(Stats Perform) - With FCS conferences hoping to play their postponed football schedules in the spring semester, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has decided to dream big.
The MEAC unveiled a scheduling model on Wednesday that includes its schools split into two divisions for a six-game regular season and a championship game for the first time in the conference's 50-year history. Both additions are similar to what's done in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the other FCS conference composed of historically black colleges and universities.
The MEAC said schools can opt out of competing in the spring based on local and state COVID-19 conditions. No FCS conference is playing a league schedule this fall due to the pandemic.
"Although it's still too early to tell if the coronavirus conditions will improve fast enough to allow us to reconvene spring sports, we want to be prepared with a plan of action," said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, the president of Howard University and chair of the MEAC presidents and chancellors.
The MEAC is not planning to have cross-divisional play in the regular season, with the alignment based on a regional component to reduce time student-athletes spend out of class, eliminate air travel and reduce travel expenses. Delaware State, Howard, Morgan State and Norfolk State will play in the Northern Division and Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, defending conference champion North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central and South Carolina State will be in a loaded Southern Division.
The regular season would be held over nine weeks from Feb. 27 to April 24, with the championship game played on May 1 at the higher-seeded team. If flights are needed for the visiting team, the matchup would be moved to a neutral site in North Carolina.
MEAC football will drop from nine members to six next July 1 when N.C. A&T moves to the Big South and Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M join the SWAC.