Linda Bruno, the commissioner of the Atlantic Ten since 1994, announced her resignation yesterday, saying, "It's just time. It's a great job. I absolutely love doing it, but it's just time to move on and do something else."
Her resignation as head of a league that includes La Salle, St. Joseph's and Temple is effective next June, Bruno said.
"Over the past six months, I've just sensed there's got to be something else out there," Bruno said, adding that she hopes to remain in college athletics.
The announcement comes as the A-10 tries to hold its place as a top conference without Division I-A football - actually without football at all. The I-AA schools formerly affiliated with the A-10 for football switched that affiliation to the Colonial Athletic Association this year.
Bruno said a highlight of her tenure was when the A-10 earned multiple bids to the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The league received five bids in 1996-97 and 1997-98. Since 2000, three schools - Temple, St. Joe's and Xavier - have reached the Elite Eight, one stop short of the Final Four.
But lately, the A-10 has not been represented as well in March Madness. In the last three years, only two A-10 at-large teams made the NCAA tournament.
Last year, the Atlantic Ten signed a seven-year agreement with CSTV for basketball coverage. But the CBS-owned digital network had difficulty reaching agreements with local and regional stations to air A-10 games. Last season, the Colonial Athletic Association, Drexel's conference, had more conference games shown on local television than did the A-10.
This week, the A-10 announced agreements with Comcast SportsNet and CN8 to show more games this season. CN8 will show 10 regular-season A-10 games and two in the A-10 tournament. In those games, St. Joe's and Temple will each appear twice; La Salle will not appear on CN8 in the regular season. Two additional St. Joe's games, against Drexel and Penn, also will be shown on CN8.
More games will be on Comcast SportsNet. Temple and St. Joe's will each appear five times; La Salle will appear twice.
Bruno said she is proud that the A-10 is the only "non-I-A [football] conference with a significant ESPN package." The new A-10 TV package with CSTV voted in by the schools is an illustration of how the A-10 consists of different institutions in vastly different markets, not all with the same priorities.
"The TV stuff has challenged everybody across the board," Bruno said. "Who would ever have thought kids would be very happy to sit in front of a computer and watch a basketball game?"
Under Bruno's watch, the conference has expanded to 14 schools, extending south to Charlotte, N.C., and west to St. Louis. It seems to be in good shape to withstand a raid from another conference - if the Big East eventually splits in half, for instance.
"We have a great base to keep moving forward," Bruno said. "But we need to be the best of what we are - the best of the non-BCS leagues."