WHEELING - College athletics are in a constant state of flux.
Just ask Jay DeFruscio.
As the Atlantic 10 Conference's assistant commissioner in charge of men's basketball for the past year, DeFruscio has experienced first-hand the give and take that goes with conference realignment.
Some schools leave, while others come aboard. It's a sign of the times.
In the A-10's case, the venerable league lost longtime members Temple and Charlotte.
The Owls jumped ship to the Big East and will play football this fall before becoming a full-fledged member in 2013.
As for Charlotte, the 49ers moved back to Conference USA, where they were a member from 1995-2005. The school won't have football until next fall (Football Championship Subdivision) and the 49ers won't be bowl-eligible until 2016.
''Football has definitely affected our membership,'' DeFruscio said Friday during a trip back to the Ohio Valley from the A-10's offices in Newport News, Va.
''I don't think Temple would have moved to the Big East if it wasn't for football. And Charlotte, they won't be playing football until next year. It made more sense for them to look for a top-notch football conference.''
Men's basketball stirs the drink in the A-10, which doesn't sponsor Football Bowl Subdivision squads. Rhode Island and Richmond compete at the FCS level, formerly Division I-AA.
''It does keep the focus on basketball for us,'' DeFruscio said. ''In the fall we don't have football, but I think we have great coaches and great interest in basketball and that's only going to get stronger.''
DeFruscio has almost seen it all during more than 30 years of playing and coaching the game. A native of Drexel Hill, Pa., he grew up on Philadelphia hoops. He played basketball at Ursinus College and was later enshrined in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Soon, DeFruscio found himself at Wheeling Jesuit University serving as an assistant under Coach Jim O'Brien. When O'Brien moved on, DeFruscio took over the Cardinals' reins in 1987 and for 18 of the next 20 years led the program to a school-best 311 victories.
In 2007, DeFruscio rejoined O'Brien, this time with the NBA's Indiana Pacers. Last August, he returned to his collegiate roots with the A-10.
The tug of war that has developed between football-playing schools and those that don't offer the sport has also trickled down to NCAA Division II.
In early June, the nine football-playing members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) announced their intentions to break away from six non-football-playing schools and form their own 12-team league.
This was disappointing news for DeFruscio, who also served as Wheeling Jesuit's athletics director.
''I hope it doesn't happen,'' he said. ''I talked to Danny (Sancomb, a former player of DeFruscio's and current Wheeling Jesuit AD) about it and told him I hope they can keep (the WVIAC) together.
''It's a wonderful league.''
The Horizon League and the Colonial Athletic Association don't sponsor football, but that wasn't the motive behind Butler and Virginia Commonwealth jumping from those leagues, respectively, to the A-10 earlier this year.
The Bulldogs and Rams both went to the Final Four in 2011 (Butler also advanced in 2010).
''It's an exciting time to be part of the A-10 with those additions,'' DeFruscio said. ''It's going to make the conference even stronger.
''I've already been up to VCU for an orientation with (Coach) Shaka (Smart) and his staff. Tuesday, I'm flying up to (Indianapolis) to meet with (Coach) Brad (Stevens) and his staff to get them up to speed on things.
''Both Shaka and Brad are very excited and we know we're stepping up our conference by adding them.''
The A-10 has had 41 at-large NCAA Tournament berths in the past 20 years, including three last March. For the fifth year in a row, the conference earned at least three bids and multiple at-large invites.
''I think they have it right where it needs to be right now,'' DeFruscio said of the NCAA inviting 68 teams to the ''Big Dance.''
''Selfishly, we'd like to have more teams (from the A-10) in. But honestly, if you start having more and more teams in (the tournament), it doesn't make it feel as special.''
As far as the A-10's conference tournament goes, 12 of of the league's 16 teams will advance this season.
The event will be played for the first time at Barclays Center, the new Brooklyn home of the NBA's Nets.
''People have asked me why we would want to have our tournament so close to the Big East's at Madison Square Garden,'' DeFruscio said.
''Quite honestly, when we were in Atlantic City we were also competing with the Big East.
''We can't compare Boardwalk Hall with the new building in Brooklyn. We wanted to step out and be known nationally. I'm the championship director right now and part of my job is to work with ESPN and CBS on everything. I also work on marketing and branding.''
While he's enjoying his work with the A-10, DeFruscio admits part of him misses being on the sidelines.
''It's a great job and it's going really well,'' he said. ''It's made for a lot more basketball for me. The downside is I do miss coaching a bit.''