Like APP, JMU may want to move up in 2-3 years but its options are severely limited. Neither the Sun Belt or the MAC will want them as all sports members and hosting your basketball and non revenue sports in the CAA won't likely be an option. What do they do?????? Unfortunately for them they stay put.
So if the A10 does not lose anyone, would GMU and VCU still join? I just don't see it. ODU and other FCS schools are non starters because they don't want to end up like Charlotte, w/ no home for FCS football.
Getting the FCS football league under the CAA banner was crucial and ultimately may be the reason Charlotte joins the CAA over time.
Much of your thoughts are based on what is either an unproven or false premise. Northeastern and Hofstra dropped football...but did the CAA kick them out? No. So why do you assume that the VA based CAA would kick out JMU (or UD, ODU, GSU for that matter) if they upgraded to FBS and joined the MAC for football.
With Temple as an option for the Big East for likely football (to replace WVU), the MAC would likely welcome JMU with open arms for FB only. And based on the recruiting benefits of being in Virginia and the mid-atlantic and south, along with the market access into new areas like Baltimore, DC, Richmond, etc, it's really not a stretch to think that the MAC would be willing to add MORE than just JMU.
For instance, Delaware gives "MAC level expectation" access into Philly and even B'more. JMU for NoVa/DC/Richmond, ODU for southern virginia.
Of course that is all speculation. But what seem like fact (based on CAA retaining NU/HU) is that if schools upgrade to FBS (for FB only conference like MAC) then there's no reason to assume the CAA would kick them out.
As for the future of FCS football...the trends are what they are. It will exist. But the "haves" are starting to move up or get close to it (App St, GA Southern, Jax St, etc). There will always be options for all the current CAA schools. Albeit FB only in SoCon, SoCon dropping football and FB schools joining CAA for FB only, something with the Patriot and schollies which would likely be happy to add towson, Richmond, W&M (if JMU, UD, ODU and GSU upgraded).
That said, I do see the benefit of VCU and GMU in the CAA now. Travel costs aren't a huge difference since the CAA spans from Boston to Atlanta, albeit with schools that hardly penetrate their larger markets (NU/HU/Drexel/GSU). But being in the middle of the footprint, it's a big help.
But one of the key points in these schools being all set with the CAA was the A10 risk of losing it's top 4 schools. But once that risk is officially over (we will know likely within weeks...since the Pac-16 is off the list for at least 6 years and movement will be minimal), who knows? Truth is, the A10 has no reason to add VCU or GMU. They already have Richmond in one market and GW in the other...the same NCAA tourney GW that now has the up and commer coach that GMU wanted in Lonergan. Unproven at GW, so he could be a bust. But GMU has a new coach, a fired retread, so they face the same types of hurdles.
And with no need or real room to expand, the conversation is likely moot here.
Because it's chicken/egg: A10 would only want GMU/VCU if they lost 4 schools. But if they lost 4 schools, VCU/GMU would have no interest.
And the A10 is in a good spot at 14 since they average almost 3 bids a year with schools that have gotten good enough bids over the past decade to advance enough to generate more money. So expansion only works if it means getting schools that make a 4th bid a near lock.