The Colonial Athletic Association will be expanding after the spring sports season with the addition of four new schools. The CAA will welcome Hampton University, Stony Brook University, Monmouth University and North Carolina A&T State University to the league, effective as of July 1.
Drexel President John Fry gave his thoughts on the league expanding in a CAA press release on Jan. 25: “This is a tremendous day for the CAA…I am profoundly grateful for the sustained engagement of our Presidents over the last 15 months, as together with our Athletics Directors we have forged a principled vision for the future in these turbulent times. To have these three highly-regarded universities embrace these same aspirational values for college athletics is deeply gratifying.”
The four new universities will join the Drexel Dragons, as well as the College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Elon University, Hofstra University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William & Mary. Leaving the conference are the James Madison University Dukes, who will be off to compete in the Sun Belt Conference.
The Hampton University Pirates are based in Hampton, Va. and compete in 17 Division I sports. The historically black college will make their second league switch in the last four years, as they currently play in the Big South Conference, but were participants in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference until 2018. Although Drexel won’t have to worry about competing with Hampton on the track, the Pirates will be a major competitor with other schools in track and field, as both their men’s and women’s track and field teams took home Big South Conference Championships.
The Seawolves of Stony Brook University, competing out of Stony Brook, N.Y., will participate in 18 Division I sports. The Seawolves currently compete in the American East Conference, but their football team has been a part of the CAA since 2012. Stony Brook has had recent success in women’s basketball and lacrosse. The women’s team won back-to-back conference championships on the hardwood in 2020 and 2021, and the rivalry may have already begun on the lacrosse field. The Dragons and Seawolves faced off in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, where the Seawolves advanced to the next round. It will be an intriguing rematch next year when the Seawolves enter the CAA.
Coming out of West Long Branch, N.J., the Monmouth University Hawks bring 24 Division I sports teams to the table. The Hawks will be leaving the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which they have played in since 2013. Expect some marquee matchups against the Hawks at the DAC, as Monmouth reached the conference championships, where they fell to this year’s March Madness phenomenon, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. Monmouth also brings a strong women’s soccer team to the CAA, as the program has a 65-5-5 record over the past nine seasons, including six NCAA tournament appearances.
The largest HBCU by enrollment in the nation, North Carolina A&T State University, calls Greensboro, N.C., home and offers 17 Division I sports. The Aggies will leave the Big South Conference after only one year, having previously played in the MEAC. Basketball is where you can see the Aggies make their biggest impact against the Dragons, as the men’s team has made ten tournament appearances and the women have made five. Their best program is track and field, and with these four schools joining the CAA, the CAA will now host indoor track and field championships.
You can check out these four teams in CAA action this fall at the Vidas Athletic Complex, where the majority of fall sports teams compete.
The CAA logo displayed at the pool in the Daskalakis Athletic Center, the home of Drexel’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. (Photo: Prasham Jobanputra)