UMass to leave MAC after 2015 season

Amherst, MA ( - The University of Massachusetts has decided to leave the Mid-American Conference, effective at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

The Minutemen, who participated in the Football Championship Subdivision until 2011, joined the MAC as a football-only member for the 2012 season. However, UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said on Wednesday that the school's decision to withdraw was based on a decision by the MAC President's Council to exercise a contract clause to offer the school either full MAC membership in all sports or an out after two more football seasons.

"While the report is not complete, we believe full membership for all sports in the MAC is not a good fit for us," McCutcheon said in a statement. "Because most of the MAC schools are in the Midwest, the additional travel would strain our athletic budget and pose considerable time management challenges for our student athletes. We are confident that, within the next two years, we will find a more suitable conference for our FBS football program.

"We remain committed to FBS football. Many institutions have successfully navigated this challenging period of conference realignment and we will do the same."

UMass has competed in the Atlantic 10 in all other sports since the league's inception in 1976.

Under Charley Molnar, the Minutemen finished the 2013 season at 1-11 overall with a 1-7 record in the MAC. To accommodate the move into FBS, the school relocated its home games from western Massachusetts to Gillette Stadium, 30 miles southwest of Boston and 90 miles from campus.