NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Atlantic 10 Conference and the Mountain West Conference announced Thursday that the two leagues will begin the Mountain West/Atlantic 10 Challenge Series, a scheduling partnership that will match up A-10 and MW teams starting in the 2020-21 season. The two-year agreement covers the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, with an option to extend the partnership for an additional two years, into the 2023-24 season.
The two conferences will play ten games in each of the two seasons, with each league hosting five games per year. Matchups for each year will be determined by the league offices based on a number of factors, including the previous year's records, NET rankings and team achievements, as well as projected rankings and anticipated strength of teams for the upcoming season. The games will take place in late November and early December of each year, with television and digital rights residing with the host conference.
"This is a partnership that will afford both conferences strong non-conference competition bringing quality, nationally recognized opponents from the Mountain West to our campuses," stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. "Challenges have become essential to conferences as scheduling quality home and home series has become increasingly difficult. This partnership will add an exciting home game to each of our schools season ticket packages while also providing resume-building opportunities and national exposure of high-interest games."
"Scheduling quality non-conference opponents is becoming increasingly difficult, which makes a challenge series such as this of great benefit to the Mountain West," said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. "The Atlantic 10 Conference is highly-respected and regularly sends multiple teams to postseason tournaments. These matchups won't be easy, and that's exactly what we need during the non-conference portion of our schedule as we continue strengthening Mountain West basketball."
The two leagues have similar success profiles over the last three years, with the Atlantic 10 having an average league ranking of 8.6 in the RPI compared to an average 10.0 ranking for the Mountain West. The Atlantic 10 has sent 17 teams to the postseason, including nine to the NCAA Tournaments in those three years. The MW has sent 11 teams to postseason, four of which went to the Big Dance.
About the Mountain West
From its inception in 1999, the Mountain West has been committed to excellence in intercollegiate athletics, while promoting the academic missions of its member institutions. Progressive in its approach, the Mountain West continues to cultivate opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while fostering academic achievement and sportsmanship. Now in its 20th year, the MWhas been assertive in its involvement with the NCAA governance structure and has taken a leadership role in the overall administration of intercollegiate athletics. The Mountain West membership is comprised of 11 all-sport members: the United States Air Force Academy, Boise State University, Colorado State University, Fresno State, University of Nevada, University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, San José State University, UNLV, Utah State University and University of Wyoming. In addition, the University of Hawai'i and Colorado College participate in the Mountain West as single-sport members in football and women's soccer, respectively.
About the Atlantic 10 Conference
The Atlantic 10 Conference was founded in 1975 and consists of 14 diverse members across eight states and Washington, D.C. The mission of the Atlantic 10 is to provide an enhanced student-athlete experience through 21 nationally competitive championship sports. The basketball-centric conference is committed to integrity, educational excellence and providing quality equitable championship experiences for its student-athletes, coaches, and support staff. The membership consists of Davidson College, the University of Dayton, Duquesne University, Fordham University, George Mason University, The George Washington University, La Salle University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond, St. Bonaventure University, Saint Joseph's University, Saint Louis University and Virginia Commonwealth University. For more information, visit www.atlantic10.com.