The University of Massachusetts announced Wednesday it will move to the Mid-American Conference for football in the 2012 season, upgrading the program to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The formal announcement was made Wednesday at Gillette Stadium near Boston, where the New England Patriots play and where the Minutemen will play their home games starting in 2012.
"We seek greatness in all we do at UMass," said University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Robert C. Holub. "We promise national excellence and prominence to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and we deliver on that promise. Moving to the FBS is consistent with our upward trajectory, as Minuteman football becomes part of our overall move toward national prominence."
The Minutemen will continue to compete this season in the Colonial Athletic Association of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly called I-AA. The Football Bowl Subdivision was formerly referred to as Division I.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) will have 14 football teams once UMass joins. The Minutemen will be eligible for the MAC Championship and bowl participation in 2013.
"We feel the time is right for this landmark decision of UMass football elevating to the FBS level," UMass athletics director John McCutcheon said. "Playing in the FBS is where UMass should be positioned as the flagship campus of the state system. The opportunities to play on a national level and what that means for exposure and visibility will be a tremendous asset not only for athletics, but for the entire university."
UMass was 6-5 last season, but has won five conference championships in the past 13 seasons and the FCS national title in 1998.