NEW YORK – The Atlantic 10 will move its basketball tournament to Brooklyn, beginning in 2013. The conference will host its championship in the new Barclays Center, which will also be home to the NBA's Nets.
The Atlantic 10 has long searched for a steady tournament destination without much success. Since the first one in 1977, it has been held in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Morgantown, W. Va., East Rutherford, N.J., and Dayton, Ohio, among other sites.
The last five years, it has been held in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. It will also be held there in 2012.
The move to Atlantic City — close in proximity to the conference's three Philadelphia-based schools, La Salle, Temple and St. Joseph's — had mixed results. When the neighboring schools made deep tournament runs, the attendance would jump a bit.
When those programs went home early — or didn't make the tournament at all — the experiment suffered.
For instance, the 2011 final pitted Richmond and Dayton. The announced crowd for that title game was 5,602 in a facility that holds 10,500. The year before, when Temple met Richmond, the total was 7,882.
The decision to try Atlantic City also meant a close destination to the league's offices in Philadelphia. The conference though, under the direction of Bernadette McGlade, has since moved its headquarters to Newport News, Va.
Attendance aside, the Barclays Center will be a facilities upgrade over Boardwalk Hall, which opened in 1929, and also houses the ECAC hockey tournament.
With the move to Brooklyn, the Atlantic 10 may also be able to feed off some of the media and publicity generated by the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden. Traditionally, the A-10 final is played on Selection Sunday in the afternoon, just a day after the Big East final is held.
The league has called a Wednesday press conference in New York at 12:30 p.m. McGlade will be in attendance, as will Rhode Island coach Jim Baron and Fordham coach Tom Pecora. The latter two are both New York natives.
The Atlantic 10 has 14 basketball members: Charlotte, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, UMass, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph's, St. Louis, Temple and Xavier. Last year, three programs — Temple, Xavier and Richmond — made the NCAA tournament, compiling a 3-3 mark.