With four departures (Butler, Charlotte, Temple and Xavier) and one arrival (George Mason), the Atlantic 10 Conference will have 13 members for the 2013-14 academic year with Davidson joining in 2014.
Those changes have brought about another for the conference: beginning next season, all members will play in the Atlantic 10 tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In previous years only the top 12 teams qualified for the conference tournament.
“Bringing every member to our basketball championships is really important to our coaches and member institutions, our commitment to being the most successful basketball-centric conference Division I has been a priority and will continue to be a priority,” commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said in a statement released by the conference announcing the change.
“The athletic directors made a number of decisions this week that will greatly benefit the Atlantic 10, our national relevance and brand, keeping us on the forefront athletically and academically”
The Big East, before splitting, invited all 16 members to New York City for its conference tournament from 2009-2012, beginning play with a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon. How will the Atlantic 10 manage 13 (and then 14) members?
In regards to a 13-team format one possibility would be to give the top three seeds a first-round bye, going with a triple-header on the first afternoon of the event (this is what the Big East did when it was a 13-member league).
But regardless of how the A-10 decides to format its tournament, knowing that they’ll get to play in the event has to be a relief for the programs that have been stuck at the bottom of the conference standings in recent years.
The 2013-14 season will also feature expanded television coverage for the conference (existing partners ESPN and CBS Sports Network), with NBC Sports Network televising 25 conference games.
Also of note regarding men’s basketball is the conference’s decision to move from 16 to 18 conference games, beginning with the 2014-15 season.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.