The Bryant Bulldogs will join the Coastal Athletic Association as a football-only member starting with the 2024 season. Bryant is a full member of the America East Conference. The 2023 season will mark Bryant’s only season in the newly named Big South-OVC Football Association. The Bulldogs previously joined the Big South in football starting with the 2022 season.
The CAA will have 16 football members starting in 2024 with the addition of Bryant but that assumes no current members leave the CAA before then. It also marks another team to leave the Big South and join the CAA following Hampton and Monmouth in 2022 and Campbell and North Carolina A&T for the upcoming 2023 season.
Another loss for the Big South will undoubtedly make current members question the future of the conference in football. After Bryant leaves, only three teams will remain from the Big South – Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, and Robert Morris. There is the Big South-OVC Football Association but that is more OVC than Big South given all the departures from the Big South. One has to wonder if it will just become the Ohio Valley Conference with the remaining Big South members moving to the OVC for football only.
The Big South-OVC Football Association will remain at 10 members for the 2024 season with the addition of Western Illinois. The Leathernecks will leave the Missouri Valley Football Conference to join the OVC in football for 2024 after joining the OVC in other sports starting with the 2023-24 academic year.
The CAA will have the following 16 members for football beginning in 2024 with the obvious caveat that realignment may reduce this number: Albany, Bryant, Campbell, Delaware, Elon, Hampton, Maine, Monmouth, New Hampshire, North Carolina A&T, Towson, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Villanova, and William & Mary.
Photo courtesy of Bryant University Athletics