The College of Charleston has accepted an invitation of membership to join the Colonial Athletic Association beginning July 1, 2013, CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager announced today.
"Speaking for the entire membership, we are extremely excited that the College of Charleston will be joining the CAA," CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. "We believe their nationally recognized athletic and academic programs will be a great institutional fit with other CAA institutions. Charleston will enhance the competition level in the conference and add to our group of nationally prominent teams in a number of sports. CAA fans will enjoy traveling to Charleston to see their team play, as will Cougar fans and alumni located in CAA cities in many of the major metropolitan areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast."
"We are thrilled to welcome the College of Charleston athletic program to the CAA," said UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller, who is the chair of the CAA Council of Presidents. "The Cougars are a terrific fit for the league both athletically and academically, and we are confident that the entire conference will benefit from the addition of such a vibrant, competitive program. The College of Charleston's history of outstanding athletic performance and the enthusiasm of their dedicated fans will add a great deal of spirit to an already competitive conference. We're looking forward to our first match-ups next season - and to a long and lively future of robust match-ups."
The College of Charleston is a public liberal arts and sciences university located in the heart of historic Charleston, S.C. Founded in 1770, the College is among the nation's top universities for quality education, student life and affordability. With more than 11,000 students, the College of Charleston offers the distinctive combination of a beautiful and historic campus, modern facilities and cutting-edge programs.
"We are very excited about joining the Colonial Athletic Association," President P. George Benson said. "It is a great fit for the College, both athletically and academically. This move is a significant step forward in the College's efforts to become a national university."
Since becoming an NCAA Division I member in 1991-92, CofC has enjoyed postseason athletics success among its 21-varsity sports teams. Men's basketball has made four NCAA Tournament appearances, baseball five NCAA regional appearances including a super regional in 2006, volleyball seven NCAA appearances, men's soccer and women's tennis five NCAA appearances, women's golf four NCAA regional appearances, men's golf three NCAA regional appearances including a national championship berth in 2001, men's tennis two NCAA appearances, and softball an NCAA regional in 2005.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to join an outstanding conference, the Colonial," CofC Director of Athletics Joe Hull said. "The Colonial is a high-quality league in so many ways. The competition will be tough, but I believe we will be prepared to compete for conference championships across the board immediately. One of the interesting benefits to this decision is that we are joining a league that has a presence in several of the greatest cities in our nation. Adding our great city of Charleston to that group creates the opportunity to bring tremendous positive recognition to our teams, our program, the College and our area. This is an amazing opportunity for the College of Charleston. I am confident we are up to the challenge."
The Colonial Athletic Association has built a reputation as one of the nation's top collegiate conferences both athletically and academically. The conference has produced 16 national team champions in five different sports, 33 individual national champions, 12 national players of the year, 12 national coaches of the year and 12 Honda Award winners. Just as impressive, however, are the honors accumulated away from competition, which include five Rhodes Scholars and 22 NCAA post-graduate scholars.
"We have always enjoyed a spirited rivalry with the College of Charleston," said UNCW Athletics Director Jimmy Bass, who is the President of the CAA. "The College of Charleston's success on the national level in many sports will only enhance the CAA's stance as one of the top conferences in the country."
The landscape of the conference stretches along the majority of the East Coast, and includes five of the nation's top 25 media markets - New York (1), Philadelphia (4), Boston (7), Washington, D.C. (9) and Baltimore (25). The addition of Charleston will add another top 100 market to the conference.
The CAA conducts championships in 23 sports. Male athletes compete for championships in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and wrestling. Female athletes battle for conference titles in basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. In 2011-12, 24 teams earned NCAA Tournament berths and 51 student-athletes received All-America honors in 16 different sports. The conference has had two men's basketball teams advance to the NCAA Final Four in the past six years.