Colonial Athletic Association Declares Old Dominion, Georgia State Ineligible for League Title


Old Dominion and Georgia State are moving from the Championship Subdivision to Conference USA and the Sun Belt, starting in the 2013 season. Until then, the Colonial Athletic Association has declared each persona non grata — at least, in regard to the conference’s championship and automatic NCAA Playoffs berth.

“CAA Football bylaws require consideration and discussion of any action restricting the rights and privileges of membership afforded a withdrawing institution,” CAA Football Commissioner Tom Yeager said in a press release. “The CAA Football Presidents strongly believe the interests of the conference are best served when a continuing member institution is designated as the conference champion.”

CAA membership became a stepping stone for each, the two newest members in the league. ODU began play there last season, and GSU is entering its first season. Their metropolitan locations, sizable student bodies and facilities made them attractive options for FBS membership.

A similar decision was rendered on Massachusetts last season. UMass accepted an invitation to join the MAC last summer, but its ineligibility for the conference title was a non-factor. The Minutemen finished 5-6 and in the league’s bottom half. The same is likely true for GSU, which is in just its third season of competition and coming off a three-win campaign. Conversely, ODU stormed onto the FCS scene with three winning seasons and a surprise run to last year’s Playoffs.

The Monarchs are a probable pre-season top 10 and would have factored prominently into the championship hunt. ODU can still earn an at-large bid, though face tougher restrictions. Teams must win a minimum of seven games against Division I opponents to be eligible for one of the 10 such spots. Navigating through a conference The Sports Network declared the nation’s toughest is a difficult task.

Further, this renders the Monarchs, for all intents and purposes, an independent. ODU will still play its CAA slate and earn opportunities to woo the selection committee should it defeat opponents like Towson, New Hamsphire, Delaware and James Madison. The climb is just a lot more uphill given precedent for past independents and non-automatic bid programs.