The University of Maine football team opens its season against Bryant University on Saturday.
But the Black Bears’ conference, the Colonial Athletic Association, will be losing two New England teams in the next two years as UMass is moving up to the FBS (formerly known as Division I-A) after this season and, following the 2012 season, the University of Rhode Island will drop to a league with a lower number of scholarships. Teams are allowed 63 scholarships in the CAA.
That will leave New Hampshire and financially-strapped Maine in a league with four schools from Virginia (James Madison, Richmond, William and Mary and Old Dominion), along with Towson (Md.), Villanova (Pa.), Georgia State and Delaware.
Can Maine afford to stay in the CAA and should it stay? Should Maine try to team up with New Hampshire and form another conference with schools that are at least in the Northeast (such as Albany and Stony Brook)?
Should Maine seek a northeast league with fewer scholarships although that would mean it would probably be unable to schedule big payday games against FBS schools like Pittsburgh, Syracuse and UConn?
Or should Maine seek a slot in a non-scholarship league like the Patriot League? Or should they drop football and re-institute men’s soccer?
Thanks for taking the time to ponder these questions. I look forward to reading your comments.