If It’s Good Enough For The BCS, Maybe The HBCU’s Should Give It Some Thought

Bull City, Football — By on February 26, 2013 at 9:50 am

oklahoma vs florida a&m

In today’s society there are the haves and the have-nots. We see colleges repositioning themselves to make superconferences that will be able to compete at a high level and that will draw more and more money into match-ups that could possibly happen on a yearly basis.

The Big 12 has accepted schools to make its roster complete. The Pac-10 has expanded to the Pac-12 conference now. The Big 10 has even added schools and continues to add. Even the SEC, the holy grail of college football, has begun to add schools to keep a full roster. Now the additions have made their way to the ACC, and it’s interesting to see the add-ons.

The impact on this movement is huge. The schools that are accepted into major conferences now have adequate revenue and are benefiting from the jump. Quite frankly, the smaller colleges can’t afford not to follow suit. Schools like Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Stony Brook are all candidates to move into to the markets of Conference USA and other conferences that are just a step below the big schools.

So where does that leave conferences in the FCS? Quite frankly, you have the schools in the FCS that aren’t on the level of some of the FBS schools and they will suffer the most from this expansion. But what if they got together and merged into superconferences as well? Geographically it makes perfect sense.

What if the Big South and the Southern Conference were to merge? What if the Colonial Conference and the MEAC were to merge? Combining those pairs alone is intriguing, and a champion is worthy of a bowl bid.

You could do the same regionally as well with other conferences. What if the Southland Conference and the SWAC were to merge? That would be exciting and epic in a lot of ways. You could establish regional rivalries with many combinations, and that makes for more excited fans. Sure, it’s not the same as Maryland joining the Big 10, but if you think about it, how exciting is that really?

No one would care if the Patriot League and the Pioneer League were to merge, but it would be one heck of a conference academically and the product on the field would be pretty fun to watch as well.

At some point we need to think outside of the box though. Maybe it’s time for an HBCU superconference. If you do that, how do you determine who you want and how do they get funded to maintain that level of excellence? The problems with HBCU’s are funding and facilities. If they could take care of those two things, the game changes drastically for HBCU subdivision schools.

Logic tells me that eventually if they get the big money that power conferences are getting, then they will be just fine and able to compete. Also, it would increase their opportunity to land star athletes that wouldn’t consider HBCU’s in the first place. When you are working on a recruiting budget that most people can’t live off of, there aren’t going to be many trips wasted on players that you can’t possibly land or even afford to be wasting time on.

But let’s play devil’s advocate and pretend that you could. The possibilities would be endless.

tcu vs grambling state

Hypothetically, let’s look at a 14-team conference superpower, merging the SWAC and the MEAC. We will use historically good teams for now to fill the teams list.

Conference Teams

  1. Florida A&M
  2. Grambling State
  3. Tennessee State
  4. Southern University
  5. Bethune Cookman
  6. North Carolina A&T
  7. South Carolina State
  8. Jackson State
  9. Alabama State
  10. Arkansas Pine-Bluff
  11. Mississippi Valley
  12. Morgan State
  13. Prarie View A&M
  14. Howard

Seriously, there would rarely be a bad week of football played if this were to happen. However, maybe it’s time to bust up those HBCU’s and move rivalry teams into conferences that make more sense regionally.

Take the Big South, for instance. If you were to move NCCU and NC A&T into the Big South, it would be a solid fit for both schools. Regionally, it would make sense, and economically it would save the schools more money as travel wouldn’t be as far. Also it would help recruiting bases as the likelihood of getting better recruits across the board would now open up.

This is just food for thought, but it would be interesting if it were to materialize.

Joe Simmons

Editor in Chief of Bull City Inc. NCCU Color Commentator for Football and Basketball. Educator by day, Sports enthusiast by night.

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    5 Comments

  • the ONLY issue with that, and its also a problem with the D-1 schools, are the fans becoming upset about lost rivalries and history associated with the conferences they currently in. I think it would be worse for HBCU because because that is all they have now a days. Take the upcoming CIAA tournament for hoops, many of the real supporters of the weekend are the old heads who attended many of the schools in the conference.

    While you do have the younger generations traveling to charlotte most of it is for the social aspects, not the games. So to take that away from them would devestate them, I can recall walking around uptown and smiling because I saw so many couples around my grandparents age heading to Bobcat arena for the games, and those are the things I think that the schools arent willing to lose even if joining a regional conference would take the strain off budgetary items

    • Joe Simmons says:

      I agree with that on the CIAA front. Since we (NCCU) left the CIAA it’s been an experience. I used to go but the MEAC has now taken it’s place. What I have learned is that NCCU has brought a freshness to the MEAC and the other schools have taken notice.

      Most schools only have one REAL rivalry. For NCCU it’s A&T. They were never in the same conference until last year. You can still do the regional thing but the HBCU’s need something fresh because the money isn’t flowing and the fans only show up when its something big.

      The CIAA may be the exception.

  • KJ says:

    I’m an SCSU grad and former player and I’ve BEEN saying we need to leaved the MEAC and hit up the SoCon. Travel wise, TV wise, schedule wise, it’s all a win for us. The notion of HBCUs staying in obviously weaker conferences to keep with “tradition” is crazy.

    I remember winning the MEAC and being “rewarded” with a playoff game at App State. Winning the MEAC doesn’t mean anything anymore. The same can be said for the SWAC. ALL HBCUs Athletic Directors need to start looking at ways to improve their specific programs and not what’s best for the antiquated conferences we’re in.

  • AWARD says:

    Just a little upset Alabama A&M University was left off of the list of 14… Tennessee State isn’t in the SWAC or MEAC… Sorry I went to AAMU so the feeling is natural, but we played Auburn last season and GA Tech coming up! Facilities have long been a problem for HBCU’s but most are making changes because they’re being forced to stay relevant. AAMU’s stadium fits 18,000 but sometimes has to host 30k+ for big games. Plus HBCU’s have to stop treating themselves like islands and open up to the greater communities surrounding them. When we won the SWAC it was a buzz all over town but ‘whites’ and ‘new comers’ in the area feel uncofrotable buying merchandise because they school doesn’t make it a city or regional victory but just it’s own thing. No major parades (just a 10 minute motorcade), no visiting high schools. When Bama wins the trophy goes on a statewide tour ASAP so people can touch it, photo ops. Players travel to every mall for hundreds of miles for autographs… I’m just saying HBCU’s could be taking notes. Being black is one thing and it’s great, but Football and winning that transcends boundaries!

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