After an exodus that began three years ago, the MEAC can finally celebrate some good news. The Delaware State Hornets, rumored to be the next school likely to leave the MEAC, will not be leaving the conference according to university President Dr. Tony Allen.
It has been a rough time for the MEAC in recent years.
Hampton left after the 2017-18 season for the Big South while Savannah State departed after the 2018-19 season to return to the Division II level. In February, North Carolina A&T voted to leave after the 2020 season to join Hampton in the Big South. In early June, Florida A&M decided to move to the SWAC and, in turn, led Bethune-Cookman to follow the same path. Both schools will join the SWAC in 2021.
The MEAC membership remains at 8 with 6 left in football. Those six teams are Delaware State, Howard, Morgan State, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central, and South Carolina State. The two non-football schools are Coppin State and Maryland Eastern Shore.
The Delaware State commitment puts a temporary stop to the bleeding and restores a small fraction of confidence for the other institutions who would rather not have to find a new home. The MEAC will also retain its NCAA automatic qualifier status with the 8 full members.
So where does the MEAC go from here?
Well, according to HBCU Gameday, the MEAC wants to expand and is willing to include non-HBCUs. The Division II CIAA conference has long been mentioned as a possibility to bolster the MEAC ranks though it can be a costly venture with little or no return. Just ask Winston-Salem State how difficult the move can be.
Until the MEAC can put forth a solid plan to bring in new schools, combined with the ongoing pandemic that has already impacted games and revenues, it is easy to see why questions surround its future.