ELON, N.C. – On July 1, 2014, Elon University became an official member of the Colonial Athletic Association, joining an athletic conference with member schools in many of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, including Baltimore, Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
"We are very excited to officially join the Colonial Athletic Association," said Elon Director of Athletics Dave Blank. "The CAA is a great fit both athletically and academically and will allow Elon student-athletes to compete with peers at many excellent universities along the Eastern seaboard. In addition, we are very excited about the opportunity for game-day outreach and events for Elon alumni, friends, parents and prospective students when our teams compete in CAA cities."
The CAA includes 10 all-sport members: College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, UNC Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William & Mary.
CAA Football includes full-member programs at Delaware, James Madison, Towson and William & Mary along with football-only members University at Albany, University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond, Stony Brook University and Villanova University.
"We are thrilled to welcome Elon to the CAA," said CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager. "The university's academic and athletic stature makes it a great partner that will generate tremendous enthusiasm throughout the league."
Elon's first CAA competition will be held on Friday, Sept. 26, as both the women's soccer and volleyball squads play host to Hofstra. Football and men's soccer will both play their inaugural CAA games on Oct. 4 as the Phoenix hosts New Hampshire in football and welcomes Hofstra in men's soccer. In addition to New Hampshire, Elon football will host CAA members New Hampshire and Stony Brook, with road games at Delaware, Richmond, Towson and William & Mary.
The CAA geographic footprint provides an attractive match with Elon's student and alumni populations. Elon draws a large proportion of its enrollment from mid-Atlantic and New England states where many CAA teams are located. About 1,850 current students came to Elon from areas close to CAA member schools. Alumni populations in CAA cities are especially strong, with about 5,300 Elon alumni living within 50 miles of CAA member schools.
Elon makes the move to the CAA after more than a decade of success on the fields and courts and in the classroom in the Southern Conference. Elon won 21 Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles. Fifteen Phoenix student-athletes earned Southern Conference Player of the Year recognition and Elon head coaches have earned 20 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors. Nationally, 26 Elon student-athletes received All-American honors and 28 student-athletes earned Academic All-American recognition. Since joining the Southern Conference, 21 Elon teams and individuals have made NCAA postseason appearances, while teams and individuals have appeared in national rankings more than 23 times.
In competing in the CAA, Elon will gain valuable media exposure. The CAA recently signed a five-year agreement with NBC Sports Group, including the NBC Sports Network, which reaches 75 million homes nationwide. In addition, Comcast SportsNet provides regional broadcast coverage. The number of television homes in the CAA market exceeds 20 million.
The CAA provides an excellent academic match for Elon, including 10 schools ranked as national universities by U.S. News & World Report. The conference consistently posts strong academic success ratings and has produced five Rhodes Scholars and 24 NCAA post-graduate scholars. The provosts of the member schools have formed the Colonial Academic Alliance, a consortium of CAA schools that collaborate on academic excellence, share academic benchmarks and information, sponsor an annual undergraduate research symposium and coordinate study abroad and student life programs.
The CAA was founded in 1983 as the ECAC South basketball league and was renamed the Colonial Athletic Association in 1985. The CAA began football competition in 2007.