By CRAIG HALEY
STATS FCS Senior Editor=
March 13, 2018, 9:59 am
(STATS) - Hampton football is moving downfield once again.
An amicable agreement has been reached with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to pave the way for Hampton's exit toward the Big South Conference.
The university, which announced its impending departure on Nov. 16, will pay an undisclosed fee for failing to meet the MEAC's July 1 deadline for withdrawal from the conference in 2018.
While other Hampton teams will begin playing in the Big South during the 2018-19 school year, the football program will play the upcoming season as an independent before joining its new conference for the 2019 season.
"Hampton University values our relationship with the MEAC and I believe this agreement is best for all parties going forward," Hampton president Dr. William R. Harvey said Monday. "This agreement is not only what's best for Hampton University and the MEAC, but it is what's best for our collective students, alumni, boosters and fans."
Hampton has been a MEAC member since 1995. The agreement effectively resolves a troubled offseason in which the university's administration publicly criticized the conference for various conditions stipulated with the departure.
The Pirates, under first-year coach Robert Prunty, have been attempting to fill their 2018 schedule without facing MEAC schools. The MEAC has reworked its 2018 conference schedule to not include Hampton, but the Pirates can start to schedule their former rivals again as nonconference opponents beginning in 2019.