It’s official: Old Dominion and Georgia State will not be allowed to participate in this season’s CAA tournament.
It comes as no surprise, really. The two schools made the decision to leave the CAA in search of brighter football pastures knowing full well that this scenario was likely. The conference has long had a by-law that said departing schools are not allowed to participate in the postseason. That’s been the rule. And the CAA decided to enforce it.
“The conferences Bylaws were well understood and evaluated when the institutions made their decision to withdraw from the conference,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said in a statement. “While we respect an institution’s decision to withdraw, it is not without consequences that the institution must accept. As a conference, we desire to have those institutions that are fully invested in the continued prosperity of the conference represent the conference as its champion.”
On the one hand, I understand where the CAA is coming from. Banning postseason play certainly is a deterrent for leaving the conference. That’s why the rule was put into place, and that’s why ODU and GSU won’t be making it to Richmond this March.
But on the other hand, well, it isn’t a deterrent at all.
ODU and GSU still left. VCU left as well, jumping ship this summer in order to avoid the tournament ban. Clearly, postseason participation is not all that big of a deal for the suits making the decisions.
Which means that the brunt of the punishment falls on the shoulders of the student-athletes. The people that are paying the price here are Blaine Taylor’s and Ron Hunter’s players. They had nothing to do with the decision to leave the league.
Considering that the CAA will be the ones cashing the checks from the NCAA if either of the two programs had made it to the tournament and won a game, this seems a bit unfair, no?
Taylor agrees, telling Ed Miller of the Virginian-Pilot, “It doesn’t have to be so messy. What (the CAA) has elected to do is pile on at every turn. … They’re mad at VCU, so they’re going to pile on.”
There are a couple of winners in this mess, namely George Mason and Drexel. Without ODU and VCU in play for the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, the Dragons and the Patriots should have a fairly easy path to the title game.