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Author Topic: Kentucky State, Virginia State considering move up to Division I to join MEAC  (Read 7355 times)

Offline FunCkMaster

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Timing couldn’t be worse. I think some of you are forgetting that we’re still in a pandemic. This is definitely not the time to make the jump to D1, with or without that generous donation from the former Mrs. Amazon.  It’s fun to talk about it, but don’t look for it to actually happen.

And Chicago State and Kentucky State? Now that’s just comical.

Chicago State? I must have missed that! They already traveling hither and yon as a part of the Western Athletic Conference. And now they gonna go exactly the opposite way? :lol:

MAAAAAAAAN they ain't gonna add a football program, and they are halfway across America, even further than kentucky St. Someone is smoking that "good-good"!
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Online WileECoyote06

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Timing couldn’t be worse. I think some of you are forgetting that we’re still in a pandemic. This is definitely not the time to make the jump to D1, with or without that generous donation from the former Mrs. Amazon.  It’s fun to talk about it, but don’t look for it to actually happen.

And Chicago State and Kentucky State? Now that’s just comical.

Chicago State? I must have missed that! They already traveling hither and yon as a part of the Western Athletic Conference. And now they gonna go exactly the opposite way? :lol:

MAAAAAAAAN they ain't gonna add a football program, and they are halfway across America, even further than kentucky St. Someone is smoking that "good-good"!

Chicago State left the WAC.


Offline JAG89

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One good thing, it sounds like the MEAC has options and there are schools that are interested.

Offline FunCkMaster

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Timing couldn’t be worse. I think some of you are forgetting that we’re still in a pandemic. This is definitely not the time to make the jump to D1, with or without that generous donation from the former Mrs. Amazon.  It’s fun to talk about it, but don’t look for it to actually happen.

And Chicago State and Kentucky State? Now that’s just comical.

Chicago State? I must have missed that! They already traveling hither and yon as a part of the Western Athletic Conference. And now they gonna go exactly the opposite way? :lol:

MAAAAAAAAN they ain't gonna add a football program, and they are halfway across America, even further than kentucky St. Someone is smoking that "good-good"!

Chicago State left the WAC.

Technically they are still in, but only till 2022. But I was not aware that they signed up to roll out. Thanks for that fresh info. :nod: :clap:
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Offline Professor

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I think the MEAC is going to be fine with new members or not. Many people may disagree, but the current MEAC is actually more ideal.  More important than expanding is the retention of its current members. The original MEAC had seven members and quickly became a viable conference.  Hypothetically speaking, if the remaining members stay put, that would be the original MEAC minus A&T.  All of the remaining members made short work of filling their respective ooc schedules and I do not expect that to change.

Almost still waiting on Howard, they only has 9 games

Offline eagle pride

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I think the MEAC is going to be fine with new members or not. Many people may disagree, but the current MEAC is actually more ideal.  More important than expanding is the retention of its current members. The original MEAC had seven members and quickly became a viable conference.  Hypothetically speaking, if the remaining members stay put, that would be the original MEAC minus A&T.  All of the remaining members made short work of filling their respective ooc schedules and I do not expect that to change.


I agree 100%. 
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Offline The Watcher

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Division I membership, especially among the HBCU community, generally indicates transformative vision from leadership.  Not only are there increases in athletic funding, but it often includes better branding, better caliber students, more diverse degree offerings, a more diverse student body, more graduate level programs, and other factors.  These things tend to go hand-in-hand.  Universities looking to position themselves for the next thirty years should examine all options.


I agree Fayetteville State isn't ready to move up currently.  Had they made a decision back in 2005 to move, they would be larger, probably bigger than NCCU and have more doctoral programs.  In the span since 2005, UNC-Pembroke has grown by almost 3000 students; and FSU has pretty much been stagnant.  A move to D1 likely would have allowed them to grow.

Albany State has political obstacles, that's true.  But the MEAC brass should have been recruiting them as soon as they were forced to merge.  Who knows, maybe they were already recruiting them.   :shrug:

You do know that Fayetteville State has nearly 7k students...not too far off from NCCU.

Offline Jay_Thomas

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CHICAGO STATE?
WHO SAID CHICAGO STATE?

The MEAC would be better off getting Coppin
 and UMES to bring back ncaa football cause
 Chicago State has NO football team either
 and is waaaaay OVER THERE!


Folks know they do some serious reaching  ;D


And CAU and Morehouse ain't going anywhere either!  :no:


Offline MilesBear1

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From HBCUGameday.com

The future of the MEAC has been a hot topic in HBCU sports for years, especially in the last 18 months. With three schools leaving the conference in July, the 50-year-old league is trying to keep things in place.

As has often been the case in the conference’s history, it is looking at Division II HBCUs to push forward.

The league has two of them – one from the CIAA and the other from the SIAC — in its sights. Both Kentucky State and Virginia State have looked into the possibility of moving up to Division I and the MEAC. It also has another school that is already Division I that allegedly wants in very badly.


SOURCE: KENTUCKY STATE PUT OUT FEELERS, MEAC AGREED TO WAIVE MEMBERSHIP FEE
A source tells HBCU Gameday that Kentucky State requested a feasibility study on moving up to DI last fall. The MEAC reportedly agreed to waive the $250k fee to join the conference if the school made the move in 2021. The $1.7 million fee to join Division I is not waivable. 

The feasibility study was completed earlier this year and delivered to KYSU.

“There have been conversations. No decision has been made. The University is weighing the opportunity,” KYSU President Dr. M. Christopher Brown II told HBCU Sports. “There are strengths to remaining in the SIAC and exciting opportunities in shifting to the MEAC.”

Kentucky State’s enrollment was listed at just above 2,220 in Fall of 2020. A move up to Divison I would likely force those students to pay higher athletic fees.

VIRGINIA STATE OFFICIAL: MOVE WOULD REQUIRE FEE RAISE AND ENROLLMENT INCREASE
Virginia State University, according to multiple sources, was contacted by the MEAC about its interest in joining the league after the start of the pandemic. The school has completed a feasibility study, which has yet to be presented to the Board of Visitors.

The school, located in Ettrick, Virginia, has been speculated for years as the next CIAA school to make the jump to Division I via the MEAC. A VSU official tells HBCU Gameday that the money to make the leap is there, thanks in large part to the $30 million gift from MacKenzie Scott. The official also believes the MEAC would waive the conference entrance fee as well. However, there are concerns about the long-term costs of moving up for the university as a whole.

A move up to Division I requires not only the one-time fee, but an upgrade in scholarships in both men’s and women’s sports.

“This feasibility study has shown us a path, but in order to have the athletic budget that we want to be able to compete, we probably have to do both — raise fees and increase enrollment,” the official said.

And the VSU source believes that raising the fees would send the wrong message to the state, and could hurt funding in other ways.


Peggy Davis, VSU’s Director of Athletics, confirmed that the feasibility study had been done. Davis said that it was done to align with VSU’s 2020-2025 strategic plan that calls for defining the department’s brand moving forward.

“Virginia State has been around for a long time. And we want to continue to provide the best opportunities for not only our student-athletes, but our students, our faculty and our staff. So the way to do that, of course, is to complete a feasibility study for continued growth within the athletic program to go along with the growth of the institution.”

Davis wanted to make it clear where the athletics department stands currently.

“We’re fully committed to the CIAA and to NCAA Division II membership.”


SOURCE: CHICAGO STATE WANTS IN, CONFERENCE LUKEWARM
There is one school that is very interested in joining the league, according to a source with knowledge on all three programs. Chicago State is reportedly willing to join the MEAC. CSU is a predominantly black university.

CSU, according to this source, is agreeable to a deal that would make it a full MEAC member for three years. After that time is up, it can either stay on as a full member or move to another conference.

There are two issues that make Chicago State a MEAC long shot. One being its location. It is located securely in the midwest, which would dramatically expand the conference’s footprint. It also does not have a football program.

The MEAC, according to the source, has offered CSU an associate member status in one sport.

HBCU Gameday has reached out to Chicago State officials.

We have reached out to the MEAC for comment regarding expansion.

Taking on schools moving up from D2 to DI has been a mixed bag for the MEAC throughout history. Hampton, with MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas as its AD, successfully made the move in the mid-1990s, followed by Norfolk State. Winston-Salem State and North Carolina Central did the same the following decade, but WSSU eventually discarded its attempt. Savannah State spent a decade looking for a home after leaving the SIAC, eventually spending most of the 2010s in the MEAC before heading back to D2.

The league will lose three key members when Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and North Carolina A&T exit on June 30. It will be down to just six football members and will have just four baseball programs as NC Central is disbanding its program.

With re-alignment a reality across the college athletics landscape, things can and are changing quickly. The source tells us that there could be mutual interest between a few current MEAC programs and the American East, which just lost Hartford as it moved to DIII.

With schools having to set future intentions into motion by the end of June, the next few months could prove very hectic, and important to the MEAC’s future.

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Offline MilesBear1

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NCAA FOOTBALL
The MEAC is Searching Division 2 for Future Members

ByMatthew Dixon
 MAY 11, 2021  College Football, College Football Realignment, College Sports Realignment, Kentucky State Thorobreds, NCAA Football, Realignment, Virginia State Trojans


Rev up the realignment engines because the MEAC is part of the latest college realignment news in what has been an extremely busy week of college athletics news. HBCU Sports is reporting that Kentucky State and Virginia State – both NCAA Division 2 members – are considering a move up to Division to join the MEAC.

The MEAC is an obvious candidate for large-scale expansion after they have seen a mass exodus from its own ranks. The conference has lost five members in the last several years starting with Hampton leaving for the Big South after the 2018 season followed by Savannah State returning to Division 2 a year later. 2020 was a miserable year as the North Carolina A&T announced they will bolt for the Big South while the Florida duo of Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M announced a move to the SWAC. All three of those programs are leaving in July after the current 2020-21 academic year is completed.


 
The losses have left 8 schools in the conference with only 6 football-playing members. Importantly, the MEAC needs to have at least 6 programs to maintain an automatic qualifier for the FCS Playoffs. Both Kentucky State and Virginia State sponsor football, which would provide a small buffer in case of further defections while also allowing them to consider further expansion. It is important to note that these two schools would not count towards the AQ amount for at least three seasons after they begin the transition to the NCAA Division I level.

With the much-needed context out of the way, let’s provide some analysis of the two schools as well as some other options the MEAC may consider.

The Case for Moving to Division I
Kentucky State – located in Frankfort – is currently a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which is the same conference that Savannah State joined after leaving the MEAC in 2019. KSU would become the most-western situated program in the conference though not egregiously so. Nevertheless, travel would be less than ideal in the MEAC though they are familiar with that setup as a member of the SIAC.

Virginia State is located in Ettrick and is a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and would be located in the middle of the MEAC geographical footprint. The map below shows the MEAC with the two potential members in orange and the 2021-22 membership in blue.




Both schools make sense for the MEAC as they are among the top Division 2 leaders in football attendance, both are public schools, and have comparable enrollment numbers. Below is a table showing total football attendance, average attendance, enrollment, and school type for the MEAC schools as well as Kentucky State and Virginia State.



Show
10
 entriesSearch:
School   Football Attendance
(2019)   Attendance Average   Enrollment   School Type
Coppin State   N/A   N/A   3,400   Public
Delaware State   10,596   1,514   5,045   Public
Howard University   15,317   3,829   10,000   Private
Maryland Eastern Shore   N/A   N/A   3,400   Public
Morgan State   24,074   4,815   7,712   Public
Norfolk State   56,840   11,296   5,500   Public
North Carolina Central   31,674   6,335   10,000   Public
South Carolina State   62,035   10,339   4,500   Public
Kentucky State   18,926   6,309   2,341   Public
Virginia State   27,250   5,450   7,100   PublicShowing 1 to 10 of 10 entriesPreviousNext


As shown in the table, the football attendance numbers would place the two newcomers in the middle part of the conference with potential for higher numbers going forward due to strong attendance numbers the MEAC usually puts up each year. It’s worth noting that neither Coppin State nor Maryland Eastern Shore offers football.

The Case Against Moving to Division I
So what’s the downside? Well, for the schools the cost of jumping up to Division I comes with a hefty price tag of $1.7 million for the NCAA Division I application fee alone. Then there’s the MEAC conference fee, which is reportedly $250,000 though the MEAC would waive the fee for both schools. The D1 fee alone would nearly amount to Kentucky State’s most recent athletic budget of $1.9 million. There’s also the 4-year timeline to becoming a full Division I member after starting the process, which means no sports teams would have access to NCAA postseason tournaments.

Additional money may need to be spent on facilities such as expanding the football stadium. Kentucky State has a football stadium capacity of 6,000 but additional seating would be needed to accommodate the higher MEAC attendance. The same could be said for Virginia State, which has a stadium capacity of roughly 8,000. VSU already has a good basketball arena while KSU would likely need to upgrade its arena a bit.


 
Moving up to D1 also means higher coaching salaries, additional administrative and compliance costs, an increase in scholarships, higher recruiting costs to maintain competitiveness at the D1 level, etc. that need to be factored in. On the flip side, there might be a bump up in donations, sponsorships, giving, and the increased TV/ticket sales revenue. However, given the outlays, would those increases in revenue be enough to justify the move up?

Finally, there is a precedent that moving up from Division 2 into the MEAC tends to end poorly. Morris Brown began a transition in 2002 from the SIAC to what was then referred to as Division I-AA (now FCS) and the MEAC. The college dropped athletics completely after the 2002-03 academic year as it faced numerous troubles.

Winston Salem State tried a similar move starting in the 2007-08 season as they were moving up to Division I from the CIAA. Midway through the transition process, the university announced it was returning to Division II for the 2010-11 season. The Rams cited increased expenses as the reasons for a return to the D2 level.


 
Just as Winston Salem State’s MEAC tenure was drawing to a close, Savannah State was beginning its own adventure. They joined starting with the 2010-11 season and would stay with the conference through the 2018-19 season. Like Morris Brown and WSSU, the Tigers were overwhelmed by the cost of Division I athletics and returned to the SIAC at the Division 2 level.

Other Potential Candidates
For the MEAC, they are in need of members but why not potentially look at other Division I conferences that have also seen membership losses. The Ohio Valley Conference and Southland Conferences have both seen multiple schools leave for the proverbial greener pastures. The OVC will have 10 member schools and 7 football-playing members.

The Southland in particular is in a similar spot to the MEAC as 5 schools will be leaving after the 2020-21 academic year and will have 8 remaining members. Also, like the MEAC, they will have 6 football-playing members making their FCS Playoff AQ status tenuous going forward. There are also plenty of rumors swirling that additional members may be looking to get out.


 
One scenario would be the MEAC poaching teams from the Southland or looking to the OVC for members (or vice versa). There could also be the potential for conferences to fold if additional members cannot be found leaving the current membership of the MEAC, OVC, and Southland to find new homes in this case.

Another scenario, admittedly far-fetched, would be creating a scheduling agreement like the one the ASUN and WAC will have for the 2021 season. In the event that neither conference has the minimum of 6 required members for AQ status, they could have the top 2 teams meet in a championship game to determine the AQ for the FCS Playoffs. This would require the blessing of the NCAA, which is always a gamble. They could also try to petition the NCAA for a waiver of the 6 school minimum though that would not be a viable long-term solution.

Finally, there are other options such as Chicago State desiring a move to the MEAC. We looked at Chicago State’s future options in-depth as they will need to find a new conference after their WAC membership ends in June 2022.

Final Thoughts
It’s understandable why the MEAC would go to D2 to find new members and shore up its ranks. The allure of being a D1 is strong and the MEAC offers an enticement to make those dreams a reality. However, it is still an expensive proposition for the D2 programs based on the Division I application fee alone before getting into all the other increased expenses that come with running a Division I institution.

Of the two teams mentioned in the report, Virginia State makes a lot of sense on paper. They have strong athletics at the D2 level, solid facilities, and sit in a perfect geographical location for the MEAC. However, they are struggling with a deficit near $26 million and declining enrollment numbers. They did get a generous gift of $30 million from MacKenzie Scott, which will help resolve some funding issues.


 
As for Kentucky State, it’s a bit harder to see them move up. Just 5 years ago, they were on the brink of closing due to budget cuts according to the university President. Whether that was hyperbole to receive as much state funding as possible or not, recent events and the pandemic make it even more unlikely they would make the move at this time.

While these two schools may or may not be future MEAC members, it’s good to know that the conference is at least searching for potential candidates. Getting them to commit and succeed at being a full-fledged Division I member is a different matter entirely as history has shown.
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Offline Conquero

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Miles,

I don't know about the other figures you report, but South Carolina State student enrollment reports below 2000 students.  I am questioning their viability in the MEAC absent a quick turn around in their enrollment.  They do have a high student athletic fee.  Believe it or not SSU was not as overwhelmed as some would have you think.  SSU was able to pay their athletic deficit annually.  SSU just had bad leadership with no vision and politically the rest of the State wanted SSU in DII. 


Offline Decks

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So which MEAC schools are supposed to be exploring moving to The America's East Conference...according to HBCU Gameday?

Offline TrueTrojan

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Punchy, I don't think the improvements to Rogers Stadium and building baseball and softball facilities on campus had anything to do with going D1. The baseball team used to play in Colonial Heights and the softball team in Ettrick Park. the renovations to the stadium were desperately needed. as far as the MPC, the bulk of that money came from the state of VA and Chesterfield County. even with a brand new facility, attendance for games is hit and miss. People will show up for Union, Bowie, Norfolk (when they came to us), but people aren't coming to see Elizabeth City or Lincoln. the fee to move up is $1.7M. I guess the people that want to make that move, want to take the $ that was donated. where is the $ supposed to come from to fund the other 30 football scholarships to move to FCS level? to pay the additional staff needed for coaches and support staff? Scholarships for the non revenue sports? I would rather spend that donation $ on improving our academic offerings and campus facilities than to join the already in trouble MEAC just so some can puff their chest out and say my school is D1. There's a difference between D1 and HBCU D1
 

Excellent analogy. VSU may be the apple of their eye, but we’re happy where we are and have no reason to leave, especially for the almost defunct MEAC! If one more football playing member of the MEAC leaves (which will probably be Del State which has said they are looking at other options), the MEAC will be dissolved or become a D2 conference as they won’t qualify as a D1. So, that’s why they’re going after Kentucky State! They need a fall back in case VSU says HELL NO, which, I think, they suspect we will since the MEAC has been after us for years and we haven’t budged.
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Offline y04185

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Division I membership, especially among the HBCU community, generally indicates transformative vision from leadership.  Not only are there increases in athletic funding, but it often includes better branding, better caliber students, more diverse degree offerings, a more diverse student body, more graduate level programs, and other factors.  These things tend to go hand-in-hand.  Universities looking to position themselves for the next thirty years should examine all options.


I agree Fayetteville State isn't ready to move up currently.  Had they made a decision back in 2005 to move, they would be larger, probably bigger than NCCU and have more doctoral programs.  In the span since 2005, UNC-Pembroke has grown by almost 3000 students; and FSU has pretty much been stagnant.  A move to D1 likely would have allowed them to grow.

Albany State has political obstacles, that's true.  But the MEAC brass should have been recruiting them as soon as they were forced to merge.  Who knows, maybe they were already recruiting them.   :shrug:

You do know that Fayetteville State has nearly 7k students...not too far off from NCCU.

Using that logic Grand Valley should be D1.  In college, student body size has nothing to do with classification.
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Online WileECoyote06

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Division I membership, especially among the HBCU community, generally indicates transformative vision from leadership.  Not only are there increases in athletic funding, but it often includes better branding, better caliber students, more diverse degree offerings, a more diverse student body, more graduate level programs, and other factors.  These things tend to go hand-in-hand.  Universities looking to position themselves for the next thirty years should examine all options.


I agree Fayetteville State isn't ready to move up currently.  Had they made a decision back in 2005 to move, they would be larger, probably bigger than NCCU and have more doctoral programs.  In the span since 2005, UNC-Pembroke has grown by almost 3000 students; and FSU has pretty much been stagnant.  A move to D1 likely would have allowed them to grow.

Albany State has political obstacles, that's true.  But the MEAC brass should have been recruiting them as soon as they were forced to merge.  Who knows, maybe they were already recruiting them.   :shrug:

You do know that Fayetteville State has nearly 7k students...not too far off from NCCU.

I read around 6200.  I'll gladly accept your correction.  And FSU should be as big as or bigger than NCCU considering their region.

 

 

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