The MEAC football champions will be headed to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The conference will accept an automatic bid to the spring 2021 FCS playoffs as there will be no Celebration Bowl, sources told HBCU Gameday. Hero Sports’ Samuel Herder reported the news first after speaking with the Big Sky’s Commissioner.
The conference is expected to release a statement later this week. The NCAA released a statement on spring postseason play on Tuesday.
“The plan sent to us by the Division I Council provides the maximum number of opportunities to fall student-athletes to participate in NCAA championships while still being fiscally responsible,” said acting board chair Denise Trauth, president at Texas State. “We look forward to the spring, understanding things will look a little different but knowing the competitions will be just as meaningful as in normal circumstances.”
The move means that the MEAC will have at least one time in the running for the FCS national title for the first time 2016. North Carolina A&T represented the conference in the 2016 playoffs after finishing second to North Carolina Central. The MEAC gave up its outbid prior to the 2015 season to send its champion to the Celebration Bowl.
The last program to pick up the automatic bid for the MEAC was Morgan State in 2014. MSU finished just 7-4 on the season but emerged with the bid in a five-way tie for first place.
The winner will be looking to end a two-decade MEAC playoffs winnning drought Both North Carolina A&T and Florida A&M won games in the 1999 postseason. Ironically, both programs will be leaving the MEAC following the spring 2021 season.