|Could Delaware State replace the hole Virginia Military Institute is leaving in the Big South?|
To anyone who pays attention to college sports, it seems that just about every Division I conference has been affected by conference realignment recently. One conference that has not is the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). That may be changing, however, as there are reports that the Big South may be interested in adding Delaware State University to its shifting conference line up.
Lancers Blog reports that Delaware State could be one of several team targeted as potential replacements for Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Stoney Brook and Liberty. Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander has announced the conference is seeking expansion, however he did not identify any potential schools as targets.
Delaware State is one of the founding members of the MEAC, joining in 1970 along with several other former members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. DSU is also at the most northern point of the imprint of a conference that reaches all the way down to Florida. If DSU were to join the Big South, that would still be the case, as the conference’s current members are spread through Virginia and the Carolinas. Still, it would eliminate conference road trips to Florida and Georgia, which can only help since DSU already has to pay higher salaries than many of it’s MEAC opponents simply because of its location.
This isn’t the first time rumors of a MEAC member institution possibly being courted away have surfaced. Just last spring, there was talk of the possibility of Hampton University switching to the Colonial Athletic Association. That never materialized, however.
Delaware State leaving the MEAC might step on some toes, but it may not be a bad thing for the school or the conference in the end. The conference as is currently made up of thirteen schools, eleven of which field football teams. There are no divisions in football or basketball, and some teams in the conference do not face each other for years at a time on the football field.
A slimmer MEAC would mean each school would get to keep more money in their pockets by not having to travel to Dover. Sure, it’s not that big of a drive from Baltimore to Dover, but the 700 mile, one way-drive from Daytona, Fl to Dover is nothing to sneeze at. Also, one less member would give each team in the conference a slightly better shot at winning conference championships and making the playoffs.
In the end, if Delaware State is offered a spot in the Big South, it will have to weigh the option of breaking tradition against the opportunity to break new ground. It would be just the second Divsion I HBCU outside of Tennessee State to join a conference made up of majority institutions.
As of right now, this move is just another internet rumor, sharing space with Dr. Dre’s Detox album and the film version of the Thundercats. Regardless of what happens with Delaware State, though, it’s quite obvious that the MEAC as we know it may not exist for much longer.