Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor called CAA commissioner Tom Yeager late Friday morning to tell him that the Patriots would not jump to the
"Is this a big step? Yeah," Yeager said Friday afternoon from the conference offices in
Indeed, the CAA's very existence came into question in recent weeks, as George Mason, VCU and Old Dominion, three of the league's anchor programs, considered other conference options. The departure of all three might have crippled the league and forced other schools to seek new homes.
VCU has yet to announce whether it will join the Atlantic 10, while Old Dominion weighs the possibility of jumping to
VCU and George Mason do not field football programs, and their decisions were and are tied to giving their men's basketball programs the best competition and avenues toward the
"I can appreciate, and always have, the need that universities have to explore options," Yeager said. "VCU and ODU have every right to go through the same process and analysis. We hope that they come to a conclusion soon. We've all been incredibly energized by what we've been able to accomplish in recent years, and this has been a big distraction to doing things like launching our digital networks and everything else."
O'Connor told the
"They did a very thorough analysis, pros and cons," Yeager said. "When they finished, it was really a simple thing. They concluded that all things considered, the CAA was the best place for them to be as a university, and they looked forward to continue the upward growth trends we've had in the league."
Yeager, the only commissioner the CAA has ever had, said that he has been in contact with officials at VCU and ODU.
VCU's Board of Visitors held meetings Friday, and university president Michael Rao said a conference decision can be expected "in the next couple of weeks." Rao said the topic was discussed in the closed session.