The Atlantic 10 Conference has been the center of attention the last six weeks or so, with Temple leaving and the talk of at least three more teams being added.
The Temple loss was a big blow, but the league made up for it quickly with the addition of Butler. The move was officially announced on Wednesday. Adding Butler to the mix keeps the Atlantic 10 right where it has been, a multi-bid league with a deep roster of quality programs.
“The decision to accept Butler University was an easy one and a unanimous one,” said Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade.
Butler gives the Atlantic 10 a team with a rich NCAA Tournament background. It also gives the league a presence in Big Ten country. Indiana is the nation’s 26th largest television market.
Adding a high profile school from the Indiana market is a significant factor in all of this, because the Atlantic 10’s television deals with ESPN and CBS are up after the 2012-2013 season. McGlade said the league will begin negotiations with both networks soon.
The addition of Butler and the possible move of VCU and George Mason to the league will give the conference more leverage in its negotiations.
There is also the league’s tournament agreement with the Barclays Center, which should sweeten the financial pot for the Atlantic 10.
As for the reports of VCU and George Mason in talks to join the league, McGlade wouldn’t speak specifically about it, but admitted the league is open to adding more teams.
“All of that is very fluid at this time,” said McGlade. “We feel like we’re in a great position of strength right now.”
The Atlantic 10’s annual meetings begin May 20. A lot of changes could emerge, especially in regards to scheduling and conference alignment. McGlade said the league could split into two divisions.
“Divisional play has always been a topic, at least for the last four years I’ve been here,” said McGlade
McGlade expects changing the number conference games will be “on the table for discussion as well.”