Elon, NC (Sports Network) - Elon University announced on Thursday that it will move to a full-time member of the Colonial Athletic Association beginning in the 2014-15 season.
Elon, currently in the Southern Conference, sponsors 17 NCAA Division I varsity sports. Women's lacrosse is the only sport that competes outside of the Southern Conference, playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but they too will join the CAA.
"The Colonial Athletic Association will provide the next great challenge in the growth of Elon athletics," said Dave Blank, Elon's director of athletics. "By emphasizing continuous improvement with our student-athletes and coaches, Elon has risen to a position of strength in SoCon competition. We are equally proud of the leadership Elon has provided in academic excellence in the conference. The CAA is a great fit at an exciting time in sports at Elon."
The CAA has been actively seeking members after losing Georgia State, VCU, George Mason and Old Dominion in the last 13 months. It has added College of Charleston for all sports, and Albany and Stony Brook for football for next year.
"In a time of great change in the collegiate athletics landscape, the Colonial Athletic Association offers a great match with our strategic plans for Elon's future," said University President Leo M. Lambert. "The CAA will allow our student-athletes to compete with peers at many excellent universities on the Eastern seaboard. We will have the opportunity to continue competition with fine schools in the Carolinas and Virginia while raising Elon's profile in the large metropolitan areas of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast - areas where many of our students, alumni and prospective students call home."
Elon competed in the Big South Conference upon its move to Division I in 1999 and joined the Southern Conference in 2003. Prior to its Division I membership, Elon was an NCAA Division II member for eight years and was previously a member of the NAIA.