FAMU proposal to leave MEAC and join the SWAC

By: Calvin Sykes/ BNC Digital Contributor

In a decision heard throughout the historically black college community, Florida A&M University has decided to leave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and join the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The announcement was made after the FAMU Vice President and Athletic Director Kortne Gosha presented a PowerPoint presentation with confirmed stats and economic projections supporting his push for SWAC inclusion. The following day Florida A&M Board of Trustees unanimously voted for the move.

The findings of his account took into the budget of running the athletic program amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Courtesy: FAMU)

In the presentation, Gosha, who has been the athletic director since November of 2019, cited the reason for leaving was a reduction of travel expenses, multi-media agreements, and strong brands, and stronger revenue exposures.

“We are not putting kids on a plane to go to Dover, Delaware,” Gosha told BOT Members. “We’re putting them on a bus to go to Montgomery, Alabama.

Gosha further presented the fact of a renewed rivalry between Southern University and A&M and FAMU generating 285 thousand compared to the highest MEAC game of 75 thousand.

Trustee Kristen Harper says the financial gain makes this move a “no-brainer”.

“Adding up the scenarios over that five or so year period—staying in the MEAC would result in a deficit of 3.5 million dollars, moving to the SWAC would create a positive of $3 million. So from a financial standpoint, I think it makes great sense.”

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While the official news announced on Thursday, the decision has been lingering over the program for a couple of years now. According to a tweet by the former Tallahassee Democrat Reporter Douglas Blackburn, consultants hired by FAMU recommended this move to Interim President Larry Robinson and the board in Spring 2013. This move was about six athletic directors ago.

According to Chair Kelvin Lawson, AD Gosha and Lawson have worked alongside the movement to the SWAC since January.

With Florida A&M, the Southwestern Atheltic Conference will have members in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and now Florida.

Lawson said that SWAC now has to vote on FAMU admittance into the conference.

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“They have to take a vote amongst there 10 member institutions on [FAMU] coming into the SWAC,” he said. “I’ve been told that the vote will be affirmative. I have believed some of those presidents have already reached out to Dr. Robinson to let him know they support the move.”

FAMU is the third historically black college or university to leave the MEAC. North Carolina A&T decided to leave the conference back in February.

FAMU has been a member of the MEAC for nearly 40 years but leaving the conference three times since it originally joined.

FAMU would remain in the MEAC for the upcoming academic year and then move over the SWAC before the start of the 2021 – 2022. The exit fee would be 250k if it meets all the MEAC requirements for the move, a fee which could increase to 500k if it doesn’t meet the MEAC requirements.
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