For the past year, we’ve wondered how the Colonial Athletic Association would respond to the defections of half of its original members. For the second time in six months, the answer came from the south.
Last Thursday, the Elon University announced its intentions to join the CAA in the 2014-2015 academic year. This move will give the CAA 10 teams in basketball and 12 in football. Elon will owe $600K to exit the SoCon, and $300K to join the CAA.
Here are the main reasons why the move makes sense for Elon:
- 56% of Elon’s incoming freshman class (2017) hails from the areas within the CAA footprint. This provides the opportunity for a broader fit for Elon’s student population. Elon has more than 5,000 alumni in areas near CAA schools.
- The opportunity for more television coverage in major media markets (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc.) via the CAA’s contracts with NBC Sports and Comcast SportsNet. These networks reaching more than 75 million homes.
- The stability brought by Mr. Tom Yeager, the longest-tenured commissioner (28 years) in D-I athletics.
Elon University President Dr. Leo Lambert on why the move to the CAA is good for Elon:
“The CAA is a venerable athletic conference. An ideal fit for Elon today, as well as the Elon that we envision in the future.”
By now you’ve probably read plenty on this subject matter. Elon is a tremendous addition for the CAA, athletically, academically and geographically. Yeager mentioned Elon’s positive trajectory over the last few decades as a main reason the university is an attractive fit. The move gives the CAA five universities in the Carolinas and Virginia, which should make traveling easier in the future.
A teleconference with Mr. Yeager and Elon AD Dave Blank is archived at CAASports. Among the main topics discussed:
- The concentration and emphasis on the importance of regional competition. For CAAHoops, it’s about having five schools in Virginia and the Carolinas, and five north of that area.
- The idea that there is no magic number for CAA expansion, and no ceiling limit for potential members. Obviously the CAA wants an even number, and they’ve discussed numbers into the teens.
- Geographically, any schools between Charleston and Boston that fit could be possible additions.
Finally, here are some opinions from our favorite CAA scribes:
- Brian Mull caught up with UNCW AD Jimmy Bass, and discussed the addition of Elon. There are also UNCW scheduling notes for ’13-’14.
- Dave Fairbank of The Daily Press paints a clear picture of the CAA’s status in this alignment fiasco. Mr. Fairbank has a realistic view on the subject.
- Bob Sutton from Times-News believes that Elon’s similarities with Hofstra and William & Mary made the CAA a good fit. Elon understands this, and the Southern Conference seems upset about it.
- Ron Morris from the Charlotte Observer gives a little insight into the Southern Conference’s situation.
We’ll take a break from the summer sessions to provide a little bit of news.
- It was announced last week that Towson AD Mike Waddell will be departing the university to become the Senior Associate AD at the University of Arkansas. In less than three years, Waddell greatly raised the profiles of Towson’s revenue sports. For those upset about some of the debts accrued, a trip to the NCAA Tournament can be a magical cure. Towson is in great position to do that as soon as this year.
- Joe Mihalich announced his coaching staff at Hofstra. Mike Farrelly, Kyle Neptune and Shane Nichols were all Mihalich’s assistants at Niagara, and will join him at Hofstra. Colin Curtin was Niagara’s director of basketball operations, and will join the Hofstra program in the same capacity.
Hofstra legend and former NBA player Speedy Claxton, who was vocal in his desire to be considered for the head coaching position, will also join Mihalich on the sideline as the special assistant to the head coach.
Claxton spent the past two seasons as a college scout with the Golden State Warriors, and is probably a huge reason that Kent Bazemore and Charles Jenkins ended up in the Bay area. Having Claxton on the sidelines should pay huge dividends in recruiting.
Daly Dose of Hoops caught up with Mihalich to discuss his first few weeks at Hofstra.
Also of note: Gervelle Kidd, the last remaining member of Mo Cassara’s 2013 commitments, has decommitted from Hofstra.
- James Madison picked up a commitment from 6’8″ forward Yohanny Dalembert. COBL’s Josh Verlin broke the news a few weeks back, and it became official last week.
Dalembert is the half-brother of NBA veteran Samuel Dalembert, and came to the United States from Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. He’s only played basketball for three years. JMU will have seven freshmen next season, and they’re all 6’6″ or taller. Additionally, five of the players are foreign-born. A redshirt or two seems likely.
Coach Brady on Dalembert:
“He possess a tremendous set of intangibles with mobility, defensive aggressiveness and a shot-blocking prowess, a combination that gives him a high ceiling for potential growth.”
- Bill Coen and the Northeastern Huskies will participate in the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The ridiculously talented field includes Michigan, VCU, Georgetown, Florida State, Kansas State, Long Beach State, and Charlotte. Coincidentally, Charlotte and Northeastern squared off the in the final of the 2012 Great Alaskan Shootout.
- Tennessee transfer Yemi Makanjuola will play for UNCW. The 6’9″ forward will sit out ’13-’14, and have two years of eligibility left. Makanjuola had a few off court issues, and a fresh start at a new university will be a very welcome opportunity.
- William & Mary snagged a 2014 commitment from 6’3″ shooting guard Connor Burchfield. Burchfield plays high school ball at Concord High School in North Carolina. Mr. Tony Shaver has four more scholarships to work with for 2014.