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Hampton, USC Upstate joining Big South

Hampton, USC Upstate joining Big South

Hampton will be a full member of the Big South as of July 1, 2018, bringing the league's membership to 12 next fall.

Hampton University is leaving the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which counts A&T as one of its members, to join the Big South Conference beginning in 2018-19. Sixteen of the 17 Hampton sports will be played in the Big South Conference, with men's lacrosse the only exception. North Alabama's football program will join the Big South in 2019, along with Hampton in 2018.

The Big South Conference now has 10 full members across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Another important consideration in Hampton's shift is the large number of HU alumni located in the Big South footprint, according to Harvey.

In the expanded 12-member Big South, seven schools - including High Point - will not field football teams. However, the entire Big South Conference for most sports is based in Virginia, North Carolina, and SC, obviously much more geographically friendly for Hampton, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. "We are so pleased that Hampton University is joining the Big South family", Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander said.

One of her first reactions to the news was that it will certainly weaken the MEAC, and I have to agree.

Hampton University athletic director Eugene Marshall Jr. told The Virginian-Pilot that it will maintain its roots, but it was time to move forward to attain its goals.

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"We have always been impressed by Hampton's academics and athletics accomplishments under President Harvey's visionary leadership", Kallander said.

"This is a big day for the Big South!" He's in his fourth season after leaving WSSU for the Division I challenge.

HBCU author-historian Hurd said, "I'm hoping, as Tennessee State has done, the Hampton Pirates will continue to include Black college rivalries as part of their non-conference schedules to keep those traditions and Black college football history alive".

Charleston Southern will soon have two more conference opponents to contend with on the athletic field of play.

The Battle of the Bay, Norfolk State and Hampton's annual football game, has been played annually since 1963.

Hampton claimed MEAC conference titles in football (1998, 2004-06), basketball (2001, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2015, 2016), women's basketball (2000, 2003, 2004, 2010-14, 2017), cross country (1996), men's indoor track and field (2003, 2014), men's outdoor track and field (1996, 2003, 2004, 2013), men's tennis (1996-99, 2002, 2003, 2007), softball (1996, 2013), volleyball (2013, 2014), women's cross country (2004, 2006, 2010, 2011), women's indoor track and field (2001, 2003-09, 2011-16), women's outdoor track and field (2002-04, 2006-10, 2012-14), and women's tennis (1996, 1998, 2002-04).


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