Conference expansion coming to... the MAC?
Way back in September, Eastern Michigan athletic director Derrick Gragg was quoted as saying that “the MAC is going to try to extend invitations to one or two institutions in the next year or two.”
A little over two months later, it appears Gragg was on the correct path.
According to the Boston Herald, and citing several unnamed sources, UMass plans to move from their current level at Div. 1-AA (FCS) and into Div. 1-A (FBS). If they do make the jump, they would then make the MAC their conference home.
Under the current plan that appears to either be in motion or on the verge of being set in motion, UMass would play as a provisional Div. 1-A school in 2011 and 2012, then become a full-fledged Div. 1-A member in 2013.
A MAC spokesman told the Herald that the conference is exploring adding UMass to their current roster of 13 schools, while athletic director John McCutcheon said “it would be premature” to say that the Minutemen are moving up a level, but that the school will “continue to evaluate where we are with our program.”
One more tidbit regarding this UMass situation: if they do move to Div. 1-A, they would look to play several home games at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Their current home stadium seats just 17,000 fans, which, as noted by the paper, would be unacceptable at the next level. Unless it occurred at Miami, where it would then be known as an average-sized 2010 home crowd.