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
DivisionDivision I
Sports fielded
  • 16
    • men's: 8
    • women's: 8
RegionSouth Atlantic, Middle Atlantic
HeadquartersNorfolk, Virginia
CommissionerDennis 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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[2]

North Carolina Central University rejoined the conference effective July 1, 2010.[3][4] 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.[3]

Savannah State University was announced as the newest member of the MEAC on March 10, 2010.[4] 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.[4] On September 8, 2011, the university was confirmed as a full MEAC member.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

In April 2017, Savannah State announced that it would drop to Division II effective with the 2019–20 school year.[8] In November 2017, Hampton announced they would leave the MEAC to join the Big South Conference beginning with the 2018–19 season.[9]

Member schools

Current members

Institution Location Founded Joined Type Enrollment Nickname Colors
North Division
Coppin State University Baltimore, Maryland 1900 1985 Public 3,400[10] Eagles          
Delaware State University Dover, Delaware 1891 1970 Public 3,400[11] Hornets          
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 1970 Private 10,000[12] Bison/Lady Bison          
University of Maryland Eastern Shore Princess Anne, Maryland 1886 1970,
1981[Notes 1]
Public 3,400[13] Hawks          
Morgan State University Baltimore, Maryland 1867 1970,
1984[Notes 2]
Public 4,500[14] Bears          
Norfolk State University Norfolk, Virginia 1935 1997 Public 4,500[15] Spartans          
South Division
Bethune–Cookman University Daytona Beach, Florida 1904 1979 Private 3,400[16] Wildcats          
Florida A&M University Tallahassee, Florida 1887 1979,
1986[Notes 3]
Public 10,000[17] Rattlers/Lady Rattlers          
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Greensboro, North Carolina 1891 1970 Public 10,000[18] Aggies          
North Carolina Central University Durham, North Carolina 1910 1970,
2010[19][Notes 4]
Public 10,000[20] Eagles          
South Carolina State University Orangeburg, South Carolina 1896 1970 Public 4,500[21] Bulldogs/Lady Bulldogs          

Associate members

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined Sport Primary
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

Former members

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)
  • 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 CIAA after the 2009–2010 school year. They were scheduled to begin full membership and gain access to NCAA tournaments in 2011.[22][23]

Membership timeline

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.[24]
  • 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.[25]
  • 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.


School Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity
Bethune Cookman Daytona Stadium 10,000 Moore Gymnasium 3,000 Jackie Robinson Ballpark 4,200[26]
Coppin State Non-football school[Notes 5] Physical Education Complex 4,100[27] Joe Cannon Stadium 1,500
Delaware State Alumni Stadium 7,193[28] Memorial Hall 1,800[29] Soldier Field 500
Florida A&M Bragg Memorial Stadium 25,500[30] Al Lawson Teaching Gym 9,639[31] Moore–Kittles Field 500[32]
Howard William H. Greene Stadium 10,000[33] Burr Gymnasium 2,700[34] Non-baseball school
Maryland Eastern Shore Non-football school[Notes 6][35] Hytche Athletic Center 5,500[36] Hawk Stadium 1,000[37]
Morgan State Hughes Stadium 10,000 Talmadge L. Hill Field House 4,000 Non-baseball school
Norfolk State William "Dick" Price Stadium 30,000[38] Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall 4,500[39] Marty L. Miller Field 1,500[40]
North Carolina A&T BB&T Stadium 23,000[41] Corbett Sports Center 5,000 War Memorial Stadium 7,500[42]
North Carolina Central O'Kelly–Riddick Stadium 10,000[43] McDougald–McLendon Gymnasium 3,000[44] Durham Athletic Park 5,000
South Carolina State Oliver C. Dawson Stadium 20,000[45] SHM Memorial Center 3,000[46] Non-baseball school


The MEAC sponsors championship competition in seven men's and eight women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[47]

Teams in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference competition
Cross country1313
Track and field (indoor)1313
Track and field (outdoor)1313


National championships

School Nat'l
Howard 1 1971 [Notes 7] • 1974
Florida A&M (FAMU) 1 1978
North Carolina A&T 1 2015 [48]
Maryland-Eastern Shore 3 2008 • 2011 • 2012 [49]

Current champions


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.

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

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 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

School Championships Championship Years
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
Coppin State 4 1990,1993,1997,2008
Florida A&M 4 1991,1994,2004,2007
North Carolina Central 4 2014,2017,2018, 2019
Howard 3 1980,1981,1992
Morgan State 3 1977,2009,2010
Maryland-Eastern Shore 1 1974
Delaware State 1 2005
Norfolk State 1 2012

Women's basketball


 Season   Regular season champion(s)  Tournament champion
1972 Howard
1973 South Carolina State
1974 North Carolina A&T
1975 Howard
1976 Howard
1977 Howard
1978 No Records Available
1979 No Records Available
1980 No Records Available
1981 No Records Available
1982 No Records Available
1983 No Records Available
1984 Howard
1985 Bethune–Cookman
1986 Howard
1987 Florida A&M
1988 Florida A&M
1989 Delaware State
1990 Florida A&M
1991 Florida A&M
1992 Florida A&M
1993 North Carolina A&T
1994 Florida A&M
1995 Coppin State
1996 Bethune–Cookman
1997 Bethune–Cookman
1998 Howard
1999 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2000 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2001 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2002 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2003 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2004 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2005 North Carolina A&T North Carolina A&T
2006 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2007 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2008 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2009 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2010 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
2011 Bethune–Cookman Bethune–Cookman
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

|Norfolk State |- |2020


 Season  Champion(s)
1993 Florida A&M
1994 Florida A&M
1995 Florida A&M
1996 Hampton
1997 Florida A&M
1998 Florida A&M
1999 Florida A&M
2000 Bethune–Cookman
2001 Bethune–Cookman
2002 Bethune–Cookman
2003 Bethune–Cookman
2004 Bethune–Cookman
2005 Florida A&M
2006 Florida A&M
2007 Howard
2008 Delaware State
2009 Florida A&M
2010 Bethune–Cookman
2011 Bethune–Cookman
2012 Bethune–Cookman
2013 Hampton
2014 Florida A&M
2015 Florida A&M
2016 Florida A&M
2017 Florida A&M
2018 Bethune-Cookman
2019 Bethune-Cookman

See also


  1. Maryland-Eastern Shore wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1979–80 and the 1980–81 seasons.
  2. Morgan State wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1979–80 and the 1983–84 seasons.
  3. Florida A&M wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1984–85 and the 1985–86 seasons.
  4. North Carolina Central wasn't part of the MEAC between the 1979–80 and the 2009–10 seasons.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Howard was later disqualified from their 1971 NCAA soccer championship; however, no team was ever announced as the new champion.
  8. Bethune–Cookman receives NCAA Division I FCS Playoff Automatic Qualifying bid via MEAC Conference tiebreaker system.
  9. Morgan State receives NCAA Division I FCS Playoff Automatic Qualifying bid via MEAC Conference tiebreaker system.


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