GW student-athletes will be playing in a bigger and likely more competitive Atlantic 10 conference in two years, when the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Saint Louis University will join the league. A source close to the process told The Hatchet that the A-10 will announce its expansion plan Thursday afternoon.
Beginning in 2005-06, the A-10 will increase from 12 to 14 schools and expand its geographical region, meaning GW varsity teams will be traveling farther south to Charlotte and farther west to St. Louis for league competitions.
Both the Charlotte and St. Louis men’s basketball teams ranked higher than GW last year in Ratings Percentage Index, a statistic the NCAA uses to measure a team’s relative competitiveness. By playing against teams with higher RPIs, the GW men’s basketball team could increase its RPI, a factor the NCAA also considers when selecting teams for the NCAA Tournament.
The A-10’s move comes after a long-expected decision by the Big East to extend invitations to Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, DePaul and Marquette, all of which accepted on Tuesday. The musical chairs act leaves Conference USA without its top men’s basketball schools while strengthening both the Big East and A-10 in that sport.
Men’s basketball was the A-10’s primary motive in expanding, but the expansion will affect 13 other varsity sports as well. Of the 18 varsity sports that GW offers, only men’s and women’s water polo, squash and gymnastics do not compete in the A-10.