The CAA’s exploration of expansion that would lead to a two-division arrangement includes examining Hampton and Howard as potential members, various sources indicated this week.
The league already is analyzing the possibility of adding Monmouth, Fairfield and UNC Greensboro in the interest of forming north and south divisions that would reduce travel costs. Of those schools, Monmouth, Howard and Hampton play FCS football.
“We’re in that space now from an athletic realm about travel, financial issues, and all of those things that all of these conferences are taking note of,” said Mike London, William & Mary’s football coach and the former coach at Howard.
Representatives of Hampton, currently a Big South member, for decades have expressed interest in CAA membership. Howard is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
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With James Madison presumed to be leaving the CAA for the Sun Belt Conference and FBS level, the CAA would like to establish a new model as soon as possible.
“You’re seeing every conference in the country assessing itself as it relates to membership-related matters,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said Thursday. “There’s a myriad of factors that could play into making those decisions, but ultimately in the end we’re going to make the best decisions that are going to have the most effective impact on our conference being not only sustainable but competitive as we move into the future.”
Without JMU, the CAA for basketball and sports apart from football would include Charleston, Delaware, Drexel, Elon, Hofstra, Northeastern, Towson, UNC Wilmington and W&M. CAA Football without JMU includes Albany, Delaware, Elon, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova and W&M.
The football league in the past included divisions, and may again. It does not now.
The CAA is aiming to strike a balance in its membership with north and south schools, and competition would be primarily intradivisional. It’s unclear if that would mean six in each division, or more.
“There are teams that are out there that are interested in joining,” London said, speaking of CAA Football. “I know the league in itself right now is very, very strong. You hate to lose members but … you’ve got to do what’s best for your school.
“But I do know this conference is a strong conference from the north all the way down to the south and I believe CAA Football is going to be around for a long, long time.”