The Colonial Athletic Association
With nearly three decades of success athletically and academically, the Colonial Athletic Association has built a reputation as one of the nation’s top collegiate conferences.
The CAA encompasses many of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas with a geographic footprint that stretches from Boston to Charleston, S.C. The conference has produced 16 national team champions in five different sports, 33 individual national champions, 13 national players of the year, 12 national coaches of the year and 13 Honda Award winners. Just as impressive, however, are the honors accumulated away from competition, which include five Rhodes Scholars and 23 NCAA post-graduate scholars. In 2012-13, more than 1,900 of the league’s 4,000 student-athletes received the Commissioner’s Academic Award after posting at least a 3.2 grade point average while lettering in a varsity sport. The conference had 23 teams in 15 different sports receive NCAA Public Recognition Awards based on the latest Academic Progress Report released in 2013.
The landscape of the conference stretches along the majority of the East Coast, and includes several of the nation’s top media markets – New York (1), Philadelphia (4), Boston (7), Washington, D.C. (9) and Baltimore (25). The number of television homes in the CAA market exceeds 20 million.
The CAA conducts championships in 22 sports. Male athletes compete for championships in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field. Female athletes battle for conference titles in basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. In 2012-13, 27 teams earned NCAA Tournament berths and 43 student-athletes received All-America honors in 14 different sports.
The conference has made its presence known nationally in men’s basketball with two teams – George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011) – advancing to the NCAA Final Four over the past seven years. CAA teams have combined to win 41 games in postseason play since 2006, including 14 victories in the NCAA Tournament. The CAA has posted at least one NCAA Tournament win in six of the past eight years, including the last four in a row. The conference has seen five or more teams reach postseason play in four of the last five seasons.
In women’s basketball, 2013 CAA champion Delaware defeated West Virginia and North Carolina to become the 12th CAA team to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Behind the play of Honda Award winner Elena Delle Donne, the Blue Hens finished the season ranked #13 in the final USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll. Drexel captured the WNIT championship with a 46-43 victory over Utah and James Madison reached the quarterfinals of the WNIT. CAA teams have gone 20-9 in postseason play over the past two years.
The conference also excels in many other sports. CAA squads have combined to win 10 field hockey national titles since the championship began in 1981. Three men’s soccer teams earned NCAA Tournament berths last season and each current member of the conference has reached the NCAA Tournament since 2006. In softball, Hofstra reached the NCAA Super Regionals in 2012 and the CAA placed two teams (Hofstra and James Madison) in the NCAA’s for the first time last season. At least two women’s soccer teams have reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament three times in the past six seasons. William & Mary’s men’s cross country squad has made the NCAA Championship in 12 of the past 14 years and the women’s team had two runners (Elaina Balouris and Emily Stites) earn All-America honors in 2012. Delaware and Towson have each reached the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship. The CAA sent three teams to the NCAA Baseball Championship in 2013 and has had at least 11 players selected in nine of the last 11 Major League Baseball drafts. The conference also had individuals earn All-America honors in women’s lacrosse, track and field and swimming & diving last season and had players nationally ranked in tennis and golf.
CAA member institutions are committed to excellence in the classroom. The Colonial Academic Alliance was created in 2002 by the league’s presidents with a goal of expanding their partnership to all aspects of university education and life outside of intercollegiate athletics. Among the programs that have been established are an undergraduate research conference, coordination of study abroad programs, visiting faculty programs and a recent partnership with NBC Learn to provide educational videos to over 8,500 public schools across the United States.
CAA schools are also very active in community service projects. The CAA Blood Challenge, which is held each fall, has raised more than 36,000 units of blood over the past 11 years. The first-ever CAA Food Drive Challenge last winter resulted in over 9,500 pounds of donated food.
Commissioner Thomas E. Yeager has guided the CAA since its inception. The conference traces its roots back to 1983 when two of its current members- James Madison University and the College of William and Mary - were aligned with East Carolina University, George Mason University, the United States Naval Academy and the University of Richmond as a basketball league (ECAC South). During the next two years, the league added 11 sports, acquired two new members (the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and American University) and decided to form a new conference. The transformation from ECAC South to CAA took place on June 6, 1985.
Old Dominion University joined the CAA in 1991 and was followed by Virginia Commonwealth University in 1995. The conference added the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University and Towson University in 2001. Georgia State University and Northeastern University became members of the conference in 2005 and the College of Charleston began its first year as a CAA member on July 1, 2013. Elon University will join the conference beginning in 2014-15.
CAA Membership History
College of Charleston (2013-present)
University of Delaware (2001-present)
Drexel University (2001-present)
Hofstra University (2001-present)
James Madison University (1983-present)
University of North Carolina-Wilmington (1985-present)
Northeastern University (2005-present)
Towson University (2001-present)
College of William and Mary (1983-present)
American University (1985-2001)
East Carolina University (1983-2001)
George Mason University (1983-2013)
Georgia State University (2005-2013)
United States Naval Academy (1983-1991)
Old Dominion University (1991-2013)
University of Richmond (1983-2001)
Virginia Commonwealth University (1995-2012)
Elon University (2014)
The Colonial Athletic Association online:
CAASports.com | CAA.TV | CAA Overtime - Blog | Hoop Scoop - MBB Blog | Baseline Buzz - WBB Blog | twitter.com/CAASports | facebook.com/CAASports | youtube.com/CAASportsProductions | instagram.com/caasports
Now six years under the CAA banner. CAA Football has raised the profile of what was once the Yankee Conference and later the Atlantic 10 Conference when it took the reins of the league in 2007. Over the past six years, the league has established itself as one of the nation’s premier FCS power conferences with regard to on-the-field success, television exposure, marketability and the success of its student-athletes on the field, in the classroom, in the community and at the next level.
Although CAA Football was not represented in the FCS National Championship game a season ago for just the second time since 2005, the league continued to enjoy tremendous success over the course of the 2012 season. This past fall was the first in CAA Football’s five-year agreement with the NBC Sports Group, in which six nationally televised tilts aired on the NBC Sports Network as part of the league’s 42 total televised contests. The CAA and CAA Football is the first collegiate athletic conference to sign a broadcast agreement with the NBC Sports Network, which launched on January 2, 2012.
CAA Football once again proved its prowess in matchups with nonconference foes, maintaining what has become a long tradition of success against non-league FCS opponents. The 2012 season saw the conference’s 11 member programs combine for an 18-7 (.720) mark in FCS nonconference play.
The league’s strong presence in the national polls remained another constant in 2012. The conference completed the season with six teams ranked in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls. The six ranked programs represented an FCS best after as many as seven squads were ranked during the season. CAA Football remains the only league in the nation to have ever had six or more teams ranked in either top 25 poll. The league also leads the nation on another impressive front, as New Hampshire boasts FCS Football’s longest active streak at 126 consecutive weeks ranked in The Sports Network poll.
CAA Football had another heavy presence when it came to postseason awards as well, most notably after taking two of The Sports Network’s four national awards at the organization’s annual banquet in December. After the league locked up three of the four awards in 2011, Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke was named the Walter Payton Player of the Year and Villanova’s John Robertson received the Jerry Rice Freshman of the Year Award. Nova head coach Andy Talley would come up just short of winning his second Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, finishing as the national runner-up for the honor.
The league has also set itself apart at the next level, as evidenced by reigning Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco and his four fellow CAA Football alums turned Baltimore Ravens who can now call themselves 2013 World Champions. This success in the professional ranks was also witnessed when four conference players in William and Mary’s B.W. Webb, James Madison’s Earl Watford, Richmond’s Cooper Taylor and New Hampshire’s Jared Smith were taken in April’s NFL Draft. The four draft selections were the league’s most since 2010.
CAA Football’s emphasis on its players’ off-the-field achievements was evident in 2012 as well. This fall, the league proudly introduced its inaugural Chuck Boone Leadership Award – honoring the player who best embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship in his academic and athletic pursuits – to UNH’s Chris Zarkoskie, who was as active in the classroom and in the community as he was excellent on the field. In addition to his outstanding athletic accomplishments, UR’s Cooper Taylor was selected as CAA Football’s Student-Athlete of the Year after closing out his collegiate career with both Academic All-America and All-District accolades.
Following the departures of Georgia State and Old Dominion in the 2012-13 offseason, the league is now proud to welcome a pair of proven programs in UAlbany and Stony Brook to the conference this year. The Great Danes join the league after locking up a share of two straight Northeast Conference titles, while the Seawolves have secured four consecutive Big South Conference titles and two straight trips to the postseason. Both programs also closed out 2012 with a presence in the final national polls, as SBU finished No. 11/12 and UAlbany received votes in both polls.
The league has enjoyed a tremendous record in the postseason, earning 83 total postseason berths that includes 38 over the last decade. Playoff appearances aren’t where the success stops, however, which CAA Football’s 53 playoff wins since 2002 certainly prove. The conference has further established its presence at the national level by placing eight teams in the national semifinal round over the last six seasons and advancing a team to the national title game in four of the last six years.
Richmond’s 2008 National Championship and Villanova’s 2009 title mark the most recent national crowns for the league. In 2004, James Madison claimed the National Championship title with a 31-21 triumph over Montana, becoming the first team since the field expanded to 16 teams in 1986 to reach the championship game after winning three road playoff contests. Delaware rolled past Colgate, 40-0, to capture the National Championship in 2003, becoming the first team to ever post a shutout in the title game. No other conference has had two different teams win national titles in back-to-back years, and CAA Football has done it twice (2003-04 and 2008-09). Massachusetts earned a National Championship in 1998, defeating perennial power Georgia Southern, 55-43.
After Heinicke and Robertson received their respective national honors in December, CAA Football now boasts a total of 25 individual national award winners. In addition to Heinicke, New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos (2006), William and Mary quarterback Lang Campbell (2004), Villanova running back Brian Westbrook (2001), Villanova wide receiver Brian Finneran (1997), New Hampshire running back Jerry Azumah (1998) and Towson running back Dave Meggett (1988) have all won the prestigious Walter Payton Award under the league banner. James Madison linebacker Derrick Lloyd (2001) and defensive lineman Arthur Moats (2009) each received the Buck Buchanan Award prior to UNH linebacker Matt Evans’ honor in 2011. CAA Football has swept the Rice Award in both years of its existence after Robertson won it a year ago and Towson running back Terrance West did so in 2011. New Hampshire’s Sean McDonnell (2005), James Madison’s Mickey Matthews (1999 & 2008), Villanova’s Andy Talley (1997) and Boston University’s Dan Allen (1993) were Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award winners from the league before Towson head coach Rob Ambrose received the award in 2011. Delaware’s K.C. Keeler (2010), Richmond’s Mike London (2008), Matthews (2004), Massachusetts’ Mark Whipple (1998) and Talley (1997 & 2009) have all garnered the American Football Coaches Association National Coach of the Year honor as well.
The league continues to enjoy great success beyond the collegiate playing field, too. CAA Football has had 104 players drafted by NFL franchises dating back to 1948. A total of 28 players have been selected in the draft over the last 10 years, including the league’s second-highest draft pick ever in former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco (18th overall to the Baltimore Ravens in 2008). There are more than 30 players currently on active NFL rosters as well.
With the additions of UAlbany and Stony Brook this year, CAA Football’s geographic footprint has only been further deepened up and down the East Coast, with schools located from Maine to Virginia. This season’s members include UAlbany, Delaware, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova and William and Mary. While CAA Football officially began March 1, 2007, its roots date back more than 60 years.
On December 3, 1946, the Code of the Yankee Conference went into effect. Established as an all-sports conference for the New England land grant colleges, the six charter members included Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Upon the formation of Division I-AA football in 1978, the league disbanded all sports except for football. Delaware and Richmond were admitted to the conference in 1986, Villanova was added in 1988 and James Madison, Northeastern and William and Mary joined the league in 1993. The Atlantic 10 assumed operation control of the conference from 1997-2006, with Hofstra becoming part of the league in 2001 and Towson joining the group in 2004.
University at Albany (2013-present)
University of Delaware (1986-present)
James Madison University (1993-present)
University of Maine (1947-present)
University of New Hampshire (1947-present)
Rhode Island University (1947-present)
University of Richmond (1986-present)
Stony Brook University (2013-present)
Towson University (2004-present)
Villanova University (1988-present)
College of William and Mary (1993-present)
Boston University (1973-1997)
University of Connecticut (1947-1999)
Georgia State University (2012)
Hofstra University (2001-2009)
Uniersity of Massachusetts (1947-2011)
Northeastern University (1993-2009)
Old Dominion University (2011-2012)
Elon University (2014)