Will be league's most northernmost school

Updated: June 23, 2004, 5:32 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Northeastern accepted an invitation Wednesday to join the Colonial Athletic Association beginning in 2006.

Northeastern, currently a member of the America East Conference for all sports except football, will be the northernmost school in the CAA and hopes to expand its recruiting and admissions into the mid-Atlantic region, officials said.

"It's an honor to be invited to join a group of prestigious institutions that have well-established academic and athletic histories," athletic director Dave O'Brien said. "Furthermore, the CAA member schools cover a wide geographic footprint in the East that will expose our teams to thousands more alumni, fans, and potential students."

Northeastern will compete in 12 sports, including basketball, in the CAA, but will remain in the Atlantic 10 for football. The CAA currently doesn't have a football championship, but the addition of Northeastern gives it a sixth football-playing institution.

Atlantic 10 spokesman Ray Cella said it will continue to lobby its football members to stay put.

"This league is the best league in the country if it stays together," Cella said.

Colonial members Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, William & Mary, Towson, and Northeastern play football in the A-10, a Division I-AA league. Towson joins the A-10 football conference this fall.

Northeastern will reunite with Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra and Towson, which departed America East for the CAA after the 2000-01 athletic season.

The CAA is based in Richmond, Va. Other schools in the association are James Madison, UNC Wilmington, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, and William & Mary. James Madison and William & Mary also play football in the A-10.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press