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CAA is crying all the way to the bank after defections

Paul Hewitt

New George Mason men;s basketball coach Paul Hewitt is interviewed during the Colonial Athletic Association NCAA college basketball media day on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


For ODU and VCU, the decision to move to more visible conferences like C-USA and the A-10 makes sense over the long term. There will be more money, including larger dollops of revenue sharing from multiple teams making the NCAA tournament. In the short run, however, each has had to make a painful decision: to give up their share of the league proceeds from successful past showings in the Big Dance.

Michael Litos -- the clean-headed, chin-bearded herald of all things CAA hoops -- has done some digging to find out exactly what will happen to the money those former conference luminaries are leaving on the table. It’s not what you’d think. The obvious solution, and one that the current members no doubt would favor, is to just split the money nine ways amongst the surviving members of the league. Litos spoke to Tom Yeager, the beleaguered commish (a common job description these days) of the league, and learned about the inventive way in which Yeager is working to secure the CAA’s future:

The Association could’ve simply taken all the money, including the revenue brought in by VCU and ODU, and divided by the nine remaining schools. Obviously splitting total revenue nine ways instead of 12 ways drives up the share price, and everybody who tapped into the excellence pool was a little richer.

But that’s not what they did, and what they chose to do is pretty creative.

Instead, they chose to still divide by 12 as if VCU, ODU, and Georgia State were a part of the conference to create the share price. That established every CAA school–including the departing three–their take home pay based on number of shares multiplied by the share price.

Then the administrators took the shares/money earned by those three schools and set it aside. It creates a sort of rainy day fund for the conference to administer in a manner in which they choose.

Obvious targets of the rainy day fund: creation of the digital platform (more on that below), and aid to incoming institutions who have exit fees of their own to pay.

Brilliant, I say. For the league to survive and thrive, quality new members must be lured in. If everyone gives up their short-term piece of the pie to create this fund that can be used to defray moving costs for incoming members, they’re investing in a brighter future for the entire league.

This plan is so crazy it just... might... work.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.