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MEAC Notebook: Spring football scrapped, NC Central dropping baseball

North Carolina Central's Luis DeLeon (35) bats during an NCAA baseball game on Sunday, Feb. 23,...
North Carolina Central's Luis DeLeon (35) bats during an NCAA baseball game on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)(Ben McKeown | AP)
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:42 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Thursday was a busy day for news regarding the MEAC, Florida A&M’s soon-to-be-former-conference, which had a couple of big announcements that impacted both the conference as whole and one member institution announced a major change to their athletics offerings.

MEAC to sit out of spring football season

On Thursday, the MEAC announced that the conference would not field a spring football season this spring, as initially planned.

The conference says six of the MEAC’s nine football-playing schools had opted out of the spring season prior to Thursday’s announcement, forcing the conference to not hold an official conference season.

In it’s press release, the conference does say that Delaware State, Howard and South Carolina State have “expressed an intent” to still play a spring season.

“While it is tremendously disappointing to suspend the spring 2021 football season, it is the right decision with regards to the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans,” MEAC Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas said. “As I have stated since the beginning of the pandemic, health and safety will continue to be at the forefront of every decision. We support those institutions who will continue to play.”

FAMU announced in November that they were opting out of the spring football season, along with opting out of spring volleyball and the indoor track and field seasons.

North Carolina Central to discontinue baseball program

North Carolina Central announced on Thursday that the school will be discontinuing its baseball program following the conclusion of the 2021 season.

“Due to an increase in athletics expenditures during the past four years and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on revenue opportunities, it was determined that the current funding model for athletics is not sustainable,” the school’s release says. “This decision to discontinue one sport is an effort to improve the overall fiscal stability of the department’s annual budget, as well as maximize the available financial resources to enhance the championship experience for the student-athletes in the remaining 14 sports programs.”

The Rattlers and Eagles are set for 12 games against one another this season: four in Durham from April 1-3, four in Tallahassee from April 23-25 and four in Durham from May 13-15, in what will be NC Central’s final regular season series before the program closes.

NCCU says they currently sponsor 15 sports, eight male and seven female, meaning they couldn’t cut a women’s sport, per NCAA minimums. Cutting baseball puts NCCU at 14 sports, the minimum allowed by the NCAA to be a member institution.

With the loss of baseball, NCCU will continue to field basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis and track and field as men’s sports.

NCCU has fielded baseball consecutively since the 2007 season.

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