Florida A&M is possibly positioning itself to fully transition from the MEAC to the SWAC to reduce travel expenses and join what school officials have determined is a more financially lucrative league that is “committed to the long-term stability of the conference” as outlined in a recent university athletic department report.
Florida A&M’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote this week on a proposal crafted by Kortne Gosha, the school’s athletic director, which presents a detailed plan creating a pathway for FAMU to join the SWAC as soon as next year.
Highlighted in a presentation scheduled to be discussed during meetings on Wednesday and Thursday is how a relationship with the SWAC would reduce travel expenses by $400,000, create $1 million in revenue exposure and house the athletic program in an environment with similar fan bases and institutional autonomy.
The 16-page document also explicitly targets many of the drawbacks FAMU’s current standing in the MEAC that has led to it seriously contemplating defecting from the conference.
Those factors include concern over sustainability and membership expansion; limited revenue exposure; extreme travel cost; fan empathy and required conference deals.
“A 2020 benchmarking study conducted by Collegiate Sports Partners determined that Florida A&M University would be best served both financially and athletically by moving their membership from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to the Southwestern Athletic Conference,” the report said.
The report also indicated that by joining the SWAC, FAMU would project to generate an additional $1.4 million that, the document stated, “the MEAC cannot offer.”
The university was also concerned that the MEAC lost Hampton in 2017 to the Big South, and will also lose defending Black College Football national champion North Carolina A&T to the Big South at the end of the 2020 season.
FAMU’s exit from the MEAC would require giving at least one-year notice that would require Board of Trustees approval, but the university would not be responsible for exit fees, the presentation said.
Though the SWAC has not officially commented on Florida A&M’s activity, sources told HBCU Sports that preliminary discussions had taken place with high-ranking league officials involving a potential move.
FAMU has been a member of the MEAC for 40 years.