On Friday, we learned that the North Carolina A&T Aggies are exploring a potential move to the FBS. The Aggies have won three of the last four HBCU national championships, and that has some in the program looking to take the next step.
Sources tell me North Carolina A&T Chancellor @WhoIsHLM told faculty members on Friday the school is looking into moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision.— Steven J. Gaither (@stevenjgaither) August 17, 2019
Working to find out more.
North Carolina A&T may be considering the move because of the success that other in-state FCS programs have had when making the jump to FBS. Appalachian State has become a perennial favorite in the Sun Belt since becoming a full-time member in 2014, and there has been an increasing amount of buzz surrounding Charlotte since the 49ers joined Conference USA in 2015.
A jump could prove difficult for the program though. While North Carolina A&T was one of the best FCS teams in the country in 2017 and has claimed four of the last five MEAC championships, this is not a program that has had a lot of historical success.
The Aggies have won just one playoff game in their history. They won six MEAC titles from 1969 to 2013 before their recent run, and there are other problems too. North Carolina A&T doesn’t have either the rabid fanbase of Appalachian State or the resources of Charlotte, so a step up could be quite perilous.
Florida A&M was the last HBCU to make the jump from FCS to FBS, and it was an abject disaster for the Rattlers. The program had been one of the best in the FCS for a decade prior to the move, but they were forced to abandon their endeavor two seasons in and have claimed just one conference championship since moving back to FCS.
With the American announcing that they’re standing pat on expansion, Conference USA appearing full at 14 teams, and the Sun Belt already having a regional presence near North Carolina A&T, the Aggies might have a hard time finding a welcoming conference home at the next level.
This is all just speculation right now though, as the school is still in the exploratory stage. If the Aggies can go into Duke and beat the Blue Devils on September 7, expect talk of moving up to the FBS ranks to heat up.