The College of Charleston made it official Friday it will split from the Southern Conference and join the Colonial Athletic Association after its Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept an invitation from the conference.

The Cougars will participate in 14 varsity level sports in the CAA beginning in the fall of 2013, joining current league members George Mason, James Madison, UNC Wilmington, William & Mary, Deleware, Drexel, Hofstra, Towson and Northeastern.

“We’re naturally disappointed, but not surprised by today’s decision,” Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino said. “Public comments made it apparent that the College of Charleston administration favored the move.”

CofC must pay nearly $1 million to complete the move – $300,000 to join the CAA and $600,000 to leave the Southern Conference.


“Successfully assimilating changes in membership has been part of the Southern Conference’s DNA for more than 90 years,” Iamarino said. “With the commitment and cooperation of our Presidents and Chancellors, we will continue to explore the best options available to us to ensure a successful future for our athletic programs and the student athletes we serve.