With the loss of four institutions the Colonial Athletic Association has some work to do on the realignment front. Apparently the league has found a new member, as it was reported by the Wilmington Star-News that Elon will officially join the CAA on Thursday.
Elon has announced a press conference for 2:00 p.m. EST Thursday afternoon, but has not given any clues as to what the subject matter will be. It is expected that Elon will join the CAA in 2014.
Elon has been a member of the Southern Conference since 2003, and the Phoenix are coming off of their first SoCon North Division title since the 2005-06 season under head coach Matt Matheny.
Elon finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 21 wins and 12 losses, going 13-5 in SoCon play and losing at Canisius in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. That game represented Elon’s first postseason appearance as a Division I member.
Elon joins the College of Charleston as schools leaving the SoCon for the CAA, and perennial SoCon power Davidson is leaving the league to join the Atlantic 10.
The question in regards to the CAA: is the league done adding schools? There may be more news to come in the near future as the conference forms a new identity with schools such as VCU and George Mason (both have moved to the A-10) having moved on.
Albany is also considering an invitation from the CAA, but a university spokesman said they are still committed to the America East “at this time.” Their addition would give the CAA 11 members, six in a Baltimore – Boston corridor and five in the Carolinas and Virginia. Ideally, the conference would add one more southern member, creating two divisions for men’s basketball and a 16-team conference schedule. For example, under that scenario, UNCW would play Elon, College of Charleston, James Madison, William & Mary and the TBA Southern School home-and-home, and play the other six teams once, meaning only three trips to the North in a given season.
As for the SoCon, losing Elon is the latest hit for a league that was already in search of options to replace juggernauts Davidson and the College of Charleston. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are leaving the conference to join the Sun Belt Conference in 2014, with their football programs moving up to the FBS level serving as the catalyst for that decision.
While the power conference realignment dominoes may finally be settled for the time being, some mid-major conferences have plenty of work to attend to in the coming months.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.