The Big South Conference announced Thursday it would be adding North Carolina A&T as a full member beginning with 2021-22 academic year.
The Aggies’ affiliation will begin July 1, 2021, increasing the Big South membership to 12. North Carolina A&T sponsors 17 men’s and women’s teams will be immediately eligible for conference championships upon its entry in 2021.
North Carolina A&T, based in Greensboro, will be leaving the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, of which it was a founding member in 1970. It will be the second member of the group of historically black colleges and universities to leave the MEAC for the Big South in recent years, after Hampton’s departure in 2018.
Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander said in a release that the conference is “thrilled” to add North Carolina A&T.
“In its progressive approach to membership expansion, the Big South looks for institutions that will be value-added, and that will enhance its student-athletes’ opportunities and success,” Kallander said.
For Kennesaw State, an associate member of the Big South for football, the addition of the North Carolina A&T will mean another quality opponent. As the conference continues a transition of members, the Aggies will bring a program that has finished in the top 20 of the Football Championship Subdivision each of the last five seasons.
In 2019, North Carolina A&T finished with a 9-3 record, winning a share of the MEAC championship, and beat Alcorn State in the Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to clinch the black college national championship.
North Carolina A&T will replace Presbyterian among the Big South’s football membership. The Blue House are leaving in July, as the football team reconfigures into the non-scholarship Pioneer League.
“We have been looking carefully at our opportunities in athletics for five years, and more intensively over the past year,” North Carolina A&T chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. said in a release. “We’re pleased to have brought that process to fruition and excited to be ushering in a new alliance with the Big South.”