(Hint: I have no clue.)
About a month ago both Albany and Stony Brook announced that their football programs would be leaving their respective football affiliations -- the Northeast Conference for the Great Danes and the Big South for the Seawolves -- for conference membership in the Colonial Athletic Association starting in 2013. I didn't think of it much at the time; it was the middle of the summer and I was more concerned with finding ways onto boats to get sunburned over open water rather than the Proletariat sunburn of sitting on a public beach.
I don't know why the Greyhounds' conference move made me think of Albany and Stony Brook's decision to move their football teams into the CAA; there really isn't a connection there and as this is a single-sport move for both the Great Danes and Seawolves, it shouldn't exactly make the world set itself on fire in protest of something or other. And yet. . . .
Look: Albany and Stony Brook wouldn't need to find conference affiliation for its football programs if the America East sponsored the sport. The move for both schools was done specifically to house their programs in one of the better FCS conferences in the country. However, the America East -- with the looming departure of cornerstone program Boston University to the Patriot League -- is starting to lose its shine a bit from a competitive standpoint; if given the opportunity to join the CAA as a full member -- especially in lacrosse, where THUNDERDOME! provides a level of competition that the America East could not touch if all programs were allowed to outfit themselves with laser cannons -- it wouldn't make your brain leak out of your ears if each school accepted the invitation.
The ramifications of Stony Brook or Albany's potential -- again, I have no clue if the Seawolves or Great Danes are on the move for lacrosse purposes -- move to the CAA as a full lacrosse-playing member would be drastic: The America East would fall under the requisite six members to earn an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament while simultaneously providing a little more depth to America's favorite deathray league. Assuming that Binghamton, Hartford, UMBC, and Vermont wouldn't just pout and forfeit their seasons, one of three things may happen:
- Other America East members -- New Hampshire and Maine -- may be asked to give men's varsity lacrosse a try so that the league can keep it's automatic invitation to the big thing in May that eats up your weekends. (This is probably an unlikely consequence, but, you know, words are important to write.)
- America East could go and try and poach a few schools from the ECAC, MAAC, or NEC to try and fill out their membership roster (either as full members or lacrosse-only members). I see you, Fairfield, Quinnipiac, Siena, Bryant, and Marist. (I have no idea of whether this is a likely consequence or not because we are now living in a world where Southern Methodist is going to be a member of the Big East and I was, up until a few months ago, under the assumption that Dallas was as important to the east coast as underwear with chili peppers on them that say "Hot Enough For Ya?!" in a crappy typeface. However, given Quinnipiac and Bryant's unique situation in creating the NEC lacrosse league, I'm not sold that either would 100 percent, without question, accept an invitation to the America East as lacrosse-only members.)
- With the departure of Loyola to the Patriot League, the ECAC -- given its historic role as a landing spot for anything and everything that is looking for confederation -- could swallow up the America East's remaining lacrosse-playing members (assuming the America East doesn't disband or whatever) and provide them a home. The same could be said for the MAAC or NEC, both attempting to get some names on the conference's mailing list. Although, adding four more schools to the ECAC may be unwieldy, what with a 10-game conference schedule. (I have no idea how likely any of this is, either in pieces or in totem. The America East has a weird membership history, and the food chain here is best described as "The hell?!?")
So, that's where we are. (Which, again, is "nowhere" but potentially "somewhere.") I have no idea if any of this made sense. The comments are yours to unleash.