Apr 20, 2011, 4:41 PM EDT
The University of Massachusetts announced Wednesday its plans to move its football program to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level beginning in 2012 and compete as a member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The move, announced at an afternoon press conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., ends a 65-year tenure for the Minutemen who were charter members of the Yankee Conference (now CAA Football) in 1946.
Massachusetts will play a complete CAA Football schedule this coming fall in 2011, then will move on to a 12-game FBS schedule in 2012. Due to UMass’ announcement prior to the 2011 season, it will not be eligible for NCAA Division I Football Championship play as well as the CAA Football Championship.
“Massachusetts has been a charter member of the conference dating back 65 years and we are disappointed that these long standing rivalries will cease,” CAA Football Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “At the same time, we are all charged with advancing the interests of our respective programs and I know that the decision to elevate their program to the FBS level was thorough and complete. We wish Massachusetts well as the university pursues these new interests.”
The Minutemen plan to play a full MAC schedule beginning in 2012 and by 2013 be eligible for the MAC Championship and bowl participation.
CAA Football is poised for yet another run at the NCAA Division I National Championship in 2011. The league, which will welcome Old Dominion to its fold in the upcoming season, returns six All-Americans and 12 First Team All-CAA Football award winners in 2011. CAA Football has seen one of its league members advance to the Division I National Championship game seven of the last eight seasons and each of the last five years. Delaware and James Madison (2003-04) and Richmond and Villanova (2008-09) twice earned consecutive National Championships for the league in its championship appearance span dating back to 2003.
CAA Football, which will also welcome Georgia State to its league roster in 2012, continues to boast one of the most-watched television packages at the FCS level. In 2010, 39 of the league’s 79 games were televised including seven national broadcasts. CAA Football’s 19-game conference television package in 2010 reached nearly 165 million households thanks to its partnership with the Comcast Sports Group.
— Massachusetts Membership release (CAASports.com)
— Massachusetts Membership release (UMassathletics.com)
— Massachusetts Membership release (mac-sports.com)
— Massachusetts Membership information (UMassathletics.com)
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