Wonder what's behind the CAA's new "travel partner" format? William and Mary Debbie Taylor calls herself the instigator of it, when it comes to the women's teams.
Each team was asked to list five permanent partners in rank order to play home and away for the next three years (10 games), with only the top choice guaranteed. The remaining six “non-permanent partners” rotate through a three-year cycle in which teams face two opponents at home, two opponents away and two opponents home and away (8 games) each year.
Why does this matter? Consider William and Mary's schedule last year. Its five permanent partners were JMU, Wilmington, ODU, VCU and Drexel -- which finished 1-2-3-4-6 in the conference, and it has been like that for the last six years.
Taylor said previously the women's teams had been assigned the same travel partners as the men's teams.
The new format "is all about creating competitive equity in the league," said Taylor, who noted that picking up a few more wins could move a team from the bottom half to the top half of the conference.
The change means ODU and W&M, about 40 minutes apart, will not play each other twice every year anymore.
"In a perfect world, I'd love to play ODU twice," Taylor said. "But I'm more concerned about my schedule being equally balanced."
W&M's new permanent partners are Drexel, George Mason, UNCW, Towson and VCU. For Old Dominion: George Mason, Georgia State, James Madison, UNCW and VCU. For James Madison: George Mason, Hofstra, ODU, Towson and VCU. For George Mason: Delaware, JMU, ODU, Towson and W&M. For VCU: Georgia State, JMU, UNCW, ODU and W&M.