Hampton: MEAC is punishing school, student-athletes over Big South decision

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Hampton Big South Conference

Officials at Hampton University are accusing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) of punishing the school over its decision to join the Big South Conference.

The university outlined alleged “vindictive” sanctions and “unreasonable demands” in a news release earlier this week.

Hampton announced in mid-November it would become a member of the Big South. The move becomes effect July 1, and means a vast majority of Hampton’s sports programs — including football and men’s and women’s basketball — will compete in the conference.

Related: ‘Timing,’ perks influence Hampton’s move to the Big South
According to Hampton, the MEAC is demanding the school play a full eight-game MEAC schedule in football for the 2019 – 2021 seasons. Hampton says President Dr. William R. Harvey stated in a Dec. 4, 2017 letter the school was willing to play an eight-game MEAC schedule and remain bowl-eligible in 2018 — and play three to four MEAC football games through 2022.

The list of demands — which Hampton says it received Feb. 5 — would strip student-athletes of weekly accolades like “Player of the Week” as well as the chance to play in a bowl game.

Other alleged demands outlined by Hampton include the Pirates not being eligible for any MEAC championships after July 1; being considered a non-conference opponent for all MEAC schools; and the MEAC of levying a $250,000 fine against Hampton for violating the conference’s bylaws.

Hampton did acknowledge that it missed a July 1, 2017 deadline to let the MEAC know it was leaving. The school explained in the news release that it missed this deadline because it was discussing potential membership with “several other conferences.”

Hampton’s Senior Vice President Paul C. Harris said in a statement released this week:

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. These are the same talented young people whose NCAA appearances have resulted in millions of dollars being poured into MEAC coffers.”

10 On Your Side reached out to MEAC Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas, who stated, “The MEAC will have a response at the appropriate time in the future.”

Stay with WAVY.com for the latest developments.

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