Did you think we were done with realignment? Wrong. While most of the moves have been made in the larger conferences, the dominoes are starting to rapidly fall in the mid-majors. Last night it was announced that George Mason will leave the CAA for the Atlantic 10 . What other moves can you expect in mid-major ranks?
Missouri Valley: The Valley lost one of their crown jewels last week with the departure of Creighton for the Big East. While the conference has been fairly steady since the mid-90s they will certainly look to get back up to 10 members. With some top names like Denver or Belmont already on the move (or already moved), will the conference be able to garner a top notch basketball program?
Departures: Creighton (Big East)
Possible Replacements: Denver, Belmont, Loyola (Illinois)
Long Shots: St. Louis, Oral Roberts
Atlantic 10: The Atlantic 10 was the other conference to be pillaged by the Big East. With George Mason joining, the conference is back up to 13 members. No one likes odd numbers to look for the A10 to stay busy and add another member or three. Davidson and Siena are two names who have really picked up steam.
Departures: Butler (Big East), Xavier (Big East), Temple (Conference Conference), Charlotte (Conference USA)
Additions: George Mason
Possible Replacements: Siena, Davidson
Long Shots: Boston University, Loyola (MD), Hofstra, Holy Cross, Hampton
Conference USA: After raiding the Sun Belt and others CUSA is pretty set for the future with 14 teams, eight of whom will be new. Tulsa or some others may move on to the yet to be named ex-Big East (the Conference Conference), but CUSA can always just pillage the Sun Belt again.
Departures: Central Florida (TBD Conference), East Carolina (TBD Conference), Memphis (TBD Conference), Houston (TBD Conference), SMU (TBD Conference), Tulane (TBD Conference)
Additions: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, UT-San Antonio
Colonial Athletic Association: No mid-major conference has felt the impact of realignment more than the CAA. Just when they thought things had been shored up a bit with Charleston joining the conference, they get another defector in George Mason. Look for the CAA to knock back on the door of Davidson and kick up talks with Albany and Stony Brook, who already have one foot in the door with football membership.
Departures: Old Dominion (Conference USA), Georgia State (Sun Belt), George Mason (A10)
Additions: College of Charleston
Possible Replacements: Davidson, Albany, Stony Brook, East Tennessee State
Long Shots: Kennesaw State, Hampton, Monmouth, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Elon
Mid-American Conference: The MAC has been a banner for consistency through realignment, but a strange rumor came out a week or two ago that the conference could be considering an addition of Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State. With the conference being so solid, I'd be surprised if that rumor comes to fruition.
Long Shots: Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe
Sun Belt Conference: The Sun Belt has been a revolving door lately and that trend seems like it will continue. Four members leave this summer, while three more will get the conference back up to 10. Look for the Sun Belt to keep looking to get to 12 members, especially with the continuous rumors of their current members leaving. The conference seems to be infatuated with Appalachian State and George Southern, but its not totally clear that those two programs are immediately able to make the jump.
Departures: Florida Atlantic (Conference USA), Florida International (Conference USA), Middle Tennessee State (Conference USA), North Texas (Conference USA)
Additions: Georgia State, UT-Arlington, Texas State
Possible Replacements: Georgia Southern, Appalachian State
Long Shots: Liberty
Southern Conference: The SoCon has already lost Charleston and now their is the serious threat of at least two or three more members also on the move. Davidson, Elon, or Furman could find themselves in the CAA and Georgia Southern and Appalachian State seem to have one foot out the door. The conference could be in for a three-way battle royale with the Big South and Atlantic Sun.
Departures: College of Charleston (CAA)
Long Shots: Kennesaw State, UNC Asheville, Coastal Carolina, USC Upstate
Big South: The Big South has solid membership at the moment but two schools always seem to come up in realignment talk...Liberty and Coastal Carolina. Coastal made their intentions clear a year ago with the CAA and SoCon, but a 5 year tournament deal may have locked down the Chanticleers for now. Liberty has aspirations of playing FBS football and is ready for the jump, but no one seems to want the Flames at the moment. An interesting thought is with the SoCon tournament being in Asheville every year, could the Bulldogs be pillaged from the conference?
Long Shots: Kennesaw State, USC Upstate, Hampton, Delaware State, East Tennessee State
Atlantic Sun: All is quiet on the Atlantic Sun front right now. Kennesaw State is moving forward with football and will likely look to find a home in the Big South, SoCon, or CAA. If those dominoes start to fall then perhaps some of the more northern members of the conference could also find themselves on the move? Also if Belmont happens to move or any of the other Ohio Valley schools then Lipscomb or Mercer could be attractive for the OVC. The ASun may be in the worst position in terms of enticing new members out of all the mid-major conferences in the South.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: The MAAC will lose Loyola (MD) to the Patriot League this year, but will also add two new members. If Siena does indeed bolt for the A10 then the conference may look to the NEC or America East to add another member or two.
Departures: Loyola, MD (Patriot)
Additions: Monmouth, Quinnipiac
Long Shots: Robert Morris, Wagner
Northeast Conference: Despite losing two members, the NEC is looking pretty solid with 10 members. That can obviously change if the MAAC decides to come back and raid the conference again. NJIT is always waiting in the wings.
Departures: Quinnipiac (MAAC), Monmouth (MAAC)
Long Shots: NJIT
America East: Can the America East and NEC just merge already? These two conferences will likely be at each others throat for awhile. NJIT is always the fall back plan if anyone else should leave. The America East did shore up things a little bit with the addition of UMass-Lowell, who is transitioning to Division I.
Departures: Boston University (Patriot)
Long Shots: NJIT
Patriot League: The Patriot League is about as solid as it gets, especially with the addition of Loyola (MD) and Boston University. Maybe Navy's football program forces the Midshipmen to another conference as a full member, but that doesn't look likely.
Additions: Boston University, Loyola (MD)
Horizon League: The 9 member Horizon League is solid for now but could lose Loyola (Illinois) to the Missouri Valley. Also Detroit and their growing basketball program has been mentioned as a potential add for the Atlantic 10. If either of those school do leave then look for the Horizon league to be knocking on the door of schools like Oakland or Western Illinois.
Long Shots: Oakland, Western Illinois