Monmouth to join Big South for football

Monmouth University has accepted an invitation to join the Big South Conference for the sport of football.

Monmouth has been a member of the Northeast Conference for the past 16 years, but is moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the fall of 2013. The MAAC does not sponsor football, which forced Monmouth to look for a new league.

"Monmouth is very excited that the Big South has extended an invitation to us as an associate member in football," said Monmouth athletic director Dr. Marilyn McNeil. "We see this move has a huge opportunity for the Hawks. We look forward to our future which will hold some new and exciting competitors, enhanced recruiting, and a focus on football excellence."

Monmouth began playing football in 1993 and has won five NEC titles, the last coming in 2006. The Hawks will begin playing in the Big South in 2014.

"This is an exciting day for Monmouth football," said Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan. "Membership in the Big South is another significant achievement in the history of the program. The direction that we are heading is extremely positive and I am excited about competing with all of our new conference members. The Big South is a conference that sent two programs to the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs in 2012 and this is an important milestone for the Monmouth University football program."

Monmouth was 5-5 last year, including 4-3 in NEC play.