The Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10) is a college athletic conference which operates mostly on the United States' eastern seaboard. It also has two member schools in Ohio: Dayton and Xavier, located in Dayton and Cincinnati, respectively. Another member, Saint Louis is located in St. Louis, Missouri. Although some of its members are state-funded, more than half of its membership is made up of private, Catholic institutions. Despite the name, there are 16 partial or full-time members: 14 basketball and other sports, and two affiliate members participates in women's field hockey only.
The Atlantic 10 Conference was founded in 1975 as the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League (ECBL), and began conference play in 1976. At that time, basketball was its only sport. After its first season, it added sports other than basketball and changed its name to the Eastern Athletic Association. However, despite its official names, it was popularly known as the Eastern 8, as it then had eight members (Villanova, Duquesne, Penn State, West Virginia, George Washington, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers).
After changes in membership that saw charter members Pittsburgh and Villanova leave and new members St. Bonaventure (1979), Rhode Island (1980), Saint Joseph's (1982) and Temple (1982) enter, establishing the league with 10 members, the conference adopted the current Atlantic 10 name in 1982.
Further membership changes saw the league expand to its 14 current members. From 1997 through 2006, the league also operated a football conference; during that period, more than 20 schools were participating in A-10 competition in at least one sport. This would end when the A-10 football programs all departed to join a new football conference sponsored by the Colonial Athletic Association.
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