Atlantic 10 membership draws look from Towson

CAA link for basketball makes move attractive

College Football

July 12, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Towson University has been conducting discussions with the Atlantic 10 Conference about the possibility of joining the league in football.

"It may happen, but there has not been any offer of admission extended to us," said Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards. "Potentially, at some future point, it is likely we could get it done."

Towson competes in the Patriot League and will enter the second year of a three-year contract this fall. But four fellow members of the Colonial Athletic Association's basketball conference - Hofstra, Delaware, William and Mary and James Madison - play football in the Atlantic 10, making the switch attractive.

"This came about because of our affiliation with the CAA," said Edwards. The CAA does not have football.

The Atlantic 10 has 11 affiliates and is interested in expanding by one so that its football league can be split into six-team divisions.

"It's very strong - a full-scholarship Division I-AA league," said Edwards of the Atlantic 10. "Getting in would change the nature of what we're doing and require added funding."

The Patriot League offers only need-based scholarship monies, has junior varsity programs and does not redshirt freshmen (withdrawing a player from a team for a year so the player can retain that season of eligibility to use later). The A-10 redshirts and has no JV teams.

"Right now, we have about a half-million dollars in need-based aid given," Edwards said. "That amounts to the equivalent of 40 scholarships. The A-10 teams go from 50 scholarships up to the [NCAA Division I-AA] limit of 63."

Since several years would be required to step up its scholarship outlays, Towson is exploring the change now.

"It's a little premature to say we're headed there, but we're looking at the possibility," Edwards said.

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