VCU, George Mason join list of potential additions to A-10

women's basketball, Danni Jackson, George Mason University, Battle of the Orange Line
Then-sophomore forward Danni Jackson battles against George Mason opponents in the Smith Center. CBSSports reports the Patriots are interested in joining the A-10. | Hatchet File Photo

VCU and George Mason have had meetings with the A-10 about their interest in joining the league, CBSSports.com reported Monday.

The pair joins Butler on the list of colleges considering joining the A-10. Butler, VCU and George Mason all compete in “one-bid” leagues where traditionally only the program that wins the conference tournament earns a NCAA tournament bid.

This year, the Atlantic 10 advanced four programs to the NCAA tournament and another four to the NIT. The A-10’s high profile in the postseason is an attractive selling point, director of athletics Patrick Nero said.

He added that the league intends to only add programs that will continue to add to the conference’s success.

“It is an ongoing process. I think the hope is that we’ll start to have some decisions made in the next month or two. And we’re definitely looking at the biggest criteria that who brings the highest value in men’s basketball,” Nero said. “So it will be a school that people will say, okay, they have a great men’s basketball program, that makes sense.”

After Temple announced March 7 it would leave the league for the Big East in the 2013-14 season, speculation began over the programs that would serve as the Owls’ replacement. Temple’s departure from the league was expected, Nero said. CBSSports.com also reported March 13 that Charlotte, an A-10 program that will be adding a football team in 2013, received an “informal invitation” to join the Sun Belt league. The 49ers’ football team will compete as an FCS independent for two seasons and would be eligible to join the Sun Belt in 2015.

The Atlantic 10 is proactive in discussing potential departures from the league, Nero said, and any additions would be programs that ultimately underline the strength of the league’s men’s basketball competition.

“I think we all felt like the Temple departure was imminent, and so it’s almost like, whew, that’s over with. Time to move on,” Nero said. “And so we’re moving on and I think within the next month or two, the conference will have some announcements that will show that we’ll be as strong as ever.”

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