By the time you read this, the summer CAA meetings have begun. In reality the summer meetings have been going on since late April, but now everyone gets to sit in the same conference room at the same time. Coaches, ADs, and other administrators go to work this week; presidents meet next week.
On this Monday once again CAAHoops channels Tom Yeager. If I’m Yeager open the meetings with an atomic bomb.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I begin, “our situation has destabilized, mainly due to the shifting sands of football. This is not news. It’s going to change again in a few years, and it will be as impossible to predict then as it was this go-round. So here’s my main mission over the next two weeks:
“We’re getting out of football altogether.”
Oh yes, I went there.
VCU and Mason made basketball decisions, and a 1-1 ledger is a fair representation of life. The farther we get from their May decisions, the more I believe both schools made the right decision for their institution. But football pushed ODU and Georgia State out the door, and it has JMU and Delaware checking to see if that door is still unlocked. (I remain unconvinced those were smart moves.)
Clearly football–a tremendously expensive gamble if you don’t play BCS–is compelling institutions to make hasty and irrational decisions. It’s tearing apart the fabric of great basketball constructions. It will happen again and there’s nothing a conference can do about it.
Well, there is one thing. Stop the madness. Freeze it out like a dermatologist excises a wart. Yep, football and dreams. That’s the root of this problem so we need to eradicate that lethal mixture before it rips out our innards again.
It isn’t as if CAA football isn’t convoluted now anyway. The schools that comprise CAA football are spread out over four basketball conferences. CAAHoops has JMU, Delaware, William & Mary, and Towson. The America East has Maine and New Hampshire. Villanova is a Big East squad. Richmond in the A-10.
That’s a lot of undertow.
So if I’m Yeager, AE commish Amy Huchthausen has already been offered:
“Look, we did business 12 years ago. We’re obviously business partners. Take them, and you become the premier 1AA football conference in America. We took it from the A10 a few years back and it worked out. Take it from us and experience that success, and you even solve the gum-flapping issue at Stony Brook.”
Geography isn’t a problem. The teams will play essentially the same group of opponents, so travel and “a new conference” is somewhat irrelevant. The big change is the conference mailing address, whose name is at the top of checks, and someone new to call to complain about officiating.
This would amount to a balance sheet transaction.
Without football, the CAA becomes a much more nimble conference. The Davidson and CofC sales pitch becomes stronger–football is not going to impact our future. Not anymore. Bring Asheville with you.
The current CAA basketball schools feel more at ease. You don’t think it would please Mason and UNCW and Drexel and NU and Hofstra to have their organization clearly state basketball is its priority?
As for adding schools, who is out there that we are not discussing–basketball-centric schools–that becomes in play no that we are clarified? The Coastal Carolinas, Appalachian States, and Elons of the world suddenly take on a crisper view. The same can be said for the Belmonts, Wright States, and Cleveland States of the world. And when that decision comes for JMU or Delaware, the CAA has an extra 30 pounds on its basketball benchpress.
It’s about clarifying the conference’s identity and mission, and protecting against future risk. As we move forward into the realignment wasteland, we can do so with a clear picture as to who fits our total criteria.
Heck, if this whole Big East kablooie actually occurs the CAA would be well-positioned to play in that fracas. It’s about trying to protect from going through this same damn exercise four years from now, because you know it’s coming.
Life is easier without football. We all know it. So make it so.