Boston University headed to Patriot League in realignment stunner

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At this point few people are surprised by the happenings in collegiate athletics when it comes to conference realignment.

But did anyone outside of the Boston University or Patriot League offices think that the Terriers would end up jumping from America East to the Patriot League?

Well, that’s exactly what will happen in the 2013-14 academic year, as BU has accepted the league’s invitation to become its ninth member (reported by CBSSports.com writer Jeff Goodman).

“Boston University is an outstanding addition to our membership as a private institution with a robust academic reputation and prolific athletic history,” said Lafayette president Daniel H. Weiss, who is also chairman of the Patriot League’s Council of Presidents, in the release.

“This decision to add Boston University to the Patriot League mirrors the Presidents’ commitment and vision to the stability and long-term positioning of the League.”

BU joins American, Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy as full members in the conference (Army and Navy being FBS independents in football).

BU has been a highly successful program within America East, which will no doubt feel the sting of this departure.

The Terriers have won the conference’s Commissioner Cup, which goes to the program that performs the best across all sports, in each of the last seven years and can claim 40 conference titles over the last 14 years.

“We are very impressed by the academic quality of the institutions in the Patriot League and by the League’s commitment to student-athletes while effectively competing at the NCAA Division I level,” said Boston University President Robert A. Brown in the same release.

“We believe that the philosophy of the League is a good match for Boston University and that the schools in the League will give our athletes a rich competitive environment.”

The question from a basketball standpoint is how quickly can Joe Jones’ program contend in the Patriot League, and they’ll spend their final season in America East looking to account for the loss of leading scorer Darryl Partin and forward Patrick Hazel.

According to realtimerpi.com the Patriot League ranked 22nd in conference RPI last season, while America East came in 29th (out of 31 leagues).

Bucknell (NIT) and Lehigh (NCAA) both won postseason games last year and will once again fight it out for the Patriot League crown in 2012-13.

Those two programs aren’t going anywhere, and American and Holy Cross have both enjoyed success in recent years.

This is a surprising move but a good one for Boston University, and they’re more than capable of being an instant contender in the Patriot League.

The question now for America East, which most recently celebrated Stony Brook’s trip to the College World Series, is where they turn for a ninth member (should they decide to expand).

Photo credit: Boston Herald/Faith Ninivaggi

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.