The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) Board of Directors voted Friday to reinstate Winston Salem Continue reading
Commissioner Dennis Thomas has announced that the MEAC Council of Chief Executive Officers has ended the moratorium on membership expansion effective immediately.
The moratorium was implemented to provide the conference a planned approach for membership expansion. A strategic and long range plan was developed and approved by the Council.
Using the strategic and long range plan document as a guideline, MEAC expansion will focus on increasing the membership to fourteen members, resulting in twelve (12) football playing institutions.
The MEAC will immediately begin reviewing applications for membership. Currently the MEAC has received and are reviewing applications from North Carolina Central University (Durham) and Savannah (Ga.) State University.
The addition of North Carolina Central and Savannah State would position the conference to create two football divisions — a North and a South.
FAMU would compete in the South division along with South Carolina State, Bethune-Cookman and possibly Winston-Salem State.
“I’m excited about that,” said FAMU athletic director Bill Hayes. “It’s going to help us economically. Right now that’s the big thing.”
FAMU’s athletic department has a budget deficit of $4.2 million, as reported at a recent Board of Trustees meeting. Since taking the AD position a year ago, Hayes has been on a mission to reduce the coast of athletics.
Having a division that limits travel to states closer to home would make a dent, especially in football, he said. Football alone spent more than $250,000 for road games last season.
“Expanding our league would enhance the conference and assist Florida A&M because then we would have a school that would be a conference game that we could play close to home,” Hayes said. “If the plans that we’ve been talking about for years works, then our longest road trip would be to North Carolina Central.”
The North football division could possibly be made up of Hampton, Norfolk State, Delaware State, Howard, Morgan State and North Carolina A&T. The conference’s two other schools — Coppin State and Maryland-Eastern Shore — don’t currently participate in football.
Savannah State and North Carolina Central have been playing at the FCS (Division I-AA) level for at least the last two seasons. Winston-Salem State has had provisional status for three years to move up and its move to the MEAC has been anticipated for some time.
However, the Rams’ move became a little murky last week the school fired athletic director Chico Caldwell. At the same time, WSSU Chancellor Donald J. Reaves said in a news release that the athletic department “will benefit from new leadership.”
How the change will affect WSSC’s transition is not known. The move had seemed so much a done deal that the MEAC awarded WSSU hosting rights to the conference basketball tournament for the next three seasons.