CAA commissioner Tom Yeager: Realignment rumors a "non-story"

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Tom Yeager didn’t seem particularly interested in veiling his disdain Monday afternoon.

A day after a CBSSports.com report asserted two members of the CAA (George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth) were in discussions to join the Atlantic 10, the CAA commissioner said it was a “non-story” during a media teleconference.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Yeager said. “We’re not grasping at straws. Short of of the lottery people coming in and telling them they won the lottery, I don’t see any of our teams moving.”

Both Mason and Virginia Commonwealth have reached the Final Four since 2006 and consistently rank among the top three teams in the conference. Mason has reached three NCAA tournaments in the last seven seasons, while VCU won tournament games in 2007, 2011 and 2012.

Earlier in the day, Mason athletic director Tom O’Connor said in a statement his school “has not had any formal discussions nor have we been invited to join the Atlantic 10.”

Yeager acknowledged postseason success made both schools attractive, but said he had not heard from Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade on the subject.

“If there was any truth that this was an in-depth process, she would have initiated contact a long time ago,” Yeager said.

Yeager said the possibility of conference membership change “generated the most conversation” during an already scheduled conference call between the league’s athletic directors on Monday.

“Both schools indicated there were no truth to the rumors,” Yeager said. “They are not exploring other options. In combination with conversations over the last couple months and weeks, they’re not looking to go anywhere else and they don’t have an offer that would turn their heads. We didn’t hold hands and take blood oaths or anything. I take them for their word.”

The 12-school CAA has had the same membership since the 2005-06 school year, when Georgia State and Northeastern were added. The 14-school Atlantic 10 will lose Temple to the Big East in the 2013-14 school year.

In addition to George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth, Butler was linked to the Atlantic 10 in the CBSSports.com report as well.

Conference realignment emerged as an omnipresent possibility in the last two years, with several schools changing leagues. Much of that’s occurred in the six most powerful football conferences, with a possible trickle-down now reaching other leagues.

“Every time you guys tweet something or somebody else tweets something, it sends off ripples through everything. …,” Yeager said. “Our jobs would be a lot easier if all these things weren’t coming out of left field, which seems to be every 25 minutes.”

Patrick Stevens

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