Norfolk State Hampton may join MEAC

January 31, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the nine-team league of historically black colleges that includes Coppin State, Morgan State and UMES, hopes to welcome two new members -- Hampton and Norfolk State -- by 1996.

"They have expressed an intention to become affiliated, and we have supplied them with the application information," MEAC commissioner Ken Free said. "The ball is in their court."

Hampton and Norfolk State, two Division II schools from Virginia, belong to the 14-team Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Hampton, which has emerged as a football powerhouse in recent years, already is in its last year as a CIAA member, since Hampton is moving to Division I-AA as an independent in September. Norfolk State plans to apply for a move to Division I-AA this year.

Free would like to see the MEAC expansion completed in time for the 1996-97 season, but said the 1997-98 school year looks like a more realistic target date. Eventually, Free said, he would like the MEAC to include 12 members.

"Norfolk State has been an ongoing project of mine since I took over as commissioner 15 years ago," Free said.

"During that time, Hampton has come on like gangbusters in athletics. When they decided to go Division I, we decided to let them know it was time for expansion. We'll take Norfolk now, pending their Division I status, and they can always back out. Once Norfolk gets their Division I status, they're home free."

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