HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Just four years after making the major change from their longtime MEAC home to the Deep South, Hampton University’s athletic teams are on the move again.
The Pirates will join the Colonial Athletic Association on July 1, 2022. Hampton officially announced the change on Tuesday and said a joint press conference with the CAA was held at 1 p.m.
“The move to the Colonial Athletic Association is the next step in the evolution of Hampton University athletics,” Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey of Hampton University said in a statement. Press release. “Several CAA facilities are located within our geographic footprint, which means our student-athletes will continue to spend less time traveling and more time in class on campus. This decision continues to focus on academics, which is our main raison d’être. The conference’s geographic footprint, along with occasional competitions against northeast institutions, will reduce travel costs while enabling competition in several of the country’s major media markets.
One of these schools is just down I-64 at William & Mary.
Hampton will join Monmouth University in New Jersey and Stony Brook University in Long Island to move on to CAA. Stony Brook already participates in CAA football.
“The three institutions align well with the vision of the Conference which calls on our members to work together to advance nationally competitive athletic programs – coupled with exceptional academic programs – that enable student-athletes as people in their own right to strive to the highest standards in every aspect of their lives,” said CAA President Joe D’Antonio. “CAA is excited about what the future holds and will continue to focus on making decisions that ensure its members are a competitive and sustainable model.”
CAA was looking to add members with the upcoming departure of James Madison University. The Dukes announced in November that they would join the Sun Belt Conference, with the goal of having all sports in the Sun Belt by July 2022. The The CAA has been criticized nationally for not allowing JMU athletes to compete in conference championships go forward. It is unclear whether Hampton faces a penalty for leaving the Big South, which is now down to just five members of football.
Additions make CAA more northern-focused, with seven schools north of Virginia now: Towson, Delaware, Drexel, Monmouth, Hofstra, Stony Brook and Northeastern University in Boston (here is a map of how the conference was held in 2021).
Hampton brings some balance to the south end, which stretches as far south as Charleston. Virginia members and below now include: Hampton, William & Mary, Elon, UNC Wilmington, and the College of Charleston.
“On behalf of the entire Hampton University Athletics Department, student/athletes, coaches and staff, we are thrilled and very excited to join the community that is the Colonial Athletic Association,” said said Eugene Marshall, Jr., director of athletics for Hampton University. “CAA’s history and tradition, both athletically and academically, aligns perfectly with the ideals and core values of our visionary President, Dr. William R. Harvey, who believes in developing leaders and champions in the classroom and on the playground.”
15 of Hampton’s Division 1 sports are sponsored by CAA: football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, softball, men’s lacrosse and women’s volleyball. Women’s triathlon and mixed sailing will compete elsewhere, Hampton says.
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