|Bob McKillop, center, and the Davidson program will continue to be the class of the Southern Conference. (Getty Images)|
A few months ago after Virginia Commonwealth announced its intention to leave the Colonial Athletic Association, (that news arrived on the coattails of Georgia State and Old Dominion hopping ship for different leagues) Davidson's name came up as the premier replacement for the league. The CAA offered its home to the Wildcats.
But someone with strong Davidson ties told me (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Davidson's very unlike most other schools. They won't leave the SoCon because the league fits the mission statement of the school. It's not looking to get into a footrace with bigger programs in a bigger league. Money is truly not an issue here. If it's not the right fit, Davidson won't go, even if bigger paychecks are a possibility."
That was the gist, essentially. I kept the intel to myself, doubting it to a degree because -- could you blame me? -- every other school in every other league the past three years has shown realignment restraint like a horny teenager shows patience after prom ends.
Yet here we are, on Oct. 18, and Davidson indeed is bypassing the chance to upgrade its league. The school even let the Southern Conference make the announcement Wednesday, as league commish John Iamarino passed along the news.
Iamarino said he was informed Monday of Davidson's decision by Wildcats athletic director Jim Murphy.
“He called me and said Davidson's board had met Friday and determined that it would not be prudent at this time to change conference affiliations,” Iamarino said. “They have decided to remain in the Southern Conference.”
“It's very good news,” Iamarino said. “It's important to maintain stability, and Davidson has been a terrific member of the conference. I think maybe people out there were thinking there'd be a mass migration from our membership, and I really don't think that's the case.”
The next big step is what College of Charleston does. It's the other huge cog in the SoCon, and school brass there is meeting Friday to determine which step it takes. If it also only considers its Colonial relationship a flirtatious one, well then, what a blow to the CAA and what a stand by the SoCon, which is traditionally a one-bid league but trying to buttress itself into something a bit more nationally relevant and respected.
That belief vanishes if Charleston does indeed decide to head out to the CAA, though. We should have our answer sometime this weekend, as the meeting Friday also has a group vote on the itinerary.