Morgan State University has several big decisions to make regarding the future of its Department of Athletics.
After losing its Director of Athletics and head football coach in approximately six weeks to start the year, MSU is faced with filling two of the most important positions within the department. It is also reportedly looking at adding an additional sport.
Dr. Ed Scott stepped down from his position as Director of Athletics just after the start of the new year to take a job as an assistant AD at Virginia. Tyrone Wheatley, one of Scott’s big hires back in 2019, similarly left his post as head coach to take a job as a running backs coach with the Denver Broncos.
MSU has decided to take its time making permanent hires, and will go through the process of using a consulting firm, Renaissance Search & Consulting, in conjunction with a search committee to fill both vacancies.
In the meantime, Eralease Wagner has been named interim AD.
“Erlease is a highly capable, competent, and caring individual when it comes to the success of our student-athletes, and her leadership is without question,” said President Wilson. “She has the full support of the University as well as my confidence in her ability to continue the Athletic Department’s high level of excellence until a new vice president and athletic director has been named.”
Walker will be responsible for choosing an interim head football coach, the university said in the statement announcing her stepping into the role.
“I thank President Wilson for the opportunity to lead the athletic department during this transition period, and Dr. Scott for his guidance and dedication to Morgan State Athletics,” said Wagner. “I look forward to working closely with our student-athletes, the athletic department staff members and the university community throughout this change of leadership within the athletics department.”
New sport emerging?
The winds of change have been moving steadily in East Baltimore in athletics. Prior to Scott’s departure, the school received a $2.7 million gift to start a Division I wrestling program. The program would be the only one of its kind amongst HBCUs and is expected to be up and running for the 2023-2024 school year. It would also add approximately nine new scholarships as well, which is a positive but also creates a new issue.
MSU, like all collegiate athletics departments, must be in compliance with Title IX. That means that it would have to add more women’s scholarships. According to CollegeAD.com, it is looking into the possibility of adding acrobatics or stunt. Stunt is currently offered at Division II and Division III levels. The addition of stunts would fall under Morgan State’s cheerleading program.
Morgan State President pledges allegiance to MEAC
One big question looming over many MEAC institutions has been how it sees the future of the conference, and where it sees its future.
Sources have indicated that Morgan State, as well as Howard University, have received some level of interest from other conferences. We reached out to Morgan State President Dr. David Wilson. He didn’t confirm nor deny whether his institution has been approached by other conferences, but he did say that the school is committed to the MEAC.
“Indeed, we are a founding member of the Conference and are quite proud of its stellar history over the last 52 years,” Wilson said in an email. “And history means a lot to us at Morgan. It is worth noting that of the seven founding members of the Conference in 1970, only one has left–that, of course, being A&T. Our student-athletes here at Morgan can get everything they need, and more, to enable them to be successful in athletic competition and to be the innovators and leaders in this country. We are not interested in playing conference musical chairs at this time.”
It appears that the MEAC seat is safe for MSU, but several others are still up for grabs.