On June 25th, 2020, Bethune-Cookman University announced their decision to leave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and join the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). However, Bethune-Cookman is not the only university that will be joining the SWAC; Florida A&M University and North Carolina A& T State University will also be SWAC teams in 2021.
In a video posted by Youtube Channel, HBCUGameday, the Vice President of Athletics at BCU, Lynn Thompson, speaks with Vaughn Wilson and Kenyatta Cavil about Bethune’s decision. Thompson mentions how various factors affected their final choice including the new leadership. Thompson also adds how the decision was bittersweet after creating a great leadership with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Bethune-Cookman essentially saw this opportunity to join the SWAC as a way to continue uplifting their mission with similar-minded schools.
Initially established as the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 1904, Bethune-Cookman University is a private HBCU located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Their intercollegiate athletic teams are known as the Wildcats and wear maroon and gold. Aforementioned, BCU is currently a part of the MEAC in the NCAA Division I FCS and will be switching to the SWAC. The university offers 39 bachelor’s and six master’s degrees through over ten colleges.
Their marching band, the Marching Wildcats consists of 325 members including the 14 Karat Gold Dancers. In 2018, the documentary Netflix show, Marching Orders, showed the lives of the competitive Marching Wildcats at BCU. Furthermore, the 14 Karat Gold dancers are often seen accompanying the Marching Wildcats and can also be seen in BET clips, especially during homecoming week.