Tuesday, March 12, 2013

State of the Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

My last post was on the A-10 which nicely transitions into a conversation on the CAA.  The CAA is in some ways a less sexy A-10--they have similar geographic footprints but the A-10 outshines the CAA.  The CAA is also a power conference at the FCS level but this status is in jeopardy as only 4 full-time members play the  sport and 4 members of America East are affiliates in that sport.  The CAA's full-time members are:

George Mason
James Madison
William & Mary
UNC Wilmington
College of Charleston

Schools in blue are private
School underlined play CAA football

Football affiliates include: Maine, New Hampshire, Albany, Stony Brook, Villanova, and Richmond.

The CAA is an oddity because its members have such diverse interests.  There are private schools and public ones, football schools and basketball schools, northern schools and southern schools all trying to find common cause in the same league.  For this reason I think this league is somewhat vulnerable, particularly if one wing of the conference is not willing to put aside their own interests in favor of the good of the whole to keep the league going.  There are numerous flight risks--over the half the league, in one shape or another, is a candidate for the A-10.  James Madison and possibly Delaware have FBS football aspirations,and the Patriot League has made no secret that they would like to have William & Mary.

Even if this league were to keep its membership intact its hard to say who their best expansion bets would be. They were recently unsuccessful in their bid to land Davidson but if the league lost a couple more northern schools (presumably to the A-10) they might have the room to accommodate the schools that Davidson would require as companions.  Ultimately, I think Davidson is not going to be able to stay in the SoCon forever, not with the speculation that the league will soon be gutted by the Sunbelt for its two top football programs.

I should at least consider the possibility of Northern expansion.  These candidates are many of the same that the A-10 would be looking at--Stony Brook, Albany, Siena, and perhaps other MAAC schools.

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