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Winston-Salem State jumps to Division I, joins MEAC

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem State has been accepted
into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

A news conference is scheduled Thursday in Virginia Beach, Va.,
where the conference has its headquarters, to announce the move.

"We are elated to welcome Winston-Salem into the MEAC family,"
commissioner Dennis Thomas said Wednesday. "Obviously, we think
that WSSU is an outstanding academic institution with an excellent
athletics program."

Winston-Salem State is jumping to Division I and leaving the
Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association after more
than 50 years.

The Rams will be in transition for four years and won't be
eligible for any MEAC championships until 2010-11.

"Our goal is to be become a strong and viable member of the
MEAC," athletic director Chico Caldwell said.

Winston-Salem State will become the 12th member of the MEAC,
which is expanding for the first time since inviting Norfolk State
in 1997, and will play a conference schedule in 2007-08.

School officials hoped to be accepted into the MEAC earlier, but
the vote was postponed from mid-June until last week because there
weren't enough presidents and chancellors from conference members
attending a meeting then.

Caldwell said the school is playing mostly road games during
basketball season for guarantees of about $400,000, and will play a
MEAC schedule the following season. The Rams won't be eligible for
the NCAA tournaments until 2011.