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University joins Atlantic 10 Conference

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 20 - February 16, 1995

Virginia Tech announced last week that it will join the Atlantic 10 Conference for 15 sports, including the high-profile sports of men's and women's basketball. The affiliation will begin with the 1995-96 academic year.

Joining the Hokies to form a new 12-team alignment will be Dayton and LaSalle. Linda Bruno, commissioner of the Atlantic 10, announced the new conference members during a teleconference call last Thursday.

Holdover schools in the Atlantic 10 are Duquesne, George Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, St. Joseph's, St. Bonaventure, and Temple. Xavier of Ohio and Fordham recently joined the conference.

Rutgers and West Virginia, two of Virginia Tech's football rivals, are withdrawing from the Atlantic 10 after this season for full membership in the BIG EAST Conference. Tech is a member of the BIG EAST for football only.

The Atlantic 10 sponsors 18 varsity sports. In addition to men's and women's basketball, Tech will participate in men's baseball, women's volleyball, men's golf, and men's and women's cross country, soccer, swimming, tennis, and indoor track.

Director of Athletics Dave Braine said Virginia Tech and the Atlantic 10 Conference are a good fit. "The Atlantic 10 will be good for our university and I think our university will be good for the Atlantic 10," Braine said. "We have gained an Eastern identity by playing football in the BIG EAST Conference. That identity now will be enhanced. It is my feeling that our fans will enjoy this new competition. We look forward to our participation next season."

Bruno said, "We are extremely pleased that Virginia Tech, Dayton, and LaSalle have accepted our invitations to become members of the Atlantic 10. When we identified that we wanted to expand by three teams, these were the three schools we focused on from the start because of their excellent traditions of academic and athletic excellence and commitments to broad-based athletic programs. We look forward to them beginning play in the Atlantic 10 next year."

The university is competing in its 17th and final season in the Metro Conference. The Hokies were freed to join another conference when the school agreed February 2 to a $1,135,000 settlement from the Metro to resign from the conference effective June 30.

Dayton comes to the Atlantic 10 from the Great Midwest Conference. Xavier and LaSalle have been in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, and Fordham has been a member of the Patriot League.

The new Atlantic 10 will be divided into two six-team divisions. Bruno said the makeup of the divisions will be determined at a later date. In men's and women's basketball, Tech will play a 16-game conference schedule, facing each school in its division twice and each school in the other division once. Tech thus will be able to schedule 10 non-conference games in the two sports.

The makeup of the schedule for other sports teams in the Atlantic 10 will be determined soon.