The Colonial Athletic Association suffered a big loss this offseason, when the Virginia Commonwealth Rams packed their bags and headed for the seemingly bigger and brighter Atlantic 10 Conference.
In the beginning, it looked as if the CAA was going to stand idle during the whirlwind of NCAA Conference changes. Now, the conference has been dealt another huge blow: Old Dominion and Georgia State will be departing after the 2012-2013 school year.
Old Dominion will be joining the Conference USA and Georgia State will be heading to the Sun Belt Conference.
Both school’s moves are for football reasons, but they will face repercussions during this upcoming winter basketball season. Both Old Dominion and Georgia State are ineligible for the postseason CAA Conference Tournament.
The Monarchs will immediately join Conference-USA for basketball in 2013, but won’t be a member of the conference’s football program until 2015.
The Panthers will also immediately join the Sun Belt in 2013, but coach Ron Hunter expressed disdain about the penalties the school will face this season.
“I told them we’re an independent,” Hunter told ESPN’s Andy Katz. “That’s what we are now. It’s no fault of theirs. We made a move for football. And we’re paying the consequences.”
The Monarchs and Panthers will both play CAA Conference schedules in the regular season and games against non-CAA schools will be considered non-conference games. Each school could also potentially earn the regular season Conference Championship as well.
At the end of the day, this 2012-2013 season will be bittersweet no matter what happens for either club.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for the Arena Pulse at Rant Sports. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.