This season will be the last one that the Stony Brook University football team plays in the Big South Conference.
“We’re incredibly excited about CAA. The opportunities are tremendous,” Stony Brook University’s President Samuel Stanley said. “We really appreciate the opportunity to become a part of CAA football.”
The school announced on Tuesday that it has accepted an invitation from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), which the team will be a part of at the start of the 2013 season.
“Today is a proud day for Stony Brook University as we continue to elevate our intercollegiate athletics program to higher levels of excellence,” Stanley Jr. said in a press release. “Moving our football program into the CAA aligns us with the elite academic and athletic institutions in the Football Championship Subdivision.”
Stony Brook is not the only school that is an all-sports member of the America East Conference that will be a part of the CAA. Also present will be the University at Albany, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine. Many of the other schools are in the Chesapeake Bay area.
With entrance into the CAA, the Seawolves will automatically be eligible to win a conference championship and a bid into the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
The CAA has had a recent history of success in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Since 2007, two of its teams have been national champions and four have appeared in the national championship game.
Stony Brook’s athletic director Jim Fiore recognizes how major this is for Stony Brook, and says he’s proud that athletics at the university has come so far in such a short period of time.
With the CAA announcement, it’s just another step up the ladder for the SUNY school.
“Stony Brook has come very far, very fast,” Fiore said. “In my nine years, particularly the last five, six years, we’ve had great success in athletics. Our university and our fan base have grown exponentially.”
Along with athletic success, the CAA is also noteworthy for its emphasis on academics for the student-athletes. In the last three years, 10 of its programs achieved NCAA Public Recognition Awards for being in the top 10 percent of the FCS in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rating System.
Stony Brook University will try to bring their success over the past three years with them when they join the CAA conference. Stony Brook has either won or shared the Big South title the past three seasons.
Coach Chuck Priore has coached the team well thus far, and last season he led them to their first NCAA Championship Subdivision playoff appearance.
“This is just another step in our athletic program’s direction,” Priore said. “I’d like to thank the Big South. It’s been a great home to us and will continue to be a great home for the 2012 football season.”
Despite the CAA news, Priore explains that him and his team are still very focused on their last season in the Big South conference.
“Right now we play in the Big South, we compete and we do what we have to do now,” Priore said.
The Stony Brook Seawolves will kick off their season on September 1st against Central Connecticut.