Hampton rips MEAC as 'vindictive' during transition to Big South

Hampton University, which is leaving the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for the Big South in July 2018, accused the MEAC of making "unreasonable" and "vindictive" demands of Hampton in the transition.

Hampton said Tuesday in a release that the MEAC has refused to sit down to discuss the transition and will not allow Hampton to play a MEAC football schedule in 2018, as it had requested, leaving the school scrambling to come up with a schedule.

Hampton said the school was told that football players would not be considered for player of the week awards, and that if the Pirates played a 2018 schedule, they would not be eligible for the championship or a bid to the Celebration Bowl.

"I am appalled that, after a 22-year rewarding and productive relationship and numerous conference championships the MEAC wants to hang Hampton University student-athletes out to dry," Hampton University senior vice president Paul C. Harris said in the release. "These are the same talented young people whose NCAA appearances have resulted in millions of dollars being poured into the MEAC coffers."

The conference also fined Hampton $250,000 for failing to meet the July 1, 2017, deadline to give notice to withdraw.

Hampton is one of the most academically successful historically black colleges and universities. In moving from the MEAC to the bigger and wealthier Big South, it is making a move to raise its athletic profile as well.

MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas, reacting to the statement from Hampton, told the Virginia Pilot, "I have not had an opportunity to review the document, but once I have, I'm sure the MEAC will have an appropriate response."