College of Charleston agrees to join Colonial Athletic Association
Charleston, SC, United States (4E Sports) – Voting 12-5, the College of Charleston Board of Trustees has accepted the invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association.
The school announced Friday that the board has given president George Benson permission to start contract negotiations with the CAA.
Benson, in a statement posted on the school’s official website, said negotiations will begin immediately “so that we might determine whether or not an agreement to affiliate with the Colonial might be reached”.
The Cougars are expected to leave the Southern Conference for the 2013-14 season but would face a $600,000 exit fee for exiting with less than two years’ notice.
The Southern Conference doesn’t have a provision that would prevent the Cougars from playing in the conference championships, unlike the America East, CAA and Horizon League.
Benson said the move has been the subject of a sustained and complex administrative review. The issue has also been the subject of considerable media interest, both locally and nationally.
“For a Division I NCAA athletic program, a change in athletic conference should never be made lightly, and we have given this topic a great deal of time and attention,” Benson said.
In 1998, the College of Charleston joined the Southern Conference, composed of The Citadel, Wofford, Furman, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Samford, Elon, Davidson, Western Carolina, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and UNC Greensboro.
The Colonial Athletic Association, for its part, has nine continuing members, including William and Mary, James Madison, George Mason, Delaware, UNC Wilmington, Towson, Drexel, Hofstra, and Northeastern.
If successfully negotiated, Benson said a move to the Colonial will benefit College of Charleston student-athletes with access to stronger conference opponents and increased opportunities for at-large bids to NCAA championship tournaments.
“The majority of our athletic coaches would have a stronger position from which to recruit the best possible student-athletes,” Benson said. “Our student-athletes would have stronger academic support when traveling to away games”.
“Our alumni in South Carolina would continue to have many opportunities to see our teams in action, but a much larger number of our alumni living outside South Carolina would now have access to College of Charleston games,” he added.
Benson added that all of Charleston students, faculty, and staff would have access to the resources of the Colonial Academic Alliance, which promotes undergraduate research, study abroad opportunities, and faculty and staff professional development.
“The entire College community will enjoy the advantages of association with a group of nationally recognized universities,” he added.