What’s Next For Cougars

What’s Next?• Expected to join CAA as a full member next fall• Will pay $300,000 plus undisclosed transition fee to join CAA• Will pay $600,000 exit fee to Southern Conference

The College of Charleston’s board of trustees will meet this afternoon and decide the future of the school’s athletic department.

The board is expected to vote to join the Colonial Athletic Association.

“It’s a fluid situation with everything that’s going on out there,” said a board member who requested to remain anonymous. “The plan right now is to vote, and I expect we will be joining the CAA.”

The board voted, 12-5, in October to open negotiations with the CAA about joining the nine-member league. The board was scheduled to revisit the issue in its quarterly meeting in January, but moved up the process after the recent flurry of college defections in other conferences. Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten and Louisville is heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A simple majority vote by the board is all that will be required for the Cougars to join the CAA. A 9-9 tie would mean the Cougars remain in the Southern Conference, where they have been a member since 1998.

The trickle-down effect of the moves by Maryland, Rutgers and Louisville, along with rumors that East Carolina is interested in joining the CAA in all sports except football, has left members of the College of Charleston’s board eager to consider the school’s options.

The Cougars would join the CAA beginning next season. The cost to join the CAA will be about $300,000 plus an undisclosed transition fee. The Cougars also must pay an exit fee of $600,000 to the SoCon. If the College of Charleston decides to wait another full year before leaving the SoCon, the exit fee will be reduced to $300,000.

SoCon members Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have publicly expressed their interest in moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision and leaving the SoCon.

Georgia Southern is reportedly a candidate to move to the Sun Belt Conference after Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic agreed to join Conference USA.

The CAA is looking for new members after Virginia Commonwealth left the league for the Atlantic-10 Conference. Old Dominion (Conference USA) and Georgia State (Sun Belt) will leave the CAA at the end of the current season. The CAA has been looking for replacements since May.