The change in the conference landscape could be making it’s way to New England. According to reports, UMass and the MAC have had initial discussions in which Umass would upgrade to FBS level football and join the MAC as it’s 14th school.
Like the football arrangement the MAC has with Temple, the other UMass sports would remain in the Atlantic 10. Temple is required to offer the MAC some basketball scheduling flexibility in regards to their out of conference schedule each year, something UMass would presumably need to do as well.
Upon upgrade, UMass could schedule 1 of it’s home games at Gillette stadium in eastern Massachusetts, a location they played at this year against UNH. Per NCAA rules, a school needs to play 80% of it’s home games at the same location, meaning it could not be an even split between Gillette Stadium and Amherst. The current Umass stadium seats only 17,000 which is small by college football standards amongst the top programs. But the MAC historically has lower attendance numbers and is a more realistic fit for a potential upgrade such as UMass.
A move to MAC for football would always be seen as a temporary stop in the eyes of the school, with hopes that one day the Big East will extend an invitation. The Big East added TCU yesterday and has had it’s eyes set on Villanova upgrading to be the 10th football school. UCF and Houston have remained likely targets should Villanova pass on an upgrade. The Big East would not likely have any room for additional schools unless something more seismic happened in the Big East such as the loss of members such as Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt and Uconn to conferences like the Big Ten or ACC. Schools such as UCF, Houston, Memphis, ECU, Temple and upon upgrade, UMass, Delaware, JMU and Appalachian St, would likely be replacement candidates. The other large change would be if the Big East football schools split from the basketball portion and expanded to 12. In such a case 2-3 spots would be available for the same candidate pool.
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