Norfolk State University captured the Talmadge Layman Hill Men’s Award, while Florida A&M University captured the Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s All-Sports Award, the MEAC announced on Wednesday. The All-Sports Awards are indicators of the overall strengths of the conference’s men’s and women’s athletic programs. Each institution was presented with a $20,000 check during a reception at the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday evening.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore was recognized during the reception as the 2017 recipient of the MEAC Highest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for the eighth straight year. In addition to the recognition, MDES was presented a check for $25,000 from the conference. MDES’ 81-percent GSR is the highest among MEAC institutions spanning the 2006-09 cohorts.
Florida A&M, which shared the Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s All-Sports Award last academic year, won the award outright for the first time since 2001. The Lady Rattlers have won the award a total of 10 times since its inception in 1987 and has won it in consecutive years for the first time since a nine-year streak from 1993-2001.
The Lady Rattlers totaled 95.5 points in the all-sports tally, highlighted by their fifth consecutive conference championship in cross country and fourth straight softball championship. Florida A&M also captured divisional titles in volleyball and softball while finishing second in indoor track & field.
North Carolina A&T State placed second with 90 points, followed by Bethune-Cookman (83.5), Hampton (82.5) and Norfolk State (76.5).
Norfolk State won the Talmadge Layman Hill Men’s All-Sports Award for the 11th time in school history and its first title since winning nine straight from 2005-13. The Spartans won a divisional title in baseball and finished second in cross country, indoor track & field, basketball and tennis.
Bethune-Cookman finished second with 78 points, with North Carolina A&T State third with 75 points. North Carolina Central and Hampton tied for fourth with 72 points apiece.
Points are awarded in a descending order beginning with 14 points for champions or first place regular season finishes. The second-place team receives 12 points. Tied teams split the point total.