Rhode Island to the America East?
There was an interesting line in an article covering an interview with outgoing Rhode Island president Robert Carothers:
“Money has become a huge issue, as in every other department, because of a reduction in state assistance and the overall economic situation. It is likely to lead, Carothers feels, to a change in conference alignments soon, not because URI is displeased with the Atlantic 10, but because of the need to reduce travel costs.”
There has been a trend in college sports lately. It seems that school and conference admins have noticed the impact the larger/BCS programs have in all-sports, and are taking more logical approaches to what they should do. And travel costs come into the picture as well as schools are contemplating moves down the road that would be more logical fits. This hasn’t always been the case, but it happens in waves. There was the mass dropping of football out west by schools like Pacific and Cal. St. Northridge. These schools no longer felt that the costs of football justified keeping the sport…and that dropping football would be to the benefit of their other sports. Economically, that has been true. But in the late 90′s and early part of the decade, there were a number of schools such as Troy, USF, WKU and others that have made the play to get to the “big table” by upgrading to FBS football…hoping to one day get into the BCS. Meanwhile, NAIA and D2 schools have upgraded to Division 1, with non-football sports like basketball being their chief concern.
But with this simple quote about the future of Rhode Island, it could be a common sense of logic that flows to other schools in the NCAA. Carothers doesn’t mention the America East, but the conferences remains the best alternative outside the A10. The NEC, MAAC, Patriot and Ivy are the only conferences in the region. A move by Rhode Island into a more travel friendly conference could be an idea that one day would benefit Northeastern and Hofstra. While neither school has expressed any real interest, it’s something that isn’t that far of a stretch: schools return to their previous conferences from time to time.
Just looking at a potential lineup, the school admins can envision their wallets fattening. And with 6-7 football members, they could get the chance to sponsor the sport after rejecting the idea in the 1990′s.: