SBD/April 20, 2011/Colleges

UMass Moving To FBS By Joining MAC, Will Play Games At Gillette Stadium

UMass football will join MAC on full-time basis beginning in '13
The Univ. of Massachusetts football team "will make its expected move to the Mid-American Conference official today" at a 3:30pm ET press conference at Gillette Stadium, according to John Connolly of the BOSTON HERALD. UMass will "upgrade the program to the Football Bowl Subdivision, play a partial FBS schedule in 2011 and 2012, and join the MAC on a full-time basis beginning in 2013." Because NCAA rules "require teams to have a two-year average attendance of at least 15,000 in order to participate as an FBS member, UMass will enlarge McGuirk Alumni Stadium, which has a capacity of 17,000." During the makeover of McGuirk Stadium, the school's home facility since '65, UMass will play its '12 and '13 home games at Gillette. Sources said that UMass "plans to pay for its stadium improvements through the revenue generated from the Gillette appearances" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/20). In Boston, Mark Blaudschun reports when the Big East "decided last fall to expand from eight to 10 teams in football," UMass officials, using Patriots Owner the Kraft family as "contacts, lobbied hard for consideration." But Big East officials "were focusing on conference member Villanova and were reluctant to add two more schools after announcing that TCU would join as a ninth full-time member starting in the fall of 2012." As a result, UMass officials "resumed talks with the MAC," which will become a 14-team football conference with UMass now in the fold (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/20).
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