Throughout their shared history, the athletic departments of Division I’s historically black colleges and universities, many of which compete in the SWAC and MEAC, have always faced concerns regarding financial difficulties and underfunding.

In some sense, this is nothing new.

“We’ve had to deal with a copious amount of revenue struggles for over a century. At some places, for over a century and a half,” MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas told The Athletic last week.

“We’ve been able to survive when most people didn’t think we would. And in most cases, not only have we survived, we’ve thrived. We are used to difficult times…”

But, Thomas said after a long pause, “… nothing like this now.”

HBCU athletic departments already live in a harsh reality, but that outlook is even bleaker as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to stress their institutions beyond the breaking point. Read the full story.