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George Mason to pay $1 million exit fee to leave CAA July 1

Mar 25, 2013, 11:34 PM EDT

George Mason James Madison Basketball AP

If you want to break out early, you’ve got to pay the man. That’s apparently the road George Mason is taking to join the Atlantic 10.

The Patriots are paying the Colonial Athletic Association a $1 million exit fee to leave the conference effective July 1, a move that will cost them more than just the $1 million.

As a result, the seven spring sports George Mason fields are ineligible for postseason conference championships. That’s got to be rough for the players, especially since they didn’t know that this was happening until right around a month ago.

The school will also forfeit $1.65 million in conference payouts in addition to the exit fees.

In all, 20 of the 21 sports George Mason fields will join the A-1o, with the wrestling team finding a new home, being that the conference doesn’t sponsor the sport. There are plenty of northeastern-based conferences that support wrestling, so they should have no trouble getting in one of those. All bases covered.

No surprise here. With the pace at which schools are switching conferences, George Mason wants to keep up and the CAA wants to be compensated for their loss — they’ll be down to nine teams when the Patriots leave before next season.

Just another day in conference realignment.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten