Richmond Football Leaving CAA for Patriot League

The Richmond Spiders are on the move after the school decided to leave the Coastal Athletic Association to join the Patriot League as a football only member beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. The news was first reported by the Richmond-Times Dispatch and confirmed shortly after by the school.

Richmond was a football-only affiliate in the CAA and its other sports will remain in the school’s primary conference, the Atlantic 10. The move to the Patriot League will not impact Richmond’s ability to offer the maximum number of scholarships allowed by FCS schools, which is currently set at 63. The Patriot League is removing the scholarship limit for football beginning with the 2024 season (page 37).

Richmond has made 13 I-AA/FCS playoff appearances since 1984 with 9 of those occurring since 2005. The Spiders won the 2008 FCS National Championship and two additional semifinal appearances in 2007 and 2015. Richmond tends to make the FCS playoff in bunches with dry spells interspersed as noted by the lack of appearances from 2001 through 2004, 2010 through 2013, and 2017 through 2021. The question becomes whether additional programs will move from the CAA with particular interest surrounding Richmond’s long-time rival William & Mary.

Richmond was a Division I and I-A independent from 1976 through 1981 before joining the I-AA as an independent in 1982. Richmond remained independent through 1985 and joined the Yankee Conference in 1986, which later became the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1997. The Atlantic 10’s football teams were essentially absorbed by the CAA in 2007.

The move puts the Patriot League at 8 football members while the CAA will drop to 14 football-playing members with Delaware also departing in 2025. With realignment always lurking around the corner, those numbers may quickly change again.

Photo Credit to the University of Richmond Athletics

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