Only July 1, 2021, the NC A&T Aggies will be headed to the Big South. The Aggies will be the second HBCU in the conference, joining Hampton University, who left the MEAC for the Big South in 2017. A&T has 17 varsity sports, 16 of which will be moving to the Big South. The only sport staying in the MEAC, the all HBCU conference is the bowling team.
This morning, the university's Board of Trustees voted to switch conferences. After this upcoming academic year (2020-21), the move will be official. The Aggies will join 11 other teams in the Big South, which is compromised of a league of schools from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This is intriguing for travel as well, as the Aggies will not have to go far for away contests. Being in the MEAC, the Aggies would travel as far south as Florida to face two different schools and as far north as Delaware.
Harold L. Martin, Sr., the Chancellor of A&T said during a press conference to announce the move, “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.”
This is a much deserved and needed move for the Aggies. According to their website, they won seven straight men's basketball conference tournaments from 1982-88, have one of the best track and field programs in the nation, have appeared in five FCS Championship postseason appearances, 55 MEAC championships, and have won four Celebration Bowl games (MEAC v SWAC) in five years. This move also automatically makes the Aggies eligible for the FCS National Championship, potentially facing a team like North Dakota State.
This is huge, showing that HBCUs can compete among other schools outside of themselves.