Elon Phoenix to join CAA

Elon Phoenix to join CAA
May 23, 2013, 12:15 pm
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CAA commissioner Tom Yeager on Elon joining the CAA

More change is coming to the Colonial Athletic Association.

Elon University will join the CAA in all sports starting with the 2014-15 season, sources have confirmed with CSNwashington and the conference formally announced on Thursday.

Currently a member of the Southern Conference and previously affiliated with the Big South, the Phoenix will become the 10th full-time CAA member and the 12th football program.

“The member institutions of the CAA are thrilled that Elon has accepted our offer of membership,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “We have been selectively searching for highly respected institutions that shared a common vision of institutional excellence and a commitment to the success of the young men and women participating in our athletic programs. Elon fits our model and will immediately become a valuable conference partner helping to elevate each individual institution.”

College of Charleston, which also left the Southern Conference, enters the CAA for the upcoming 2013-14 campaign. Elon, located in Burlington, North Carolina, will further help absorb the member losses suffered over the past two years. George Mason recently departed for the Atlantic 10, the same conference Virginia Commonwealth joined starting in 2012. Last season represented the final one in the CAA for Old Dominion and Georgia State, bolting for Conference USA and the Sun Belt conference respectively.

The CAA now has a desirable even number of teams, though for long.

"We've got no magic number on a ceiling limit," Yaeger said on a media conference call following the initial press release. "When we get to the point of consensus agreement that [a non-CAA program] would be a good addition...we'll continue to expand."

Reports that Albany, which is joining the CAA as a football member in 2013, could leave the America East for a full-time slot in the CAA cropped up in recent daysYeager refused to comment on any speculation and Albany officials have initially denied the reports.

During the conference call, Elon officials said the due diligence process on its end took 6-7 weeks. In the end, the Phoenix will have a new home.

"This is truly and outstanding and exciting day for Elon University, our student-athletes and our coaches," Elon Athletic Director Dave Blank said.

"The ability of the TV network that the Colonial Athletic Association offers will bring a great exposure to our student athletes in the areas that they call home," Blank continued. "We see so many positives on this relationship. it's a good decision, one that we embrace."

In addition to the College of Charleson, Elon will join the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William & Mary as full members of the CAA in 2014-15.

The Phoenix went 21-12 last season and 13-5 in the Southern Conference.

On the football side, the Phoenix join joining Delaware, James Madison, Towson, William & Mary, the University at Albany, the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Richmond, Stony Brook University and Villanova University.

The 11 football teams participating in 2013 will play in a single division, though splitting the football programs into two divisions is an option, Jaeger said. The CAA has previously used two divisions.

Elon, a 4,000 student school,  typically fields a strong baseball program with competitive teams in men's basketball and football.

In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected wide receiver Aaron Mellette in the seventh round.

NBC Sports reached an agreement with the CAA in 2012 on a five-year television package to showcase the conference's football and basketball games on its various platforms, including Comcast SportsNet.



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