It seems a simple question: Can schools on their way out the Colonial Athletic Association door compete for conference championships? Yes or no. Thumbs up or down.
Apparently not. League presidents decided last Tuesday whether Old Dominion and Georgia State would be eligible for titles. But they chose not to disclose their vote, due to a “clarification of details,” according to a statement from CAA World Headquarters. The league office won’t announce the decision until next week.
A glance at the CAA Handbook appears to provide the answer. Article 4.06.E:
“Upon notice of an institution’s intent to withdraw, the institution’s team become ineligible on a date determined by the remaining members to compete for Association team championships. Individual student-athletes may compete for individual honors in Association individual championships but team points will not be calculated.”
Pretty cut-and-dried, right? Again, apparently not.
Leaf through to Article 6.05.
“A majority vote of the present, and voting, representatives shall be sufficient to pass a measure. This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote and attendant Bylaws by a simple majority, provided the proposed amendment has been placed on the agenda and circulated to member institutions at least two weeks preceding the vote.”
So, in order to pass a measure or amend a bylaw, only a simple majority is needed. If you’re keeping score at home, that would be 5 of 9 — with the departure of VCU and impending exits of ODU and Georgia State, the league is down to nine voting members. However, to change the Constitution requires at least six votes.
Under the bylaw change, the key phrase is “… placed on the agenda and circulated to member institutions at least two weeks preceding the vote.”
Might the delay in announcing a decision be a procedural move, to give the presidents the time required by the Constitution for a simple majority decision? We don’t know, since Commish Tom Yeager and others won’t even reveal the details that needed clarifying, for fear of tipping off the decision.
There are other moving parts at work here, among them: the potential absence of two of the CAA’s basketball bell-cows in VCU and ODU at the 2013 tournament; the league’s new TV and multi-media deal with NBC Sports Group; the Academic Progress Rate pickle for the Towson and UNC Wilmington men’s hoops teams.
VCU is already gone for the 2012-13 school year, to the Atlantic 10. If ODU and Georgia State aren’t allowed to compete at conference tournaments — and honestly, men’s basketball is what we’re talking about, here — that reduces the number of competing schools to nine.
The sub-standard APR numbers for Towson and UNCW men’s hoops prohibit them from competing in next year’s NCAA tournament. The CAA generally is adamant about not permitting schools that are ineligible for postseason to compete for conference titles and NCAA automatic berths, largely because the NCAA isn’t required to invite runners-up and it could cost the league its slot, if the NCAA got persnickety. Plus, it just looks bad.
Anyway, take away Towson and UNCW next March and you’re looking at the possibility of a seven-team tournament, minus two of the best programs and largest fan bases. A depleted showcase in front of a half-empty Richmond Coliseum is not what the CAA, or new partner NBC Sports, wants.
The delay in announcing the presidents’ decision prompts a knee-jerk conclusion that they’re going to permit ODU and Georgia State to compete next year. After all, the “ineligible to compete” rule is already in place. It requires far less time to say “No” than to explain “Yes.”
But since no one is tipping their hand, give the CAA presidents the benefit of the doubt. Wait until the announcement. Maybe there’s a perfectly logical explanation for a week-long delay over what seemed a fairly straightforward issue.
Either way, they must explain themselves. If they permit ODU and Georgia State to compete, they’ll have a lot more ‘splainin’ to do.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times