This has been a busy year for mid-major conference realignment with teams jockeying to secure themselves in this super-conference world. For the CAA, it was teams jumping ship. Virginia Commonwealth, following three extremely successful basketball seasons, announced it will move immediately to the stronger Atlantic Ten. Old Dominion also let it known that they were leaving to pursue bigger football, being picked by Conference USA. Georgia State, who only joined in 2005, will be in the Sun Belt Conference starting in 2013.
With all these changes happening so quickly and to protect the conference from having a departing team win their championship, the CAA moved to disallow both Old Dominion and Georgia state from playing in any CAA Tournament in 2013. It was an expected move that surprised nobody.
Add this on top of the fact that there were already two teams banned from postseason basketball due to academic reasons. Towson and UNC-Wilmington were unable to keep their APR high enough and will be barred from 2013 postseason play.
Seven teams will be at this year’s CAA Tournament.
With seven teams, that is a lot of lost revenue. Sources have the Palestra as possibly taking over this year, something that would increase Drexel’s chances of their first title. It would also help ticket sales. The CAA’s tournament, which occurs the week before the Atlantic Ten’s and Big East’s, would bring more meaningful basketball to Philadelphia.
When all the dust settles, however, teams like Drexel are going to have to make a big decision. Can the CAA exist with nine teams, two of which can’t play postseason basketball this year? Rumors have the CAA looking at America East teams like Stony Brook andAlbany. They are also linked to schools in the south, like the Southern Conference’s College of Charleston, Davidson and Elon. All three have had moderate basketball success lately and would be mid-high level CAA teams.
One thing is certain. In order to survive, the CAA needs to bring in some teams. Leagues with nine or 10 schools struggle to secure television games and sponsorship deals. Without them, it is hard to keep your big-hitters…like Drexel.