CAA Football’s membership expanded to 13 teams today when the conference announced the additions of Hampton and Monmouth. Both teams are coming from the Big South Conference. The CAA also added Stony Brook, who was already a part of CAA Football, as a full-time member.
They will join the conference on July 1, 2022.
“The move to the Colonial Athletic Association is the next step in the evolution of Hampton University Athletics,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “Several institutions in the CAA are located in our geographical footprint, which means that our student athletes will continue to spend less time traveling and more time in classes on campus. This move continues to keep the proper focus on academics, which is our chief reason for being. The conference’s geographic footprint, as well as occasional contests against institutions in the northeast, will reduce travel expenses while allowing for competition in several of the nation’s top media markets. Another important consideration is the large number of alumni located throughout the CAA region. Hampton University has enjoyed a very positive four-year relationship with the Big South Conference and hopes to continue competing against some of its teams, as well as teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.”
The CAA said decisions regarding scheduling formats are ongoing and will be determined over the coming months. Commissioner Joe D’Antonio did not confirm if the conference will do North and South divisions.
Hampton University is located in Hampton, Virginia, and Monmouth University is in West Long Branch, New Jersey.
They join University at Albany (Albany, N.Y.), University of Delaware (Newark, Del.), Elon University (Elon, N.C.), University of Maine (Orono, Maine), University of New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.), University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.), University of Richmond (Richmond, Va.), Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, N.Y.), Towson University (Towson, Md.), Villanova University (Villanova, Pa.) and William & Mary (Williamsburg, Va.)
“Today is a great day for Monmouth University,” said Monmouth President Dr. Patrick F. Leahy. “The invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association has presented our University with an opportunity to compete alongside some of the finest institutions in the nation. Those strong academic associations, coupled with the on-field national recognition of the CAA teams, will enhance the Monmouth brand and increase our exposure at the regional and national levels. I am very excited to give our student-athletes and coaching staffs the opportunity to elevate our programs to a new level. The MAAC, Big South, and America East Conferences have been very good to us over the past eight-plus years, and I am grateful to the leaders of those leagues and the member institutions for their collegiality and competitive spirit. I anticipate that this move to the CAA will energize the entire Monmouth University community and serve as a tremendous point of pride for our students, alumni, and friends.”
The CAA becomes the biggest conference in the FCS with 13 members. The Big Sky is now at 12 teams as Southern Utah heads to the WAC.
For the Big South, fighting to maintain its auto-bid into the FCS playoffs is a reality again. Six teams are needed for a conference to have an AQ. Only five teams remain in the Big South — North Carolina A&T, Robert Morris, Charleston Southern, Campbell, and Gardner-Webb.
After adding teams like NC A&T, Robert Morris, and North Alabama in recent years to reach nine members this last fall, the Big South has lost Kennesaw State and UNA to the ASUN and now Monmouth & Hampton to the CAA. Presbyterian also was on its way out and joined the Pioneer Football League in the spring of 2021.
The NCAA grants a 2-year grace period for conferences to get membership numbers back up to minimum AQ requirements.