Stony Brook and Albany announced Tuesday that they will join the Colonial Athletic Association for football only, beginning in 2013.
The moves, long rumored but first reported by New York Newsday last Saturday, will give the CAA 10 football-playing members next season.
"This is certainly a momentous day for CAA Football," commissioner Tom Yeager said in a statement. "The addition of Albany and Stony Brook bring playoff-tested programs from the northeast into an already nationally-prominent league."
Stony Brook and Albany not only fill in for the impending departures of Old Dominion, Georgia State and Rhode Island, but they help to balance the CAA's geographic footprint in football. Recent departures and program shutdowns left New Hampshire and Maine as the conference's only football schools north of Philadelphia.
Stony Brook had been a member of the Big South Conference in football and the America East in all other sports. Albany played football in the Northeast Conference and its other sports in the America East, as well.
Stony Brook and Albany both went to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs last season. Stony Brook has won the past three Big South titles, while Albany has won 30 games and two NEC titles since 2008.
"We will now compete in arguably the most challenging and respected conference in the Football Championship Subdivision, while also allowing us to continue to develop regional rivalries through conference participation," Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore said in a statement. "Stony Brook football has come very far, very fast over the last five years, and now is the time to elevate our program further and to put ourselves in a position to win national championships."
The College of Charleston is studying a possible move to the CAA for all sports. The league is responding to the immediate departure of VCU for the Atlantic 10, effective this year, as well as ODU (Conference USA) and Georgia State (Sun Belt) for 2013-2014.