Will be league's most northernmost school

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.