Now that I’ve previewed all of the 11 Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball team’s for the upcoming 2012-13 season, some of you CAA hoops diehards are probably wondering, “where’s the twelfth team?”
After a magical and highly unexpected run to the Final Four two seasons ago, the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams left an unforgettable mark on the college basketball world. And now, the Rams are taking full advantage of the opportunities their Big Dance has given them.
The Rams have a rising star coach in Shaka Smart and are returning 7 of their top 8 scorers from last season, including two All-CAA 3rd Team honorees. They are the reigning CAA Conference Champs and now they’re on their way to becoming the new hot commodity of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
As of July 1, and after VCU paid a large amount of fees, they officially became immediate members of the A10. First, VCU owed a $250,000 exit fee to the CAA and a $700,000 entrance fee to join the A10. The biggest loss for the program, however, comes in the form of forfeiting around $5 million in NCAA tournament money. VCU basketball was due this sum over the next six years under the guidelines of CAA bylaws.
VCU is one of the school’s brought in by A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade to replace Temple University and Charlotte University. Temple left the A10 to join the Big East and will be a full member of their new conference for all sports besides football in 2013-2014. Charlotte will become a new member of Conference-USA. Butler University will also be joining the A10, beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
While the departure of VCU from the CAA will definitely cause a decrease in the conference’s national appeal, the Rams’ absence may create a more competitive balance within the conference over the next few seasons—something that will be enjoyed by all.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for the Arena Pulse at Rant Sports. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.