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UMass Is Leaving the MAC After the 2015 Season

According to join press releases from both the MAc and UMass the Minutemen have decided to turn down the MAC's offer of full membership and will have two seasons to find a new conference for football.

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9 Total Updates since March 26, 2014
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  • Articles 7
  • All Updates 9

The Sun Sets on UMass's Sun Belt Deal, For Now

The Massachusetts Minutemen once again find themselves with no place to go.

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UMass to the Sun Belt?

In two years the Minutemen will find themselves without a conference. The Sun Belt is one member shy of being able to hold a conference championship. Is this a match made in heaven?

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MAC Expansion Options

If the MAC decided to recommit to conference expansion there's a few schools that would make great fits, and one that seems like a near lock.

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AAC Unlikely To Extend UMass Membership

According to the AAC's commissioner the league doesn't have any plans to expand past its 12-member set up that will go into effect in 2015. This isn't good news for a Minutemen team with limited prospects.

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UMass is Leaving: What's Next For Minutemen?

The Minutemen will leave their caretakers after the 2015-16 season in hopes of finding a permanent home that makes more sense financially and geographically for the school.

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How Does UMass Leaving Impact the MAC?

UMass is officially out after 2015, which could be good or bad news for the Minutemen, but what does it mean for the future of the MAC?

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UMass Releases Official Statement On Leaving MAC

The UMass Minutemen will cease to be a member of the MAC following the 2015 season as announced by both the school and the Mid-American Conference on Wednesday. The Minutemen joined the MAC as a football-only member in the spring of 2011. After the first two seasons ended the MAC's council of presidents exercised a clause in the contract with UMass allowing them to offer the school full-membership or force them out after an additional two years. On Feb. 17, 2014 the MAC offered full-membership, UMass declined.

In an official statement released by the school Wednesday UMass athletic director John McCutcheon explained the reasoning behind the decision.

According to McCutcheon the school has been working with a consulting firm, Carr Sports Consulting, to study its current and future conference alignments and though the report has yet to be finalized the findings are showing it wouldn't be beneficial for UMass to join the MAC as a full member.

"Because most of the MAC schools are in the Midwest, the additional travel would strain our athletic budget and pose considerable time management challenges for our student athletes," McCutcheon said.

UMass has had a rocky first two seasons in the MAC as a football member. The Minutemen went 1-11 (1-7 MAC) in both seasons and were marred by a player mistreatment scandal this past season. In the offseason McCutcheon fired second-year head coach Charley Molnar, opting to bring back former UMass head coach Mark Whipple as his replacement.

Whipple also released a statement on the decision saying: "I was aware of this possibility (of leaving the MAC) when I accepted the position of head coach, and I believe this move is in the university's best interest. My focus is on building a program that we all can be proud of and that provides a great experience for our student athletes."

Now that UMass is on the move some have already begun to ask whether the new FBS team would consider a move back down to the FCS ranks. McCutcheon dismissed any rumors of such a move in the statement as well.

"We are confident that, within the next two years, we will find a more suitable conference for our FBS football program, he said. "We remain committed to FBS football. Many institutions have successfully navigated this challenging period of conference realignment and we will do the same."

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MAC Releases Statement On UMass Leaving

News broke Wednesday afternoon that after declining to join the Mid-American Conference as a full-member UMass will cease its relationship as a football-only member of the conference following the 2015 season, marking the end what will be a brief four-year stint with the MAC.

In a statement released by the MAC Wednesday afternoon Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said that MAC and UMass jointly came to a decision to end their relationship after the 2015 season.

"UMass has been a valued partner during its brief time within our Conference, however the 2014 and 2015 seasons will be the final two football seasons for UMass as a football-only member in the MAC," said MAC Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher in the statement.

UMass originally agreed to join the conference as a football-only member in the spring of 2011 after announcing its plans to move from the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) ranks to the FBS ranks in the 2012 season. At the time the MAC had 14 schools with Temple being another football-only member. But Temple shocked the MAC when it announced less than a year later, before UMass joined the MAC, that it was leaving the conference to join the Big East (now the AAC) in all sports. This shifted the MAC back to an uneven 13 schools with the East division containing seven members.

Recently the first two years of the deal with UMass ran up and so the MAC council of presidents exercised a clause that allowed them to offer the Minutemen full-membership. According to the MAC statement they made the offer on Feb. 17, 2014, but UMass declined and therefore another part of the clause was instituted making the 2014 and 2015 seasons as the final two that UMass would be affiliated with the MAC.

"This is not the outcome we anticipated when UMass was admitted as a football-only member. However, circumstances changed regarding our football membership and this is a result of those circumstances," added Steinbrecher in the release.

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UMass Out of MAC After 2015 Season

The MAC could be down to 12 football schools after the 2015 season. According to a release from both the MAC and UMass the Minutemen are leaving the conference after the 2015 season.

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