Division I-AA's top football conference, Atlantic 10, welcomes Towson into fold

Tigers to remain member of Patriot League until '04

August 22, 2002|By Kent Baker

Towson University will announce today that it has been accepted as the 12th football-playing member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

"It's been a long process, but it will be worth the wait," football coach Gordy Combs said yesterday. "This is a very competitive league from top to bottom, and we'll be happy to be a part of it."

The Atlantic 10 is considered the premier Division I-AA football conference in the East. Three members, William and Mary, Hofstra and Maine, made the NCAA playoffs from the league last season, and Massachusetts won the national title in 1998.

First reported to be in discussions with the Atlantic 10 last month, Towson is competing in the Patriot League in football and will do so for the next two seasons. Atlantic 10 membership is expected to start in 2004.

The change brings the Tigers into the same football conference with four schools it meets in the Colonial Athletic Association in basketball.

Unlike the Patriot League, which offers scholarship aid on a need basis, the Atlantic 10 is a full-scholarship league, with members allowed to give the NCAA limit of 63.

"The next recruiting class will be really important to us now," Combs said. "This will be fun."

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