When the dust settled, for the time being, with teams jumping around from one conference to another during conference realignment, the America East lost Boston University to the Patriot League, but picked up Massachusetts Lowell, formerly a Division II school from the Northeast 10. One would think that the America East would have sought to add an additional team to have an even ten teams in the league, but that did not come to fruition. And, according to commissioner Amy Huchthausen, that’s okay.
Huchthausen told Ryan Restivo of Big Apple Buckets:
I feel like we’re in a good spot right now with our presidents, this branding campaign was their initiative and I’m really proud to see where it’s ended up as a result of that as we look ahead to the future, would it be better just from scheduling purposes to have an even number? of course it would, but the America East has been at nine for several years now and we’ve managed to make it pretty well with an odd number. You don’t want to add someone just to add someone.
The America East has been locked at nine teams since the 2005-06 season, and have been able to make it work. Prior to that year, Northeastern was in the league before heading off to the Colonial Athletic Association.
What is dangerous is if other schools from the America East begin to look for greener pastures. Earlier in August, Shades of 48, a blog about William & Mary athletics, released an investigative article with email dialogues from Tom Yeager, the commissioner of the CAA, to people associated with the other schools in the conference. The topic? Among several things, poaching Albany and Stony Brook from the America East.
Both of these schools became associate members of the CAA over the summer as they are set to embark on their first year in the league for football. Stony Brook, in particular, is a school that has made a serious commitment to athletics and is on the rise. One would think that the CAA presents them more opportunities to elevate their program than the America East, but they maintain they are content in the nine team league.
“There’s always concern that someone will leave, in this fluid environment that we’ve had for the last few years, there’s very few commissioners in the country who aren’t thinking about that, but at the same time that’s where you really have to focus on the relationships that you have with existing schools,” Huchthausen said. “Make sure that they’re open and transparent, you’re working with them so they are being honest and upfront with you, but at the end of the day a school’s going to decide what they want to decide so no commissioner can control that.”