CAA commish talks about GSU

Greetings, all-

Hope you’re well. I often have the hope of getting two blogs up in a day and today I’ve finally done it. I put in a call to CAA commissioner Tom Yeager for the story that ran today about Georgia State’s season-ending four-game run.

Yeager’s assessment on GSU in 2012: “They’ll be playing teams that have kids that have played a number of years, have started for a number of years, have been in the program. I’m sure the first couple seasons, there’s going to be some continued growing pains. (But) I don’t think there’s any question theyre going to be a competitor fairly quickly.”

We ended up talking about where GSU might land in 2012, which I’ll share with you. He said the plan is “to look at some type of divisional play” when GSU joins and the CAA goes back to 12 teams, which is what it was before Hofstra and Northeastern dropped football after the 2009 season.

The most obvious alignment – putting Georgia State in with the other southernmost schools, Richmond, Old Dominion, James Madison, William & Mary and Towson – may not fly.

A little history, which I confess I was aware of until a few minutes ago: The CAA has only had football since 2007. Largely the same teams made up the Atlantic 10 football conference from 1997-2006. They were the Yankee Conference for decades before that. (Georgia State in what used to be the Yankee Conference. Go figure.)

Anyway, what Yeager said was that in the previous north-south alignment, Villanova and Delaware both developed strong rivalries with Richmond, James Madison and William and Mary. So they aren’t going to want to get sent to play in the other division where the ties aren’t as strong. Further, Villanova and Delaware play each other in a season-ending game that Yeager likened to Georgia-Georgia Tech. So it sounds like both schools’ strong preference would be to stay together and in the south.

But, obviously, you’d want to keep Old Dominion with the other three Virginia schools, so maybe that makes Towson the odd man out, even though it’s two hours from Philadelphia and an hour from Newark, Del., and a whole lot closer to Virginia than Maine.

So it could be that Georgia State will go into the north with New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Towson and Rhode Island. Or maybe not.

I don’t know what it would mean for Georgia State to be in with schools in New England rather than Virginia. Geography always helps in building rivalries, but I suppose it’s not imperative.

“There’s some potential there’ll be some lively discussions about the new division set-up,” Yeager said. “There isn’t a really easy identifiable way to split it.”

Something that may sink these plans before they even get off the ground, though, is Rhode Island. I mentioned earlier this week a report that URI might be leaving the conference for the Northeast Conference. Here’s an  story from June in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that explains it further (You may be interested to know – or probably not – that I interned at the Times-Dispatch 16 summers ago and actually worked with the writer of the article linked. I have a story I could tell you about my first attempt at writing about auto racing. Did not end well.). Basically, URI has been getting drilled in the CAA and the costs are getting high. The addition of GSU would seem to be a double whammy – a team that figures to push URI further down and, if they’re in the same division, require a charter flight every other year.

I’ll write more about GSU’s future with the CAA when I get the opportunity. Kind of interesting.

Any preference on where GSU ends up?

108 comments Add your comment

itsmeagain

October 20th, 2010
6:48 pm

Hmm. I’m seeing a problem with this conference being so spread out… We could do with some closer schools.

DannyboyAtl

October 20th, 2010
6:50 pm

SEC!

(And yes, that was sarcasm…)

Go Panthers!!

October 20th, 2010
7:05 pm

Competition wise, the CAA sounds exciting.

Logistically, however, it sounds like a nightmare.

No one is going to travel to road games.

G-State

October 20th, 2010
7:10 pm

I see that Georgia State’s cost will be pretty high in this conference no matter which division we end up in. I know that the CAA is the best conference in FCS with 7 teams in the top 25 and 4 in the top 10 (that with only 10 teams in the conference) but is it worth the cost to gather that brand of competition?

Geography does help with rivalries but so does familiarity and playing big games against teams with legitimate shots to win championships yr in yr out. So the rivalry part I’m not concerned with as much as athletic cost of being in this conference.

I’m interested to read your follow up blog Ken.

Astropig

October 20th, 2010
7:12 pm

Or why not ditch the CAA all together…

The Southern Conference brings natural rivals within easy driving distance. There could be some great rivalries develop with Georgia Southern ,Chattanooga ( The Mocs are off life support now that they have a coach that can walk and chew gum) and Furman. Atlanta could be the hub of the SC and bring a “Mini SEC Championship” game to the Georgia Dome by adding the Panthers and breaking up into divisions.State would be just the large market that the SC needs to pull it off.

Look , nobody gives a rats rear about Rhode Island , Towson or Delaware. Nobody outside their neck of the woods ,anyway. Strong regional tie ins are critical for FCS teams to pay the bills. After the novelty wears off (next season), State will have to market and package better to draw a crowd. Thats just a fact. Wit a couple of guaranteed sellouts every year (Southern and Furman/The Citadel/Chattanooga) , the books will balance even if the team is not a contender. Just try getting people excited to see Towson when the Panthers are 2-6.

Ditch the CAA. SC is where its at !

Montana

October 20th, 2010
7:13 pm

I go to Georgia State, and while I think it would be cool to host a few teams cross division from up north, it wouldn’t drive much of a traveling fan base when every road game is a good 1,000 miles away. Also I think that splitting the conference North/South heavily weights the South Division. If they throw G-State in to the North Division just to honor rivalries, it is going to put a big hit on revenue for Georgia State’s home games because there just won’t be the away fans like there would if they are playing the closer teams.

All I know is that I’m ready to get in the CAA because I want to see where we stand against the real deals like Villanova, James Madison, and William & Mary.

GAnative

October 20th, 2010
7:20 pm

I think the Big South or Southern Conference makes more sense than joining the CAA… Geographically, it makes even more sense.

tiger

October 20th, 2010
7:26 pm

If GSU wants to continue to play in the FCS then they may want to consider Southern, Big South, Ohio Valley, SWAC and MEAC

itsmeagain

October 20th, 2010
7:29 pm

lol @ DannyboyAtl

The Southern Conference would definitely fit us better (not sure how those Georgia Southern girls would like it, especially if we did well). We don’t have as many fans as i’d like turning up to the home games. There would literally be noone for the majority of away games

SpiderMan

October 20th, 2010
7:35 pm

Put them with Richmond. I’d love to see the Spiders come down to the Dome.

Avatar of Snarkiness

October 20th, 2010
7:41 pm

@ Astropig:

You are 100% right. I am sure not gonna drive to see GSU play Delaware or URI. The cost would be astronomical. I can only imagine what it will cost the athletic department to make these trips.Further , Villanova has been invited to join the Big East,so the CAA may be in for some instability anyway.
The Southern has Appy State , The Citadel and Wofford right next door.They usually are in the NC mix ,so the competition is right up there with anybody.

GSU Real Man

October 20th, 2010
7:48 pm

@Astropig:

I totally agree, I like the competition that the CAA brings, but the distance that GSU would have to travel is ridiculous. I really the SoCon is the best idea for GSU and hope that the AD would strongly reconsider not joining the CAA…I think it might be a big mistake.

Panama

October 20th, 2010
7:52 pm

Hey Ken,
Lets see if divisional play pans out. Rhode Island is almost assuredly gone to the NEC due to $$$ (NEC is one of the few FCS conferences that allows 40 grants in aid vs. the FCS maximum of 63). In additional Villanova has a standing offer as of a few weeks ago to play football in the Big East where they already play all other sports.

GSUAlumBaseball81

October 20th, 2010
7:58 pm

@GSU Grad06

Better to call Custom Engraving Company / Imprint Promotions at (888) 605-2572 Toll free. Ask for Nicole. They have created a new front license plate through the NCAA’s recognition of our new POUNCE logo. Mine are in the mail and yours can be too! They did not even know we had a football team. Now they do and are excited about having a license plate for us. Spread the word. They look awesome as I could not display on this AJC Blog, You will be impressed. BE THE FIRST!!! GO PANTHERS!!! Our book store is adamant on selling us the old POUNCE. They are missing out!

Ken,

You are correct as two blogs in a day is taxing but not as bad as playing in an old Yankee Conference. Georgia State should be looking to move out of the CAA in the next four to five years and get in a more logistically desirable conference. Not many are going to travel to the far reaches of the Northeast to see a football game. Not to mention the recruits and their families. We need to kick butt in the CAA and then move into a Southern Conference so fans can more easily attend the games. Better for recruiting. Simple as that!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

GSU

October 20th, 2010
7:59 pm

I’d prefer the Ohio Valley over the CAA. At least we could travel to Alabama and Tenn. This whole GSU to the CAA north division with Maine and the likes has to be stopped. Are you serious?

Good write-up Ken. I look forward to the continuation regarding this issue.

Goose

October 20th, 2010
9:15 pm

We are joining the CAA so we need to tough it up. I can’t imagine a Maine vs. GSU game. Sounds like a nightmare. Could we join the Southern Conference for just football? How long do we plan on playing in the CAA for?

'91 Panther

October 20th, 2010
9:26 pm

As a UGA season ticket holder, I honestly won’t be going to very many games. However, I would be more interested in games vs Southern conference teams than any in the CAA. Maybe I’m wrong, but I see the Dome being very empty with a home slate of northern small schools. On a side note, any chance of GSU getting on UGA’s schedule in ‘14, ‘18, etc. With Georgia Southern being scheduled every four years, it seems like a natural. It would be great to keep the money in the state instead of paying teams like Idaho State.

Goose

October 20th, 2010
9:29 pm

In all honesty, the regular fan does not care if the top 5 FCS teams are in the CAA. They need recognizable names like GA Southern or even a Furman. These teams will bring fans and travel well. No one is going to travel down for these games in the CAA to the Dome. From Maine all the way down to Atlanta. Yeah right. Never. Without a doubt, our attendance is going to take a hit next year and definitely in 2012. We need to schedule better schools. It’s pretty obvious that we all wanted to enter the Southern Conference, and I’m sure GSU looked into it, right? Did they not want us or what was the deal? We can beat those teams now. Ken – we need a report on this. No one wants the CAA.

GSUtimes2

October 20th, 2010
9:32 pm

I think Astropig is right about the Southern Conference being a better fit. The CAA is probably the toughest conference, but man-oh-man I’ll never get to see an away game.

Bill

October 20th, 2010
9:34 pm

Georgia State will get the invite to the Southern Conference. Liberty U will get the nod to join the CAA.

kreedham

October 20th, 2010
9:42 pm

As far as honoring rivalries…they could be in different divisions and play two from the other side like the SEC. Southern Conference would boost attendance especially GSU vs GSU. Atlanta is the largest population of Georgia Southern alums. That came could easily draw 40,000

Ken Sugiura

October 20th, 2010
9:45 pm

i confess i didn’t think the reaction would be this one-sided.
i guess you’ll be at least somewhat relieved by the last thing i wrote, about Rhode Island possibly leaving.
i hadn’t seen anyone from the school quoted about the move to the northeastern conference until i googled this story.
http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20101013/SPORTS07/10130346/Rhode+Island+may+be+making+last+trip+to+UD
generally, a school isn’t going to acknowledge it’s “considering” a move to another conference unless it’s pretty sure it’s going to leave. the two other stories i’d seen make it seem more like scuttlebutt. but this one changes it a little bit. from here, it doesn’t really seem like there’s a lot of reasons for rhode island to stay in the caa. that would leave the caa with 11 teams, and you obviously can’t have divisions with 11 teams.
it wouldn’t change the fact that none of the schools are really within driving distance, though, and you’d still have conference members in maine, new hampshire and massachusetts.

CJJScout

October 20th, 2010
9:54 pm

Ken Sugiura

October 20th, 2010
9:54 pm

Tiger – something tells me that the SWAC or MEAC are viable alternatives.

GSU Mens BB Fan

October 20th, 2010
10:10 pm

@Ken – I don’t think GSU shares the same institutional profile as schools in the SWAC or MEAC.

Anyway…my thought….is C-USA or bust! We’ll stay in the CAA until a C-USA invite comes along.

Panther76

October 20th, 2010
10:12 pm

What do you think about CUSA in a few years. Mostly all southern schools, FBS, and GSU could hold their own right now with the bottom feeders Memphis, Rice etc.. I bet CUSA would love to get Atlanta and the G-Dome in their league. Also some teams would travel well, e.g., UAB, East Carolina, Memphis and possibly Central Florida. Could develop some tremendous rivalries. Hopefully behind the scenes we’re exploring it.

Ken Sugiura

October 20th, 2010
10:14 pm

excuse me – i meant they’re not viable alternatives. kinda changes the meaning there, doesn’t it.

Michael in Decatur

October 20th, 2010
10:15 pm

The Southern Conference is traditionally very picky. Erk met with them back in the 80’s and didn’t get the feeling that he was welcomed. At least not until he kicked Furman’s azz for the NC and then subsequently rolled off 5 more NC’s. So, my advice to Ga State is to look elsewhere and try to schedule a home and home with Ga Southern early in the year. Maybe even as a traditional opening game. That’d be cool.

Ken Sugiura

October 20th, 2010
10:16 pm

to consider about the southern conference: while there are nine football teams, there are 12 members in the conference, and i don’t know that they’d want to upset that balance.
also, four of the last five schools in were private schools – Samford, Elon, College of Charleston and Wofford. something schools often consider when they switch conferences is like mindedness among members. georgia state, as you know better than me, sees itself as a nationally recognized research institution. i’m not sure other schools in the SoCon have similar aspirations. (not that they have to.)

Army of the Gators

October 20th, 2010
10:25 pm

I see GSU going to the Southern Conference for now,then when ALL the pieces fall into place,invite to C-USA.I believe GSU is the real deal,get out and support,recruit good,which Georgia has locally,and state-wide,compete (schedule) with the best. Best of luck GSU,I have a daughter that goes there and my money. Go Gators!

GSU Panther Fan

October 20th, 2010
10:31 pm

This CAA nonsense needs to stop. The only reason GSU is in the CAA is because Patton, the previous GSU president, was friends with Yeager. GSU moved to CAA before any football initiatives were underway. It might have made sense six years ago, but shuttling an FCS team up and down the northeast is nothing short of a tragedy. That money could be better spent toward FBS initiatives, a-la Sun Belt, MAC or C-USA. If FCS is the goal for foreseeable future, then SoCon or even OVC are better. Either way, GSU needs to bolt the CAA as soon as possible.

Panama

October 20th, 2010
10:49 pm

President Becker, Tear Down This Conference Contract!

G-State

October 20th, 2010
11:04 pm

That’s a good point about the type schools that are in the SoCon and the fact that they already have 12 members, though only 9 play football. CAA doesn’t seem to be a good fit logistically but it seems that other factors will keep us out of SoCon. It seems that State is stuck where it is for the time being, but to be honest I wouldn’t want to go to a lower FBS conference unless it were a stepping stone to bigger better things.

But if we cannot pull geographically closer competition in FCS we might as well head on up to C-USA. I just wish we had more fans that felt as passionately about GSU football as the ones on this blog because FBS does not accept schools that average below 15,000/game. And if you take out the inaugural game against Shorter, we are dangerously close to that mark. Got to find a way to excite the student body.

Panama

October 20th, 2010
11:23 pm

We are averaging 17k a game playing unknowns. Not bad.

G-State

October 20th, 2010
11:34 pm

@ Panama…that average is inflated by the 30,000+ inaugural game which i guarantee will not happen next yr. Take out that game and we’re under 15k. Though I will grant you we are not playing great competition and our best attendance was 18k against 4th ranked jsu. But i think that crowd was due more to the fact they had just beaten ole miss than the FCS ranking they sported. At this point i’m more hopeful than optimistic about attendance in the coming yrs.

Panama

October 20th, 2010
11:55 pm

We]ll be fine as long as he…

Tears up this contract. Tear it Mr Becker!

itsmeagain

October 20th, 2010
11:57 pm

I’m not too worried about attendance. It’s our first year, and yes, Shorter did boost the average a ton, but a lot of the weaker games we’ve had have lowered the attendance. I do think we’ll see a higher average attendance (minus outliers) in the next few seasons, i really don’t think we’ll have a problem having an average attendance of 15,000 every two years. We just need to try and push it to a 30,000 average attendance every year.

God Bless America... but not Statesboring

October 21st, 2010
12:02 am

Anything but SOCON. Let’s play schools that are actually in CITIES, not the damn WILDERNESS!!

83 Alum

October 21st, 2010
12:06 am

C-USA baby!!!!!

Debbie Downer

October 21st, 2010
12:09 am

Our average is less than 15K if you negate the Shorter game. Why don’t we have more games on Thursday nights when more students are already on campus? It sure hasn’t looked like even 10K the last couple games. Maybe all those people bought season tickets just for the Alabama game tickets and don’t show up to our own games.

And what about support for our other sports teams? How do the Panthers stack up against C-USA in basketball?

Panama

October 21st, 2010
12:09 am

The one thing I keep hearing everywhere is “Who are you playing”. In this town it is about having games that mean something. Being in the CAA North would be a disaster. But I faith that team in place at GSU Athletics is working the problem. And who knows what this off-season of seismic changes will bring?

GSU to Pac 10

October 21st, 2010
12:12 am

Hey, it could happen.

Panama

October 21st, 2010
12:20 am

Just spit out my Cheerios. LOL! And we’re complaining about travel…

GSU

October 21st, 2010
12:28 am

For sake of argument, let’s throw out both attendance outliers (Shorter and Lambuth). That should leave us north of 15K/g.

We need a major intervention and nothing will spark the fan base like plans to go FBS. I’d venture to say our football budget is on par with many of the lower tier FBS schools. It’s a no brainer. I mean really it is.

Panama

October 21st, 2010
12:35 am

Not to add fuel to the fire, but if you do some search engine research as to South Alabama and UT-San Antonio’s start up plans and where they’re headed its pretty clear that you excite the fan base when they realize that the Lambuth’s a short term step to a big time long term goal. Our problem is that in 5 years, on this path, we’ll be playing Maine. Our previous administration left us in a heck of a pickle.

A14

October 21st, 2010
3:03 am

After spending a few years following the CAA in college and talking with the people in media relations there…there is virtually zero chance of them aligning gsu with umass, unh, maine, etc. The schools up north would revolt at having to charter another trip south every year for what would be an easy win for the foreseeable future (for every team that isn’t uri). As far as FBS aspirations go for georgia state…you’d have to be out of your mind to think that this program could make the jump in the next 10 years. Nova has been a consistently great fcs school with decent attendance (better than anyone can realistically expect gsu to average over the next 5 years) and they still are sitting on a big east football invite…heck, montana averages 25k a game and is a top 5 team every year and unsure of being able to turn the same profit if they jump to the wac.

In short, state will most certainly be aligned with the southern schools…and will struggle mightily in the best fcs conference for awhile, but should be able to float down the road due do the dedication to the program shown by the school.

Big B CH 99

October 21st, 2010
3:04 am

Like many of y’all I like the idea of GA St joining the SoCon b/c of the geography, and the fact that I don’t think it would take long for GA Southern & GA State to form a heated rivalry. I don’t check the St blog often but the few times I have it’s clear that their ain’t no love lost between GA South & GA St. fans.

The SoCon may want State to prove themselves for a little while b/c they’ve historically been a very tough football conference w/ GA Southern, App St, & Furman. For yrs those 3 teams beat each other & shared the conference crown. Wofford & Elon have been coming on the last few yrs as Southern has slipped, but hopefully they’re on the way back.

itsmeagain

October 21st, 2010
3:17 am

@ A14 – I’d argue that the future plans to develop into an FBS school depend on the direction the school decides to go. Those schools who obviously started out as an FCS team with no intention of moving up (because of money, attendance, etc) probably are at a disadvantage when trying to move up in that they have to change the status quo of their program, that is get more money or find more fans. This is still States first year and the fact that the average attendance is above the required 15,000 (outliers included or not) is a huge achievement in itself. We know that the program has nowhere to go but up, but i think it’s up to the school to push it into FBS if thats where they want it to go. As it is, i’m fairly certain States budget shadows the majority of FCS schools, and the facilities certainly do. The coaching staff is all FBS level, and as it happens so are a lot of the team members. I will say that, with all this going in, i would be very suprised if State didn’t go into this with plans to move up to FBS.

A14

October 21st, 2010
4:04 am

@itsmeagain you may be very well right that that State went into this with plans to move up to fbs. The main issues that most teams could have at making the jump to fbs are commitment to the program, a large enough stadium, attendance and ability to compete. There are many programs in fcs (especially in the caa) that meet all the criteria for the jump and are yet unwilling to make the move. Villanova will draw the same crowd if UMass comes to town or fbs schools like troy and fau do, and still get the same payout to go on the road and play a bcs school as they do now. What difference is there really in being Troy and averaging 15K and UMass averaging 15K? Both will not be able to get premier teams to play them at home for the next 10 years and make roughly the same profit…yet UMass is in a system where there actually is a logical national championship setup, and i’d argue both would have the same very long odds at becoming nationally relevant in 15-20 years. I guess my point is that if they tried to jump in the immediate future they’d most likely be another fau/fiu…quick launch program in a big market with similar students…no one talks about georgia southern realistically being able to make the jump (20k/game), and for good reason…

Paddy

October 21st, 2010
6:37 am

GSU should stay in the CAA and follow the model set by ODU. Sell out their 20,000,on campus, seat stadium ;close out season tickets,(they sold too many); commanding $200.00 per ticket on E-Bay.for individual games ODU is a downtown campus like GSU. If you visit their campus you will find the most beautiful athletic facilities in Div 1-AA for both men and women. They know what they are doing and GSU would be wise to follow their lead.