JMU Out of 2021-22 CAA Championships If School Accepts Invite to New Conference

James Madison University will be barred from Colonial Athletic Association championship events for the 2021-22 school year if it accepts an invitation to join another conference, the league told the school Wednesday.

The school is reportedly planning to move from the FCS to the FBS and is considering joining the Sun Belt Conference. The move reportedly could be announced as soon as Friday.

“As we head into a potentially monumental week for the future of James Madison University and our intercollegiate athletics program, we were extremely disappointed to be informed by the Colonial Athletic Association that, should the university accept an invitation to another conference, JMU student-athletes would not be allowed to compete for postseason conference team championships and, therefore, for the opportunity to earn NCAA automatic team qualification,” JMU President Jonathan Alger and athletic director Jeff Bourne said in a joint statement to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “In an era when the industry of college athletics stresses student-athlete welfare, this decision is completely contrary to those ideals.”

The ability to revoke conference championship play is written into the CAA’s bylaws. The conference previously enforced the rule on Old Dominion in 2013 when the school left for Conference USA.

“Our intent certainly is not to take punitive action against any individual student-athletes,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio told USA Today. “But it is important that we adhere to what the bylaws of the conference say, and that’s what the board of directors decided to do as we go forward. This isn’t something that was just created yesterday. This has been a rule that existed within the conference for quite some time and has been enforced in the past when other institutions have chosen to leave.”

James Madison is one of the more successful athletics programs in the CAA. The women’s-only swim and dive team has won the last four straight conference titles and 11 overall. The women’s lacrosse team won the national title in 2018 and has 16 NCAA tournament berths, while the football team has two national titles and seven consecutive FCS playoff berths and the men’s basketball program won the CAA regular-season crown last year.

The potential move to a new conference comes as college football is undergoing a massive realignment. More than 20 schools have announced plans to move conferences since Texas and Oklahoma announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the SEC in July.

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Coach coach
1 year ago

“We have a history of punishment for these kinds of things and I think we’re gonna stick to it”

1 year ago

Look, I know the popular sentiment is the populist sentiment, “oh woah are the student athletes.”

But college sports are about money, and they have been for a long time. CAA has to protect its money. Disagree? Then let the athletes fund their suits, coaches, pool time, travel, Christmas vacations (sorry I mean training trips), scholarships, etc. etc.

I think the CAA should allow James Madison to ‘buy’ its way out. If JMU writes a check to the CAA, they can finish out their time as a full member. That would be the compromise solution, IMO.

Coach coach
Reply to  Turkmeniswim
1 year ago

But like, which of those things on your list does the CAA provide exactly?

Reply to  Coach coach
1 year ago

I think there’s a grave misunderstanding about what organizations like the CAA, NCAA are. It’s easy to think of them as these grand overlords that just wave their hands and do things, but they’re basically just a collaboration of their members institutions.

The same member institutions that was happy to enforce these rules on Old Dominion in 2013.

The same member institutions that include JMU, which didn’t have a complaint when applying the rules to ODU.

JMU wants to make this a battle over the poor athletes caught in the middle, because their PR group knows that’s what sways public sentiment. But when athletes and member institutions start speaking up for their competitors, and not just themselves,… Read more »

1 year ago

Nooooooo guys you don’t understand it’s not about us hating our student athletes, it’s about rules and bylaws! They’re in place for a reason guys, rules and bylaws guys

1 year ago

Drives me nuts that admins so far removed from the consequences that the student athletes will suffer are the ones making these calls.

1 year ago

It is hard to keep track of what conferences have what schools!

1 year ago

Here before anything gets misconstrued about this issue! While it’s EXTREMELY sad, as well as an outdated bylaw that should ultimately be eliminated, the student-athletes at JMU need to turn to their own administrators and question their decision-making process leading to this move!! Right now, they are being gas lighted into dangerous rhetoric that the other CAA schools are the reason for this barring. But, this bylaw has been in effect for many years, and JMU’s administration supported barring for other schools three previous times, most recently with ODU in 2013. The student-athletes at JMU should be concerned as to why their admins, who knew this was the most probable outcome, would go behind their backs and make these decisions… Read more »

All for one
Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

Seriously?!?! That is as good as an answer as you have… it was done 8 years ago?!?! Wow. As it goes.., Two wrongs don’t make a right.

This archaic “bylaw” needs to be changed. Yet this is happening even in a pressing environment where we are fighting back against bullying but here grown men that issue ultimatums is somehow different?? And we are to be promoting our student athletes but yet we are tearing them down with selfish childish actions.

No other conference reacted this way. The CAA had the opportunity to make a change but instead took an embarrassing stance!


Reply to  All for one
1 year ago

If JMU President and Athletic director feel very strongly about this bylaw…. They sure didn’t care about ODU student athletes when they supported of this bylaw to go against ODU in 2013. And no they didn’t care to vote to change this bylaw since then.

It is not bullying when they play by the rules. And no I don’t agree with this bylaw at all.

Reply to  All for one
1 year ago

I feel terrible for the JMU athletes.
This is not bullying. That’s absurd rhetoric and cheapens the word.

Reply to  All for one
1 year ago

Your username really shows who you care about. Just one team. We all know that the CAA commissioner has the best intentions. As stated above, THE BIGGEST PERSON TO BLAME IS THE JMU ADMINISTRATION.I. f the university cared about their students athletes they would have advocated for a change years ago instead of putting their athletes post season at risk.

The Splashfather
Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

Here’s a solution if JMU gave a crap about their athletes and not their pocketbook: make the move at the end of the year. Problem solved.

1 year ago

Bad call CAA

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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