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Atlantic Ten Conference

From Academic Kids

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Atlantic 10 Conference Football

The Atlantic 10 Conference (A10) is a college athletic conference which operates mostly in the eastern United States; it also has two member schools in Ohio. It participates in the NCAA's Division I-AA for football and Division I for all other sports, but will disband its football division after the 2006 football season.

Despite the name, there are 22 partial or full-time members; 12 schools play football, 12 basketball and other sports, and one affiliate member for women's field hockey only. Only three schools—UMass, Rhode Island, and Richmond—are members in both football and basketball. This odd conference construction is because the A-10 Football Conference was created in 1997 by a takeover of the football-only Yankee Conference, due to NCAA rules changes that significantly diminished the legislative input of single-sport conferences. The members of the Yankee Conference narrowly chose the A-10's merger proposal over that of the Colonial Athletic Association; this decision was later revisited by the football-playing members of the A-10, as explained below.

Members (and year joined, where known; football-only dates pre-1997 refer to Yankee Conference)

Broken down by who plays what, that's:

Football

Basketball and Olympic sports

Women's field hockey only

Future developments

In July 2005, Saint Louis University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will join the Atlantic Ten from Conference USA. Neither school has a football program.

Also in July 2005, Northeastern University, Boston, a football-only member of the A-10, will join the Colonial Athletic Association for basketball and Olympic sports. In 2004, Northeastern had announced its intention to join the CAA effective July 2006, but was allowed to leave by its primary conference, the America East Conference, a year early. Although the CAA does not currently sponsor football, Northeastern's move to that conference began a chain of events that led to the upcoming demise of the A-10 football conference.

As of the 2004-05 academic year, five CAA members (Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, Towson, and William & Mary) were football members of the A-10. The addition of Northeastern will give the CAA six schools with football programs, which under NCAA rules allows a conference to sponsor football. Once the CAA started to sponsor football, the A-10 would drop to six football members.

With six football members, the CAA decided to start a football conference in 2007. The league then invited Richmond, which left the CAA in 2001, to rejoin for football only, because of UR's long-standing in-state rivalries with William & Mary and James Madison. UR accepted the invitation, taking the A-10 football conference below the NCAA minimum of six. Not wishing to be left in a shell of a conference, Maine also applied for football-only membership in the CAA effective in 2007, and was accepted. Eventually, the A-10 football conference opted to disband. All of its members will compete in the CAA starting in 2007.

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