The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) is a NCAA Division I college athletic conference whose full-time members are located in East Coast states from Massachusetts to Georgia. Most of its members are public universities, with four in Virginia alone, and the conference is headquartered in Richmond. The CAA was historically a Southern conference until the addition of five Northeastern schools (all five from rival conference America East) after the turn of the 21st century, which added balance to the conference.
The CAA was founded in 1979 as the ECAC South basketball league. It was renamed the Colonial Athletic Association in 1985 when it added championships in other sports (although a number of members maintain ECAC affiliation in some sports). As of 2006, it organizes championships in 21 men's and women's sports. The addition of Northeastern University in 2005 gave the conference the NCAA minimum of six football programs needed to sponsor football. For the 2007 football season, all of the Atlantic 10 Conference's football programs joined the CAA football conference, as agreed upon in May 2005.
The CAA has expanded in recent years, following the exits of longtime members such as the United States Naval Academy, University of Richmond, East Carolina University and American University. In 2001, the six-member conference added four additional universities: Towson University, Drexel University, Hofstra University, and the University of Delaware. Four years later the league expanded again when Georgia State University and Northeastern University joined, further enlarging the conference footprint. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) left for the Atlantic 10 Conference in July 2012, Old Dominion University will be leaving for Conference USA in 2013 and Georgia State will depart in 2013 to join the Sun Belt Conference.
On the playing field, the CAA has produced 16 national team champions in five different sports (the most recent being the Villanova Wildcats who won the 2009 Division I FCS football championship), 33 individual national champions, 11 national coaches of the year, 11 national players of the year and 12 Honda Award winners. In 2006, George Mason became the first CAA team to reach the Final Four. In 2011, the VCU Rams became the second CAA team to reach the Final Four, as well as the first team to win five games en route, due to their participation in the First Four round.
Famous quotes containing the words colonial, athletic and/or association:
“In colonial America, the father was the primary parent. . . . Over the past two hundred years, each generation of fathers has had less authority than the last. . . . Masculinity ceased to be defined in terms of domestic involvement, skills at fathering and husbanding, but began to be defined in terms of making money. Men had to leave home to work. They stopped doing all the things they used to do.”
—Frank Pittman (20th century)
“Difficulty, my brethren, is the nurse of greatnessa harsh nurse, who roughly rocks her foster-children into strength and athletic proportion.”
—William Cullen Bryant (17941878)
“... a Christian has neither more nor less rights in our association than an atheist. When our platform becomes too narrow for people of all creeds and of no creeds, I myself cannot stand upon it.”
—Susan B. Anthony (18201906)