It was only a matter of time before conference realignment would hit the Big South home-front. That happened yesterday when it was leaked the VMI will be leaving the Big South to return to their traditional roots of the Southern Conference. The VMI move became expected and likely when Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Charleston, Elon, and Davidson all bolted the SoCon. Liberty is still desperately trying to find a home in a FBS conference (the Sun Belt announced today they will stay at 11 members), Coastal Carolina has wandering eyes, and Asheville has been reported to be a potential target for the Southern Conference. With all of this going on the Big South has remained relatively quiet while their football conference and automatic bid into the FCS playoffs teeters dangerously on the brink of the destruction.
The Big South did add Monmouth to the mix as a football member earlier this year, but this can only be seen as a temporary fix and a likely stepping stone for the New Jersey school. Now rumors continue to heat regarding the Big South and Delaware State. Currently only one of the nation’s Division I historically black colleges and universities plays outside an a HBCU conference (Tennessee State/OVC), but Delaware State, Hampton, and others seem open to possibly testing the waters. Hampton would prefer a conference at the level of the Colonial Athletic Association, but it seems as if the Big South and Delaware State may have more traction according to sources.
Delaware State is located in Dover and their football team has won four conference titles over the years. On the basketball court, the Hornets won the 2005 MEAC title and appeared in the NCAA Tournament. They also appeared in the NIT in 2006 and 2007.
Adding Delaware State or exploring schools possibly transitioning from Division II to Division I is likely a last ditch effort to save football for Kyle Kallander’s conference. Does it strengthen the overall profile of the conference? No. Can it save football? Maybe.