The MEAC has declared that it is still open for business, despite losing three programs in less than six months and rumblings of more departures.
One day after Bethune-Cookman University announced it will be leaving the MEAC for the SWAC, the MEAC held a virtual press conference as it hopes to stop the bleeding.
Howard University President Dr. Wayne Fredrick announced that the conference was investigating expansion, and not limited its search to historically black colleges and universities.
“We have a viable Division I conference with outstanding academic institutions,” Dr. Fredrick told the media. “We’re not looking to just fill the minimal requirements for Division I, but we’re obviously looking for areas we can grow.”
The MEAC has hired a consulting firm to help assess its current schools and to help it identify potential institutions for addition to the conference.
The first step to the MEAC getting its legs underneath it involves holding on to its remaining members. As of now, Delaware State, Morgan State, Coppin State, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Howard University, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central and South Carolina State will make up the conference starting July 1, 2021. Maryland-Eastern Shore and Coppin State do not offer football.
Sources tell HBCU Gameday that other conferences have been pursuing MEAC schools in recent years. These conferences see the values that HBCUs could bring to their organizations, and they want to bring them in. One more loss could be catastrophic for the MEAC.
“We cannot afford to lose another football-playing institution, simply because we would fall below the minimum (Division I) requirement for football,” Dr. Dennis Thomas, MEAC Commissioner, told the media. “We still can maintain our requirement for men’s and women’s basketball (with the loss of another school.)
Thomas stated that even if the conference were to lose another football-playing member, it would still have a two-year grace period to bring in another member to solidify its NCAA Division I status.