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Originally published: 2013-05-08 11:06:55
Last modified: 2013-05-08 12:03:45

Davidson moves to Atlantic 10

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

DAVIDSON -- Davidson's athletic program announced it would leave the Southern Conference to join the Atlantic 10 in a news conference held Wednesday morning.

The Wildcats will join the Atlantic 10 on July 1, 2014, according to the school's web site.

Davidson College president Carol Quillen made the announcement Wednesday morning in a news conference. Davidson leaves the Southern Conference, which it has been a member since 1936.

"Davidson is thrilled to join the Atlantic 10 Conference to compete alongside some of the most dynamic Division I student-athletes in the country," Quillen said on the school's athletic department website. "Our athletic teams - from men's basketball to women's lacrosse, from men's swimming to women's tennis - are ready for this new opportunity and we have the greatest confidence they will succeed."

Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino released the following statement in an email Wednesday morning.

"Davidson and the Southern Conference have been a good fit for many decades. We're disappointed in the administration's decision to leave, but understand the dynamics of collegiate athletics have led to many decisions such as this one. We wish the Davidson athletic department well."

Of Davidson's 21 programs, 19 will compete in the Atlantic 10. Davidson's football team will stay in the Pioneer Football league, and its wrestling program will try to stay in the SoCon.

The Atlantic 10 will be comprised of Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Mason, George Washington, La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph's, Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth in the school year 2014-15.

"Davidson is an ideal fit for the Atlantic 10 - as a nationally recognized academic institution complimented by excellence in a broad-based athletic program - the Wildcats will be competitive immediately," Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said. "Their success in men's basketball is important, bringing another nationally recognized brand into the league."

Davidson's men's basketball team gets an early view of the Atlantic 10 this fall when the Wildcats and Massachusetts will be in the field of the Charleston Classic, which is Nov. 21-14.

Davidson's men's basketball team has dominated the Southern Conference over the past decade. The Wildcats have won the South Division nine times since 2002, and reached the NCAA tournament six times during that same stretch.

The Wildcats won the SoCon's South Division and the SoCon Tournament in the 2012-13 season by beating College of Charleston 74-55 in the finals. Davidson lost 59-58 to Marquette in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Davidson is the fourth team to bolt from the Southern Conference. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern announced they would leave for the Sun Belt Conference, which they will join in 2014. College of Charleston is leaving to join the Colonial Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 season.