Stony Brook University has accepted an invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), a Stony Brook Athletics official confirmed with The Statesman.
The move will be formally announced today at a press conference held by Commissioner Joe D’Antonio. Stony Brook will begin playing as a member of the CAA beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.
Stony Brook has been a member of the America East Conference since 2001 when it joined alongside Binghamton and Albany during the transition to Division I. The America East does not sponsor football and Stony Brook has been an associate member of the CAA for football only since 2013.
Information about the CAA’s interest in Stony Brook initially came to light over a week ago when Stony Brook, Hampton and Monmouth were named as the conference’s targets by college sports insiders. An anonymous CAA basketball head coach with knowledge on the situation claimed on Tuesday, Jan. 18 that “[a]t the end of the day, Monmouth, Hampton and Stony Brook are all coming.”
In November 2021, James Madison announced its scheduled departure to the Sun Belt Conference beginning in July 2022, which would have left the CAA with only nine full members. If the CAA were to add Monmouth and Hampton, along with Stony Brook, the conference would be at 12 members again.
The CAA added Stony Brook and Albany in 2013 as football-only members, but the conference had a greater interest in inviting Stony Brook as a member in all sports at the same time. The offer fell through because then-Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz objected to the move, citing Stony Brook’s competition in the Long Island market for media and recruits and the belief that Stony Brook did not add basketball value to the CAA. Rabinowitz retired last June.
Hofstra’s current Director of Athletics, Rick Cole Jr., assumed his position in 2018 and was a former associate athletic director at Stony Brook from 1995 to 2002.
The move will intensify the Battle of Long Island rivalry between Stony Brook and Hofstra, as the schools will now play against each other twice a year in basketball with implications on the conference standings.
Aside from Hofstra, the CAA consists of multiple other former America East members, such as Delaware, Drexel, Northeastern and Towson. The conference has not received many bids to the NCAA Tournament since 2011 when Old Dominion, George Mason and VCU all made the dance, with VCU advancing to the Final Four as an 11-seed. None of those teams are still in the conference.
It is currently unclear if the America East will take any retribution against Stony Brook for leaving the conference. When James Madison went public with their move to the Sun Belt, the CAA voted to ban all the school’s teams from competing in postseason championship tournaments, citing a conference by-law. However, James Madison similarly voted to ban Old Dominion from championships in 2012 when Old Dominion left the CAA for Conference USA.
The last time an America East school departed for another Division I conference was when Boston University joined the Patriot League in 2012. The school was set to begin Patriot League play during the 2013-14 season, but when the Terriers announced the move a season in advance, the America East cited a conference by-law to similarly ban Boston University from all postseason play.
With the impending departures of Stony Brook and Hartford, which will leave the conference after this season as it plans to drop to Division III, the America East will have eight members for the 2022-23 year as it stands.