Unfortunately, the HBCU sports world isn’t exempt from COVID-19’s aftermath. All institutions are evaluating ways to minimize budget figures and the process has led to shifts in HBCU conference realignment. Some HBCUs have begun cutting non-revenue producing sports in order to keep operational costs low despite the need of our representation in said sports. For example, the instability of the MEAC’s travel woes via southern geographic gaps has led to both North Carolina A&T and Florida A&M exiting after the 2020-2021 season. Each HBCU athletic department must act within the best interests of their student-athletes, fans, and respective institutions.
Due to the MEAC’s instability of membership, I have devised several conference realignment scenarios if the MEAC is unable to exist in the near future. Some MEAC members may find homes in regional Division I PWI conferences to keep travel costs low. Other MEAC members might be blackballed from playing in a non-HBCU Division I conference and forced to reclassify back to the Division II ranks to preserve their pre-existing programs. It’s notable that some the realignment will produce lucrative matchups that can maximize ticket revenue from large fan attendances and higher quality television games. The following scenarios may also happen if the HBCU conferences within the NCAA divest from the NCAA in order to form a national HBCU athletic governing body.