George Mason James Madison Basketball

George Mason to pay $1 million exit fee to leave CAA July 1

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If you want to break out early, you’ve got to pay the man. That’s apparently the road George Mason is taking to join the Atlantic 10.

The Patriots are paying the Colonial Athletic Association a $1 million exit fee to leave the conference effective July 1, a move that will cost them more than just the $1 million.

As a result, the seven spring sports George Mason fields are ineligible for postseason conference championships. That’s got to be rough for the players, especially since they didn’t know that this was happening until right around a month ago.

The school will also forfeit $1.65 million in conference payouts in addition to the exit fees.

In all, 20 of the 21 sports George Mason fields will join the A-1o, with the wrestling team finding a new home, being that the conference doesn’t sponsor the sport. There are plenty of northeastern-based conferences that support wrestling, so they should have no trouble getting in one of those. All bases covered.

No surprise here. With the pace at which schools are switching conferences, George Mason wants to keep up and the CAA wants to be compensated for their loss — they’ll be down to nine teams when the Patriots leave before next season.

Just another day in conference realignment.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman¬†that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.