DAVIDSON – Davidson College announced May 8 that it will transition 19 of its 21 Division I sports teams to the Atlantic 10 Conference, effective July 1, 2014.
“Davidson is thrilled to join the Atlantic 10 Conference to compete alongside some of the most dynamic Division I student-athletes in the country,” said Davidson College President Carol Quillen. “The A-10 is comprised of academically strong institutions located where Davidson has a presence and seeks greater visibility, including Washington, D.C., Richmond, Philadelphia and New York.”
Quillen said the college considered commitment to academics, competitiveness across sports, scheduling and all likely alternatives before making the transition.
“After considering these and other factors, we concluded that the Atlantic 10 offered Davidson a singular opportunity,” Quillen said. “In addition, the A10’s national TV partnerships with the ESPN, CBS sports network and NBC sports group will provide an enormous opportunity to enhance our visibility and extend our reach on the national level.”
According to most recent NCAA graduation rates, the Atlantic 10 ranked second among all Division I conferences, with 90 percent of their student-athletes graduating.
"The Atlantic 10 is a conference that gives Davidson the opportunity to be associated with and compete against institutions with significant profiles, both academically and athletically, while we continue to establish our national brand,” said Director of Athletics Jim Murphy. “This is another great opportunity to use athletics to further the goals and objectives of the college as we enhance the experience of our students.”
The geographic footprint of the Atlantic 10 Conference covers eight different states and the District of Columbia for a total population of 75.3 million people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Davidson’s football team will remain in the Pioneer Football League, while wrestling will seek to continue its affiliation with the Southern Conference.
“Our sentimental ties with the Southern Conference were very difficult to sever,” Murphy said.
Davidson first joined the Southern Conference in 1936.
“Davidson is an ideal fit for the Atlantic 10 – as a nationally recognized academic institution complimented by excellence in a broad-based athletic program – the Wildcats will be competitive immediately. Their success in men's basketball is important, bringing another nationally recognized brand into the league," A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said.
Quillen said that the board of trustees had been looking at Davidson College’s athletic conference situation for over a year, “with an eye towards imagining what the best outcome would be for Davidson over the long haul. They are united in enthusiastically supporting this move for Davidson, I think partly because of the seriousness with which they took this issue over the long haul and the careful analysis they’ve done, not just of the options that exist now, but of what might be likely to happen in the future.”