EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will become a full member of the Big South Conference on July 1, 2021. The move was announced at a press conference Friday morning (Feb 7) on the N.C. A&T campus.
"We have been looking carefully at our opportunities in athletics for five years and more intensively over the past year. We're pleased to have brought that process to fruition and excited to be ushering in a new alliance with the Big South," said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. "This move makes great sense for our student-athletes, for our fans and for our bottom line. We will always have a place in our hearts for the MEAC, and we look forward to what the new conference will make possible for the Aggies."
The N.C. A&T Board of Trustees voted to switch athletic conferences from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to the Big South on Friday morning just prior to the press conference, acting on a study and recommendation from its Athletic Conference Assessment Committee. The committee completed its study and approved the recommendation on Tuesday.
The Aggies will continue to compete in the MEAC through the end of the 2020-21 academic year before joining 11 member institutions in the Big South.
With the addition of North Carolina A&T, the Big South Conference will now have five members based in North Carolina (Campbell, Gardner-Webb, High Point, North Carolina A&T, UNC Asheville), four in South Carolina (Charleston Southern, Presbyterian College, USC Upstate, Winthrop), as well as three based in Virginia (Hampton, Longwood, Radford). The conference will begin exploring adjustments to future scheduling and championship formats with North Carolina A&T’s addition in the 2021-22 academic year.
The N.C. A&T Aggies sponsor 17 varsity sports at the Division I level, 16 of which are represented in the Big South – football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track & field, baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, and women's volleyball. A&T's bowling team will continue to compete in the MEAC.
In a prepared statement, the MEAC responded:
"Other conferences have approached our member institutions about potential realignment; however, our members have felt that the MEAC is a great fit for their respective institutions and student-athletes academically, athletically, financially and from a branding standpoint.
The MEAC will continue to explore conference expansion in the future, as we have done in the past, led by Dr. David Wilson, President of Morgan State University, who is the chair of the New Membership Committee.
We will work with North Carolina A&T State regarding its transition from the MEAC and wish them well on their new journey.
The conference’s membership remains committed to the MEAC and looks forward to an even brighter future."