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UMass to Join MAC for Football, Upgrade to FBS

Category: Atlantic 10 Expansion & Realignment, Featured News, MAC Expansion & Realignment, NCAA Division Upgrades

New England will have a third FBS level football school, joining Boston College and UConn in the highest level of college football. Per MAC sources and reported on the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the MAC and UMass will hold a joint press conference on Wednesday to make the official announcement. The move has been expected for months now and seemed to be held up only on some minor technicalities.

UMass is expected to play the majority of their FBS games at Gillette Stadium in eastern Massachusetts, up to 5 games per year and 1 game in Amherst. The specifics will likely be revealed at the press conference.

As part of the football-only membership agreement, UMass will schedule two annual road basketball games versus MAC  opponents. The other football-only member, Temple, has the same arrangement. When looking at the quality of the MAC versus other mid-major basketball conferences, the basketball game concession might actually be an advantage ans MAC schools are usually ranked higher than many of the recent UMass OOC opponents.

In upgrading to FBS, UMass will remain tied in with their rival, Temple, for the near future. Both schools have higher aspirations such as the Big East. But at this time, the MAC remains the best option for both schools.

As part of the NCAA rules for upgrades, a school upgrading from FCS to FBS must have an invitation from an existing FBS conference. With the only conference seemingly with room for FCS schools being the WAC, based in the Texas to California region, the MAC invite is an important one for UMass. Had the 14th football spot gone to another school, UMass would have had no other options to upgrade.

Update: 5/3/11:

Per Matt Vautour, here are the UMass/MAC contract specs:

Gillette Stadium contract:

* Revenue will be split between Gillette and UMass up to the first $300,000 made in ticket sales
* Average ticket price will be $24.50
* Gillette will gain all concession sales revenue including beer
* Gillette will cover all staffing costs at the stadium
*  UMass will control 5 of the 86 stadium suites
* UMass will control 1 of the 2 super suites
* Parking is free


* UMass will have 5 home games at Gillette, likely meaning they will have 7 road games (including higher revenue OOC road games)
* UMass will have 4 MAC conference home games at Gillette and 1 OOC game

MAC Membership:

*  membership is open ended, not based on a set number of years. If UMass opts to leave, they are free to do so.
* UMass would have a $2.5 million exit fee though, and required 2 year notice
* UMass is a full voting member on all MAC football related issues

UMass and Temple MAC Tandem: ”
* If either Temple or UMass opted to leave the MAC, the other school would be able to do so with a $500,000 exit fee

MAC Entry Costs:
* UMass paid $500,000 to  join the MAC
* UMass, like all MAC members, pays an annual fee of $100,000 (likely taken out of TV revenue)

Basketball Concession:

* UMass men’s and women’s basketball teams will play 4 games each year against MAC schools. 2 games at home, 2 on the road.

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  • Great move on both parts. The MAC gets to an even number on teams, they get a school not to far from Boston. I can see a new rival brewing with Buffalo. UMASS is no stranger to Temple either of course. Great move. But what team will move to the western division so it will be seven on seven? I think it should be Bowling Green, which is not too far from Toledo.

  • UMass fits with a group of several other schools. They are really too good to be FCS, and maybe not good enough to be FBS. These schools have a tough decision to make. Do you take a hit for several years and try to make it work eventually or just stay with what is working? I am glad I don’t have to make those decisions.


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