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AP Sports Writer

RICHMOND, VA (AP) — VCU President Michael Rao says the university Is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association and will join the Atlantic 10.

The president said at press conference Tuesday to announce the move that “premier universities are premier across the board and that include athletics.”

Rao says the switch will take effect in all sports on July 1, 2012.

With VCU’s basketball program on the rise under coach Shaka Smart the Rams want to become NCAA tournament regulars.

VCU became the biggest story of the 2011 NCAA tournament when they were one of the most controversial schools invited as an at-large entry. They went from the First Four to the Final Four, but would rather not have to win the conference tournament to be assured a spot in the NCAA field.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/15/2012 2:06:04 PM (GMT -4:00)

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