There aren’t many things I would do differently in my past, but if I could go back to May 15, 1997, I would provoke my eight-year-old self to throw a tantrum until my mother took me to the nearest stock brokers office. After being “disciplined” for acting out, I’d drop the freshly delivered Yellow Pages on the kitchen table and search until I found the number and address of their office.

While we all take a moment to Google what is so special about May 15th, 1997, recognize that the people who not only remember that day but also took action, are the ones who can see a good thing coming decades in advance. On that day, Amazon and its Initial Public Offering of $18.00 hit the public trading floor. If you look at its current trading price (somewhere in the quadruple digit range) you’re able to see that small beginnings, when no one is watching, have the potential to really pay off down the road.

When it comes to initials, no two are more debated amongst HBCU alumni than the letter H and the letter U. If you approach an alum from either school and state that the other school is the “Real HU” prepare for the chest puffing and brouhaha that will ensue. Each school boasts in the achievements of their students and faculty, while simultaneously gloating in the face of their rival.

Shaped in the construct of a sibling rivalry (although Hampton’s football team has beat the brakes off Howard for the last three years) their good-natured battles have provoked the universities to excel and grow in the name of enhancing the status of the HBCU’s. We hope their rivalry continues in the future, but if it does, games will have to be a part of their non-conference schedules.

Announced last week, and becoming official in July 2018, “Our Home by the Sea” will leave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference — the conference it has held a membership in since 1995 – and join the Big South. I must have missed the ESPN or Bleacher Report push notification to inform me of this, but watching the couple dozen student athletes and Hampton staff attending the press conference, showed that these are the humble beginnings great stories are made of.

Joining a conference that generates more revenue for its schools, provides the Pirates with the opportunity to enhance their facilities, attract new sponsors, increase their recruiting budget (and recruiting reach) all while potentially increasing the funds funneled into other areas of their university that will raise the standard of their stellar academic platform.

(Yes, we will eventually subpoena Hampton University in the case of paying college athletes, but for now, we should just celebrate.)

There are a few options to keep the number of conference teams away from the single digits because I’m convinced Howard is already looking to make a move, and the North Carolina A&T rise to FCS dominance (along with their ideal geographical location) would also be a nice addition for the Big South. Making Augusta State University a full-fledged member, or calling up one of the DII programs that have seen recent success in athletics, (i.e. Bowie State University or Virginia State University), seem to be the initial obvious moves. However, if the number of conference participants fall below a certain point, a possible merger with the SWAC seems inevitable.

All in all, Hampton’s initial conference move is a positive, but probably not their last, with future mergers with the Colonial Athletic Conference, then eventually the Atlantic Coastal Conference, and acquisitions of top students and athletes from around the world. So, if you think HU’s students and alums are full of themselves now, just wait until their university stock is one of the highest in the country.