(Photo credit: The MEAC Conference)

The MEAC Has Its Own AD Power 5 and They’re All Black Women

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The Big 10, SEC, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 have a new Power Five to compete with, only now it’s out of the MEAC.

This HBCU Power Five is all Black and consists of five female athletic directors who are leading their programs to new heights in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

It’s an inspirational site to behold, particularly for MEAC commissioner Sonja. O. Stills, who became the conference’s first female commissioner in October 2021.

“The MEAC is clearly showing that female leaders are the norm and that given the opportunity, we will rise to the occasion,” said Stills on the MEAC’s site. “What an amazing way to show the progress of Title IX during its 50th anniversary.”

The five women from the eight-member HBCU conference are Tara A. Owens (Maryland Eastern Shore), Alecia Shields-Gadson (Delaware State), Melody Webb (Norfolk State), Dena Freeman-Patton (Morgan State) and Keshia Campbell (South Carolina State).

College sports often lack diversity in positions of leadership, so the MEACs Power 5 is as significant as it is powerful.

“There is no excuse why an organization or institution cannot find a diverse pool of talented and experienced women of color who can lead in a male-dominated field,” said Stills. “I am extremely proud to be surrounded by such wonderful women who share in the vision of the conference.”

Not only do they share the same vision, but they all share similar backgrounds, including lengthy experience in athletics administration. Some even have collegiate coaching experience.

Tara Owens, who assumed her position at Maryland Eastern Shore this past September, joined the university after four years as Central State University’s Director of Athletics.

After serving as Delaware State’s interim Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Alecia Shields-Gadson, who has over 30 years of experience in college sports administration and coaching, was given the official title in August 2021.

Melody Webb was the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration for six years at Norfolk State before becoming both its Athletic Director in July 2020 and the first woman to hold that title in program history.

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