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With the D1A season right around the corner, it is time to look at the current situation in the division. According to the leadership at D1A, some teams have switched conferences, a few teams have joined, and it is all broken down here.
Rugby East remains intact. It was rumored that Navy might be joining the conference but they elected to head to the Mid-South. The conference has seven teams with Penn State, Army, NDC, Kutztown, St. Bonaventure, Buffalo, and Wheeling Jesuit battling it out.
The Liberty Conference has expanded to include Boston College, SUNY Oswego, and AIC. AIC and BC will be joining the New England division while SUNY Oswego will head to the Empire division. There are still three divisions comprising the league’s biggest conference of 19 teams. It still appears that nobody in Liberty will head to the D1A playoffs in the spring, however.
The Mid-South has expanded to six teams this fall. Navy will join the likes of Life, Arkansas State, Lindenwood, Davenport, and Clemson. The strongest conference in the country just got stronger as Navy looks to get back to national championship form with Gavin Hickie at the helm.
The California Conference picked up a new team and ironically it is Grand Canyon from Arizona. GCU had a strong first season in D1A as an independent and will find a home against St. Mary’s, San Diego State, Cal Poly, Santa Clara, UC-Davis, and Santa Barbara.
The PAC remains relatively unchanged except for the loss of USC. The Trojans elected to drop out of the conference and head to DIAA Gold Coast this fall. Cal, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA remain.
The Big 10 sees the departure of Iowa, who has decided to join the Heart of America DIAA Conference. Indiana, Ohio State, and Wisconsin will lead the traditional eight-team conference this fall.
The University of North Texas joins the Red River in the only change to the conference. There will now be 10 teams in Texas and surrounding states region.
The Rocky Mountain remains entirely intact but things got very interesting this summer for Utah independents. Long-time BYU coach David Smyth went down the road to Utah Valley, taking his entire coaching staff with him. UVU is appealing to remain as an independent DIA team.
With GCU and Navy finding homes, the remaining independent teams are Central Washington and BYU. Notre Dame has not been confirmed yet, but will likely be a D1A team once the season starts.