On Monday afternoon at 1:30pm, VCU President Michael Rao took to the podium at the Stuart C. Siegel Center and said, “I am very pleased to announce that Virginia Commonwealth University will join the Atlantic 10 in all sports effective July 1st, 2012.”
On Monday afternoon at 1:30pm, VCU President Michael Rao took the podium at the Stuart C. Siegel Center to announce “Virginia Commonwealth University will join the Atlantic 10 in all sports effective July 1st, 2012.”
The official announcement comes one day after CBS Sports broke the story. However, it was originally thought that VCU would move in 2013. When asked about the immediacy, Rao said the Rams want to avoid being banned from conference tournaments and avoid a “lame duck season.”
The quick move has serious financial and competitive consequences. In the first year alone, VCU will have to pay a $250,000 exit fee to the CAA, a $700,000 entrance fee to the Atlantic 10, and an estimated $150,000 of additional travel expenses while simultaneously losing $5,000,000 worth of bonuses related to the Final Four over the first six years.
The University will make up the difference with the Atlantic 10’s revenue sharing. Rao added, “the expected returns are much greater than the short term losses.
While Shaka Smart did not speak at the press conference, the University sent out a quote from the head coach:
“We are extremely excited by the opportunity to join the Atlantic 10 Conference. It is a phenomenal league, made up of programs with both rich traditions and recent track records of success. We are very appreciative of the time we spent in the CAA, the experiences we had and the relationships we gained. We plan to maintain our key rivalries with CAA teams, now and in the future. We are enthuasiastic about attacking the challenges that lie ahead. Our number one goal remains to move our student-athletes forward, both on and off the court.”