HAMPTON, Va. (Jan. 26, 2022) – Hampton University announced today that it joins the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), effective July 1, 2022, after a four-year relationship with the Big South Conference. The announcement came at a joint Hampton University/CAA press conference at Hampton University’s Student Center Ballroom with dozens of administrators, athletes, coaches, and alumni present.
“The move to the Colonial Athletic Association is the next step in the evolution of Hampton University athletics,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “Several institutions in the CAA are located in our geographical footprint, which means that our student-athletes will spend less time traveling and more time in classes on campus. This move continues to keep the proper focus on academics, which is our chief reason for being. The conference’s geographic footprint, as well as occasional contests against institutions in the northeast, will reduce travel expenses while allowing for competition in several of the nation’s top media markets. Another important consideration is the large number of alumni located throughout the CAA region. Hampton University has enjoyed a very positive four-year relationship with the Big South Conference and hopes to continue competing against some of its teams, as well as teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.”
CAA Commissioner Joseph F. D’Antonio opened his remarks, declaring that it was truly a great day to be a Pirate!
On behalf of CAA Board of Directors Chair and Drexel President, John Fry, as well as all CAA Presidents, Chancellors, and Athletic Directors, it’s an honor to be here today to welcome Hampton University to the Colonial Athletic Association,” said D’Antonio. “In its newly formed partnership with Hampton University, the CAA welcomes one of the most prestigious institutions in the world and knows that Hampton fully embodies and embraces the vision and core commitments of the CAA, “Today the CAA, along with Hampton University, Monmouth University and Stony Brook University embark on a new beginning. Hampton University and the CAA have together not only taken the first step but have taken a gigantic leap in properly positioning themselves for future success and longevity.”
Hampton University Athletic Director Eugene MarshallJr., the student-athletes, coaches, support staff, and campus administrators for helping to make this move happen.
“You are the reason we are making this move,“ said Marshall. “You have shown hard work, dedication, commitment, and the ability to continue to rise. You’ve risen through Hampton as you go on to your careers, but this is to put each and every one of you in a position to be successful. If you didn’t do the job on the field, the court, or the track, we wouldn’t be able to have this conversation. It is easy for me to go out with Dr. Harvey’s approval to look at conference opportunities, but I must have something behind me. And that’s why I want to thank each and every one of you.”
Joining the CAA is not just about athletics. Marshall explained several important reasons for joining the CAA.
“We are still going to be a regional institution; we are still going to compete heavily in the mid-Atlantic/southern region, and we will have some cross over,” Marshall said. “But why CAA? We have a lot of alumni and future Hampton students in Boston and other areas in Massachusetts. We have distinguished alumni in the state of Connecticut. We have a lot of alumni in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, the DMV, and the Carolinas. Not only will we have east coast alumni support, but we will have the opportunity to build leaders and champions from a pool that will run from at least Boston down to South Carolina.”
D’Antonio said that it is a true honor to bring an HBCU into the CAA, but he looks at it on a grander scale than that.
“It’s a true honor to bring in an institution with the academic and athletic reputation like Hampton into the conference,” said D’Antonio. “What Dr. Harvey and his team have accomplished over the last 44 years here at Hampton is nothing short of extraordinary. From the endowment to the class offerings, national reputation, to what it has done for its students is second to none. That’s what resonates most with me, the impact that this institution has had on so many young men and women under Dr. Harvey’s leadership. To think that they are now a member of the CAA is something really special. “
Hampton’s athletics history includes memorable NCAA Tournament moments in 2001 when the No. 15-seeded Pirates upset No. 2-seeded Iowa State, as well as in 2014-15 making consecutive NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances. The women’s basketball team has won five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships in a row and six in the last eight years. In 2016, Hampton University made history as the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to field a men’s NCAA Division I lacrosse team. In 2018, Hampton became the first HBCU to sponsor a Women’s Triathlon at the varsity level. The Hampton track program swept the 2019 Big South men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track championships in their first year of competition. In 2021, Hampton became the first male HBCU program to join the Southern Conference (SoCon) for men’s lacrosse.
On the football field, the Pirates have made five FCS Championship postseason appearances, as well as five trips to post-season play as an NCAA Division II member.
The Pirates sponsor 17 sports at the Division I level, 15 of which are sponsored by the CAA: football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, softball, men’s lacrosse, and women’s volleyball. Women’s triathlon and co-ed sailing will not compete in the CAA. Since moving to Division I in 1995, Hampton has been a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference from 1995 - 2018 and the Big South Conference from 2018 until 2022.
With the addition of Hampton, the CAA will now have two members based in Virginia (Hampton, William & Mary), one in South Carolina (College of Charleston), two in North Carolina (UNC Wilmington, Elon), one in Maryland (Towson), one in Delaware (Delaware), one in New Jersey (Monmouth) two in New York (Stony Brook, Hofstra), one in Pennsylvania (Drexel), and one in Massachusetts (Northeastern).
The membership of CAA Football currently includes three members in Virginia (Hampton, Richmond, William & Mary), one in North Carolina (Elon), one in Maryland (Towson), one in Delaware (Delaware), one in Pennsylvania (Villanova) one in New Jersey (Monmouth), two in New York (Stony Brook, Albany), one in New Hampshire (New Hampshire), one in Rhode Island (Rhode Island), and one in Maine (Maine). The conference membership will begin exploring different scheduling models and championship formats for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
About Hampton University
For more than 150 years, Hampton University has been THE Standard of Excellence in higher education. Founded in 1868 by Brig. Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Hampton University has a long successful history of offering a strong academic program of educating the “head, heart and hand” and emphasizing the development of character. This foundation has been built upon by Dr. William R. Harvey who has served as Hampton’s president for 44 years. Under his leadership, the university has experienced accelerated growth and achieved notable accomplishments. During Harvey’s presidency, 92 new programs have been introduced; 31 new structures dot the landscape of the campus surrounded three sides by water, and the university’s endowment has grown from $29 million to $400 million and growing.
About The Colonial Athletic Association
The Colonial Athletic Association has established itself as one of the nation’s top collegiate conferences both athletically and academically for more than three decades. The CAA encompasses many of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas with a geographic footprint that stretches from Boston to Charleston, S.C. The conference has produced 18 national team champions in five different sports, 33 individual national champions, 15 national players of the year, 15 national coaches of the year, and 13 Honda Award winners. Just as impressive, however, are the honors accumulated away from competition, which include five Rhodes Scholars and 25 NCAA post-graduate scholars. In 2020-21, more than 2,800 of the league’s student-athletes received the Commissioner’s Academic Award after posting at least a 3.0 grade point average while lettering in a varsity sport. The conference had 42 teams in 17 different sports receive NCAA Public Recognition Awards based on the latest Academic Progress Report released in 2020.