Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M shared the Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s All-Sports Award, while Bethune-Cookman took its third straight Talmadge Layman Hill Men’s Award, the MEAC announced on Wednesday.
The All-Sports Award 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 Ritz Carlton Hotel in Naples, Florida on Wednesday evening. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore was recognized during the reception as the 2015 recipient of the MEAC Highest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for the seventh straight year. In addition to the recognition, UMES was presented a check for $25,000 from the conference. UMES’ 88-percent GSR is the highest among MEAC institutions spanning the 2005-08 cohorts.
Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M totaled 92.8 points to share top honors in the All-Sports tally. The Lady Rattlers won conference titles in Cross Country, Outdoor Track and Field and softball, while the Wildcats had top finishes in Volleyball, Basketball and Tennis. North Carolina A&T State took third place with 86 points to edge out Hampton University with 85.5 who finished fourth and Maryland Eastern Shore took fifth with 77.5 points.
On the men’s side Bethune-Cookman continues to strengthen its programs, totaling 94.6 points for its third straight overall All-Sports trophy. The Wildcats earned a share of the football title and finished first in Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field along with a second place finish in Golf. North Carolina A&T State took second on the men’s side with 74.3 points to edge out Norfolk State who was third with 74 points. Hampton finished fourth (70) and North Carolina Central (62.3) rounded out the top five finishers.
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. The Mary McLeod Bethune Award, named after the founder of Bethune-Cookman College, awards the top overall women’s athletic program during the course of one full academic year. The first Mary McLeod Bethune award was giving in 1987 to Delaware State University. Hampton leads all MEAC schools with 14 Women’s Awards.
The men’s All-Sports Award is named after the late Talmadge Layman Hill, a former player and coach at Morgan State, and former Chairman of the MEAC Steering and Planning Committee, as well as the conference’s first President. Howard University was the recipient of the first Talmadge Layman Hill Award in 1972. South Carolina State holds the men’s record with 11 awards from 1973-84.