In the wake of the George Mason Patriots’ announced departure from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic 10, effective for all sports beginning July 1, the James Madison Dukes athletic program released a very interesting official statement on their relationship with the CAA.
The statement, from JMU President Jonathan Alger and Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne, clearly expressed Madison’s, one of the final remaining founding fathers of the CAA, dislike of Mason’s decision. But, surprisingly the statement also introduced the idea that JMU may perhaps no longer be 100 percent committed to the Association and interested in realignment of their own.
“We are working with Carr Sports Consulting to assist us in establishing a comprehensive strategic plan that addresses all of our programs and long-term actions,” the statement said. “While this process is set to conclude this summer, our planning is fluid and will help position and prepare us for important long-term decisions that are in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches and the institution.”
Currently, the conference has nine institutions along for the 2013-2014 ride, with the College of Charleston set to join the CAA for all sports the same day Mason will leave. Commissioner Tom Yeager has expressed that he and the presidents of each university will continue to work to add another school to the league, but will not disclose any of those details during the process.
However, James Madison making this statement public is certainly a cause for concern for Yeager and the rest of the central office. Other schools who are committed to this conference should also be on the lookout as well.
If the conference can’t get another school to join this league before fall sports begin, dark times may be ahead for the Richmond-based athletic conference.