Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

George Mason and VCU leaving the CAA would make no sense

March 27, 2012 Columns No Comments
author_kasiecki

Earlier in March, there was rumor going around that the Atlantic 10 might look into luring big-time Colonial Athletic Association schools like George Mason and VCU, and another couple of schools were mentioned as well. No one felt it had any legs, but as we near the end of March, that has gained traction. With CBSSports.com reporting that George Mason, VCU and Butler of the Horizon League are indeed having conversations about it, CAA commissioner Tom Yeager had to address it, just as the CAA schools did.

The question one has to ask, though, is something else: why would George Mason and VCU leave the CAA for the Atlantic 10?

Yeager spoke to about 50 members of the media about the rumors on Monday, starting off by calling it basically a “non-story”. VCU and George Mason each issued statements from their athletic directors denying the rumors, and Yeager noted that a piece of information of note in the report was not as substantive as it might first appear to the untrained eye.

The CBSSports.com report cited sources saying that VCU’s Board of Visitors has had at least two meetings about it, but Yeager said those meetings are open to the public and regularly covered by assigned media, which is hardly a forum in which such a move would be discussed. If a school is considering a move to another conference, those discussions would be held in a much more private setting.

As many an athletic director has said one thing and then done another regarding conference affiliation in recent times, Yeager admits he can’t know with 100 percent certainly if honesty is going on here. But it’s all he’s got, and Tom O’Connor (George Mason) and Norwood Teague (VCU) have top-notch reputations as athletic directors go.

“I am taking our people at their word,” said Yeager. “We have personal and professional relationships.”

Not only that, but he has to ask the same question about the possibility of the schools leaving for the Atlantic 10: why? Why would they make that move if it were a possibility?

George Mason and VCU are well-positioned to win most years in the CAA. Both schools have finished in the top five in the conference in each of the past five seasons, and each has made a Final Four run in the past seven seasons. Since 2003-04, at least one of them has been in the conference championship game in all but two seasons. With their success, recruiting is only getting better, and that shouldn’t change.

Furthermore, they are Virginia schools in a conference with five schools in that state, with a lot going for them that helps them recruit even aside from the past success. George Mason is a charter member, and in VCU’s case, their campus is right down the road from the site of the conference tournament, although it’s worth noting that during that weekend, the team stays in a hotel about 15-20 minutes away. Leaving the conference simply wouldn’t make sense, unless the Big East or ACC is coming calling.

Yeager alluded to this when he made the analogy of coaches staying at one school instead of jumping for what may be perceived as a better job. Sure, George Mason and VCU could be competitive in the Atlantic 10, which is good but not exactly light years better than the CAA, but is it better to be competitive or to have a chance to win most years?

“Sometimes there are other factors involved that cause people to appreciate where they are,” said Yeager.

The conference is in a good place right now, and it’s hard to see where the Atlantic 10 would have enough to offer them to blow them away. Last season was the CAA’s best ever, and while this season was a step back if one uses solely the number of NCAA Tournament teams as the measuring stick, there’s a lot of young talent in the conference that will start to show soon. In addition, CAA teams have continued to be well-represented in other postseason tournaments, which often gives younger teams more practice and game time and has helped them have greater success when those young players have developed. VCU is one such example, winning the CBI two years ago before the success of the past two seasons, and a year earlier Old Dominion won the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

In February, the conference reached a major agreement with NBC Sports that will only further grow the conference’s national television exposure in football as well as men’s basketball. Sure, the Atlantic 10 has a national television deal as well, but is it really that much better, especially with 14 schools already (soon to be 13 once Temple departs for the Big East)?

Right now, the CAA is in a very good place. It’s a powerhouse in football and growing in men’s basketball, appears to have stable membership, and because of that there is no real reason for the conference to even seek new members. With the recent success, many teams are seeing benefits in recruiting; George Mason and VCU are among those who are reaping them even more so from their own success. Yeager was asked if the conference had looked into adding new members and said there is no need to.

“We’re in a very good place, and we believe that we could expand if we wanted to, but right now, we’re continuing to work towards getting better next year with the team we’ve got,” said Yeager.

At the rate the conference is going, next year will be better than this year, a trend that should continue. George Mason and VCU have plenty of reason to remain part of it.

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

maine

Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

Saturday Notes – December 6, 2014

December 7, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of basketball, highlighted by early upsets and then some good matchups, plus a few sneaky-good wins for some teams on a busy day.

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 2014-12-12 12:00:00
end_date 2014-12-16 12:00:00
Poll Results:
Ten teams are still undefeated as of December 12. Which team will be the last one to lose their first game of the season?

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.