Post and Courier
July 29, 2012
Patriots, Tories and Confederates have debated weighty matters at or around the College Charleston, a proud institution older than the United States.
Again, this is no time for shyness on George Street.
Speak now in favor of maintaining the school’s convenient athletic department status in the Southern Conference, but know that other SoCon members might bolt before the Cougars make another free throw.
Support the apparent school lean to the Colonial Athletic Association and a better brand of basketball, but remember that the CAA also is vulnerable to realignment raids.
“We are going to try and gain as many relevant opinions as we can,” College of Charleston athletic director Joe Hull said. “We are not going to have a referendum.”
Memorize the CAA: Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, James Madison, Northeastern, Towson, UNC Wilmington and William & Mary.
Above all, consider five key things before phoning board members or arguing with bored members of the SoCon:
Above all, this is all about football. Realignment shifts in BCS conferences have trickled down, impacting schools that do not recruit linebackers.
The College of Charleston is a beggar at a football banquet. Limited leverage. An arena-size fan base vs. stadium-size competition.
“Schools that have football clearly have more options to join conferences,” said Andy Abrams, dean of the Charleston School of Law and a former College of Charleston administrator who was an architect in its ascent from NAIA status to NCAA Division I.
But Abrams “would not advise” the College of Charleston to follow newcomers UNC Charlotte and South Alabama into the football biz.
“I don’t think we would do that any time in the near future,” Hull said. “Ever? Ever is a long time.”
Perhaps a school from South Carolina, one of the original colonies, belongs in the Colonial. This isn’t the first time the College of Charleston has been linked to the CAA; the school officially tried to get the league interested twice before.
Then and now, academics, more than a better basketball profile, pushed CAA talk. Part of the College of Charleston’s CAA lure is the chance to replace its current smart students with smarter students via school exposure in the New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. metro areas.
“The College of Charleston wanted to affiliate itself athletically with institutions it was like, or aspired to be like, academically,” Abrams said. “(The CAA) was the first choice of (former school president) Dr. (Harry) Lightsey way back in the late 1980s.”
So cozy, the SoCon. Three schools in South Carolina, five in North Carolina, plus Georgia Southern, Chattanooga and Samford.
Not so good, however, if Appalachian State and Georgia Southern make football moves and Davidson beats the College of Charleston to the basketball punch.
A CAA South Division sounds nice: College of Charleston, UNC Wilmington, James Madison, William & Mary, maybe George Mason. But the nine-team conference probably needs three additions to split into divisions.
SoCon sentimentalists can embrace non-conference scheduling. The Citadel, Furman and Wofford can stay on the schedule, just not as often in a CAA world.
Student athletic fees pay for a lot of what happens at the College of Charleston. Win or lose to the Delaware Blue Hens or Western Carolina Catamounts.
The dues-paying, pizza-loving kids deserve a big voice in this.
Particularly athletes apparently in for longer road trips and less study time with a CAA leap.
Winning and losing
Since the great John Kressse defied odds and put the College of Charleston on the national basketball map with four NCAA tournament appearances, Cougars fans have been motivated by the possibility of March Madness. But the Cougars haven’t made the NCAA tournament in basketball out of the SoCon since 1999 and chances are less likely in the CAA, at-large options or not.
The SoCon had a basketball RPI of No. 23 and the CAA (including departed VCU) No. 14 in 2012.
A bigger and reverse RPI concern is CAA baseball mediocrity: No. 18 in conference RPI in 2012, way below the SoCon’s No. 7. The difference wasn’t as much in 2011 (No. 18 for the CAA, No. 15 for the SoCon) but it’s hard to find baseball people who think a move to the CAA is a good idea.
There is no timetable for the SoCon/CAA decision, but league logos change quickly these days. Like maybe before you pay good money for your next admission to a College of Charleston sporting event.
Post and Courier
July 29, 2012
What’s the biggest difference between hitters in college and in the minor leagues?
“The hitters at the pro level are a lot more selective with their pitches. They all have good at-bats and you have to win inside the strike zone. They don’t chase bad pitches as much as they do in college. Every at-bat is going to be a challenge.”
How would the Rome Braves do against an elite college baseball team like South Carolina?
“Rome would win, especially if it was a series. We don’t have too many holes in our lineup. Everyone can hit at this level. There are no easy outs. Rome has a deeper pitching staff. The guys that come out of the bullpen can all really throw at this level.”
You’re from California, so what was your reaction about being drafted by the Braves?
“I grew up a (San Francisco) Giants fan. All my friends from South Carolina and the College of Charleston were Braves fans, so they were all excited for me. It didn’t matter what team drafted me, I just wanted the opportunity to play at the professional level. It’s a great organization.”
You spent three seasons as a starter for the College of Charleston and then switched to being a closer your senior season. You’re a closer with the Braves. Is that where you’re most comfortable?
“This is definitely what I was meant to do. Being a starter was fun, but I get really pumped up coming into the game for just an inning. I also get a little bump in velocity when I come out the bullpen, so it just seemed like a better fit for me. The Braves like me as a closer and hopefully this is where I’ll stay.”
Was your save against South Carolina this past season one of the biggest highlights of your college career?
“No question. It was a huge win for us. The College hasn’t beaten South Carolina very often. I’d never been to South Carolina until my senior year for a game because I was a starter on the weekends and I didn’t travel up there during the week. It was probably the biggest stage I’d ever pitched on. The atmosphere was great. I was just glad we got the win and I was able to contribute.”
Is it kind surreal coming back to Charleston as a pro player after having played here during college?
“It’s been a great four days. A lot of my friends have come out to watch me play. I still have an apartment here in Charleston, so it’s been like coming back home for me. I went downtown with a couple of my friends after one of the games and I stayed at my apartment afterwards, so that was nice instead of being in a hotel room.”
Post and Courier
July 27, 2012
When the Parade of Nations kicks off the 2012 Olympic Games tonight in London, leading the team from Guatemala and bearing his country’s flag will be College of Charleston senior sailor Juan Maegli.
Maegli, 24, will be participating in his second consecutive Olympics in sailing’s laser class, which begins competition Monday. He also competed in 2008 in Beijing, prior to enrolling at the College of Charleston.
“To be chosen to do this is a great honor,” Maegli told the website g4s.com. “I’ve always wanted to carry my flag and I will be lucky enough to have the experience in London.
“The chance to represent my country at the Olympics means a lot to me. It’s something I’ve worked really hard for during the last five years and I can’t wait to begin competing.”
Maegli sailed for the College of Charleston from 2008 through 2010. He won the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Laser Performance Singlehanded Championship in 2010 and earned All-America honors.
Maegli’s father, Juan Estuardo Maegli, sailed in three Olympic Games — Montreal in 1976, Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984.
Greg Fisher, director of sailing for the College of Charleston for the past two seasons, said he hasn’t actually been able to coach Maegli, who has taken time off from school to pursue his Olympic dream but will return to the Cougars in the fall. Maegli is a business administration major.
“He was fourth in the World Championships in the class he’s sailing, so we have high hopes for him,” Fisher said. “He was an excellent sailor when he was here and he was a great asset. We’re looking forward to having him come back and sail for us.”
Maegli isn’t the only College of Charleston athlete competing in the 2012 Olympics. Andrew Lawrence, a rising senior on the men’s basketball team, is a member of Great Britain’s basketball team.
July 27, 2012
The Charleston Classic announced its bracket pairings on Thursday afternoon, and a quick glance reveals a field that will be tough to predict come November.
Baylor lost some key contributors in the front court, but they add Isaiah Austin and Ricardo Gathers while guards Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson return to Waco.
There’s also a Murray State team led by Isaiah Canaan and Ed Daniel to be reckoned with, and Colorado, Dayton and host College of Charleston will likely be heard from as well.
Here’s the schedule and a few thoughts on the Charleston Classic, which will be played on November 15, 16 and 18 (non-bracketed games on November 21 (Auburn/Boston College) and 24 (College of Charleston/Baylor) as well).
Charleston Classic schedule (all times Eastern)
12:30 PM Colorado vs. Dayton (ESPN3)
3 PM Baylor vs. Boston College (ESPNU)
5 PM St. John’s vs. College of Charleston (ESPNU)
8 PM Murray State vs. Auburn (ESPN3)
12:30 PM Semifinal #1 (ESPNU)
2:30 PM Consolation #1 (ESPNU)
5:30 PM Semifinal #2 (ESPN3)
7:30 PM Consolation #2 (ESPN3)
Noon 7th place game (ESPN3)
2 PM 5th place game (ESPN3)
6 PM 3rd place game (ESPNU)
8:30 PM Championship game (ESPN2)
quarterfinal: Colorado vs. Dayton
Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes took full advantage of their first season in the Pac-12, grabbing the league’s automatic bid and then beating UNLV in the round of 64. What can they do for an encore, especially with Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault and Nate Tomlinson graduating?
Well, they could be better, with Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie and Andre Roberson all back in Boulder. Add in a good recruiting haul led by wing Xavier Johnson and big man Josh Scott, and Colorado could very well return to the NCAA tournament.
But their quarterfinal opponent has a chance to get to the Big Dance as well, with point guard Kevin Dillard leading the way in Archie Miller’s second season at the helm. Dayton will have to account for the graduation of four seniors, most notably Chris Johnson, but forwards Josh Benson and Matt Kavanaugh return as well.
individual match-up (that we know we’ll see): Andrew Lawrence (College of
Charleston) vs. D’Angelo Harrison (St. John’s)
Lawrence is the floor general for the Cougars, and his experience this summer with Great Britain’s national team should serve Lawrence well once he returns to the States. Lawrence averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 assists per game for the Cougars last season, and he’ll be a key contributor in Doug Wojcik’s first season as head coach.
As for Harrison, he was right there with first round draft pick Maurice Harkless in what was a tough 2011-12 season for the undermanned Red Storm. Harrison averaged 17.0 points per game, and a large recruiting class should help him shoulder the load down the line. But they’re young, meaning that early on Harrison may still have to do the heavy lifting.
individual match-up (that we hope to see): Isaiah Canaan (Murray State) vs.
Pierre Jackson (Baylor)
This needs to happen. Canaan remains one of the nation’s best point guards, and his ability to score as well as set up teammates makes him a tough match-up for anyone. And with Ivan Aska, Jewuan Long and Donte Poole graduating, Canaan may have to do a little more scoring to go along with Ed Daniel’s play inside.
But Jackson’s no slouch, as his arrival in Waco was one reason why Scott Drew’s team was able to reach the Elite 8. With Baylor losing four key contributors inside guards such as Jackson and Brady Heslip will likely have to do more in the way of scoring as the young bigs get used to college basketball.
There are a number of teams that can win this tournament, but the pick here is Baylor due to the potential of guys such as Isaiah Austin and Ricardo Gathers. There’s also sophomore shooting guard Deuce Bello, an electrifying leaper who will need to show improvement offensively if the Bears are to have a shot at duplicating (or exceeding) last year’s success.
It would not be a surprise if Colorado or Murray State ended up winning the event, and College of Charleston is another team folks need to keep an eye on.
Post and Courier
July 25, 2012
College of Charleston took a first step toward possibly leaving the Southern Conference for the Colonial Athletic Association on Tuesday, a move that could come within two months, according to the school’s president.
“There really is no timeline” for a decision, Benson said after the meeting. “We want to make sure we think it through and have consulted all the proper constituents, and make sure everyone has had an opportunity to give us input and advice from both sides.
“It could be within the next month or two months.”
Committee chairman Dwight Johnson and athletic director Joe Hull insisted there’s been no “formal invitation” from the CAA, which is seeking to replace three departing members.
But it’s clear that College of Charleston and fellow SoCon member Davidson are top targets for the CAA, which now has nine members in a footprint stretching from UNC Wilmington to Northeastern University in Boston.
And it’s also clear that College of Charleston is seriously considering the move. The athletics committee will make a recommendation to the full Board of Trustees, which next meets on Aug. 3, Hull said.
“I’d be surprised if we were making a decision by then,” Hull said.
Hull said he’s already discussed the potential move with Cougar coaches and with members of the Cougar Club, the school’s athletic booster group.
“I would say it was real positive,” Hull said of feedback from the Cougar Club. “I’m not sure everybody who wanted to say something spoke up. It was generally positive, but I think those people would also be pleased if we stay where we are.”
The response from coaches varies by sport, he said. In basketball, the CAA ranked 14th in men’s basketball RPI last year, compared with 23rd for the SoCon. But in baseball, the SoCon came in at seventh compared with 18th for the CAA, and sent three teams to the NCAA tournament, including the Cougars, compared with one from the CAA.
“Each of our 21 sports stands on its own,” Hull said. “In baseball, the SoCon is stronger, so baseball might have a different perspective than other sports. But I think it’s fair to say that in general, the Colonial is perceived nationally as a little stronger conference.”
Hull cited the uncertain future of the SoCon, which College of Charleston joined in 1998, and increased TV exposure in the CAA as two factors supporting a move.
SoCon members Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are both seeking a move up to an FBS (Division I-A) league, with App State generally regarded as being closer to making the switch.
“Certainly, that’s one of many questions,” Hull said.
The CAA recently signed a five-year deal with NBC Sports Network, which includes broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet regional networks and through NBCSports.com. The SoCon’s current exposure is limited to webcasts on ESPN3.com after the league dropped its deal with public television stations.
“The level of TV exposure in men’s basketball the Colonial gets is dramatically more exposure than the SoCon does,” Hull said. “So there are issues on the positive side and other side for us to look at.”
Among the chief concerns, Hull said, are travel time and costs in the CAA. Seven of the nine members in the CAA are farther away than Samford, at 463 miles the Cougars’ longest road trip in the SoCon. One C of C source said travel budgets could double or triple in the CAA.
“One of the concerns is the obvious cost of going to more distant places,” Hull said. “And the bigger issue is how much time this will take from student-athletes sitting on a bus or an airplane or in an airport trying to get to games.”
Another concern is the $600,000 that College of Charleston would owe the SoCon if it left with less than two years’ notice (the number drops to $300,000 with more than two years’ notice).
“That’s no small amount of money,” Hull said. “But that’s part and parcel with any team that leaves one conference for another.”
The CAA is losing its highest-profile basketball program in Virginia Commonwealth, which made a run to the Final Four in 2011 and is now in the Atlantic 10. Also leaving are Old Dominion (Conference USA) and Georgia State (Sun Belt).
CAA commissioner Tom Yeager has said he plans to announce new members by the end of summer. The CAA also is seeking football-playing members and reportedly is interested in New York schools Albany and Stony Brook, among others.
Benson said it’s a big decision for College of Charleston, which has risen from the NAIA ranks to NCAA Division I as members of the defunct Trans America Athletic Conference and now the SoCon.
“It’s very important,” he said. “Athletics is a big part of any university in this day and age, and the teams you compete against, the rivalries you build up, are important. One of the ways a university gets the attention of the public is through the sports pages, through athletics, and we take it very seriously.”
Live 5 News
July 24, 2012
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The College of Charleston's Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees met on Tuesday morning to officially begin discussions about a possible move from the Southern Conference to the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Cougars, along with Davidson, have been rumored targets of the CAA for several weeks now.
Georgia Southern Athletic Director Sam Baker told a Statesboro, GA. newspaper last week that both schools had officially been invited to join the CAA but a statement from Dwight Johnson, Chair of the Athletics Committee, said "no formal invitation has been extended by the CAA at this time."
Johnson continued by saying "the Colonial Athletic Association has been in contact with the College of Charleston about the College's potential interest in joining the league."
CofC Athletic Director Joe Hull says before any decision is made the Athletics Committee will make a complete analysis of the pros and cons.
"We divided them into areas. Pure athletics, things that are economic and then factors that really involve the campus at large," said Hull. "Travel is a concern from two different points of view. One is the obvious cost of going to more distant places. The bigger issue for me is how much more time will this take from student athletes sitting on a bus or airplane...that's definitely a concern."
Hull said the future of the Southern Conference also adds into the equation, if Georgia Southern and Appalachian State depart in the coming years.
The Athletic Director said the upside of the CAA is it's TV time compared to the SoCon.
"The Colonial... gets dramatically more exposure than the Southern Conference does," said Hull. "I think it's fair to say that in general the Colonial is perceived nationally."
He would go on to say that he "hasn't formed an opinion" on whether or not the Colonial is a better fit for the Cougars than the SoCon, where the College has been since 1998.
The big catch is the $600,000 the College will owe the Southern Conference if it leaves without giving a two year notice. Hull says with that amount of money on the line the Athletics Committee will pick apart every detail about a possible move before making any recommendations.
It's expected a recommendation from the Athletics Committee will be given to the full Board of Trustees on Aug. 3 when the group reconvenes.
July 24, 2012
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials at the College of Charleston held an executive meeting Tuesday morning, and one of the items on the agenda -- whether or not to join the Colonial Athletic Association.
Joining the CAA would mean a whole new schedule of playing different teams. It also means the Cougars will no longer be in the same conference as crosstown rival, The Citadel Bulldogs.
Athletics Director Joe Hull addressed the board Tuesday morning saying he met with coaches and staff about the athletic, economic, and academic issues, and that they all weighed in on the decision.
Hull never mentioned the CAA in his opening statement, but said that true details will be discussed in a closed executive session to be held immediately after.
Finally, BOT member Dwight Johnson brought up the CAA, saying they haven't been given a timeline on the decision.
college officially said that they've been in contact with the CAA but no
official offer has been made. The board mentioned CofC's "potential
interest in joining the league" in a statement but no recommendation has
been made on a decision.
Hull mentioned that the school was intrigued by CAA's television exposure, which he says is much more than that of the Southern Conference.
"The level of television exposure for the Colonial, just looking at men's basketball, the Colonial gets dramatically more exposure than the Southern Conference does," he said.
Though he admits he will act on the behalf of all sports, Hull also says CAA is a better basketball conference, and with that being CofC's main revenue sport, will definitely be considered.
"I always see myself as the AD for 21 teams not just one, if I forget that, I always have coaches that will remind me I'm the athletics director for 21 teams. The success of our basketball program is critical to us but it is not the only concern we've got."
to Hull, SoCon Commissioner John Iamarino has been understanding and helpful in
gathering information about the move. One of the huge factors he says he has to
consider is the $600 thousand the school would have to pay if it were to leave
the SoCon now. In the future that amount could drop to $300 thousand.
Another consideration, Hull says, is missed class time and extensive travel with its associated costs.
"Certainly travel is a concern from two points of view. Certainly one is the cost of going to more distant places, and then the bigger issue for me is how much more time will this take from student athletes sitting on a bus, plane or airport waiting to get to games," Hull said.
Hull says there is no timetable on sending a recommendation to the board of trustees. He says he has to consider all 21 sports.
"There is no timeline," he said. "The board will do their due diligence and take the proper amount of time that it takes to make the right decision. ...I'd be surprised if we make a decision by the board meeting in a few weeks."