Hampton leaves MEAC
So much for a quiet holiday.
The MEAC will lose its second member in two years after Hampton officially announced Thursday that it was ending its 22-year relationship and moving to the Big South Conference, effective July 1, 2018. Savannah State made the decision last year to return to Division II, a place it should never have left. This will reduce the MEAC to 11 teams, nine with football programs.
"The move to the Big South Conference is just another part of an exciting year at Hampton University," Hampton President William R. Harvey said. "Institutions in the Big South are located in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, which means that our student-athletes will spend less time traveling and more time in classes on campus. This keeps the proper focus on academics, which is our chief reason for being. The smaller geographic footprint will also reduce travel expenses.
“Another important consideration is the large number of alumni located in the Big South region. We have enjoyed our 22-year relationship with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and hope to continue competing against some of its teams."
We know “some of its teams” specifically mean Norfolk State and Howard. The Spartans and Pirates have a long and storied rivalry; so much so that when Hampton left Division II CIAA for the MEAC in 1995, NSU wasn’t far behind.
"This is a big day for the Big South! We are so pleased that Hampton University is joining the Big South family," conference Commissioner Kyle Kallander said. "We have always been impressed by Hampton's academics and athletics accomplishments under president Harvey's visionary leadership. The Big South is a better conference with Hampton – athletically, academically, and in providing outstanding opportunities for our student-athletes."
The teams in the Big South are Liberty, Longwood and Radford in Virginia; Charleston Southern, Presbyterian College, USC Upstate and Winthrop in South Carolina; and Campbell, Gardner-Webb, High Point and UNC Asheville in North Carolina.