As the Big East crumbles, speculation of smaller conference poaching has begun to effect the future look of the CAA and Atlantic 10 conferences.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times recently reported the Atlantic 10 has expressed informal interest in adding CAA powers VCU and George Mason — the conference’s two recent Final 4 participants.
In a similar move, the Times reports Hostra (a CAA member) President, Stuart Robinowitz, has reached out informally to A10 members Richmond, Charlotte (both former conference mates of the Rams), George Washington, and American East school Boston University to gauge interest in a potential move to the CAA.
With several teams from both Conference USA and the A10 being mentioned as possible replacements of recent Big East Departures Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as well as potential defections from UConn, Rutgers, West Virginia, and Louisville, so called “mid-major” conferences like the A10 and CAA are beginning to not only plan, but make moves towards the future.
When asked for a comment on the matter, Tom Yeager told VCURamNation.com, â€œWe will not comment on membership matters until the appropriate time for an official announcement.Â Like most conferences, we are all monitoring the ongoing conference realignment discussions and are being proactive in determining whether membership moves might strengthen the conferenceâ€.
The Atlantic 10 is headquartered in Norfolk, VA but is comprised of mostly schools from the northeast and now reaches as far west a St. Louis.
The University of Richmond is currently the state of Virginia’s only representative in the league. Former Sunbelt foe Charlotte is the leagues southern most member.
Like the CAA, the A10 sent three schools to last season’s NCAA tournament in Richmond (Sweet 16), Temple (Round of 32), and parraniel power Xavier (“2nd round”).
Many basketball prognosticators predict a scenario where many of the A10’s top teams are absorbed by a larger conference such as the Big East, which might leave little to be desired by both VCU and Mason, who currently play in the Virginia dominated CAA with a conference tournament annually held in Richmond.
On the other side of that coin, if the A10 can keep together the top of it’s conference, a conference home with dedicated basketball schools like Xavier, Temple, Dayton, and St. Joe’s among others, might be too good of an option for VCU and Mason to pass up.