Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Modest Expansion Proposal for the CAA

I'm going to take a break from my examination of each of the NCAA Division I conferences to take a look at the CAA's situation after losing George Mason to the Atlantic Ten.  I actually think losing Mason could turn out to be a good thing.  It opens up the possibility to add Davidson and TWO more additional southern schools near Davidson.  Creating a comfortable southern division for Davidson might be exactly what it takes for the CAA to land the Wildcats.  Things are unstable in Davidson's current home; between losing Charleston a few months ago and Georgia Southern and Appalachian St's recent announcement that they are going to the Sunbelt the SoCon only has nine members and the SoCon's expansion candidates don't have the academic clout or basketball pedigree that the CAA members do.

I think the two schools to add are Elon and UNC Greensboro.  Elon is a large private school who probably can find the resources to make the move and UNC Greensboro gives the CAA another UNC campus and another school in Davidson's backyard.

The CAA would look like this:

North--Northeastern, Hofstra, Drexel, Delaware, Towson, James Madison
South--William & Mary, Elon, UNC Greensboro, Davidson, UNC Wilmington, Charleston

It gives the CAA a nice assortment of private schools and upscale public institutions.

in order to sell the Northern members on this expansion plan I think its necessary to demonstrate to them that in order to survive as a league and keep their television contract they have to have Davidson and this is what must be done in order to get them.  I think you also promise that if and when James Madison leaves for a FBS conference that they will be replaced with a truly northern school--perhaps Siena or Stony Brook.

Here's what this moves for CAA football:

North--Maine*, New Hampshire*, Rhode Island*, Albany*, Stony Brook*, Villanova*
South--Delaware, Towson, James Madison, Richmond*, William & Mary, Elon

This too is a nice set up that keeps everyone together and happy.  But here's one caveat, since the NCAA considers 7 schools to be a FCS conference CAA could work in conjunction with America East to make CAA football two leagues.  Here's how:

None of the Northern Division football schools are full members of the CAA, they are all affiliates and four of the six belong to America East.  America East could pick up sponsorship of the sport a couple of ways.  Monmouth's recent move from the NEC, who sponsors FCS football albeit with far fewer than the maximum 65 scholarships, to the more prestigiuous MAAC, who doesn't sponsor football, has left their football program somewhat isolated as an affiliate of the Big South.  Adding Monmouth as a football affiliate would give America East their 7th member.  It would also open the door for Wagner to do the same with their program if a MAAC invitation ever materializes--they nearly got one a couple months ago.  The other thing that America East could do is add Central Connecticut St as a full member.  They play football but are currently an odd fit as the lone public school in a private school league.

As for the CAA's 7th football school they could simply swap out UNC Greensboro, who doesn't play football, with a SoCon school like Furman or Wofford who does.  The other route they could take is to keep Villanova as a CAA football affiliate (instead of giving them to America East) and have America East add both Monouth (fb only) and Central Connecticut St (full member).

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