One of the best Colonial Athletic Association schools may not be able to compete for conference titles this year.
Wednesday’s conference told James Madison – one of the nation’s top programs in women’s lacrosse and FCS football, among other sports – that he won’t be able to compete for CAA titles if the school moves to join the Sun Belt. or any other conference, as previously reported.
Sources: The Belt of the Sun is looking into expansion. The League is considering adding up to four schools. Among those targeted are Southern Miss, Marshall, ODU and James Madison. Hence, Conference USA is exploring additions. These include Liberty and James Madison.
-Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 20, 2021
The school had already been approved to move from the FCS level to the FBS level at the end of last week.
Breakdown: JMU’s BOV has approved its transition from FCS to FBS and intends to join the Sun Belt Conference.
The next step is for JMU to present its plan to the state.
-GregMadia (@GregMadia) October 29, 2021
The AAC had different plans for one of its most prominent and most successful members.
The JMU informed its athletes tonight that the CAA will not allow its teams to compete for the league championships this year if it announces its move to the Sun Belt.
The JMU’s appeal to the league presidents was denied.https://t.co/o7swzHI4h1
– Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) November 4, 2021
“As we head into a potentially monumental week for the future of James Madison University and our intercollegiate athletics program, we were extremely disappointed to have been informed by the Colonial Athletic Association that the university should accept an invitation to another conference. JMU student-athletes would not be allowed to compete for postseason conference team championships and, therefore, for the opportunity to earn NCAA team auto qualification. ” the school said in a joint statement by President Jonathan Alger and Sports Director Jeff Bourne.
The AAC’s decision was met with almost universal contempt:
Embarrassing. JMU has the strongest student athletes I’ve ever met and for CAA not letting us compete is not only embarrassing, but a disservice to the quality of the championship. If you are going to win, you win against the best the conference has to offer, regardless of the school. https://t.co/51jWW8Fhpa
– kate owens (@KateOwensss) November 4, 2021
This is not the first time that the AAC has applied the rule to an outgoing conference member. It did the same with Old Dominion in 2013 when the monarchs left AAC for the US Conference. The conference also admitted that the rule was excessively punitive, but will apply it anyway.
“We have great respect for JMU as a conference”, CAA Commissioner Joe Dantonio said in a statement. “I’ll be honest. It’s not my job to determine whether it makes sense or not. It’s my job to make sure the statute is applied the way it’s written.”
In addition to threatening to deprive the JMU of its ability to compete for conference championships – or claim the league’s NCAA tournament auto mooring – the CAA has also threatened the JMU’s hosting privileges for league conference tournaments in football. men’s, women’s lacrosse, women’s basketball and softball.
The Dukes have been one of AAC’s most successful programs. The women’s lacrosse program features 16 seats for the NCAA tournament with a national title in 2018; the football program includes seven consecutive places for the FCS playoffs and two national titles; and the men’s basketball program won the CAA regular season title last season.