Here for the long haul: UNCW to stay in the CAA
Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011 11:11
We've all watched over the past 18 months as conferences have realigned and schools have shifted allegiances. It started off with Boise State and BYU, and soon there was a tidal wave of conference shifting.
The conference realignments have been well received by some fans, like Boise State's, and less well-received by others. "Conference realignments have been a plague in the SEC," said Kendall Fields, a junior at the University of Tennessee and an avid SEC football fan. "For a long time, it seemed like realignment was going to ruin annual rivalry games, and we were stuck at 13 teams for a while. Instead of waiting for a good fit for that 14th team, the SEC jumped all over Missouri who brings very little, if anything, to the table."
These conference realignments haven't affected the CAA much at all, but that doesn't mean that conference realignment couldn't soon have an effect. "The CAA has formed a membership committee comprised of presidents, chancellors and athletic directors who are responsible for monitoring the current environment and for determining the future course of the league if those expansion winds start blowing around the CAA," said UNC Wilmington athletic director Jimmy Bass. "The group has just started meeting and discussing the landscape of intercollegiate athletics."
The formation of the group is an admission that the CAA is not immune to the realignments that have affected so many other conferences, but UNCW will not be the school to shift allegiances, according to Bass. "The CAA is the perfect fit for UNCW. We have competitive rivalries that benefit our student-athletes' experiences," said Bass. "Being in a league that provides automatic qualifier status to its conference champions for NCAA postseason play is a must."
The CAA also plays an important role in the decision-making process for student-athletes as they decide where they want to play during their college career. "The success of VCU and Richmond in the NCAA (Tournament) definitely had an effect on my decision to come play in the CAA," said redshirt freshman Luke Hager of the Seahawk men's basketball team. "I'm really looking forward to playing against them… It's an absolute dream to be able to come and continue my basketball career here in the CAA."