This weeks "Get through the Summer" piece is actually on I-AA.org, my column called "What's Up Out East?" (or, in the words of an immortal beer ad, WASSSSSUP Out East?) It covers all the eastern conferences, and specilates briefly about the near future of all the eastern I-AA conferences.
I was surprised at Matt Dougherty's and Dave Coulson's reactions on two issues in particular. First was their unanimous feeling that the CAA/A-10 was heading for a split sometime very soon into a CAA and America East conference. I don't feel like it's a slam dunk just yet, unless IUP joins the America East.
Second was their feelings on the Patriot League. Dave felt like the Patriot League was "already there" with the elite in I-AA and would continue to "play games" with the grant-in-aid's in the future to ensure it remains that way. Matt felt like maintaining the need-based scholarship model was the most important thing, and (though he didn't say this explicitly) that no changes to the scholarship model were coming anytime soon.
Scholarships are a hot-button issue for most PL fans, and in the piece I did glance over the button without pushing down on it - I think. I'm planning on a companion piece later this summer (hopefully) talking more in depth about the issue - arguably the biggest topic among PL fans today. I think it is fair to say that although no decision on scholarships is imminent, I do think it fair to say that the discussions are being made, if behind closed doors, on the issue.
Without blowing any future blog posting, I can say that scholarships vs. grant-in-aid's is an extremely complex issue. It goes to the heart and soul of the league, and the principles on which it was founded.
Please feel free to comment on the I-AA.org column here.