My ranking of CAA Expansion Candidates
1. Charlotte - Word is in 49er land that they are either going to the CUSA/Alliance or the CAA. If the CAA can land Charlotte than they need to do it. SunBelt does not seem to be an option for them per their people in the know. The most obvious choice, but they might not take the invite having declined in the past.
2. App St - With no FBS invitation forthcoming, App St. might enjoy the chance to play in the premier FCS conference along with upgrading their hoops competition. But they might not be interested in leaving one FCS conference for another
3. College of Charleston - Does not help with maintaining the FCS football league, but would be a steal for the premier sport of the CAA along with being a solid baseball program too. May not want to leave SoCon having turned down CAA in the past
4. Davidson - This would be a purely basketball move as Davidson fits the SoCon profile very well but with hoops being their bread and butter they may appreciate the upgrade in competition. May not want to leave SoCon having turned down CAA before.
5. Coastal Carolina - A definite yes and a solid FCS member. The weakest basketball program of all the Candidates though.
6. Stony Brook - If the CAA goes north instead of south they are the team that will get in. Solid FCS members and would upgrade hoops to fit CAA profile. Would allow for even split of north south divisions but would leave founding member UNCW without a southern partner
Thing is though, you still need to factor in football preservation as the top requirement for expansion. That said, need to also consider:
* Charlotte has already turned down the CAA in previous months. Charlotte asked about joining for football, the CAA said "only if it's all-sports", Charlotte rejected them right away. Now, as we know, the CAA is not in as much of a power position as they were in the past with now UMass and Georgia St. gone, following the departures of URI, NU and Hofstra. But regardless, if we all know Charlotte is planning to upgrade to FBS, and the CAA rejected them for football only in the past...and the CAA now needs 1 ALL-SPORTS member to join...and Charlotte already rejected them...then why would Charlotte even be an all-sports option now? If you have sources for yourself, then that's great intel. But just looking at the facts we already have, I dont' see why Charlotte would downgrade in basketball with their only benefit being to have a temporary conference for 3 years to play FCS football.
* College of Charleston has twice rejected CAA invitations, the most recent one being just a few years ago when the CAA had a spot. Upon that rejection, the CAA went another path.
As for my own list:
* Whomever is brought in will HAVE to be for all-sports AND have football. The reason is that the CAA now only has 5 all-sports members, needs a 6th to maintain sponsorship of the sport (UD, Towson, JMU, W&M, ODU).
1) try for App St. Since it's a football decision first, gotta try them. If they say "yes, but only with Georgia Southern", then just invite them both. Why not if as a conference you are so sure that the 5 current members with football aren't going anywhere.
2) Stony Brook: TY is already planning more talks with Stony Brook. They have football, are in the footprint, travel partner for Hofstra.
That's about it. If App St. says no, SB says yes. GA replaced.
If VCU and GMU opt to pay the $1.2 million exit fee and forfeit the tourney shares (doubtful they'd leave now in my opinion), then you bring in BU to give the CAA some access into Boston, since NU doesn't exactly cut it and BU has better facilities, etc. And for #12, Davidson is a great pick...similar standards as w&m. make a great #12 as a replacement