Now that Coastal Carolina University President David DeCenzo has been handed the keys to the Chanticleers’ future conference affiliation, let’s hope he steers the school’s athletic programs in the right direction.
There are really only two possible options available to the Chants – the Southern Conference or the Colonial Athletic Association. And there’s really only one right answer for Coastal – the SoCon, not the CAA.
Compare the two conferences and it’s really no contest. DeCenzo said himself that the factors would involve finding a league that would help promote natural rivalries and the costs associated with a possible switch.
Leaving the Big South for the SoCon would basically be a push in terms of travel costs, but it would be a big step up in competition and regional rivalries. The CAA would be a costly move for travel and a drop-off from the Big South in terms of natural rivals.
The number of SoCon schools based in South Carolina? Four, The Citadel, College of Charleston, Furman and Wofford. The number in the CAA schools in the Palmetto State? Zero.
The number of SoCon schools in the Carolinas? Nine, with Appalachian State, Davidson, Elon, UNC Greensboro and Western Carolina joining the four from the Palmetto State. The number of schools in the CAA in the Carolinas? One in UNC Wilmington.
The longest trips for Coastal in the SoCon would be the Alabama (Samford) and Tennessee (Chattanooga). The CAA would require long journeys to Boston (Northeastern), New York (Hofstra), Pennsylvania (Drexel) and Delaware. Oh, and Georgia State is leaving the CAA in 2013, subtracting another Southern rival from the mix.
And we’re not talking about travel costs for just the football and basketball program. We’re talking about all 17 of CCU’s sanctioned sports having to make trips on a regular basis to either the CAA or the SoCon. It’s a no-brainer.
Of course, travel costs are only part of the equation, but the SoCon comes out on top in terms of rivalries as well. Which CCU home conference football schedule would get you more fired up, Appy State, Citadel, Furman and Wofford, or Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison and William & Mary? Again, it’s no contest, although I hear Mary plays a pretty mean linebacker.
Costal may not be in a position to pick which conference its joins, but it can do the right thing by pursuing the right choice, not settling for its second choice. The Chants would come out ahead by waiting for the SoCon to expand or remaining in the Big South instead of jumping to the CAA.
DeCenzo might have dropped the ball on the costly contract settlement with former football coach David Bennett, but surely the Prez can do the math on this one.