After viewing the original premise (or what appears to have been the original premise, since A-10 and CAA schools already have their own football league) I did some thinking. I do not think that A-10 Football is a good fit as an all-sports conference, especially as it is likely that such conference would be waiting 5 years for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, although the A-10 schools (UMass, Rhode Island, Richmond, Temple) could negate that factor some years (however, this conference would have lower RPI than current A-10). Temple has replaced Villanova, and the following alignments presupposed that A-10 Football as an all-sports conference is the starting point for conference realignment and that other issues (i.e. ACC/BEast) do not affect the situation. Conferences directly affected (America East, A-10, CAA) are show with new alignments, and so are current member schools, as applicable.
North: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Rhode Island, Temple
South: Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, Richmond, Towson, William & Mary
A-10: Butler, Dayton, Detroit, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, LaSalle, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Joseph's, Xavier
America East (also football member*)
East: Central Connecticut State*, Hartford, Monmouth*, Sacred Heart*, Stony Brook*, Wagner*
West: Albany*, Binghamton, UMBC, Robert Morris*, Saint Francis(PA)*, Vermont
[A-East retains automatic NCAA bid by virtue of bringing in 6 NEC schools (UMBC excluded), I-AA nonscholarship football is now sponsored]
CAA (also football member*)
North: Drexel, George Mason, Liberty*, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Military*
South: Charleston Southern*, Coastal Carolina*, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Wilmington, Radford, Winthrop
[CAA retains automatic NCAA bid by virtue of bringing in 6 Big South schools (VMI excluded), CAA Football replaces Big South Football]
Patriot League: American, Army, Boston U., Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Navy
This scenario more or less destroys the NEC and the Big South, as they are left with 5 members and 2 members, respectively.
As stated earlier, this situation is hypothetical, and A-10 Football will not transform into an all-sports conference anytime soon. However, the specter has been raised that perhaps I-AA football will become more of a determinant in all-sports conference alignment than it already is. Issues surrounding the A-10/CAA situation support this, and its ramifications could further impact the Missouri Valley (Gateway) Conferences. It's an interesting idea, but as it remains, I-AA football is not a revenue-enhancing sport at most schools and anomalies ("A-10" football, the Gateway Conference) will probably remain, short of NCAA legislation.
The biggest issue right now in "mid-major" conference realignment is the rule requiring at least 6 members of a conference having been together for 5 years before an automatic NCAA bid can be extended. Am I interpreting the rule correctly? I would hate to think that I am not, and I don't how long it has been in place. Certain conference expansions/mergers seem to support its logic (American South-Sun Belt 1991, Mid-Continent Conference-Horizon League 1994), but others do not ( formation of the Patriot League, 1991). Does anyone have any more information on this rule or know of conferences who have lost automatic bids and later regained them as a result of this rule (e.g. Mid-Con, TAAC/A-Sun)?
Last edited by yungwun on Sun May 18, 2003 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.