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Division 1 College Conference Realignment

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2 minutes ago, sportsfan7 said:

Even though we now know they're staying in the MEAC, it wouldn't have been unusual for the State gov't to get involved and force Delaware to vote in favor of Delaware St, a la UVA-VA Tech in the ACC.

 

Va Tech ain't an HBCU in a former slave state.

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49 minutes ago, rams80 said:

 

Va Tech ain't an HBCU in a former slave state.

Yes, but both are the second largest public university in the state and the little brother of the larger one in a better conference.

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Delaware State staying in the MEAC helps. What concerns me is the talk of trying to expand... there's not a lot of HBCU's that are willing to make the leap to Division I right now.

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1 hour ago, Seadragon76 said:

Delaware State staying in the MEAC helps. What concerns me is the talk of trying to expand... there's not a lot of HBCU's that are willing to make the leap to Division I right now.

Savannah St left last year to move down to DII and Winston-Salem St did the same thing 10 years ago.

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Exactly. There's talk of maybe the MEAC schools dropping down to Division II and possibly merging with the CIAA, but that is a literal last ditch plan there.

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2 hours ago, sportsfan7 said:

Yes, but both are the second largest public university in the state and the little brother of the larger one in a better conference.

2nd and 3rd with Va Tech being 2 (George Mason is bigger).

 

Also huge difference between liberal arts flagship and full land grant vs "One school to rule them all" and HBCU that's 1/6th the size.

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2 hours ago, rams80 said:

2nd and 3rd with Va Tech being 2 (George Mason is bigger).

 

Also huge difference between liberal arts flagship and full land grant vs "One school to rule them all" and HBCU that's 1/6th the size.

 

VCU is also bigger than both UVA and VT. (edit: maybe not, different sources show different enrollment numbers. Either way, George Mason and VCU are both bigger than UVA.)

 

Virginia is weird in that its two flagship campuses are absolutely nowhere near the largest urban areas. I guess Mississippi is similar, but Mississippi barely has urban areas.

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26 minutes ago, sc49erfan15 said:

Virginia is weird in that its two flagship campuses are absolutely nowhere near the largest urban areas. I guess Mississippi is similar, but Mississippi barely has urban areas.

 

Actually, until about 100 years ago, a lot of college campuses were away from easy access to urban areas. This idea of being a refuge for education is a part of why even to this day college campuses can sometimes feel like another world. Transportation technology and infrastructure advancing put it an end to that scenario. The South is only starting to have that change due to the explosion of people moving there and building up the economy and infrastructure there. Pretty much all of SEC country aside from Vanderbilt and Kentucky is a good distance away major urban areas. 

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58 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

 

Actually, until about 100 years ago, a lot of college campuses were away from easy access to urban areas. This idea of being a refuge for education is a part of why even to this day college campuses can sometimes feel like another world. Transportation technology and infrastructure advancing put it an end to that scenario. The South is only starting to have that change due to the explosion of people moving there and building up the economy and infrastructure there. Pretty much all of SEC country aside from Vanderbilt and Kentucky is a good distance away major urban areas. 

 

Good point - especially considering the older public liberal arts-focused universities in the South were almost all founded in smaller towns, some of which have grown significantly (UNC, UVA, UGA come to mind) while others really haven't (Ole Miss).

 

When it comes to the Morrill Act land grant "ag schools" like Clemson, Auburn, and Mississippi State, their agricultural beginnings made sense for them to be founded in rural areas. I realize that doesn't hold true for all (NC State, LSU) and that UGA would fit in both categories. That claim also mostly falls apart outside of the South, but it's how I've always thought of them.

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15 hours ago, sc49erfan15 said:

 

Good point - especially considering the older public liberal arts-focused universities in the South were almost all founded in smaller towns, some of which have grown significantly (UNC, UVA, UGA come to mind) while others really haven't (Ole Miss).

 

When it comes to the Morrill Act land grant "ag schools" like Clemson, Auburn, and Mississippi State, their agricultural beginnings made sense for them to be founded in rural areas. I realize that doesn't hold true for all (NC State, LSU) and that UGA would fit in both categories. That claim also mostly falls apart outside of the South, but it's how I've always thought of them.

 

Do you mean that the idea of land grant ag schools being away from urban areas mostly falls apart outside the South?  It at least holds true in Pennsylvania (State College) and Indiana, which has both its liberal arts and land grants schools in rural areas with IU (Bloomington) and Purdue (West Lafayette).

 

Maryland is another state where one school fills both roles.  I don't know that College Park was ever truly rural, but it's very much a DC suburb now (to the point of literally being "Inside the Beltway").

 

As for the bigger topic, I would also expect Delaware to be pretty resistant to Delaware State joining the CAA.  I don't know Delaware state politics, but I also suspect that Delaware State doesn't have the power to force the issue successfully.

 

With regard to the MEAC as a whole, I'm not sure what might come next.  I believe Morgan State and UMES would resist a move to D-II.  Absent a merger, Coppin State is the most likely of the three Maryland schools to move down since it is a small* commuter school with less overall history that Morgan and UMES (its basketball success notwithstanding).  

 

* -- Until I looked it up, I didn't realize how small Coppin is. There are only about 2,400 undergrads enrolled. UMES isn't much bigger with 2,800, but it carries more sports history from its days as Maryland State College.**  Per Wiki, "UMES is tied with Florida State for the most alumni appearing in a single Super Bowl game. In the 1968 game (Super Bowl III) between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts, UMES was represented by four alumni: Earl Christy (1961–1964), Johnny Sample (1954–1957), Emerson Boozer (1962–1965), and Charlie Stukes (1963–1967)."

 

** -- I also learned that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the transition/name change from Maryland State to UMES and that the Maryland State name didn't come about until 1948.

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I've been rethinking how the MEAC falls apart, and I think it could go something like this;

 

Dayton joins the Big East- Despite what the conference is saying, the Big East should try and get to 12. Dayton is a Catholic school in the leagues footprint who was a national title contender last year and maintains the balance between Eastern and Midwestern schools.

Delaware joins the A-10- This would give the A-10 another Eastern Flagship school

Howard joins the Colonial- A high quality school in the middle of the leagues footprint

NC Central and Norfolk St join the Big South- Each teams biggest rival recently left for the Big South

SC St to the A-Sun- Now a geographical outlier in a crumbling conference, they jump at the first offer

Morgan St and Delaware St to the AmericaEast- The only two remaining football-playing members get the AEC to 6 football teams

Coppin St and UMES join the CIAA (D2)- The only option for staying D1 would be with the NEC, who I don't think offers them.

 

I thought about having Howard join the A-10 instead of Delaware, but that would give the conference 3 teams in the DC area and would be a huge step up for Howard. I also could see Morgan and DSU going to the NEC instead of the AEC.

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It's way too early to see if the Makur Maker decision to attend Howard will have any impact on realignment.  However, if he does play at Howard and other top players follow him to Howard or other HBCUs, it would presumably make Howard more attractive to a conference like the CAA.

 

https://theundefeated.com/features/top-hoops-recruit-makur-maker-chooses-howard-in-a-game-changer-for-hbcus/

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1 hour ago, leopard88 said:

It's way too early to see if the Makur Maker decision to attend Howard will have any impact on realignment.  However, if he does play at Howard and other top players follow him to Howard or other HBCUs, it would presumably make Howard more attractive to a conference like the CAA.

 

https://theundefeated.com/features/top-hoops-recruit-makur-maker-chooses-howard-in-a-game-changer-for-hbcus/

 

If this becomes a trend to other HCBUs, I can see TV contracts skyrocketing for SWAC and MEAC too. HCBUs potentially becoming a force in football again was not something I saw coming.

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1 minute ago, Red Comet said:

 

If this becomes a trend to other HCBUs, I can see TV contracts skyrocketing for SWAC and MEAC too. HCBUs potentially becoming a force in football again was not something I saw coming.

 

It will be easier for the HBCUs to make an impact in basketball if this opens the door.  2-3 players with a solid supporting cast can make a much bigger impact on a basketball team than on a football team.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, leopard88 said:

 

It will be easier for the HBCUs to make an impact in basketball if this opens the door.  2-3 players with a solid supporting cast can make a much bigger impact on a basketball team than on a football team.

 

And with that, a high-profile coach in basketball or football going to an HCBU can trigger similar movements of talent both in players and coaches. Getting an opportunity to be in charge will be enticing for a lot of black coaches who put in years of assistant coaching experience once other schools try to get higher-profile talent too. 

Edited by Red Comet

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The Baltimore Sun happened to chime in on the MEAC situation this morning.  It sounds like Coppin and UMES have affirmatively stated their commitment to the MEAC while Morgan has remained silent.

 

After defections, Coppin State and UMES sticking with MEAC, but Morgan State remains quiet

 

Quote

Coppin State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore expressed in written statements their intention to remain as member schools in the league.

“Coppin State University and its Athletic Department remain 100% committed to our membership to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference,” the school said Monday.

“As one of the founding members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, we are committed to the MEAC and its future,” UMES athletic director Keith Davidson said Tuesday. “The presidents and chancellors of the eight remaining schools in the conference have all expressed their desire to remain and to help make the MEAC stronger than it has ever been. In today’s changing landscape of college athletics, it is important to belong to a conference which is stable, financially viable and has an eye toward the future.”

But Morgan State, the largest of the three HBCUs in Maryland and the only one of the three that sponsors football and men’s and women’s basketball, referred inquiries t the league’s media relations office.

 

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From reading that, a few things come to mind... one is that Morgan State is basically waiting out the storm, then saying that they'll commit to the MEAC.

 

Another option could be that they might move, but would be seen as a selfish plan considering that their inter city rivals and in state rival have committed to making it work with the MEAC.

 

The last option could be a complete 'nuclear' option: Dismantle the entire sports program... but that's way too risky for any school, let alone a D-I HBCU, unless there is viable proof that your school can't support it.

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29 minutes ago, Seadragon76 said:

From reading that, a few things come to mind... one is that Morgan State is basically waiting out the storm, then saying that they'll commit to the MEAC.

 

Another option could be that they might move, but would be seen as a selfish plan considering that their inter city rivals and in state rival have committed to making it work with the MEAC.

 

The last option could be a complete 'nuclear' option: Dismantle the entire sports program... but that's way too risky for any school, let about a D-I HBCU, unless there is viable proof that your school can't support it.

 

Of the three Maryland schools, I think Morgan State would be the least likely to to the nuclear option route.  They seem to have the most alumni support and stable programs in football and basketball.  Coppin State has never had a football team and UMES hasn't had one in over 40 years.

 

I could see some combination of Nos. 1 and 2 -- prefer stay in the MEAC while keeping all options open in case the conference implodes.

 

One thing the article notes is that the recent defections will do quite a bit to reduce travel costs.  S.C. State and NCA&T are the only schools left that are not located in Maryland, Delaware, DC or Virginia.  With those exceptions, the rest of the conference is probably all within a 4-5 hour drive of one another.

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I think that helps all three schools. The southern most location now is in Florida... starting next season, it'll be South Carolina as the southern most location for these schools.

 

I think that in the next round of realignment, travel costs will play a much larger role then they traditionally do. I mean, they do play a role most of the time... but now with all the schools feeling that money crunch, travel costs might loom large.

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11 hours ago, Seadragon76 said:

I think that helps all three schools. The southern most location now is in Florida... starting next season, it'll be South Carolina as the southern most location for these schools.

 

I think that in the next round of realignment, travel costs will play a much larger role then they traditionally do. I mean, they do play a role most of the time... but now with all the schools feeling that money crunch, travel costs might loom large.

 

Agreed.  It is less of an issue for big schools, particularly with regard to the revenue generating sports.  However, it still doesn't make a lot of sense for West Virginia to be sending the women's tennis team (assuming they have one) to Texas Tech.

 

I'm sure the powers-that-be in Morgantown long for the days when their shortest conference trip wasn't to Lawrence, KS or Ames, IA (which is just a guess because I didn't feel like looking this up).

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