North Carolina A&T is on the move again.
Two years after announcing it was leaving the MEAC for the Big South, the Aggies officially announced today they are joining the Colonial Athletic Association. They join as a full member on July 1, 2022. For football, NC A&T will join the CAA on July 1, 2023, and will play in the Big South for the 2022 season.
NC A&T, Hampton, and Monmouth all come from the Big South Conference, which has now lost three teams to the CAA and two teams (Kennesaw State and North Alabama) to the ASUN. The Big South’s membership is down to four teams — Robert Morris, Charleston Southern, Campbell, and Gardner-Webb. Six teams are needed for a conference to have an auto-bid into the FCS playoffs. The NCAA grants a 2-year grace period for conferences to get membership numbers back up to minimum AQ requirements.
NC A&T finished 5-6 in 2021 and 3-4 in its first season in Big South play. But it brings a strong tradition to the CAA. The Aggies own 11 MEAC championships and won four Celebration Bowls from 2015-19.
“We come from a tradition of exceptional athletic and academic achievement, and absolutely see the CAA as a new and prominent stage on which to continue that tradition,” NC A&T athletic director Earl Hilton said. “The case to join was clear and persuasive.”
With the addition of NC A&T, CAA Football’s membership includes: University at Albany (Albany, N.Y.), University of Delaware (Newark, Del.), Elon University (Elon, N.C.), Hampton University (Hampton, Va.), University of Maine (Orono, Maine), Monmouth University (West Long Branch, N.J.), University of New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.), University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.), University of Richmond (Richmond, Va.), Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, N.Y.), Towson University (Towson, Md.), Villanova University (Villanova, Pa.) and William & Mary (Williamsburg, Va.).
“We are pleased to welcome North Carolina A&T as the newest member of the CAA,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said. “The Aggies fit perfectly into the framework of the conference’s vision that calls for our membership to work together to advance nationally competitive athletic programs – coupled with outstanding academic programs – that empower student-athletes as whole persons to strive at the highest level in every aspect of their lives. The CAA is excited to add a second HBCU to its membership, and going forward the conference will continue to be focused on making decisions that ensures its membership a competitive and sustainable model.”