Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
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 Division I, and in football, in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
|Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference|
|Region||South Atlantic, Middle Atlantic|
|Commissioner||Dennis E. Thomas (since 2002)|
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), football (1996–2015), softball (since 1995), men 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.
In 1969, a group, whose members were long associated with interscholastic athletics, met in Durham, North Carolina with 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. 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. The MEAC has had to date, three full-time commissioners. 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.
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 National Collegiate Athletic Association (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 would return to the conference two years later. Coppin State College, now Coppin State University, joined the conference in 1985. The MEAC would find 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 10 years, the MEAC would remain 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 2009–2010 and apply to return to the CIAA before ever becoming a full member of the MEAC.
North Carolina Central University rejoined the conference effective July 1, 2010. 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.
Savannah State University was announced as the newest member of the MEAC on March 10, 2010. 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. On September 8, 2011, the university was confirmed as a full MEAC member.
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. 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.
In April 2017, Savannah State announced that it would drop to Division II effective with the 2019–20 school year. In November 2017, Hampton announced they would leave the MEAC to join the Big South Conference beginning with the 2018–19 season.
|Augusta University||Augusta, Georgia||1828||9,000||Jaguars||2014||golf (M)||Peach Belt|
|Monmouth University||West Long Branch, New Jersey||1933||6395||Hawks||2018||bowling (W)||MAAC|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Birmingham, Alabama||1966||20,902||Blazers||2018||bowling (W)||Conference USA|
|Institution||Location||Founded||Joined||Left||Type||Enrollment||Nickname||New Conference||Current Conference|
|Hampton University||Hampton, Virginia||1868||1991||2018||Private||4,500||Pirates||Big South|
(NCAA Division I)
|Savannah State University||Savannah, Georgia||1890||2010||2019||Public||4,478||Tigers and Lady Tigers||SIAC|
(NCAA Division II)
|Winston-Salem State University||Winston-Salem, North Carolina||1892||2007||2010||Public||6,000||Rams||CIAA|
(NCAA Division II)
Full members Full members (non-football) Associate members Other Conference Other Conference
- Maryland Eastern Shore was a founding member of the MEAC in 1970 and left after the 1978–1979 school year. In 1980, UMES dropped football, and returned to the MEAC the next year as a full member that no longer had a football program.
- Florida A&M left the MEAC completely for one season in 1985 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 in the 1986 season. FAMU football left the conference in the 2004 season 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 season, at which time FAMU football returned to the MEAC.
- Winston-Salem State was a transitional member from 2007 to 2010, but never attained full MEAC membership nor full membership in Division I. The school was scheduled to gain full membership after the 2009–2010 school year, but due to financial difficulties, returned to the CIAA in Division II before then.
|Track and field (indoor)||13||13|
|Track and field (outdoor)||13||13|
|Howard||1||1971 • 1974|
|Florida A&M (FAMU)||1||1978|
|North Carolina A&T||1||2015|
|Maryland-Eastern Shore||3||2008 • 2011 • 2012|
The MEAC is one of two Division I conferences comprising HBCUs, the other being the SWAC. Until 2015, the MEAC sent its champion and occasional at-large schools to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Starting in 2015, the MEAC will give up its automatic postseason bid and will play an annual championship game against the SWAC champion in the Celebration Bowl in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
|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|
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 Duke, 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 school
|North Carolina A&T||16||1972,1973,1975,1976,1978,1979,1982,1983,1984,1985,1986,1987,1988,1994,1995,2013|
|South Carolina State||5||1989,1996,1998,2000,2003|
|North Carolina Central||4||2014,2017,2018, 2019|
|Season||Regular season champion(s)||Tournament champion|
|1973||South Carolina State|
|1974||North Carolina A&T|
|1978||No Records Available|
|1979||No Records Available|
|1980||No Records Available|
|1981||No Records Available|
|1982||No Records Available|
|1983||No Records Available|
|1993||North Carolina A&T|
|2005||North Carolina A&T||North Carolina A&T|
|2013||Delaware State||Savannah State|
|2018||North Carolina A&T|
|Norfolk State |- |2020
|Part of a series on|
- Maryland-Eastern Shore wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1979–80 and the 1980–81 seasons.
- Morgan State wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1979–80 and the 1983–84 seasons.
- Florida A&M wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1984–85 and the 1985–86 seasons.
- North Carolina Central wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1979–80 and the 2009–10 seasons.
- 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.
- Maryland Eastern Shore has a club football team that competes in the Mid Atlantic Conference of the National Club Football Association. The team does have an on campus field but does not have seating.
- Howard was later disqualified from their 1971 NCAA soccer championship; however, no team was ever announced as the new champion.
- Bethune–Cookman receives NCAA Division I FCS Playoff Automatic Qualifying bid via MEAC Conference tiebreaker system.
- Morgan State receives NCAA Division I FCS Playoff Automatic Qualifying bid via MEAC Conference tiebreaker system.
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- Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
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- "Burr Gymnasium". Howard University Athletics. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
- Conference Coordinator – Scott Hoffman. "NCFA – Conference Details". Ncfafootball.org. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
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- Archived September 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Hall, David. "Norfolk State stripped of 97 athletic wins, 2011 MEAC football title by NCAA". Pilotonline.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.