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The College of Charleston voted on Friday to begin talks with the Colonial Athletic Association, exploring the possibility of the Cougars becoming full members in the conference. College of Charleston is currently a member of the Southern Conference, and the Friday vote by the Board of Trustees was not a vote to move out of that conference, but rather simply to begin initial discussions with the CAA.
CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager, however, would like to bring Charleston into the fold as soon as possible (via Dave Fairbank of The Daily Press):
"We'd like to move as quickly as we can, but we recognize that they have some Southern Conference obligations," Yeager said. "When you get into these things, the conference from where the school's leaving desires to move on, and the school and the new conference want to focus on their partnership and moving forward. It's in everybody's best interest to move as quickly as possible."
The CAA is trying to add a school and round the conference out to 10 members by the 2013-14 school year. Old Dominion and Georgia Southern will depart next season, dropping the current number from 11 to nine. The Cougars would certainly be another asset in men's basketball.
Charleston's vote is to explore the costs of making a move. Travel expenses appear to be an initial concern for the BoT, as they would be the southernmost school in the reconfigured conference. They also want to better understand the exit fees for departing the SoCon.
Davidson will not join the Colonial Athletic Association, according to Chris Dortch.
After pondering a move to the Colonial, Davidson decides to remain in Southern Conference, which retains a marquee hoops program.— Chris Dortch (@cdortch) October 16, 2012
Davidson was officially invited to join the CAA in July. The CAA is trying to replace Georgia State, Virginia Commonwealth and Old Dominion. Georgia State is headed to the Sun Belt, Virginia Commonwealth is going to the Atlantic 10 and Old Dominion is slated for Conference USA.
Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn broke down the pros and cons of the potential move when the idea floated around in May:
The CAA would offer slightly more money and more TV exposure, but no guarantee of better NCAA tournament positioning -- and Davidson's travel costs, which are affordable in the bus-trip friendly SoCon, would skyrocket due to all the flights required to visit CAA opponents in the north. And then there's the issue of competition: Where would the Wildcats stand in the CAA's new hierarchy?
Albany and Stony Brook will join the Colonial Athletic Association for football, beginning with the 2013 season, conference commissioner Tom Yeager announced Tuesday. Both programs have competed at the FCS level -- Alabny in the Northeast Conference and Stony Brook in the Big South.
"This is certainly a momentous day for CAA Football," Yeager said. "The addition of Albany and Stony Brook bring playoff-tested programs from the Northeast into an already nationally-prominent league."
Recently, Albany won the Northeast Conference title in 2011 and Stony Brook has captured the last three Big South conference titles.
Yeager, as a result, sounded pleased with their success.
"Albany's success last season is evidence Coach [Bob] Ford has built a program that will be ready to compete right away in our league," he said. "Coinciding with its new on-campus football stadium opening in 2013, we are looking forward to having the Great Danes create some great conference rivalries immediately."
On Stony Brook:
"Coach Priore has Stony Brook poised for yet another run for the NCAA Playoffs. Welcoming the Seawolves into our league next season will present our current members with yet another challenging matchup come Saturday's in the fall."
The Old Dominion Monarchs and the Georgia St. Panthers will not be participating in Colonial Athletic Association championship events for the 2012-13 academic year, according to a tweet by Daily Press sports columnist David Teel.
Both programs are leaving the Colonial after this season. While the loss of Georgia State from various championship events should not pose too much of a problem, the loss of Old Dominion, especially in the men's and women's basketball tournaments, could be financially damaging to the conference, especially on the men's side given the exit of the Va. Commonwealth Rams.
This could also be damaging for other teams in the conference, especially the George Mason Patriots who'll lose the Monarchs as a possible tournament opponent that could help their late season at-large chances.
If the George Mason Patriots want to leave the Colonial Athletic Association now, they'll have to pay four times the money to do so. During a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, the CAA's Council of Presidents approved an increase of the conference's exit fee from $250,000 to $1 million.
Among the items addressed by the Council in Tuesday's meetings:
Voted to increase the base withdrawal fee for a departing institution under liquidated damages to $1 million dollars. This increase does not apply to institutions that have already announced their withdrawal from the conference.
GMU was rumored along with VCU to be looking to join the Atlantic 10 back a couple months ago, but they decided to remain in the conference at least for now. With being just a basketball school in a conference that is seemingly putting more of its resources towards football, GMU looks like they are caught between a rock and a hard place in athletics.
Although the VCU Rams bolted from the Colonial Athletic Conference to the Atlantic 10, head coach Shaka Smart says he still would like to keep VCU's rivalries from their former conferences alive, including a possible game with George Mason.
In an interview with Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com, Smart says that he has been in contact with George Mason about a possible non-conference game during the 2012-2013 season, however nothing has been negotiated yet.
The move to try and play a game with George Mason could be viewed as a bit of a surprise, as Smart says VCU has received criticism from the CAA for their decision to leave.
"This is a bold move that we at VCU have made," Smart said. "And I think there certainly are some people that don't like the move we made."
Now the Colonial Athletic Association could be in trouble. Hot on the heels of the Va. Commonwealth Rams leaving for the Atlantic 10 this year, the Old Dominion Monarchs announced that they will join Conference USA effective July 1, 2013.
University president John Broderick commented on the move, making it clear that football was a major part in the decision to leave the Colonial.
Conference USA offers us a unique opportunity. Football certainly was a driving force in this decision. ... But football is only one part of this. We know the potential of all our sports to be successful and compete for conference championships and NCAA championships.
This move means that their football team, revived in 2008, will rise to the Bowl Subdivision by 2015.
Now the George Mason Patriots seem to be in a no-win position as just a basketball school. Their two biggest competitors are leaving the conference and with the CAA's television deal with NBC sports, the Patriots are no longer playing in the ESPN Bracketbuster games, taking away both exposure and a quality game opportunity. What will be the next step for the Patriots.
The Va. Commonwealth Rams made it official today that they will join the Atlantic 10 conference effective July 1, 2012. They will be participating in the Atlantic 10 in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year. VCU president Michael Rao spoke at a press conference that lasted only about 15 minutes to address why they are accelerating their plans to join the conference.
The Atlantic 10 has premier universities across the board and that includes athletics. The ability to recruit and retain student athletes will be sufficiently enhanced because of this move.
This move does come with a price however, the cost for joining the Atlantic 10 will be a hefty $700,000 dollars. For some universities that's not much, but for VCU that's a big price to pay. Rao and those in the athletic department hope that new revenue from the Atlantic 10 will help offset that cost.
Rao also took time during the press conference to address the conference they are leaving in the Colonial Athletic Association.
We have the utmost respect of Tom Yeager and his leadership team as well as the other institutions of CAA.
The move leaves the CAA in flux. The Old Dominion Monarchs have been rumored to possibly be leaving the conference to join the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. So if those two leave the CAA the George Mason Patriots would not have as much competition and the conference would be much weaker.
Even more discouraging for Mason fans is the report from CBS Sports via the GMUHoops.com blog that the Patriots were passed over for the Rams, despite being in a larger media market and also having a close rival in the George Washington Colonials.
Virginia Commonwealth University has called a press conference for 1:30 p.m. in Richmond. The school is expected to announce that it is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association for the Atlantic 10 Conference, joining the Butler Bulldogs in that conference.
VCU has been a member of the CAA since 1995, when they joined after being shut out of the merger between the Metro and Great Midwest Conferences that formed Conference USA.
In their time as a CAA member, the VCU men's basketball team won 5 Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament championships and made the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament six times, making the Final Four in 2011.
Live video of the press conference is below and is courtesy of CSN Washington.
VCU is saying goodbye to the Colonial Athletic Association. According to a report from Brett McMurphy at CBS Sports, VCU will join the Atlantic 10 Conference for the 2013 season. The news follows weeks of rumors that had the Rams bolting to join Butler in the A10 as conference alignment continues to shake up the college sports landscape.
Talk of a CAA exodus began roughly two months ago with reports of Butler, George Mason and VCU in talks to join the Atlantic 10. Butler joined earlier this month. George Mason opted to stay in the CAA.
The reason for the flight, according to most experts, is the image of the CAA as a conference that will only have one team, the conference champions, in the NCAA tournament. The Atlantic 10 has had multiple tournament bids in the last five years. VCU went to the Final Four in 2011, and Butler made consecutive Final Four appearances in 2010 and 2011.
The George Mason Patriots will remain in the Colonial Athletic Association according to a tweet by Washington Post George Mason beat reporter Steven Goff. Goff says that athletic director Tom O'Connor acknowledged the fact that he had talked to the Atlantic 10.
George Mason will remain in the CAA, AD Tom O'Connor tells me. Had talks with Atlantic 10, did due diligence, decided to stay #masonmbb— Steven Goff (@GMUWashPost) May 11, 2012
Mason remaining in the CAA is an interesting move with ESPN pulling the plug on the conference's involvement with their Bracketbuster Weekend, one of the better opportunities for Mason to play a decent out of conference team during the regular season.
CAA commissioner Tom Yeager released a statement praising the school for staying with the conference.
Through this process we've engaged in open communication with senior executives at George Mason University. We respected the process George Mason University went through and are pleased it decided that continued membership in the CAA is in the best interest of the university and its athletic programs.
News broke today that the Butler Bulldogs will officially join the Atlantic 10 conference in all sports effective in 2013. People in the George Washington Colonials' athletic department are excited to have a two-time national basketball finalist in their conference.
Athletic Director Patrick Nero:
Not only is Butler a welcome addition to our league, but this move exemplifies once again why the George Washington University is proud to be part of the A-10
Men's basketball head coach Mike Lonergan:
For us, to be able to compete in conference play against the level of competition that Coach Brad Stevens and his team brings, is very exciting to our players and staff.
Women's basketball head coach Johnathan Tsipis
The A-10 is fortunate to be able to add Butler women's basketball to a group of teams that battles year-in and year-out for conference supremacy.
Despite the news of the Bulldogs joining, there is no news at this time whether the other two teams that were rumored to join Butler in the Atlantic 10, Colonial Athletic Association members Va. Commonwealth Rams and George Mason Patriots, will be joining Butler in the conference.
With Conference USA looking to replace departing members, Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and SMU, who are leaving for the Big East, the league has added six additional schools to give it 14 members by 2013. One of those six is Old Dominion, according to CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy. An official announcement could come Friday.
Others joining Conference USA include Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Texas San Antonio and Charlotte, creating two seven-team divisions, an east and a west. C-USA had previously been in talks with the Mountain West Conference to form a larger league, but that option is no longer on the table.
For ODU, the move appears to require the Monarchs' football program, which competes in the Colonial Athletic Association of the Football Championship Subdivison and was reborn as recently as 2005, to move into the Football Bowl Subdivision, perhaps prematurely. Its basketball program, on the other hand, has been to the NCAA Tournament twice in the last three seasons.
To stay up to date on conference expansion throughout the region, follow this storystream. For more on the Old Dominion Monarchs football and basketball programs, stay tuned to SB Nation DC. And for all your college basketball news and notes be sure to check out SB Nation's NCAA hoops hub.
While the George Mason Patriots appear to be going headlong into the Atlantic-10, Va. Commonwealth Rams athletic director Norwood Teague is recommending that the Richmond based school stays in the CAA for at least one more year.
Teague, who is resigning to take the same position at Minnesota in July, is giving the Rams pause because of what may transpire in other conference realignments specifically with the Old Dominion Monarchs, according to an article posted by David Teel of the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Va.
Monarchs athletic director Wood Selig is so concerned about the CAA's future that he inquired of possible membership in Conference USA, a move that would require a premature upgrade to the Bowl Subdivision for the school's fledgling football program.
The move may also hinge on the decision of the Louisville Cardinals to either leave the Big East or stay. If the Cardinals leave, the Big East could go after top Atlantic 10 teams like the Xavier Musketeers or the Dayton Flyers, making the conference less desirable to join.
VCU sources deny report that they're headed to A-10 on May 1 w George Mason + Butler. "Nothing to it," source said.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 20, 2012
This is not surprising that VCU would immediately deny any report of leaving the Colonial Athletic Association. What does seem to be surprising is the comment that there is 'nothing' to these reports. Obviously there has to be some interest when your conference appears to be putting more emphasis on a sport that you do not field.
By losing the ability for the basketball team to be on ESPN due to the new CAA television deal with NBC, these teams could be wanting to return to a conference that can guarantee exposure to a high degree.
The rumors that the George Mason Patriots and Va. Commonwealth Rams would leave the Colonial Athletic Association seem to no longer be rumors. The two CAA foes will join the Atlantic 10 conference on May 1, according to a tweet by New York Post sportswriter Lenn Robbins.
George Mason and VCU to the A-10 on May 1...Butler probably...The Post has learned— Lenn Robbins (@LennRobbins) April 20, 2012
The decision now puts both teams in probably one of the best basketball conferences in the country and in a conference that consistently earns multiple at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.
George Mason was a charter member of the CAA, joining when the conference formed in 1983. During their time in the conference, the Men's Basketball team has won four conference championships and has made six NCAA Tournament appearances, including their famous run to the Final Four in 2006.
VCU has been a member of the CAA since 1995. The Men's basketball team in that span has won five conference championships and has made six NCAA Tournament appearances, including their Final Four appearance in 2011.
Despite the denials by both of the George Mason and VCU athletic departments, a statement by George Washington's athletic director Patrick Nero published in the George Washington Hatchet student paper claims that he hopes a decision to maybe bring in the two CAA schools will be made in the next two months.
It is an ongoing process. I think the hope is that we'll start to have some decisions made in the next month or two. And we're definitely looking at the biggest criteria that who brings the highest value in men's basketball.
This talk of expansion is at the time where Temple and possibly Charlotte are on their way out of the Atlantic-10. Temple is heading back to the Big East in all sports effective in the 2013-14 season. In addition, CBSSports.com reported on March 13 that the 49ers, who will be fielding a football team in 2013, had received an informal invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference.
After rumors surfaced over the weekend that VCU and George Mason had discussed jumping to the Atlantic 10 conference, CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager came out with guns blazing Monday afternoon in a media conference call.
Both schools had already played down the prospect of a move earlier Monday, but Yeager was apparently in a mood to leave no doubt.
"Both schools indicated there were no truth to the rumors," Yeager said. "They are not exploring other options. In combination with conversations over the last couple months and weeks, they're not looking to go anywhere else and they don't have an offer that would turn their heads. We didn't hold hands and take blood oaths or anything. I take them for their word."
Yeager's vehemence is not surprising. The CAA recently signed a five-year television deal with NBC Sports Group, largely due to the fact that both George Mason and VCU have made the Final Four since 2006. If both departed for the A-10, that would go a long way towards undoing all of Yeager's good work.
George Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor released a statement on Monday that Mason has not had any discussions in joining the Atlantic 10. This is contrary to reports over the weekend that both CAA powers had been in talks in regard to joining the A-10 starting in 2013.
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
In addition to that, sources at VCU have claimed that the school has not had any discussions with the Atlantic 10 either. In an article by Tim Pearrel of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Pam Lepley, the university's executive director for university relations, strongly denied the report that VCU's Board of Visitors has spoken twice about moving conferences.
The report said VCU's Board of Visitors had met at least twice about making the move to the A-10. Pam Lepley, VCU's executive director for university relations, said in an email that was not correct.
"All of this speculation is internet chatter," the source said.
To be fair though, that is how a lot of realignment begins. But if this idea gains enough traction and the Atlantic 10 really wants to have these teams, they will find some way to get them into the conference.
The George Mason Patriots, CAA conference foe VCU Rams and Horizon League's Butler Bulldogs might all be making the move to the Atlantic 10, according to a report from CBSSports.com.
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