“The member institutions of the CAA are thrilled that Elon has accepted our offer of membership,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “We have been selectively searching for highly respected institutions that shared a common vision of institutional excellence and a commitment to the success of the young men and women participating in our athletic programs. Elon fits our model and will immediately become a valuable conference partner helping to elevate each individual institution.”
“On behalf of the presidents I want to express my great excitement that Elon has accepted our invitation to join the CAA in the 2014-15 academic year and to welcome President Lambert and the Phoenix family to the conference,” said UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller, who is the chair of the CAA Council of Presidents. “Elon brings the excellent academic and athletic reputation that is the hallmark of the conference. Having Elon with us will deepen long standing rivalries, create new competitive opportunities and support the important geographic footprint of the conference.”
Elon University is a selective, independent university renowned as a national model for engaged learning with faculty dedicated to excellent teaching. Elon's 6,000 students come from 48 states, the District of Columbia and 48 other nations. Nearly 50 percent are from mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, with about 25 percent from North Carolina. Elon Phoenix athletics includes 17 intercollegiate men's and women's sports in NCAA Division I (FCS football). Elon's beautiful and historic residential campus in central North Carolina is designated as a botanical garden.
"In a time of great change in the collegiate athletics landscape, the Colonial Athletic Association offers a great match with our strategic plans for Elon's future," Elon President Dr. Leo M. Lambert said. "The CAA will allow our student-athletes to compete with peers at many excellent universities on the Eastern seaboard. We will have the opportunity to continue competition with fine schools in the Carolinas and Virginia while raising Elon's profile in the large metropolitan areas of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast – areas where many of our students, alumni and prospective students call home."
Elon will make the move to the CAA after more than a decade of success on the field and in the classroom in the Southern Conference. Elon has won 18 Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles. Twelve Phoenix student-athletes have earned Southern Conference Player of the Year recognition, while Elon head coaches have earned 19 Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors. Nationally, 25 Elon student-athletes have received All-American honors and 25 student-athletes have earned Academic All-American recognition. Since joining the Southern Conference, 17 Elon teams and individuals have made NCAA postseason appearances, while teams and individuals have appeared in national rankings more than 20 times.
“The Colonial Athletic Association will provide the next great challenge in the growth of Elon athletics," said Dave Blank, Elon Director of Athletics. “By emphasizing continuous improvement with our student-athletes and coaches, Elon has risen to a position of strength in SoCon competition. We are equally proud of the leadership Elon has provided in academic excellence in the conference. The CAA is a great fit at an exciting time in sports at Elon."
The Colonial Athletic Association has built a reputation as one of the nation’s top collegiate conferences both athletically and academically. The conference has produced 16 national team champions in five different sports, 33 individual national champions, 12 national players of the year, 12 national coaches of the year and 13 Honda Award winners. The conference has had two men’s basketball teams and one women’s basketball team advance to the NCAA Final Four. CAA Football has captured five national championships since 1997. Just as impressive, however, are the honors accumulated away from competition, which include five Rhodes Scholars and 22 NCAA post-graduate scholars.
“Elon University will bolster the CAA’s academic and competitive reputations,” said UNCW Athletics Director Jimmy Bass, who is the President of the CAA. “We welcome their entry into the CAA and look forward to an exciting future.”
The landscape of the conference stretches along the majority of the East Coast, and includes four of the nation’s top 25 media markets – New York (1), Philadelphia (4), Boston (7) and Baltimore (25). Elon is located just 20 miles from Greensboro and 40 miles from Raleigh, giving the CAA a presence in central North Carolina.
The CAA conducts championships in 22 sports. Male athletes compete for championships in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field. Female athletes battle for conference titles in basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. In 2011-12, 24 teams earned NCAA Tournament berths and 51 student-athletes received All-America honors in 16 different sports.
Elon University will join the College of Charleston, the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William & Mary as members of the CAA in 2014-15.
Elon becomes the 12th member in CAA Football in 2014, joining Delaware, James Madison, Towson, William & Mary, the University at Albany, the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Richmond, Stony Brook University and Villanova University.