SMITHFIELD (WPRI) – Bryant made its football move to the Big South official on Thursday. The Bulldogs join the 20-year-old conference that has had two of its teams ranked No. 1 in the FCS and 10 players picked in the NFL Draft.

“The discussions kept moving forward with America East with everybody else, I knew we were not going to be able to stay in the NEC,” said Bryant head football coach Chris Merritt. “When the opportunity for the Big South came up, I got excited. I think that it’s conference that is up and coming. It’s gotten bigger and better every single year. They’ve had success in the playoffs, and that’s the kind of level of football that I want to get to.”