Editors Note: This story has been updated with a statement from Steve Newton, to correct the timeline of BOT discussions, and to accurately report the number of football members in the Northeast Conference.
As the steady erosion of the MEAC continues with Hampton, North Carolina A&T, Florida A&M, and most recently Bethune-Cookman choosing to leave the conference, rumors are surfacing that yet another MEAC institution is looking for an exit door.
One of the conference’s charter members, Delaware State, has people talking on social media that it too may be looking to leave the MEAC for the Northeast Conference.
The rumors began to surface as early as March when the school’s board of trustees met. It’s been speculated that during the meeting, the board addressed a possible move to the Northeast Conference from the MEAC.
“Delaware State University is a proud charter member of the MEAC, said Delaware State President Dr. Tony Allen to HBCU Sports via email when asked if there was any truth to the rumors. “Our University community is involved at every level, including our Athletic Director, who holds leadership roles within the MEAC and our Faculty Athletics Representative, Dr. Charlie Wilson, who will serve as the MEAC President for the next two years. Our goal is to strengthen a rich and honored legacy for new and emerging realities.”
Within that same email, Allen stated that any additional questions should be directed to Steve Newton, the university’s head of media relations.
HBCU Sports emailed Newton Tuesday, asking if he could confirm if Delaware State had any discussions with the NEC or any other conferences regarding membership since North Carolina A&T announced it was leaving the conference in February.
“President Allen’s response encapsulates the Delaware State University response,” Newton said in his reply. “We have no further statement to make at this time.”
Officials from the Northeast Conference aren’t saying much either. HBCU Sports asked NEC commissioner Noreen Norris about a possible future affiliation. “Our policy is not to comment on any questions relative to conference membership discussions,” she told HBCU Sports via email.
Last week Robert Morris announced that it was leaving the Northeast Conference to join the Horizon League in 2021 and the Big South Conference as an associate member for football in 2021.
RMU’s move leaves the NEC with eight football members and the possibility of Delaware State joining the conference would allow the NEC to remain a nine-member football league.