Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics.
Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics.
Thom Kendall

Mid-American Conference special issue

A new era on the horizon for UMass athletics

When the Atlantic 10 came into existence in 1976, the University of Massachusetts was a founding member for the then-only basketball conference. As the conference grew to support a multitude of other sports, UMass grew right alongside it.

An FCS football powerhouse, UMass elevated itself to the FBS level in early 2011, joining the Mid-American conference as a football-only member, as the A-10 doesn’t support football, neither at the FBS or FCS level. After declining a full membership invitation to join the MAC, the Massachusetts football team left the conference in 2015, and has played as an FBS independent for the last nine years. Finding a conference for football was the top priority for Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford.

With almost 50 years of history between the A-10 and UMass, the University had been hesitant to make a move that took all sports out of the A-10, even if it meant finding a home for football. But as time passed, it became more evident that if UMass was going to make a move, it couldn’t just be football.

Almost a decade after it left the MAC, UMass will reunite with its old conference, this time taking all the sports with it.


Daily Collegian (2023) (Kalina Kornacki)

News broke on Monday, Feb. 26 that the MAC voted to add UMass as a full member of the conference. Johnny Depin wrote a breaking news story about the then-reported move.

An official press conference announcing UMass’ move took place on Thursday, March 7. Pedro Gray Soares detailed what those in charge of the move said during the press conference at the Football Performance Center.

After leaving the MAC in 2015, UMass football will be reunited with its old flame. Mike Maynard analysed what the move means for the Minutemen, both now and in the future.

The move to the MAC has been divisive amongst UMass fans, particularly those of the men’s basketball team. Pedro Gray Soares broke down the benefits and challenges regarding the move.

Daily Collegian (2024) (Jonathan Shi)

Both men’s and women’s basketball in the MAC look very different than their A-10 counterparts. The Collegian’s college basketball guru Dean Wendel explains the difference between the two conferences and gets us prepped for basketball MACtion.

What would it look like if the MAC had hockey? In a fun hypothetical, Matt Skillings takes a look at the current landscape of hockey programs at MAC affiliated schools, and if it’s feasible for hockey to exist in the MAC.

Head Sports Editor Johnny Depin contributed to this special issue, along with Assistant Sports Editors Pedro Gray Soares, Mike Maynard and Matt Skillings, in addition to Collegian Staff member Dean Wendel.

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    Matt PeloquinMar 10, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    Good run down, thanks!