There hasn’t been a major shortage in college football teams making the jump up to FBS. Per a new report, North Carolina A&T could be yet another FCS program making the jump.
The Aggies have won back-to-back Celebration Bowls, and three since 2015, taking home the titles in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The 2017 team went undefeated, sending off legendary coach Rod Broadway into retirement in an appropriate manner.
Former NFL player Sam Washington has taken over as head coach, and led the team to a 10-2 record with a 6-1 MEAC mark in his first season. He served as Broadway’s defensive coordinator from 2011-17.
According to HBCU Gameday founder Steven J. Gaither, the Aggies may have higher aspirations, given the incredible recent success. On Friday night, he tweeted that school chancellor Harold L. Martin told staff that he planned to move the team up a division.
Sources tell me North Carolina A&T Chancellor @WhoIsHLM told faculty members on Friday the school is looking into moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Working to find out more.
— Steven J. Gaither (@stevenjgaither) August 17, 2019
North Carolina A&T would be following the trend of a number of other local programs in making the jump in recent years. Appalachian State (2014), Charlotte (2015), Coastal Carolina (2017), Georgia Southern (2014), Georgia State (2013), Liberty (2017), and Old Dominion (2014), are all of the schools to move up in the last six years. All are from Virginia, the Carolinas, or Georgia.
The team has a recent history of success against FBS opponents, with wins in three straight seasons. In 2016, the Aggies knocked off Kent State in four overtimes, 39-36, and followed it up by beating Charlotte 35-31 in 2017, and ECU 28-23 last fall. They face Duke on Sept. 7 this year, a week after the Blue Devils play Alabama.
A&T would be very unique in that they would be the only historically black university in the FBS if they make the jump. Florida A&M briefly made the move in 2004, becoming an FBS Independent for one season. Due to a fast-tracked schedule to make the jump, as well as myriad other issues outlined well by Bill Connelly at SB Nation, the move only lasted one year.
One would imagine that the Aggies brass has the issues that plagued Florida A&M in mind if they go forward with the move, but it is easy to see how enticing it could be for a program that has seen so much FCS success as of late. So far, the school has not made any official statement on the matter.