A week after the future MEAC Commissioner Sonja Stills began referring to
the conference as the “Elite Eight,” the conference released a statement to show solidarity.
Here it is in its entirety:
NORFOLK, Va., November 4 2021 – The conference realignment chatter in college athletics is not going away any time soon and neither is speculation about what it could possibly mean for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Through it all what is clear – from Coppin State University President Dr. Anthony Jenkins to South Carolina State University President Colonel Alexander Conyers – is the unanimous resolve of the Presidents and Chancellors of eight of the pre-eminent HBCUs in the country to represent the MEAC.
The MEAC Council of Chief Executive Officers is wholly committed to sustaining the legacy of its storied conference and promoting a bright future for their student-athletes, alumni and the entire HBCU community. It is because of this solidarity that each leader has expressed a resolute desire to not only maintain their affiliation with the MEAC but also to continue to enhance its profile and value.
The Council’s Chairman and North Carolina Central University Chancellor Dr. Johnson Akinleye said: “The story of HBCUs across this country remains one of access and opportunity. Taken together, we believe that the MEAC and our sister conference offer the best return on investment in Division I collegiate sports. We graduate more students from low-resource backgrounds. We have greater rates of economic and social mobility. We are a greater resource to the communities we serve. And we compete on and off the field of play.”
For more than 50 years the MEAC’s legacy has been one of academic and athletic excellence, producing leaders in society through our dedication to working closely with our member institutions to provide opportunities for student-athletes to excel in college and beyond. Council Vice-Chair and President of University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Dr. Heidi Anderson commented, “The collaborative partnership between our schools is the key to our success and extends into every aspect of what we do. Whether I am competing with Coppin or Morgan on the hardwood or taking up an important issue on the Hill, we are doing it all — TOGETHER.”
We honor the tenure of Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas and look forward to a future guided by the strategic vision of Commissioner-elect Sonja Stills. Search Committee Chair and Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen said: “There is nowhere else we would rather be. The MEAC is on strong financial footing, has deepened relationships with a number of iconic brands, and has seen both the academic prowess of our students and the sense of moral obligation to the world around them grow exponentially.” Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gatson added, “Champions, citizens, and scholars — we’re building something different here and that is not going to change.”
Preserving the affiliation of our eight outstanding member institutions is of utmost importance as we also explore conference expansion to include other institutions that reflect our values. President Dr. Wayne Frederick of Howard University, President Dr. Heidi Anderson of UMES and President Dr. David Wilson of Morgan State University are leading a committee with expansion in mind.
This news also comes a week after HBCU Gameday, followed by other media outlets, reported that Howard University had been engaged in some level of talks with the Colonial Athletic Association.
“The Elite Eight” aren’t going anywhere quotes leaders from five of the eight MEAC schools — Delaware State, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Coppin State, North Carolina Central and Norfolk State. President Dr. David Wilson of Morgan State and Howard’s Dr. Wayne K. Fredrick were mentioned as part of an expansion committee but were not quoted. Dr. Tony Allen of DSU, speaking as the chair of the committee to find the next MEAC commissioner, doubled down on his school’s role within the conference.
“As I think about Delaware State’s role, we see ourselves, quite frankly as the founder of the MEAC. So our ability to find the right person to lead the way as we go into this next journey was very important to us,” he said. “But I would argue very important to everybody in the MEAC and I think has set a tone for where we are going to go and who we’re going to attract as we move forward.”