A&T will leave MEAC for Big South Conference, source says
N.C. A&T, a founding member of the MEAC in 1971, will announce Friday it is leaving the conference for the Big South.
The move is pending approval of A&T’s board of trustees, which meets Friday morning. If that approval happens, A&T plans to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday to formally announce the change of leagues, according to a source inside the university who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Aggies’ bowling team would remain in the MEAC, the source said, but all other sports would move to the Big South effective July 1, 2021.
That would make the 2020-21 school year A&T’s last season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, a league with 11 full members that are all historically black colleges and universities.
The Big South, meanwhile, has 11 full members, all in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. That’s an obvious appeal for travel for A&T athletics with High Point, Gardner-Webb, Campbell and Asheville all in-state trips.
A&T and Hampton, which left the MEAC in 2017, would be the only two HBCUs in the Big South.
The Big South is an FCS league that also has three associate members — Monmouth, Kennesaw State and North Alabama — for football only. A&T would give the league nine football teams.
The move would end A&T’s affiliation with the Celebration Bowl, which matches the champions of the MEAC and SWAC and serves as a de facto black college football national championship game. The Aggies have won four of the first five Celebration Bowls, including the last three in a row.
The Big South’s football champion is an automatic qualifier for the FCS playoffs.