The MAC board voted this week to add UMass as a full member, beginning in 2025. Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade then issued this statement on Tuesday morning:

UMass had been playing football independently since 2016. The Atlantic 10 did play football from 1997 through 2006, then the Colonial took over in 2007, so there are some A10 parallels to the way that the Big East ultimately reshuffled based on the football/basketball split.

But that’s not really the point. The point is that it feels wrong to have an Atlantic 10 without UMass. With the Minutemen departing, only George Washington and Duquesne will remain as founding conference members. Think about all of those classic battles between Temple and UMass, John Chaney vs. John Calipari, Lou Roe and Marcus Camby and Eddie Jones and Aaron McKie. You take all of those great regional memories and now think about UMass playing Eastern Michigan on a Tuesday night. It’s gross. Same thing we’ve been experiencing with Temple in the fugazi American, embarking on these conference road trips to SMU and Rice (and losing).

Of course, football rules all, and nobody is naive to the reality of conference realignment. UMass football has been absolute dreck in recent years, playing a schedule that includes a hodge podge of teams from all sorts of conferences. They alternately get crushed by BYU one week, then Coastal Carolina the next. This gives them more stability and will leave Notre Dame and UConn as the lone football independents in 2024. Army is joining the American.

Still, you look at A 10 basketball in 2024 and think… what? Temple is gone. UMass is leaving. Dayton is the lone ranked team and the conference still has not been to a Final Four since UMass did it almost 30 years ago. VCU is typically good, and Richmond too, but it’s a one-bid league with two Philadelphia schools that have been average for a long time now. Things change over time, and the heyday of UMass and Temple basketball certainly was not recent, but for people who had the fortune of growing up watching that era of A10 hoops, it kinda stinks to see how it played out.