16 players among HBCU ranks that have played in the tourney were selected in the First-Year Player Draft.
The tournament will begin with games at two venues in Baton Rouge. GSU and SU will play at Lee Hines Field on the campus of Southern University on Feb. 14, and UNO and LSU will face off at Alex Box Stadium.
Saturday's game will take place at the New Orleans UYA (UNO vs. LSU) and another at Zephyr Field (GSU vs. SU). LSU will host the final two games on Sunday. The final two tourney games on Sunday, Feb. 16, will be broadcast live on MLB Network and simulcast live on MLB.com.
The Urban Invitational not only promotes baseball, it helps Major League Baseball showcase Historically Black Colleges and Universities and unveils one of the newest Urban Youth Academies. It also seeks to underline the value of education. The New Orleans Urban Youth Academy, which opened in November 2012, will host a baseball clinic for kids and a college and career fair on Saturday, Feb. 15, as part of the Urban Invitational.
"Collegiate baseball represents a significant element of the game's future, so it is important to give these programs the opportunity for exposure to a larger audience," MLB executive vice president of baseball development Frank Robinson said in a news release. "We are thrilled to host this year's Urban Invitational in Southern Louisiana, and thank all of our participating schools."
The New Orleans Urban Youth Academy will get a chance to take center stage and to highlight the growth of the league's initiative around the country. There are already Urban Youth Academies up and running in Compton, Calif., Houston and New Orleans. New facilities are currently under construction in Cincinnati and Philadelphia, with another planned for South Florida.
Information for the Urban Invitational can be found at MLB.com/community/uya.jsp