The North Carolina A&T Aggies are set to change conferences again. The Board of Trustees at North Carolina A&T voted unanimously to join the Colonial Athletic Association for most sports beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. One program not joining the CAA immediately is football as the Aggies do not want to jeopardize the Big South’s automatic qualifier status.
The Aggies left the MEAC in February 2020 to join the Big South in time for the 2021-22 academic year. They will join one of the best FCS football conferences and NCAT has arguably been one of the biggest beneficiaries from the realignment dominoes.
NCAT’s move to the CAA is the latest in a string of programs joining the conference. Fellow HBCU Hampton will also join the CAA in 2022 along with Monmouth and Stony Brook (already a football member). The CAA will lose James Madison following the 2021-22 academic year. The CAA will be up 14 football-playing members when NCAT joins the conference in 2023.
The Big South is now in serious jeopardy of seeing its remaining football membership search for alternatives. Only four teams – Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, and Robert Morris – remain, which is 2 below the NCAA mandated six required to retain automatic qualifier status. The Big South will lose Kennesaw State and North Alabama to the ASUN, which begins sponsoring football for the 2022 season.
We’ll restate the same line from our previous article: The FCS is inching closer to wholesale changes to its conference membership. The ASUN (6 teams), Big South (4), MEAC (6 – typically abstains from FCS Playoffs), OVC (6), Southland (5 eligible, 6 total), and WAC (6 eligible, 8 total) are all seeking additional members to reach AQ status or go beyond their current levels.
Photo courtesy of North Carolina A&T University Athletics.