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The Colonial Athletic Association will be without three teams for the start of the 2012-2013 season.

Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion and Georgia State have announced their schools’ removal from the CAA.

VCU has joined with the Atlantic 10 Conference, which was effective July 1.

While Old Dominion will join Conference USA effective in 2015, the team will play in the CAA for the 2012-2013 season before playing two seasons as independents in the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

GSU will join the Sun Belt conference in 2013-2014.

“ODU left to go play FBS-level football, so did Georgia State, and those were things that the Colonial didn’t offer, so that’s there decision and good luck in the future,” Director of Athletics Mike Waddell said. “In terms of VCU, they had a chance to go to the Atlantic 10, and they made a judgment that they felt was in the best interest for the school and we wish them the best.”

Even though ODU and GSU won’t be leaving the conference until next season, all three teams will be ineligible from all CAA championships, according to CAA bylaws.

VCU has been a powerhouse in the CAA in men’s basketball in recent years.

The Rams made NCAA Tournament appearances the past two years, including their run to the Final Four in 2011.

Men’s Basketball Head Coach Pat Skerry said the loss of VCU to the conference only meant that Towson wouldn’t be able to compare itself to the Rams.

“Our goal is to beat the best teams in the league, so we’d certainly like to measure ourselves against them,” he said. “So it is possible that it helps us that they were ahead of us last year [and now we won’t face them].”

ODU finished second in the CAA Tournament in football last season, but Waddell doesn’t think that losing the Monarchs will affect Towson football.

“Old Dominion’s played football for three years, we’ve played football for 43,” he said. “I’m not too concerned about losing Old Dominion as a football rival because we’ve only played them one time in the history of the program, and we beat them.”

Waddell also said that he didn’t think the CAA would take an overall hit, in terms of football, with the loss of the three teams.

Waddell said the conference has already started to have meetings to find replacements for the three teams in the CAA, but that he could not confirm any teams at this point.

“We had our conference meetings first week in June, we had some meetings the second week of June, we have a strategic plan moving forward and as soon as the league is ready to make that announcement, we’ll make that announcement, but it’s not my place to comment on hypothetical’s, or this school or that school,” he said.

Waddell said the league has also been proactive in replacing the three departing schools, and the end result will only make the CAA a better conference.

“We’ve got a full-on strategic plan moving forward and look forward to a bright future for both the CAA football conference and also the CAA proper, which has to do with sports other than football,” he said. “… At the end of the day we’re going to come out stronger.”

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