Monmouth accepts invitation to join CAA, will join conference July 1

Woodrow Wilson Hall at dusk. The building was built in 1929.

Monmouth University has accepted an invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association — and will do so later this year, the conference announced Tuesday.

Monmouth, which currently competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, will join the CAA on July 1. Hampton University and Stony Brook University also accepted invitations.

The move is the latest in a long list of conference realignments.

For the CAA, it started in November, when James Madison University announced it was leaving the CAA for the Sun Belt Conference. The addition of the three new schools means the league is expanding to 12 full members and 13 members in football.

The College of Charleston, the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Elon University, Hofstra University, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William & Mary remain as full-time members, while the University at Albany, the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Richmond and Villanova University are among the 13 CAA Football schools.

CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said he was thrilled to make the announcement.

“All three institutions fit perfectly into the framework of the conference’s vision that calls for our membership to work together to advance nationally competitive athletic programs — coupled with outstanding academic programs — that empower student-athletes as whole persons to strive at the highest level in every aspect of their lives,” he said. “The CAA is excited for what the future holds and will continue to be focused on making decisions that ensures its membership a competitive and sustainable model.”

The CAA — considered one of the stronger mid-major conferences — will be a step up in competition for Monmouth.

It also will mean slightly more travel. Nine of the 11 members of the MAAC, including Rider University and Saint Peter’s University, were in the greater New York City region.

Monmouth brings successful women’s soccer and track and field programs, while its football program also has had recent success. The men’s basketball program has won three MAAC regular-season titles under King Rice and finished in second place last season.