There are several reports outlining that the Colonial Athletic Association has formally invited Southern Conference members Appalachian State, Davidson, and the College of Charleston. There are also rumors that the CAA may look to Stony Brook, Furman and Elon also. If all six of these moves came to fruition it would leave the CAA with 14 teams and more importantly leave the SoCon with seven teams. If that does become the case then Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander better man his battle station. A seven team conference is certainly not sustainable long term, especially with hints of the Georgia Southern moving to FBS football. If the SoCon was to be poached that hard then the most logical place to look would be the Big South and the Atlantic Sun Conferences.
On Sunday, the Big South will become a twelve team conference with the addition of Longwood. But how long will that last? Liberty leaving the conference is a case of “when” rather than “if”. So that quickly drops the conference down to eleven schools. Stony Brook going to the CAA would leave the conference with only five football schools. But who would the Southern Conference target? There is always Coastal Carolina who has been screaming to get in since their football inception in the early 2000s. But something is keeping Coastal out. There is VMI who has a healthy rivalry with the Citadel and left the SoCon in 2003 after being a member for nearly eighty years. Could the SoCon look to add more basketball oriented schools and poach Asheville or Winthrop?
On the other side of the fence would be the Atlantic Sun. A conference that stretches from Florida to North Carolina and has a profile most similar to the Big South. On Sunday the Atlantic Sun will shrink to nine with the departure of Belmont, but will have a tenth conditional member in transitioning Northern Kentucky. The most interested domino in the Atlantic Sun has to be Kennesaw State, who is looking to play football in the next couple of years. The school outside of Atlanta could be enticing to a number of suitors. The Owls could certainly help supplement the SoCon’s losses or they could help strengthen the Big South. Perhaps East Tennessee State can rejoin the SoCon after leaving the conference in 2005? Other schools of interest could be USC-Upstate or Georgia based Mercer.
It’s not clear how things go, but it is clear that it is going to be a busy summer across many league offices.