George Mason set to join Atlantic 10 starting in 2013-14 season

By Cameron McDonough

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The Atlantic 10 Conference responded to recent departures from within by extending an invitation to George Mason, which has accepted and is now set to join the conference on July 1, 2013.

With the addition of the Patriots, the A-10 is scheduled to have 13 full-time members for the 2013-14 academic year.

George Mason President Angel Cabrera announced the decision on Monday.

“This is an exciting time for George Mason University,” Cabrera said in a statement. “After careful consideration, we have concluded that joining the A-10 is the right move at the right time for Mason.”

The conference had 16 teams this season after it added Virginia Commonwealth and Butler to its ranks, but it will lose four schools to other conferences at year’s end in Butler, Xavier, Temple and Charlotte.

There is no word yet on whether the conference will elect to expand to an even number of schools for next season or stay at 13. There are reports out that the Big East will look to add two more teams for the 2014-15 season and is looking at potential A-10 schools to fill those slots.

In the meantime, the A-10 is happy to add the Patriots.

“I am honored and excited to welcome George Mason to the Atlantic 10 Conference. They are a perfect fit for our league with world-class academic programs and a nationally successful intercollegiate athletic program,” A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said in a statement Monday. “The addition of George Mason further strengthens our footprint, enhances our brand and will allow us to continue to build on our national prominence and success in men’s basketball and all sports.”

George Mason boasts an enrollment of over 32,500 students and is located in Fairfax, Va. It also has a strong recent history when it comes to men’s basketball as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Patriots made a memorable run to the Final Four in 2006 and has made the NCAA Tournament a total of six times.

The Patriots made the postseason this season as an entrant in the College Basketball Invitational.

Including men’s basketball, George Mason fields 20 of the A-10’s 21 sports. The women’s basketball team has made two postseason appearances, and when it comes to the NCAA Olympic sports, the Patriots have made more than 100 postseason appearances and have claimed 35 individual national championships. That number includes national championships in women’s soccer and men’s indoor track.

In response to George Mason’s exit, the CAA has elected to ban the Patriots from its CAA spring 2013 championships.

Besides George Mason, the other A-10 members for 2013-14 season will be Massachusetts, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis and VCU.

 

Cameron McDonough can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Cam_McDonough.