A long-reported exodus by Howard to the Colonial Athletic Association from the MEAC is not expected to take place.
As first reported by HERO Sports reporter Daniel Steenkamer, Howard informed CAA officials Saturday that it will not join the conference.
“After initiating & expressing interest in the CAA, HU recently came back to the table to say no to a standing offer that would have seen it come aboard in ’23-’24,” Steenkamer tweeted. “The implication from sources familiar with the CAA’s dialogue is that Howard was at one time verbally committed to pursuing membership in the league, but has reversed course, passing on the opportunity it had previously sought well after interest was reciprocated by the CAA.”
The news comes a month after MEAC commissioner Sonja Stills dismissed the notion that Howard was moving to the CAA.
“Howard has repeatedly stated their commitment to the conference,” Stills told Inside the HBCU Sports Lab in May. “We really hate to talk about that again and again because we’re ready to move forward. We’re ready to look at different and bigger things and you know, I want to make history. So that’s what I want to focus on.”
In preliminary expansion conversations in 2021, the CAA reportedly had eyed both Hampton and Howard as potential members. Hampton, which is currently a member of the Big South, accepted an invitation in January to join the CAA.
Howard has yet to issue a statement on the matter at this time.
Stills explained the league — which currently has eight members — is entrenched in solidarity as part of the so-called MEAC “Elite Eight.”
“…They have said over and over again that they’re committed to the stability of the conference, Stills said. “And that’s important. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think that we had the commitment of the eight.
“These eight are committed to the stability of the conference and how we move forward together, how can we grow together (and how) that’s going to benefit the eight institutions. So I would hope that we can move forward.”