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CAA to discuss raising exit fee to at least $1 million
CAA commissioner Tom Yeager said the league’s presidents and athletic directors are scheduled to vote on the issue Tuesday. The current exit fee is $250,000.
“The suggestion is it ought to be $1 million,” Yeager said. “It might be more than that.”
Yeager said the feedback he’s gotten suggests the proposal will get the two-thirds vote needed to pass. If it does, it would take effect immediately.
“Some of the strongest proponents of an increase are some of our strongest institutions,” said Yeager, who declined to identify them.
The increase might be one factor in Georgia State’s hastened efforts to join the Sun Belt Conference in 2013, a move driven by the Panthers’ desire to play football at the FBS level.
Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason have been rumored to be targets for the Atlantic 10 in basketball.
Yeager said last week he didn’t anticipate the CAA adding or losing members. But Georgia State’s situation has developed “fairly quickly,” he said. If the Panthers leave, Yeager said it likely would accelerate discussion about the CAA adding a school or schools in football, basketball or both.
CAA football has a mix of all-sports members and football-only members. With Georgia State’s departure, it would have nine schools in 2013.
In basketball and other sports, the CAA would have 11 schools.
“There have always been institutions interested in our league for both football and basketball,” he said. “Although neither is necessary for survival, I think in a lot of ways it does initiate those discussions.”
Under the CAA’s constitution, a school that leaves the conference would forfeit any revenue sharing it has earned.
The NCAA distributes money earned from the NCAA basketball tournament during a six-year cycle (this year’s payout is from 2006-11). The CAA divides 60 percent of that revenue equally among its 12 members. The other 40 percent goes into an “excellence pool.”
Shares for the excellence pool are earned by winning the regular season; being in the top 100 in Ratings Percentage Index or having a nonconference record better than .500; and for each game won in the NCAA tournament.
“The teams that have earned units, if they withdraw, this becomes a multimillion-dollar decision about leaving,” Yeager said. “Both VCU and George Mason have a lot of units in our excellence pool.”
VCU, which advanced to the Final Four in 2011, will get a payout of about $820,000 this year, Yeager said. That figure will climb to about $900,000 next year, when the Rams’ first-round win in this year’s NCAA tournament kicks in. They will earn about $5 million total — more if they earn more shares — through 2017.
George Mason, which advanced to the Final Four in 2006, will get a payout of about $779,000 this year, Yeager said. That drops to about $275,000-$300,000 next year. The Patriots will earn about $2.1 million-$2.2 million — more if they earn more shares — through 2017.
Yeager said he has been informed by Georgia State athletics director Cheryl Levick and Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson about the Panthers’ possible departure and called the discussions serious.
By: TIM PEARRELL | Times-Dispatch