The MEAC is Championing Female Leadership in College Sports

The MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) is leading the movement for gender equity in college sports leadership with action, not words. 

Now in her second year at the helm of the MEAC, Commissioner Sonja Stills was the first female to be named Commissioner of a Division I HBCU conference. With her appointment came a promise to lift up the women around her and to strive for a diverse executive staff, which is now comprised of three females in senior leadership positions.  

Additionally, among the eight MEAC member institutions, five have females in their athletics director roles.  

·       Delaware State – Alecia Shields-Gadson 

o   30+ years of experience in college athletics as a senior-level administrator and coach 

·       Maryland Eastern Shore – Tara A. Owens 

o   Spent four years in the same role at Central State University prior to UMES 

·       Morgan State – Dena Freeman-Patton 

o   First woman to lead MSU athletic operations in its 155-year history 

·       Norfolk State – Melody Webb 

o   First woman to hold the title of athletics director in NSU history 

·       South Carolina State – Keshia Campbell 

o   Second female athletics director at SCSU – her alma mater 

A February report from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) issued an F grade for gender hiring at the FBS level, due to the number of women working as athletic directors dropping from 13 to 10 (7.6%) in 2022 and only two of the 10 FBS leagues having women at the helm. 

Dubbed the “Fabulous Five”, the MEAC’s five female leaders, along with Commissioner Stills, are going against the grain to help themselves, their institutions and the MEAC lead the push for gender equity at the leadership level in college sports.