While the Big South conference will barely notice the change on OLY sports, NCAT's exit, combined with Hampton's this year, will leave Big South football with only Chuck South, Campbell, and Gardner-Webb as full members. (Robert Morris is an affiliate member for football only. Presbyterian plays non-scholly ball in the Pioneer League.)
Those teams will have to find a football home somewhere. The SoCon and CAA won't want them. None of them move the needle for the ASUN, which appears to be targeting OVC and Southland refugees and the usual suspects from the Gulf South Conference. The Big South's only option will likely be to invite a bunch of D-II teams who don't make the cut for the ASUN.
That said, if the ASUN's targets don't make the move, the conference may be forced to enter into a football-only merger with the Big South in order to give both conferences enough members.
Grim days indeed.
So incredibly thankful we'll be in FBS...
Speaking of CUSA, the chances of NCAT joining, while not zero, definitely went way down with this move. Apart from the competitiveness and prestige of playing in an FCS Big 3 conference, after paying a combined $1M in exit/entry fees for the move from the Big South to the CAA, the Aggies will be in no hurry to dig even deeper to pay the $1M CAA exit fee and $1.5M CUSA entry fee.
I don't know if the Aggies were ever a strong contender at the league office, but at least we can all update our draft boards accordingly.
The OVC has to sponsor football because they only have one other men’s sport besides basketball. So basically the BS schools are football affiliates.
Today’s big news is that Lindenwood, a private D2 in St. Louis, is joining the OVC. This gives them (for now) a 10/6 membership as Lindenwood sponsors football.
Glad the OVC is surviving but glad we are gone.
As unhappy as Eddie George appears to be with the OVC, I'll be surprised if TSU isn't the next to announce a move elsewhere.
The question is, where?
They could go in a package deal with TTU to the ASUN. It wouldn't be the greatest addition for the ASUN, but both programs have at least been putting more resources into their football programs of late (TTU with facilities, TSU with the hiring of George) so who knows? Maybe they're ready to take football seriously for a change.
This would be a solid football conference for the ASUN:
EKU KSU TTU UNA Peay TSU UCA
They'd still have room to add a D-II or two, or maybe SELA, and all the members -- to at least some degree -- will have taken recent steps to show they support football, even if their on-field performance hasn't quite rounded the corner.
Add SELA and UWF, and you've got a 9-member conference, which is perfect for football. Even without JSU in it, I think it would be better than the SoCon. If a couple of teams can push their way into the Top 5 (and perform like it), the ASUN could make the "Big 3" (MVFC, Big Sky, and CAA) into the "Big 4". But the presence of multiple Top 5 teams is crucial. They're not there yet by a long shot.