Cleveland, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced today the addition of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) as a football only member, which will increase the conference football membership to 14 universities. UMass will begin conference play for the 2012 football season and will be eligible for the conference football championship game and a bowl game beginning in the 2013 football season.
"The University of Massachusetts will add to the academic stature of the Mid-American Conference and bring a strong tradition and depth to our conference," said Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "The UMass football program will add quality to our conference's football programs and balance our divisions. In addition, this addition allows our conference to expand our footprint into New England and into the Boston and Hartford/Springfield markets."
Over the last 13 years, UMass football captured five conference champions and participated in five NCAA FCS/I-AA Tournaments, winning the 1998 National Championship. UMass had seven players on NFL rosters in 2010, including NFL Second-Round Draft pick Vladimir Ducasse with the New York Jets.
"We feel the time is right for this landmark decision of UMass football elevating to the FBS level," said University of Massachusetts Athletic Director John McCutcheon. "Playing in the FBS is where UMass should be positioned as the flagship campus of the state system. The opportunities to play on a national level and what that means for exposure and visibility will be a tremendous asset not only for athletics, but for the entire university. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to join the Mid-American Conference and develop relationships and rivalries with its members. To have the opportunity to play those games at a state-of-the-art facility like Gillette Stadium really is one of the key factors that makes this transition possible."
UMass Head Coach Kevin Morris will enter his third season at the helm of the UMass program. Morris has collected an overall record of 11-11-0 in the last two seasons with UMass in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), including 6-5 in 2010. The 2011 season will mark the eighth season for Morris at UMass. Morris was named head coach on Jan. 19, 2009, and previously served five seasons as offensive coordinator (2004-08).