NAPLES, Fla.— The Atlantic 10 Conference Directors of Athletics completed their annual 2014 spring meetings Thursday. Approaching the end of the most successful year in A-10 history, athletically and academically, the league honored the six men's and three women's basketball programs that earned bids into the NCAA championships. Men’s soccer and sports with individual NCAA representation that earned multiple NCAA bids were also recognized during Monday night’s annual Salute to Champions dinner.
There was also a moment of remembrance for the two Richmond women’s basketball staff members that passed away over the weekend as well as for St. Bonaventure staff member Brian Moretti who passed away in March.
The athletic directors endorsed the direction of the current membership-driven NCAA restructuring efforts focused on enhanced benefits for student-athletes in areas of academic support, cost of attendance, health and safety and insurance benefits as needed. Acknowledging the national restructuring discussion that emerged more than a year ago was directed towards FBS football needs, the Atlantic 10 directors agreed and confirmed that the proposed legislative changes are equally as important for basketball and other student-athletes.
The league agreed that protecting and enhancing the men's NCAA Basketball Championship is a critical initiative for Division I and the A-10. As a basketball-centric conference that historically places multiple teams into the NCAA Championship, the directors will support permissive legislative proposals related to football and men’s basketball that also will enhance all student-athlete welfare initiatives.
Additional action at the meeting included approving the members of the site selection committee for the 2017 and 2018 Men’s Basketball Championship. The committee will examine potential venues and host cities for the championships in 2017 and 2018, and make final recommendations to the A-10 Council of Presidents later this summer. An ad hoc committee was approved to examine issues of sportsmanship, specifically student and fan safety during competitions and the conference season. The 2014-15 conference scheduling partners were approved for women's basketball and future perpetual sites were approved for the sports of tennis, swimming, track and rowing.
“Although our annual meetings were impacted by the tragic news and the loss of life of two of our staff members from the University of Richmond, we were able to address the necessary business items for the year,” stated Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “I believe the conversation and consensus among the member institutions as it relates to the proposed NCAA restructuring legislation was thoughtful and proactive to the success of a basketball-centric conference like the A-10.”
A highlight was the approval of the first class of 10 A-10 Postgraduate Scholarship recipients. This marks the first year that the conference has awarded 10 Postgraduate Scholarships, the most in Conference history and one of the highest in both dollar amounts and number of awards granted from a D-I Conference. The amount of each award was also increased from a $5,000 to a $7,000 scholarship grant. Academically the men's basketball national Graduation Success Rate (GSR) rank of No. 2 was recognized as well as the overall No. 5 ranking of the league in NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) and GSR for all sports.
The conference welcomed Davidson College representatives that attended the meetings as full voting members. Davidson will officially join the Atlantic 10 Conference on July 1, 2014. George Washington Director of Athletics Patrick Nero was installed as the Chair of the Athletic Directors Council, replacing outgoing Chair, Tim Wabler, Director of Athletics at Dayton. VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin also was named Chair of the Finance Committee and Chris Mooney of Richmond takes over the Chair of the Men’s Basketball Coaches Committee.