CAA Adds UMass and Penn State as Associate Members

RICHMOND, Va. (June 16, 2008) -- The Colonial Athletic Association will add the University of Massachusetts and The Pennsylvania State University as associate members in the sport of men's lacrosse beginning with the 2010 season, CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager announced on Monday. UMass and Penn State join the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University and Towson University to form a competitive six-team conference whose champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.

"We are proud to welcome the University of Massachusetts and Penn State to the CAA in men's lacrosse," Yeager said. "Both schools have excellent programs along with outstanding coaches and players. Their addition will keep CAA men's lacrosse among the top Division I conferences in the nation."

A realignment of men's lacrosse conferences nationally - spurred by the Big East Conference and Northeast Conference's new sponsorship of the sport - led to the changes in CAA membership. Current members Sacred Heart and Robert Morris will move to the NEC and Villanova will move to the Big East following the 2009 campaign. Yeager said that the CAA will continue to evaluate additional membership options.

UMass has been to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship 17 times in its history, including four appearances since 2002 under head coach Greg Cannella. The Minutemen reached the national championship game in 2006. Penn State participated in the 2003 and 2005 NCAA Tournaments and the Nittany Lions have won more than 200 games during the 31-year tenure of head coach Glenn Thiel. Both schools are currently members of the ECAC for lacrosse.

UMass and Penn State will bolster a conference that has seen plenty of success in recent years. The CAA has sent a pair of teams to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship three times in the past six seasons. Delaware has gone to the NCAA Tournament twice in the last four years and reached the NCAA semifinals in 2007. Towson has earned five NCAA berths in the last eight seasons and advanced to the semifinals in 2001. Hofstra has made eight trips to the NCAA Tournament since 1996, including five since 2000. Drexel has shared the CAA regular-season title for the past two years and won a school-record 13 games in 2007 and finished the year ranked #15 in the nation.

[Excerpts from team releases, which carried much of the content above, follow.]

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Massachusetts

UMass head coach Greg Cannella is excited about joining the CAA in lacrosse, but appreciates the work the ECAC has done while UMass has been a member, since 2000.

"First off, we have enjoyed being in the ECAC and we will be in the ECAC in 2009," said Cannella. "That league has provided great competition and done a lot for our program. We are very excited to be joining the CAA, which UMass is also a member of in football. Everyone at UMass has enjoyed the relationship with the CAA and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to play lacrosse with the four continuing schools in the CAA for lacrosse, who have a strong tradition."

UMass has been to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship 17 times in its history, including four appearances since 2002 under head coach Greg Cannella. The Minutemen reached the national championship game in 2006. Penn State participated in the 2003 and 2005 NCAA Tournaments and the Nittany Lions have won more than 200 games during the 31-year tenure of head coach Glenn Thiel. Both schools are currently members of the ECAC for lacrosse.

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2008-06-16



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