Tom Yeager was right: The Atlantic 10 hasn’t been talking to George Mason and VCU. But the A-10 has been talking to Hofstra—and is about to cement itself as the premier basketball conference on the east coast by luring the school from the CAA.
“It’s a done deal,” said a source nowhere close to the negotiations. “Hofstra will be in the A-10 for the fall.”
According to another source completely unconnected to any of the particulars in this story, the Atlantic 10 convinced otherwise reliable reporters to float rumors of its interest in George Mason and VCU in order to complete an end-around to its actual goal of getting Hofstra into the fold.
“We knew George Mason and VCU were never going to leave the CAA,” a source not employed by the A-10 said. “Why would you leave a conference where everything is set up for you to succeed? I mean, really. VCU leaving Richmond? Are you insane?”
The source said the A-10 was drawn to Hofstra by the program’s history of sending players to pro ball. Since 2000 alone, Speedy Claxton, Norman Richardson and Charles Jenkins have gone to the NBA while more than a dozen other alums have played overseas, including Rick Apodaca, who played for Puerto Rico in the 2004 Olympics.
“Going to college is about preparing students for their chosen profession, right?” said the first source (or was it the second?). “Nobody in the CAA has done a better job of sending basketball players to pro ball than Hofstra. At least I don’t think so. I haven’t looked it up.”
Added the source not connected to the A-10: “Final Fours are a pile of hooey. I mean, if they mattered that much, we would have two since 2006 and the CAA would have none. That’s what we say to get ourselves to sleep at night, anyway.”
This source (or was it the first one?) said Hofstra’s connections to current A-10 programs made it a natural fit and a natural new rival. Hofstra played in the East Coast Conference with Saint Joseph’s and LaSalle while former Flying Dutchmen stars Halil Kanacevic (Saint Joseph’s) and Chaz Williams (Massachusetts) transferred to A-10 schools two years ago. So, too, of course, did ex-Hofstra coach Tom Pecora (Fordham). And Stevie Mejia went to Rhode Island before transferring to Hofstra.
“OK, fine, it’s five so-called rivals, only three of whom have any real tangible connection to Hofstra,” some source, no idea who, said. “But is that any worse than what Hofstra has now in the CAA?”
A Hofstra spokesman declined to comment on the imminent move, mostly because no spokesman was contacted for comment, though another source who doesn’t even know how to spell Hofstra said plans are in place to commemorate the move from the CAA by erecting a statue of Jack Hayes. It will stand outside campus and be named “The David S. Mack Jack Hayes Statue.”
Another source who doesn’t exist said the only hurdle to clear was the location of the conference tournament. Some A-10 members were concerned Hofstra would have a home court advantage for the conference tournament, which will begin a five-year run at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season. To alleviate those concerns, the A-10 agreed to move its conference tournament to a place nobody at Hofstra ever visits: The David S. Mack Nassau Coliseum.