George Mason Patriots athletics director Tom O'Connor denied having entered any formal discussions to join the Atlantic 10 Conference on Monday. The statement contradicts reports Sunday saying that the school would be joining the conference with the VCU Rams and Butler Bulldogs in an alliance of power mid-major basketball programs.
George Mason AD Tom O'Connor says in a statement Mason "has not had any formal discussions" with the A-10 about joining.— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) March 26, 2012
VCU also denied the rumors. You can debate the meaning of "formal" and whether or not there is some kind of deal going on behind the scenes. For now, any expansion talk appears to be on hiatus, though Butler has yet to come out and explicitly deny anything.
The Patriots and the Rams have consistently been among the best teams in the Colonial Athletic Association in recent years. The Rams have won four of the last six regular season conference titles, and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament after beating Drexel in the conference tournament championship game. George Mason finished third in the regular season standings this season.