Atlantic 10 Conference lures Davidson to conference

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Davidson College will join the Atlantic 10 Conference starting in the 2014-15 season, conference and school officials announced Wednesday.

This North Carolina school north of Charlotte, which competes in the Southern Conference, will join the Atlantic 10 in all sports except for football and wrestling.

"Not only does Davidson meet the benchmarks we have set, they have exceeded them in many areas," Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said on a conference call.

Davidson president Carol Quillen said the Atlantic 10 will provide the school with an opportunity to compete in the Washington, Philadelphia, Richmond and New York markets, areas from which the school recruits.

Davidson turned down an opportunity to join the Colonial Athletic Association a year ago. Quillen said that the timing and fit were not right for that conference.

Duquesne men's basketball coach Jim Ferry said the additions of Davidson and George Mason -- which accepted an invitation in March to join the conference -- to the Atlantic 10 strengthen an already strong league.

"They fit both academically and athletically," Ferry said. "It allows the Atlantic 10 to remain as one of the top basketball conferences in the country."

Davidson and George Mason, which is leaving the Colonial Athletic Conference and will officially join the Atlantic 10 July 1, means the conference will have 14 teams in 2014-15.

Over the past year, the A-10 lost Temple, Xavier and Butler to what is now the American Athletic Conference, and it also lost Charlotte to Conference USA. Because of those recent defections, adding schools is a way to help stabilize the Atlantic 10.

The other members of the Atlantic 10 are Duquesne, Dayton, La Salle, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island, Fordham, Richmond, Saint Louis, George Washington and Virginia Commonwealth.

Dayton, Saint Louis and VCU have all been rumored to be on the short list for membership in the Big East should the conference look to expand beyond its current 10 teams. Massachusetts could end up in the American Athletic Conference because the school has bumped up its football program to Division I-A.

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Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1720 and Twitter @paulzeise.


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