Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference logo.svg
AssociationNCAA
Founded1970
CommissionerSonja O. Stills (since 2022)
Sports fielded
  • 14
    • men's: 6
    • women's: 8
DivisionDivision I
SubdivisionFCS
No. of teams8
HeadquartersNorfolk, Virginia
RegionSouth Atlantic, Middle Atlantic
Official websitemeacsports.com
Locations
Location of teams in {{{title}}}

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) is a collegiate athletic conference whose full members are historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the Southeastern and the Mid-Atlantic United States. It participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I, and in football, in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).[1]

Currently, the MEAC has automatic qualifying bids for NCAA postseason play in baseball (since 1994), men's basketball (since 1981), women's basketball (since 1982), softball (since 1995), men's and women's tennis (since 1998), and volleyball (since 1994). Bowling was officially sanctioned as a MEAC governed sport in 1999. Before that season, the MEAC was the first conference to secure NCAA sanctioning for women's bowling by adopting the club sport prior to the 1996–97 school year.

History

Locations of eight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference members

In 1969, a group whose members were long associated with interscholastic athletics met in Durham, North Carolina for the purpose of discussing the organization of a new conference. After the formulation of a committee, and their research reported, seven institutions, Delaware State University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State College, agreed to become the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.[2] South Carolina State had been a longtime member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the other charter members had been longtime members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

The conference's main goals were to establish and supervise an intercollegiate athletic program among a group of educational institutions that shared the same academic standards and philosophy of co-curricular activities and seek status as a Division I conference for all of its sports.

The conference was confirmed in 1970, and had its first season of competition in football in 1971. To date, the MEAC has had three full-time commissioners.[2] In 1978, the MEAC selected its first full-time commissioner, Kenneth A. Free, who served as commissioner until he resigned in 1995. He was succeeded by Charles S. Harris, who served at the position until 2002. On September 1, 2002, Dennis E. Thomas became the conference's commissioner. He retired on December 31, 2021. Sonja O. Stills became the first female commissioner of the MEAC on January 1, 2022. She is also the only female commissioner of a Division I HBCU athletic conference.

The MEAC experienced its first expansion in 1979 when Bethune–Cookman College (now Bethune–Cookman University) and Florida A&M University were admitted as new members. That same year, founding members Morgan State University, North Carolina Central University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore withdrew from the conference. All three schools eventually returned to the conference; Maryland Eastern Shore rejoined in 1981, Morgan State in 1984, and North Carolina Central in 2010.

On June 8, 1978, the MEAC was classified as a Division I conference by the NCAA. Prior to that year, the league operated as a Division II conference. The following month the MEAC received an automatic qualification to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

In 1984, membership in the MEAC again changed, as Florida A&M chose to leave. The university returned to the conference two years later. Coppin State College, now Coppin State University, joined the conference in 1985. The MEAC found some stability in membership with the addition of two HBCUs in Virginia, Hampton University and Norfolk State University in 1995 and 1997, respectively. For the next ten years, the MEAC remained an 11-member conference. In 2007, former CIAA member Winston-Salem State University was granted membership, but announced on September 11, 2009, that it would return to Division II at the end of 2009–10 and apply to return to the CIAA before ever becoming a full member of the MEAC.[3]

North Carolina Central University rejoined the conference effective July 1, 2010.[4][5] NCCU was one of seven founding member institutions of the MEAC, but withdrew from the conference in 1979, opting to remain a Division II member when the conference reclassified to Division I.[4]

Savannah State University was announced as the newest member of the MEAC on March 10, 2010.[5] Savannah State originally applied for membership into the MEAC in 2006 but faced an NCAA probationary period soon after. Membership was then deferred until the completion of the imposed probation period, which ended in May 2009. Savannah State then resubmitted their application for membership again in 2009 and was finally granted probationary membership status.[5] On September 8, 2011, the university was confirmed as a full MEAC member.[6]

While the MEAC has had no new full members since then, the conference added an associate member in 2014 when Augusta University, then known as Georgia Regents University, a Division II institution with Division I programs in men's and women's golf, joined for men's golf.[7] Augusta became the MEAC's first associate member and first non-HBCU with any type of membership. The conference has since added two more non-HBCU associate members, with Monmouth University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) joining for bowling in 2018.[8]

In April 2017, Savannah State announced that it would drop to Division II effective with the 2019–20 school year.[9] In November 2017, Hampton announced they would leave the MEAC to join the Big South Conference beginning with the 2018–19 season.[10]

In February 2020 North Carolina A&T announced departing MEAC to join Big South Conference effective July 2021. Within few months, in June 2020, Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman also announced that they will leave the MEAC and join the SWAC starting in July 2021. As a result, the MEAC will have eight members remaining for 2021, with only six of its members sponsoring football. 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.[11] The conference plans to operate with eight current members, starting 2021 until further expansion, in a compact geographical footprint removing North and South divisions.

In May 2021, multiple websites that report on HBCU sports indicated that the MEAC had reached out to two Division II HBCUs about their interest in transitioning to D-I and joining the MEAC. Kentucky State University and Virginia State University, respectively members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, confirmed that they had discussed possible membership with the MEAC and had commissioned feasibility studies on moving to Division I. Officials at both schools stated that they were considering the move, but would not commit to any change. One report also indicated that Chicago State University, a predominantly African-American school but not an HBCU, had lobbied the MEAC regarding membership. CSU is scheduled to leave the Western Athletic Conference, a league in which it is a major geographic outlier, in July 2022. According to this report, the MEAC had offered CSU associate membership in one sport, but was lukewarm to CSU becoming a full member because it does not sponsor football and is well outside the MEAC's geographic footprint.[12][13]

In July 2022, the Northeast Conference (NEC) announced a partnership with the MEAC in which MEAC schools sponsoring baseball and men's and women's golf would become NEC affiliate members in their respective sports beginning in the 2022-23 season.[14]

Member schools

Current members

Institution Location Founded Joined Type Enrollment Nickname Colors
Coppin State University Baltimore, Maryland 1900 1985 Public 2,348 Eagles    
Delaware State University Dover, Delaware 1891 1970 Public 4,768 Hornets    
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 1970 Private 9,399 Bison/Lady Bison    
University of Maryland Eastern Shore Princess Anne, Maryland 1886 1970,
1981[a]
Public 2,888 Hawks    
Morgan State University Baltimore, Maryland 1867 1970,
1984[b]
Public 7,763 Bears    
Norfolk State University Norfolk, Virginia 1935 1997 Public 5,601 Spartans    
North Carolina Central University Durham, North Carolina 1910 1970,
2010[c]
Public 8,011 Eagles    
South Carolina State University Orangeburg, South Carolina 1896 1970 Public 2,479 Bulldogs/Lady Bulldogs    
Notes
  1. ^ Maryland–Eastern Shore left the MEAC after the 1978–79 season, while competing for football as an associate member during the 1979–80 season before dropping the sport altogether. Maryland–Eastern Shore rejoined the MEAC effective the 1981–82 season as a full member that no longer had a football program.[15]
  2. ^ Morgan State left the MEAC after the 1978–79 season, while competing for football as an associate member during the 1979–80 season, before rejoining effective the 1984–85 season.
  3. ^ North Carolina Central left the MEAC after the 1978–79 season, while competing for football as an associate member during the 1979–80 season, before rejoining effective the 2010–11 season.

Associate members

Institution Location Founded Joined Enrollment Nickname Colors MEAC
sport
Primary
conference
North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, North Carolina 1891 2021–22[a] 13,322 Aggies     bowling (w) Colonial
Monmouth University West Long Branch, New Jersey 1933 2018–19 6,395 Hawks     Colonial
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama 1966 20,902 Blazers     Conference USA
(The American in 2023)
Notes
  1. ^ North Carolina A&T was a full member from 1970-2021 before joining the Big South Conference.

Former full members

Institution Location Founded Joined Left Type Nickname Colors Subsequent
conference
Current
conference
Bethune–Cookman University Daytona Beach, Florida 1904 1979 2021 Private Wildcats     SWAC
(NCAA Division I)
Florida A&M University[a] Tallahassee, Florida 1887 1979,
1986
1984,
2021
Public Rattlers & Lady Rattlers     SWAC
(NCAA Division I)
Hampton University Hampton, Virginia 1868 1991 2018 Private Pirates     Colonial
(NCAA Division I)
North Carolina A&T State University[b] Greensboro, North Carolina 1891 1970 2021 Public Aggies     Big South
(NCAA Division I)
Colonial
(NCAA Division I)
Savannah State University Savannah, Georgia 1890 2010 2019 Tigers and Lady Tigers     SIAC
(NCAA Division II)
Winston-Salem State University[c] Winston-Salem, North Carolina 1892 2007 2010 Rams     CIAA
(NCAA Division II)
Notes
  1. ^ Florida A&M left the MEAC completely for two seasons from 1984–85 to 1985–86 and competed as an NCAA D-I Independent after a disagreement with the MEAC office over the playing of the rivalry game between Florida A&M and Bethune–Cookman University when FAMU refused to play conference mate BCU at a neutral site in Tampa in 1983 and the game was not played again in 1984. Florida A&M returned all sports to the MEAC effective the 1986–87 school year (with football returning later on, effective the 1987–88 school year). FAMU football left the conference after the 2003 fall season (2003–04 school year) during an attempt to move up to Division I-A (now FBS) with all other sports remaining in the MEAC. Financial difficulties halted the move after the 2004 fall season (2004–05 school year), at which time FAMU football returned back to the MEAC during the 2005 fall season (2005–06 school year).[16]
  2. ^ North Carolina A&T left the MEAC to join the Big South Conference, leaving that league after only one year to join the CAA, while its women's bowling team has remained an associate member of the MEAC throughout.
  3. ^ Winston–Salem State University was a transitional member and never attained full membership in the MEAC or NCAA Division I before returning to Division II and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) after the 2009–10 school year, due to financial difficulties. They were scheduled to begin full membership and gain access to NCAA tournaments in 2011.[17][18]

Former associate members

Institution Location Founded Joined Left Type Nickname Colors MEAC
sport
Primary
conference
Subsequent
conference
Augusta University Augusta, Georgia 1785 2014–15 2020–21 Public Jaguars     Golf (M) Peach Belt
(NCAA Division II)
Southland
(NCAA Division I)

Membership timeline

University of Alabama at BirminghamMonmouth UniversitySouthland ConferenceAugusta UniversitySouthern Intercollegiate Athletic ConferenceSavannah State UniversityCentral Intercollegiate Athletic AssociationWinston-Salem State UniversityNorfolk State UniversityColonial Athletic AssociationBig South ConferenceHampton UniversityCoppin State UniversitySouthwestern Athletic ConferenceFlorida A%26M UniversitySouth Western Athletic ConferenceBethune–Cookman UniversitySouth Carolina State UniversityCentral Intercollegiate Athletic AssociationNorth Carolina Central UniversityColonial Athletic AssociationBig South ConferenceNorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State UniversityMorgan State UniversityUniversity of Maryland Eastern ShoreHoward UniversityDelaware State University

Full members Full members (non-football) Associate members Other Conference Other Conference

Facilities

All MEAC baseball schools currently compete as affiliate members of the Northeast Conference.

School Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity
Coppin State Non-football school[a] Physical Education Complex 4,100[19] Joe Cannon Stadium 1,500
Delaware State Alumni Stadium 7,193[20] Memorial Hall 1,800[21] Soldier Field 500
Howard William H. Greene Stadium 10,000[22] Burr Gymnasium 2,700[23] Non-baseball school
Maryland–Eastern Shore Non-football school[b][24] Hytche Athletic Center 5,500[25] Hawk Stadium 1,000[26]
Morgan State Hughes Stadium 10,000 Talmadge L. Hill Field House 4,000 Non-baseball school
Norfolk State William "Dick" Price Stadium 30,000[27] Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall 4,500[28] Marty L. Miller Field 1,500[29]
North Carolina Central O'Kelly–Riddick Stadium 10,000[30] McDougald–McLendon Gymnasium 3,000[31] Non-baseball school
South Carolina State Oliver C. Dawson Stadium 20,000[32] SHM Memorial Center 3,000[33] Non-baseball school
  1. ^ Coppin State has a club football team that competes in the Mid Atlantic Conference of the National Club Football Association. This team does compete at an on-campus facility.
  2. ^ Maryland Eastern Shore has a club football team that competes in the Mid Atlantic Conference of the National Club Football Association. The team has an on-campus field, but the facility has no seating.

Sports

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) sponsors championship competition in six men's and eight women's NCAA-sanctioned sports.

Teams in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference competition
Sport Men's Women's
Basketball 8 8
Bowling - 8
Cross country 8 8
Football 6 -
Softball - 8
Tennis 6 8
Track and field (indoor) 8 8
Track and field (outdoor) 8 8
Volleyball - 8

Men's sponsored sports by school

School Basketball Cross
Country
Football Tennis Track & Field
(Indoor)
Track & Field
(Outdoor)
Total MEAC
Sports
Coppin State Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 5
Delaware State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY 5
Howard Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 6
UMES Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY 4
Morgan State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 6
Norfolk State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 6
NC Central Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 6
SC State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 6
Totals 8 8 6 6 8 8 44

Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference which are played by MEAC schools:

School Baseball Golf Soccer Swimming & Diving
Coppin State NEC
Delaware State NEC
Howard NEC NEC NEC
UMES NEC NEC
Norfolk State NEC
NC Central NEC

Women's sponsored sports by school

School Basketball Bowling Cross
Country
Softball Tennis Track & Field
(Indoor)
Track & Field
(Outdoor)
Volleyball Total MEAC
Sports
Coppin State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
Delaware State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
Howard Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
UMES Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 7
Morgan State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
Norfolk State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
NC Central Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 7
SC State Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 7
Totals 8 6+3[a] 8 8 7 8 8 8 61+3=64
  1. ^ Bowling associates Monmouth, North Carolina A&T, and UAB.

Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference which are played by MEAC schools:

School Beach Volleyball Equestrian[a] Golf Lacrosse Soccer Swimming & Diving
Delaware State ECAC/ NCEA NEC ASUN[b] IND[b]
Howard NEC NEC NEC NEC
SC State IND
UMES [c] NEC
  1. ^ Part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program.
  2. ^ a b Delaware State will move their women's lacrosse and women's soccer to the Northeast Conference in the 2023-24 season.
  3. ^ Eastern Shore will add beach volleyball in 2022–23. It has yet to announce a conference affiliation.[34]

Championships

NCAA National championships

School Nat'l
titles
Years
Howard 1 1971[a]• 1974
Maryland-Eastern Shore 3 2008 • 2011 • 2012[35]
  1. ^ Howard was later disqualified from their 1971 NCAA soccer championship; however, no team was ever announced as the new champion.

Football

The MEAC, along with the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), are the only two Division I conferences whose members are mostly Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In 2015, the MEAC joined the SWAC and Ivy leagues in abstaining from sending their conference champions to the FCS Playoffs. While the conference champion faces off in the Celebration Bowl against the SWAC Champion, the remaining conference members remain eligible for at-large bids for the playoffs.

This is a partial list of the last 10 champions. For the full history, see List of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football champions.

Record Ranking
Year Champions Conference Overall AP/STATS UPI/Coaches' Postseason result Head coach
2010 Bethune-Cookman
South Carolina State
Florida A&M
7-1
7-1
7-1
10-2
9-3
8-3
No. 15[36]
No. 16[36]
NR[36]
15[37]
17[37]
NR[37]
NCAA Division I-AA second round, L 45-20 vs.New Hampshire
NCAA Division I-AA first round, L 41-16 vs.Georgia Southern
No Playoff Invite
Brian Jenkins
Oliver Pough
Joe Taylor
2011 Championship vacated by Norfolk State[Notes1 1][38]
2012 Bethune-Cookman 8-0 9-3 No. 22[39] 23[40] NCAA Division I-AA first round, L 24-14 vs. Coastal Carolina Brian Jenkins
2013 Bethune-Cookman
South Carolina State
7-1
7-1
10-3
9-4
No. 16[41]
No. 25[41]
No. 16[42]
NR
NCAA Division I-AA first round, L 48-24 vs. Coastal Carolina
NCAA Division I-AA first round, L 30-20 vs. Furman
Brian Jenkins
Oliver Pough
2014 Morgan State[Notes1 2][43]
Bethune-Cookman
North Carolina A&T
South Carolina State
North Carolina Central
6-2
6-2
6-2
6-2
6-2
7-5
9-3
9-3
8-4
7-5
No. 23[44]
NR
NR
NR
NR
No. 22[45]
NR
NR
NR
NR
NCAA Division I-AA first round, L 46-24 vs. Richmond
No Playoff invite
No Playoff invite
No Playoff invite
No Playoff invite
Lee Hull
Brian Jenkins
Rod Broadway
Buddy Pough
Jerry Mack
2015 North Carolina A&T
Bethune-Cookman
North Carolina Central
7-1
7-1
7-1
10-2
9-2
8-3
No. 21[46]
NR
NR
No. 21[47]
No. 25[47]
NR
Celebration Bowl, W 41-34 vs. Alcorn State
No Playoff invite
No Playoff invite
Rod Broadway
Terry Sims
Jerry Mack
2016 North Carolina Central 8-0 9-3 No. 20[48] No. 22[49] Celebration Bowl, L 10-9 vs. Grambling State Jerry Mack
2017 North Carolina A&T 8-0 12-0 No. 8[50] No. 7[51] Celebration Bowl, W 21-14 vs. Grambling State Rod Broadway
2018 North Carolina A&T 7-1 10-2 No. 12[52] No. 11[53] Celebration Bowl, W 24-22 vs. Alcorn State Sam Washington
2019 North Carolina A&T 6-2 9-3 No. 23[52] No. 22[54] Celebration Bowl, W 64-44 vs. Alcorn State Sam Washington
2020-21 Season Suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic[Notes1 3][55][56]
2021 South Carolina State 5–0 6–5 NR NR Celebration Bowl, W 31-10 vs. Jackson State Oliver Pough
2022 North Carolina Central 4–1 10–2 RV No. 21 Celebration Bowl, W 41-34OT vs. Jackson State Trei Oliver
  1. ^ Norfolk State's 2011 MEAC football championship was vacated as a result of NCAA Violations.
  2. ^ As a result of the MEAC football tierbreaker, Morgan State earned the conference's Automatic bid for the FCS Playoffs.
  3. ^ In July 2020, the MEAC announced that it would cancel its fall sports seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic and announced the league would explore the possibility of playing in the spring. The conference later released a spring schedule, but had to suspend indefinitely, per league bi-laws, when six of the nine football playing schools had opted out of playing.

Celebration Bowl results

Year MEAC Team SWAC Team Attendance Series
2015 North Carolina A&T Aggies 41 Alcorn State Braves 34 35,528 MEAC 1–0
2016 North Carolina Central Eagles 9 Grambling State Tigers 10 31,096 Tied 1–1
2017 North Carolina A&T Aggies 21 Grambling State Tigers 14 25,873 MEAC 2–1
2018 North Carolina A&T Aggies 24 Alcorn State Braves 22 31,672 MEAC 3–1
2019 North Carolina A&T Aggies 64 Alcorn State Braves 44 32,968 MEAC 4–1
2021 South Carolina State Bulldogs 31 Jackson State Tigers 10 48,653 MEAC 5–1
2022 North Carolina Central Eagles 41 Jackson State Tigers 34 (OT) 49,670 MEAC 6–1

Men's basketball

On June 8, 1980, the MEAC earned the classification as a Division I conference by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Since 1981, the MEAC has received a qualifying bid to NCAA post season play in the sport of basketball. In three cases, MEAC schools seeded 15th (Coppin State in 1997, Hampton in 2001, Norfolk State in 2012) defeated second-seeded teams South Carolina, Iowa State and Missouri, respectively, in the NCAA tournament.

Coppin State again made history, as it qualified for the tournament as the first 20-loss team to play in the NCAA Tournament.

Tournament performance by active schools

School Championships Championship Years
South Carolina State 5 1989,1996,1998,2000,2003
Coppin State 4 1990,1993,1997,2008
North Carolina Central 4 2014,2017,2018, 2019
Howard 3 1980,1981,1992
Morgan State 3 1977,2009,2010
Norfolk State 3 2012, 2021, 2022
Maryland-Eastern Shore 1 1974
Delaware State 1 2005

Women's basketball

Baseball

Last 10 years of champions.

 Season   Regular season champion(s)  Tournament champion
2012 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2013 Delaware State Savannah State
2014 Bethune–Cookman
2015 Florida A&M
2016 Bethune–Cookman
2017 Bethune–Cookman
2018 North Carolina A&T
2019 Florida A&M
2021 Norfolk State
2022 Delaware State Coppin State

See also

References

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