With James Madison out the door and on its way to the FBS, the Colonial Athletic Association was quick to find replacements for the Dukes. Per a report from ESPN, the CAA will expand its membership to 13 teams in football with the additions of Monmouth and Hampton. Stony Brook, who was already a FCS affiliate, will also now be a full-time member of the conference in other sports. The move will officially go into effect on July 1 of this year.
Both Hampton and Monmouth come over from the Big South. The Pirates have competed in the conference from 2019-2021 and went 10-13 overall whilst in the league, though it should be noted they did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic. Meanwhile the Hawks joined the Big South in 2014 and qualified for the FCS playoffs three times during their tenure.
The CAA will now be the FCS' largest league with 13 members while the Big South continues to see its number of programs dwindle. Only North Carolina A&T, Robert Morris, Charleston Southern, Campbell and Gardner-Webb remain meaning that, as it stands currently, the conference does not have enough teams to qualify for an auto-bid to the postseason (requirements dictate that a league must have at least six programs).
Hampton and Monmouth will join the likes of Albany, Delaware, Elon, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova and William & Mary in the CAA. The Hawks and the Pirates will begin their competition in the league this fall.
“We are pleased to welcome Hampton University, Monmouth University and Stony Brook University as the newest members of the CAA,” said conference commissioner Joe D’Antonio earlier this week. “All three institutions fit perfectly into the framework of the conference’s vision that calls for our membership to work together to advance nationally competitive athletic programs.”