After only four years since leaving the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) for the Big South, Hampton University is joining the Colonial Athletic Association. Get the full story from the Hampton release below.

Mark Sutton/Hampton University

Hampton University is joining the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), effective July 1, 2022, after a four year relationship with the Big South Conference. The announcement will be made at an 1 p.m. joint Hampton University/CAA press conference at Hampton University’s Student Center Ballroom. The press conference will be live streamed at  

“The move to the Colonial Athletic Association is the next step in the evolution of Hampton University Athletics,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “Several institutions in the CAA are located in our geographical footprint, which means that our student athletes will continue to spend less time traveling and more time in classes on campus. This move continues to keep the proper focus on academics, which is our chief reason for being. The conference’s geographic footprint, as well as occasional contests against institutions in the northeast, will reduce travel expenses while allowing for competition in several of the nation’s top media markets. Another important consideration is the large number of alumni located throughout the CAA region. Hampton University has enjoyed a very positive four-year relationship with the Big South Conference and hopes to continue competing against some of its teams, as well as teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.” 

CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio could not be more excited for the conference and for Hampton University.  

“We are pleased to welcome Hampton University, Monmouth University and Stony Brook University as the newest members of the CAA. All three institutions fit perfectly into the framework of the Conference’s vision that calls for our membership to work together to advance nationally competitive athletic programs – coupled with outstanding academic programs – that empower student-athletes as whole persons to strive at the highest level in every aspect of their lives.  The CAA is excited for what the future holds and will continue to be focused on making decisions that ensure its membership is a competitive and sustainable model.” 

The Pirates sponsor 17 sports at the Division I level, 15 of which are sponsored by the CAA: football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, softball, men’s lacrosse and women’s volleyball.  Women’s triathlon and co-ed sailing will not compete in the CAA. Since moving to Division I in 1995, Hampton has been a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference from 1995 – 2018 and the Big South Conference from 2018 until 2022.  

Hampton’s athletics history includes memorable NCAA Tournament moments in 2001 when the No. 15-seeded Pirates upset No. 2-seeded Iowa State, as well as in 2014-15 making consecutive NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances.  The women’s basketball team has won five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships in a row and six in the last eight years. In 2016, Hampton University made history as the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to field a men’s NCAA Division I lacrosse team.  In 2018, Hampton became the first HBCU to sponsor a Women’s Triathlon at the varsity level. The Hampton track program swept the 2019 Big South men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track championships in their first year of competition. In 2021, Hampton became the first male HBCU program to join the Southern Conference (SoCon) for men’s lacrosse.   

On the football field, the Pirates have made five FCS Championship postseason appearances, as well as five trips to post-season play as a NCAA Division II member. 

“On behalf of the entire Hampton University Athletic Department, student/athletes, coaches and staff, we are pleased and very excited to join the community that is the Colonial Athletic Association,” said Eugene Marshall, Jr., Hampton University Director of Athletics.  “The CAA’s  history and tradition both athletically and academically align perfectly with the ideals and core values of our visionary President, Dr. William R. Harvey, who believes in building leaders and champions in the classroom and field of play.”