A bunch of different sources (media, blogs, message boards, word of mouth) floating various scenarios involving schools bolting the CAA for various reasons. This is prompting speculation that those moves would spark the creation of a new football conference with the remaining basketball-focused members merging with America East.
Here's one media source
. Here's another
Among the rumors/predictions/suggestions:
* NC-Wilmington to the Southern Conference (D1 hoop, FCS FB) where the Seahawks and NC-Greensboro would both start up football programs. This would be a hedge by the SoCon in case App St and/or GA Southern leave for FBS.
* Towson and William & Mary to the Patriot in all sports.
* Delaware, JMU, Richmond, Villanova, UNH & Maine from CAA join with Stony Brook (Big South) & Albany (NEC) in an 8-team FCS football league. (Albany & Stony Brook are in AE for all other sports). A new stadium for Albany has been discussed. The league would provide four pairs of geographic rivals, and would dissolve the CAA as a football conference.
* A new 8-team basketball league would merge Binghamton, BU, Hartford, MD-Baltimore Cty and Vermont from AE with Drexel, Hofstra & Northeastern from the CAA.
* Another take suggests the new football league wouldn't include Albany, Stony Brook, UNH or Maine, and that the other 4 teams would instead seek additional schools with better facilities and geography in hopes of jumping to FBS as a group. App St & GA Southern were immediately floated as the two most likely fits to form the minimum 6-team alignment for FBS. Someone mentioned Army as a possible addition, prompting another to suggest UMass. So you'd end up with:
Four pairs of regional rivals, all with strong football traditions, and a league covering most of the eastern seaboard. But Richmond is the clear outlier in terms of facilities. They just opened their new stadium 2 years ago with a capacity of 8,700. No idea on who could replace them in this set-up. Maybe Buffalo?
* That latter scenario would also kill off any new stadium chatter at Albany. Seems unlikely Maine, UNH, Stony Brook and the Great Danes would drop to the non-scholarship NEC in football. In basketball and most other sports they could join the new CAA/AE hoops-centric merger, making that a 12-team conference. So what would they do in football? Would Maine, Albany & UNH join Stony Brook in the Big South to form a 10-team league? Man, talk about your liberal vs conservative culture clashes. The northern schools would also be at a huge travel disadvantage. Then again, what other options would they have? Meanwhile Richmond would seem destined for the Patriot League.