- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Atlantic 10 will add Davidson for the 2014-15 season, conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade has confirmed.
McGlade said Wednesday morning the league encouraged Davidson to honor its one-year commitment to the Southern Conference and not come until 2014-15. Davidson wanted to wait a year unlike George Mason, which is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association after this season for the A-10 in large part because of CAA bylaws that prevent departing teams from playing in its championship events. McGlade said Davidson didn't want to create any chaos in leaving early.
The Wildcats originally turned down a chance to go to the CAA a year ago to stay in the Southern Conference. The A-10 lost Xavier and Butler to the new Big East but made a preemptive move to add George Mason out of the CAA this spring. The Patriots will join the A-10 for the 2013-14 season.
McGlade said the A-10 will play a 16-game schedule with 13 teams next season and then the hope is to play 18 games as a 14-team league in 2014-15. Scheduling will be discussed at the league meetings on May 20 in Naples, Fla. McGlade said the A-10 wants to be in line with the high-profile leagues it is competing against that will all be playing 18 league games like the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, new Big East and likely the American Athletic Conference, too.
The A-10 will explore various scheduling models but McGlade said there are natural rivals in the 14-team A-10 with VCU-Richmond, George Mason-George Washington, Saint Joseph's-La Salle, UMass-Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure-Duquesne and Saint Louis-Dayton. Fordham and Davidson could be paired together (Davidson coach Bob McKillop is from New York and the Wildcats like to play games in the Northeast). But the A-10 could also look to form triangle combinations of scheduling, with Davidson figuring in with the two schools in Richmond or the D.C.-area while Fordham could be paired with UMass-URI.
The A-10 has to also guard against losing more members to the 10-team Big East like Saint Louis, Dayton, Richmond or even VCU if that league were to deviate from being a private-school conference.
McGlade has been proactive about making sure the A-10 doesn't slip and is one of the top basketball-centric conferences. The addition of Davidson and George Mason, where basketball has been king, continues that philosophy.
The holdover members in the A-10 are: UMass, Dayton, Rhode Island, La Salle, Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, Fordham, Richmond, Saint Louis, George Washington and VCU.
Charlotte is leaving after this season for Conference USA while Temple is going to the new AAC.