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College of Charleston trustees vote to begin negotiations with the CAA

Oct 19, 2012, 3:47 PM EST

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With VCU gone and both Georgia State and Old Dominion on the way out, the Colonial Athletic Association was in the market for a new member (or more).

A step in that direction was taken on Friday as the College of Charleston Board of Trustees voted 12-5 in favor of negotiating with the CAA.

This comes just a couple days after Davidson, also a current member of the Southern Conference, announced its intentions to stay in the SoCon.

While there’s no guarantee, the College of Charleston vote likely means that the Cougars becoming the CAA’s tenth member will happen soon.

The likely focus of the negotiations between the College of Charleston and the CAA: travel costs, which played a key role in the trustees’ discussion on Friday.

The point of contention during the BOT meetings was an increase in travel costs. C of C research showed that the university’s athletic travel budget would rise by $567,000 if it joined the CAA. The university would also owe the Southern Conference a $600,000 exit fee, however, Yeager said last spring that NCAA Tournament revenue shares forfeited by exiting members Georgia State, Old Dominion and VCU could help potential new members offset those costs. I’d imagine that’s will be the focus of the negotiations.

The Cougars have been a successful basketball program for years and they averaged 22 wins/season in the six years under Bobby Cremins.

The expectation in Charleston is that Doug Wojcik will be able to contend in the SoCon (with Davidson being the prohibitive favorites) this season after taking over for Cremins.

As for the CAA ten members would be a good number to stop at for two key reasons:

Travel partners could be arranged, helping to offset travel costs for all of the schools. It also allows for a true round-robin in an 18-game men’s basketball schedule.

There are still things to be worked out before the CAA and the College of Charleston come to an agreement, but the first step towards the next move in conference realignment was taken today.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.