Robert Morris and the Big South Conference made it official: the Colonials are joining the Big South in football as an associate member. Robert Morris was previously linked to a move to the Horizon League, which they also confirmed on Monday.
Robert Morris will compete as an FCS independent team for the 2020 season according to the release.
The Big South has been a place of much change over the last decade in terms of football. Of the 7 members they had in 2010 – Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, Liberty, Presbyterian, Stony Brook, and VMI – only Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb remain.
Change is still on the horizon for the conference. North Alabama joined in 2019 as the Lions were in the second year of a four-year transition from Division II. 2019 also marked the start of Hampton’s Big South tenure and the end Presbyterian’s stay. The latter will eventually be in the Pioneer League starting in 2021 after a season as an FCS independent.
2021 will mark the addition of North Carolina A&T alongside Robert Morris. That will bring the football membership up to 9 teams – Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Hampton, Kennesaw State, Monmouth, North Alabama, North Carolina A&T, and Robert Morris.
Robert Morris was a founding member of the Northeast Conference’s football sponsorship in 1996. They won or shared 6 NEC titles, which is tied for the most along with Albany and Central Connecticut State.
The NEC will have 8 schools remaining in football – Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Duquesne, Long Island, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis (PA), and Wagner. Long Island and Merrimack both moved up from Division II starting in 2019.