You've covered an awful lot ground here amigo, small bites. If you pull for a particular SUNYAC program visit the school pages, Twitter, etc, pay attention and visit this board often.
This conference is really no different that any other; the haves and have nots. For every Alabama there's a Vanderbilt. Same logic applies here. If you follow a particular school closely you know which sports they are invested in.
It's off season so now the talk will be about recruits. I myself look for which players are returning, how many are graduating, and the transfer wire. There is a ton of history on the team pages/sunyac page to refer to that might answer some the questions you have as to 'why'. BTW love Canton and what they did this year. That being said, GO LAKERS.