CAA officials to brainstorm membership issues

Colonial Athletic Association officials and athletic directors will meet Friday in northern Virginia to discuss membership, but Commissioner Tom Yeager said not to expect announcements or invitations.

"It's not going to be talking about individual institutions as much as structure," Yeager said Thursday. "It's not an agenda as much as a think tank kind of opportunity to get together and share some ideas and be creative."

Yeager called the special meeting — separate from the conference's regularly scheduled get-togethers — and said the group will discuss topics such as the optimum number of teams and various strategies moving forward.

"Conferences seem to be getting larger," William and Mary athletic director Terry Driscoll said. "Now, is that only good for the people who are getting $17-20 million (per school) in TV money, or is that the way conferences at our level should be going? What really makes sense? Competitively, how would that help us or hurt us? There are going to be some of those types of discussions."

The CAA is in transition after VCU left for the Atlantic 10 this year and with the impending departures of Old Dominion and Georgia State, for Conference USA and the Sun Belt, respectively, next spring. That will leave the conference with nine full-time members.

The league recently shored up its football component by adding Stony Brook and Albany, beginning in 2013. Also, Rhode Island reconsidered its move to the Northeast Conference for football and will remain in the CAA.

There's been speculation about a number of schools that the CAA has targeted for expansion. College of Charleston officials are the only ones to publicly acknowledge that they've discussed the ramifications of leaving the Southern Conference for the CAA.

Yeager again expressed some frustration that expansion hasn't been completed. He said the aim is still to add a school, or schools, for the 2013-14 academic year. But he said that traditional deadlines for schools and leagues have shifted in recent years. Notably, VCU and the A-10 made that move happen in a matter of months.

"I've thought we should have had it done long before now," Yeager said. "I feel good that there's progress being made with some of the people we're talking to, and even within our own thinking, in some instances.

"I don't think you want to set up artificial dates that may force decisions, good or bad, before they're ready to be made. You want everybody to feel 100 percent comfortable. At the same time, these things can't go on forever. You reach a point where there's nothing left to talk about. Either you think it's a good idea or you don't and you make a decision."

From the CAA's end, the process continues Friday.

"The opportunity to sit in a room for a few hours and to really get into some stuff and have a chance to fully explore some things, it's really valuable," Driscoll said. "Generally, when we have our meetings, a lot of the things we do don't rise to the level where the presidents need to be involved. But they're engaged, we're engaged and this is a topic that they remain very interested in.

"One of the reasons we're doing this is that the presidents would like to make sure we sort through a lot of this stuff for them, so that the next time that we all get together, we'll all be able to talk knowledgeably because we've all been in the room."

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