ATLANTA—The Georgia State University football program has been officially admitted as a member of CAA Football when the Panthers begin conference play in 2012.


Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner Tom Yeager extended the official invitation to Georgia State President Dr. Mark Becker, Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick and head coach Bill Curry in a Thursday afternoon news conference on the Georgia State campus.

Kicking off in 2010, the Georgia State football program will play two seasons as an independent before joining CAA Football in 2012. The Panthers will compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as NCAA Division I-AA.


“The inclusion of Georgia State University's program in CAA Football is another important step forward in our journey toward the Fall 2010 inaugural kickoff for GSU Football,” said Becker. “CAA Football has emerged as the premier Football Championship Subdivision conference in the nation, and that athletic success is matched by an exemplary commitment to excellence in academics and scholarship. This is a perfect partnership for Georgia State in every dimension.”


Georgia State began competing in the CAA for all sports in 2005-06. The league, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in the coming year, includes 12 all-sports members: Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Northeastern, Old Dominion, Towson, UNC Wilmington, VCU, William and Mary.


CAA Football currently includes Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, Northeastern, Towson and William and Mary, along with New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Richmond, Rhode Island and Villanova. Old Dominion begins its football program this fall and then joins CAA Football in 2011, and Georgia State will be the league’s 14th team in 2012.


“We are very excited about Georgia State joining CAA Football in 2012,” said Yeager. “The state of Georgia is known for its passion for college football, and we look forward to welcoming the Panthers into the best FCS conference in the country.”

CAA Football has enjoyed remarkable success at the FCS level, boasting four NCAA championships by four different schools as well as three national championship runners up since 1998.


“On behalf of everyone at Georgia State, we’d like to thank the Colonial Athletic Association and Commissioner Tom Yeager,” said Levick. “The CAA has been a great fit for Georgia State athletics, and it is the perfect home for Panther football.


“The response to Georgia State football has been remarkable. Around campus and throughout the city of Atlanta, there is a positive buzz for our new program. The membership in the CAA is now official, and we are ready to kick off practice in August.”


Five CAA Football programs reached the 16-team NCAA playoffs in 2008, highlighted by national champion Richmond. The league has garnered multiple playoff berths for 18 straight years, including 24 playoff teams and 38 playoff victories over the last seven seasons.

Thirty-nine CAA Football alumni were active on NFL rosters in 2008, including Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco, a first-round draft choice out of Delaware.


“CAA Football is the best FCS football conference in the country, by record and playoff performance,” said Curry. “The numbers are simply astonishing.


“The opportunity to compete in a conference this successful and this prestigious will only help our program grow. We know that we have our work cut out for us, and we can’t wait to get started. This University, this state, and this conference demand excellence, and that’s what we’re going to strive for from day one.”