CHARLESTON, S.C. — The College of Charleston's board of trustees made it official Friday, approving the school's move to the Colonial Athletic Association.
The board in October had agreed to begin negotiations with the conference and the Friday vote to join the league was unanimous.
"This move is a significant step forward in the college's efforts to become a national university," said college President George Benson.
The College of Charleston, a member of the Southern Conference since 1998, will compete in 14 varsity sports in the Colonial beginning next fall.
The Colonial Athletic Association will be comprised of Charleston along with William and Mary, James Madison, George Mason, Delaware, UNC Wilmington, Towson, Drexel, Hofstra, and Northeastern.
The conference has been looking for new members after Virginia Commonwealth left for the Atlantic-10. Current member Old Dominion is leaving for Conference USA while another current member, Georgia State, is heading to the Sun Belt Conference.
CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said that Charleston "will be a great institutional fit with other CAA institutions." The continuing CAA members include institutions in four of the nation's top eight media markets.
The College of Charleston must pay a $300,000 fee to the Colonial to join conference while paying the Southern Conference a $600,000 exit fee.
"This is an important decision and we have taken it seriously," Greg Padgett, the chairman of the board of trustees said before the vote.
Leaving the Southern Conference after 14 years means the Cougars will be leaving a league with teams in much closer proximity, including cross-town rival The Citadel.