The UMass Minutemen will leave the MAC after the completion of the 2015 football season, the schools and conference announced today.
“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.
UMass joined the Mid-American Conference in football only back in 2012. They have played only two seasons in the conference, compiling a record of 2-14 and 2-22 overall.
According to the MAC release, a contractual clause kicked in after Temple unexpectedly left the conference in 2012 to join the Big East. The clause stated that UMass then had a choice to become a full member for all sports or to remain football-only for two more years.
Rather than join the MAC in all sports in 2016, UMass has opted to play the required two more seasons in football and then depart.
“While the report is not complete,” UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon said, “we believe full membership for all sports in the MAC is not a good fit for us. 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. We are confident that, within the next two years, we will find a more suitable conference for our FBS football program.”
McCutcheon further stated that UMass remains “committed to FBS football.”
It’s not currently known where the Minutemen might end up in 2016. The Sun Belt is looking for a 12th member, but like the MAC, it wouldn’t be a good geographical fit.
The American Athletic Conference has been mentioned, but they will have an even 12 members in 2015 when Navy joins.
UMass is set to open the 2014 season on August 30 against Boston College at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The Minutemen will also host Colorado and EMU at Gillette and will have three conference games at the newly renovated McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst.