A geographic footprint that aligns with current student and alumni populations made the CAA a natural fit for Elon, which will host and travel to many top schools in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast for varsity athletic competition.
Elon University joined the Colonial Athletic Association on July 1, 2014, the latest addition to an athletic conference with member schools in many of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore.
“The CAA is a great fit both athletically and academically and will allow Elon student-athletes to compete with peers at many excellent universities along the Eastern seaboard,” said Elon Director of Athletics Dave Blank. “In addition, we are very excited about the opportunity for game-day outreach and events for Elon alumni, friends, parents and prospective students when our teams compete in CAA cities.”
Founded in 1983, the CAA includes 10 all-sport members:
- College of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.)
- University of Delaware (Newark, Del.)
- Drexel University (Philadelphia)
- Elon University (Elon, N.C.)
- Hofstra University (Hempstead, N.Y.)
- James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.)
- Northeastern University (Boston)
- Towson University (Towson, Md.)
- University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Wilmington, N.C.)
- College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, Va.)
University at Albany, University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Rhode Island University, University of Richmond, Stony Brook University and Villanova University are football-only members of the conference.
“We are thrilled to welcome Elon to the CAA,” said CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager. “The university’s academic and athletic stature makes it a great partner that will generate tremendous enthusiasm throughout the league.”
The CAA geographic footprint provides a strong match with Elon’s student and alumni populations. About 1,850 current students – one-third of the university’s undergraduate student population – come to Elon from areas close to CAA member schools in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.
“Joining the CAA is a great step for Elon,” said Elon senior Grace Eng, a member of the Elon softball team from Middletown, Rhode Island. “Being a native of the Northeast, I grew up with these schools and went to their sporting events, so I know how talented they are. It will also be nice traveling closer to home so my family can watch me during my senior year.”
Alumni populations in CAA cities are especially strong, with approximately 5,300 Elon alumni living within 50 miles of CAA member schools.
“Having Elon coming to CAA member schools in my area will be a great way to continue to stay involved with the university,” said alumnus Zack Pund ’05 of Baltimore. “I’m very excited to have an opportunity to attend games on a more regular basis and support our student-athletes in person.”
The CAA provides an academic match for Elon, including 10 schools ranked as national universities by U.S. News & World Report. The conference consistently posts strong academic success ratings and has produced five Rhodes Scholars and 24 NCAA post-graduate scholars.
CAA member school provosts also have formed the Colonial Academic Alliance to collaborate on academic excellence, share academic benchmarks and information, sponsor an annual undergraduate research symposium and coordinate study abroad and student life programs.
Elon moved to the CAA after a decade of success on the fields, courts and classroom in the Southern Conference. The Phoenix won 21 Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and 15 student-athletes earned Southern Conference Player of the Year recognition. Nationally, 26 Elon student-athletes received All-American honors and 28 student-athletes earned Academic All-American recognition.
Elon gains additional media exposure in its new conference. The CAA recently signed a five-year agreement with NBC Sports Group, including the NBC Sports Network, which reaches 75 million homes nationwide. In addition, Comcast SportsNet provides regional broadcast coverage. The number of television homes in the CAA market exceeds 20 million.
“As parents of a student-athlete at Elon, we view the school’s move to the CAA as a tremendous step forward for the university, its student-athletes, students, parents and alumni,” said Ted and Laurel Stack, parents of junior Kelli Stack on the women’s lacrosse team. “Joining a conference with roots in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will be a major boost for Elon athletes as they travel to away games.
“It’s also a major boost for fans of the Phoenix as we get to cheer on the teams as they compete in our local markets. We look forward to help creating that ‘home team’ atmosphere at the away venues in the Philadelphia area.”