Campbell University is leaving the Big South for the Colonial Athletic Association, the latest in a series of ongoing moves reshaping the FCS. The move includes all sports and is effective July 1, 2023.
"The leadership team at Campbell University could not be more grateful to the Colonial Athletic Association for the invitation to join this outstanding athletic conference," said Campbell President J. Bradley Creed. "Campbell's athletic teams have demonstrated that we can compete with some of the best teams in the country. This move to the CAA aligns extremely well for Campbell in terms of the profile of sports and athletics, as well as the academic reputation of these highly regarded colleges and universities."
Campbell was one of just three full-time, football-playing members in the Big South, joined by Charleston Southern and Gardner Webb. Bryant, Robert Morris and North Carolina A&T also recently joined as football-only members, but this will be NC A&T's only season in the league. The Aggies join the CAA alongside the Camels in 2023.
"Today, the members of the Council of Chief Executive Officers unanimously reaffirmed and reasserted their commitment to the Big South and the values that since 1983 have formed the foundation of one of America’s most storied athletic conferences. While change presently seems to be the one constant in collegiate sports, the Big South Conference members stand firm in their continued support of individual and institutional integrity, devotion to team, and top-level amateur competition," the conference's council of CEOs said Tuesday.
While a handful of FCS leagues struggle to maintain viability on their own, the CAA continues to grow.
With Campbell coming aboard, the CAA will boast 15 football schools in 2023. The conference's map will stretch from Maine in the north to its new southern boundary, Campbell's Buies Creek, N.C., campus. (In all sports, the College of Charleston is the CAA's southernmost member.)
“We are excited to welcome Campbell University as the newest member of the Colonial Athletic Association,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said. “Campbell is an outstanding academic institution that features a successful and competitive athletic program. Both of these attributes fit perfectly into the Conference’s vision that calls for our membership to work together to advance nationally competitive athletic programs – coupled with outstanding academic programs – that empower student-athletes as whole persons to strive at the highest level in every aspect of their lives."
The move to the CAA continues the leveling-up for Camel football. Campbell signed one of the best recruiting classes in FCS history in February. The class was a major leap for head coach Mike Minter, whose team went 3-8 in 2021. Having re-launched the program in 2008, Campbell will work for its first and final Big South title this fall.
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