Syracuse University and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced they have come to terms on a  first-of-its-kind agreement, creating an alliance designed to connect institutions, student-athletes, staff, and alumni, according to a press release obtained by EBONY.

The 10-year partnership seeks to create "multiple opportunities for collaboration between Syracuse and the MEAC’s member institutions."

One of the major items of the partnerships is an athletics scheduling agreement that has a goal of up to 50 competitions between Syracuse and the MEAC institutions over the course of the next 10 years. Games that have already been signed off on are Syracuse and Morgan State in football (scheduled for 2029) and between Syracuse and Morgan State in women’s basketball (Nov. 17, 2021). Additionally, Syracuse will play Maryland Eastern Shore and Coppin State in softball.

John Wildhack, Syracuse’s director of athletics, noted the importance of the historic partnership.

“On behalf of Syracuse Athletics, I would like to thank Commissioner Thomas for his enthusiastic support of this unprecedented agreement,” Wildhack said. “My thanks extend to the MEAC staff and Syracuse Athletics and University staff who have worked diligently to make this idea a reality. We are excited with the opportunities this alliance will create for MEAC institutions, Syracuse University, thousands of student-athletes, coaches and staff from MEAC institutions and Syracuse University.”

Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the MEAC, spoke about how the unique partnership will benefit all parties involved.

“First, I would like to thank John Wildhack, director of athletics at Syracuse University, for his vision and progressive leadership on this alliance,” Thomas added. “Our member institutions look forward to working with Syracuse to implement our shared vision of cooperation to ameliorate and procure opportunities for our student-athletes, both athletically and academically. Our membership, along with Syracuse, looks forward to assisting our constituents to lead this collaboration through sports competitions and academic engagement.”

Key aspects of the alliance include:

  • Athletics Department Internship Exchange: The 10-week internship at Syracuse will be open to a student from a MEAC institution and for a Syracuse student at one of the MEAC institutions or the conference office.
  • Compliance Matters Seminar: A series of rules compliance workshops involving Syracuse and MEAC institutions.
  • Student-Athlete Development Seminars: Syracuse’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will partner with MEAC member SAAC bodies to conduct virtual workshops.
  • Athletics Revenue Generation Conference: A seminar, focusing on revenue generation strategies for increased funding for athletics, will be held with Syracuse, the MEAC and MEAC institutional staffs.
  • Women In Athletics Leadership Conference: The MEAC will invite Syracuse to partner with the league’s Women in Athletics Conference, which is held every two years. The workshop is designed to increase the awareness of opportunities available to female athletic administrators and to assist them in their professional development.
  • Visiting Professorships/Lectureships: A Syracuse faculty member will be invited to visit a MEAC institution to conduct a weeklong series of lectures in an academic department. A faculty member from a mutually agreed-upon MEAC university will be invited to visit Syracuse to hold a weeklong series of lectures in an academic department.

In its 51st year of intercollegiate competition, the MEAC boasts such HBCUs as Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University, and South Carolina State University as members of the conference.