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Conference Options for UAB

Dec
06
2014
By
Category: Atlantic 10 Expansion & Realignment, Atlantic Sun Expansion & Realignment, CAA Expansion & Realignment, College Sports School News, Featured News, NCAA Conference Expansion & Realignment, Ohio Valley Conference Expansion, SoCon Expansion & Realignment, Southland Expansion & Realignment

When UAB announced on 12/1/14 that they were dropping football, the immediate concern by many fans was what Conference USA would do with them. When the conference consolidated following the 2000’s conference shift in college sports, non-football members St. Louis and Charlotte were jettisoned to the Atlantic 10 after DePaul and Marquette joined the then-Big East, as the conference made a move to require all-sports sponsorship for all members.University-of-Alabama-Birmingham

Fast forward to the close of 2014 and UAB is now without a football program.

It seems inevitable that Conference USA will seek a replacement, as with UAB leaving, the conference will be down to only 13 football members. For scheduling purposes, 14 schools would be ideal.

The body of UAB isn’t even warm yet and a number of schools are likely already batting their eyes towards Conference USA.

But before looking at what Conference USA might do, it’s equally important to examine what might happen to UAB.

If forced out of Conference USA, UAB will likely have a number of options for the basketball program and other sports.

Atlantic%2010%20Conference Conference RealignmentThe clear conference choice for UAB basketball is the Atlantic 10. The conference consistently sends multiple basketball programs to the NCAA tournament and has a solid television presence for a a conference outside of the ACC, SEC, Big 12, PAC-12 and Big Ten. Only the Big East has a much stronger television contract over other outside conferences such as the Mountain West and the Atlantic 10.

While the Atlantic 10 footprint appears less desirable for UAB (the majority of the members are in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states), the majority of the schools are in urban areas. This means that the current routine at UAB of flying it’s programs to opponents venues, as it does in Conference USA, would remain. Already at 14 members, would the A10 even consider UAB? Adding a new metro area with 1.1 million people would help the conference. The school would also expand the footprint further into the south. But adding UAB would likely require the A10 to add a 16th school, likely from the same region. After recently adding Davidson, there aren’t many overly attractive options in the region. The College of Charleston, a current CAA member, would be one of the only real option in the region.

After cutting the football program due to budget concerns, a more likely move would be to a conference that would require much less travel.

Ohio%20Valley%20Conference Conference RealignmentNearby, there’s the Ohio Valley Conference. The OVC does not require football as it is an FCS football conference. The conference has had moderate basketball success and rests in the ideal footprint for UAB. Adding a school in Birmingham, AL would be a coup for the OVC as well. The conference already serves as home for an Alabama school in Jacksonville St. The footprint extends to border state Tennessee, where (5) members reside. Nearby Kentucky hosts another (3) schools. So in means of cost analysis, when factoring travel for all UAB sports programs, the OVC is solid option.

Following that same notion, there is the Southern Conference. Southern%20Conference Conference Realignment

Like the OVC, the Southern Conference already serves as a home to an Alabama school with Samford. Most of the conference members are in the Carolinas, giving UAB the potential for moderate recruiting benefits in those areas. As an FCS football conference with non-football members, UAB would not feel any pressure to bring football back. The quality of the lone revenue sport for UAB, basketball, is not as strong as the Atlantic 10 or OVC.

After the OVC and the Southern Conference, the options become either less likely or less desirable.Colonial%20Athletic%20Association Conference Realignment

The CAA becomes the next place for UAB to look. If they are unable to get into the Atlantic 10 and don’t want to be in the nearby OVC, they will likely look at the CAA. Charleston, SC is the nearest member to UAB as the conference membership runs up the coast with schools in North Carolina, Virginia, and further north into the mid-Atlantic and northeast. The CAA once had strong basketball performance as a conference, but those members have since left for other conferences such as Conference USA and the Atlantic 10.

Southland%20Conference Conference RealignmentIf all else fails, UAB will then need to turn to the Southland or Atlantic Sun. The Southland currently has 13 members and adding UAB would only be a bonus for the conference. There is an argument to be made that the Southland could be the best conference home for UAB when factoring in costs. It’s doubtful that UAB would still be without a conference before needing to consider the Atlantic Sun. If UAB seeks membership in the Atlantic Sun, it is a virtual lock that they would extend the invitation.

As things begin to settle down at UAB, they will begin approaching and listening to new conferences regarding their future. And as that process begins, so will the future of the Conference USA membership.

 

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  • alblack56

    The Horizon has invited Northern Kentucky (Atlantic Sun, non-football) to become their 10th member. The NKU regents are meeting this week to vote.

  • robert66667777

    Or the MEAC

  • robert66667777

    would UAB listen to the SWAC by any chance

  • Mad Hatter

    I stand corrected. Even so, the Big 12 can’t be forced to accept a school they have no interest in. They’re free to accept who they want, and not to be forced to accept who they don’t want.

  • David Stroud

    You misread. I said Northern Illinois to the Big 12 as a favor for the Big 10 in case they get forced to take them.

  • David Stroud

    The AD was talking about 22 or 24. He could snatch up Rice, Tulane, Buffalo and Stony Brook since they are AAU schools, and fit in the member schools.

    Missouri is happy in the SEC since they are doing better there out under the shadows of Texas.

    Penn. State is blocking Pittsburgh from joining.

    Syracuse is a no go. They lost their AAU status as well.

    GoRs is blocking the Big 10 from taken schools from the Big 12 and ACC.

  • David Stroud

    Northern Illinois would have the Chicago market, and if the Big 12 do get the Big 12 network? They need more tv sets. Chicago is #2 tv market in the USA. Big 12 could get some top 50 tv markets on the east.

    Northern Illinois
    Cincinnati
    Central Florida
    South Florida
    Memphis
    Old Dominion

    Others in the top 100 or close.
    East Carolina
    Temple
    Georgia Southern
    Georgia State
    Arkansas State- Jonesboro/Little Rock TV Market combined.
    Southern Mississippi
    North Dakota State
    Colorado State
    Air Force
    Middle Tennessee State
    Chattanooga
    Stony Brook/Fordham #1 tv market
    Towson
    Navy
    Toledo
    Akron
    Ball State

    Now, they could gain more money if they could get into those tv markets. It could be a good trade off to get the Big 12 into some of the major TV markets. But, no cable company in those areas want the Big 12 Network since there are no teams that are in those viewer regions. It could be a stepping stone for some of these schools to be part of a P5 conference. One problem is schools like Buffalo, Stony Brook, U. Mass. and U. Conn. could get an invite to join the Big 10. Buffalo and Stony Brook are already AAU schools. U. Mass. and U. Conn. are applying for the status. We have to watch the west side of the Big 12 as well since I read Colorado State and Montana both trying to get AAU status as well.

  • David Stroud

    North Alabama, Jacksonville State and Alabama State are begging to join the conference with Lamar, Liberty and Eastern Kentucky. SBC should not be too choosy on who to invite. The same thing with the WAC when they had football playing members who wanted in, but got snubbed like Lamar, Eastern Washington and Weber State.

  • Boyee

    If the Big East ever expands to 12, it will likely be Saint Louis and a Northeastern school. SLU has had rivalries with both DePaul and Marquette in their C-USA days.

  • Boyee

    It is highly doubtful Northern Illinois, as Group of Five school would be invited to the Big 12 Conference.

  • Boyee

    No other Division I Illinois school fits with the Big Ten Conference in academics as all but Purdue and Northwestern (private and highest ranked academically in the Big Ten) are the flagship public schools of their respective states.

  • Boyee

    If the Big 10 ever goes to 16 and Notre Dame is not an option (as they are in the ACC) Missouri and Pittsburgh are the two best options IMHO.

  • Boyee

    The Atlantic 10 already has 14 full members and 2 field hockey associate members, Their farthest south state is North Carolina with Davidson College. They have no need to expand and certainly not as far south as Alabama.

  • Boyee

    Navy will be a football only member in the American Athletic Conference and a Patriot League member in other sports.

  • Boyee

    If the Big 12 expands Cincinnati will definitely be invited as they help bridge West Virginia to the rest of the league. If they expand it will likely be Cincinnati and a school from the East. UConn will not be invited. as they are in Connecticut. I doubt they’ll expand unless another conference does. I don’t see the current Big East expanding to 12 unless there is more realignment.

  • Boyee

    North Alabama is Division II

  • Boyee

    VCU was in the CAA before joining the Atlantic 10 and UAB was a founding C-USA member.

  • Mad Hatter

    The anti trust lawsuit had nothing to do with getting Utah into the Pac 12. The anti trust lawsuit was filed by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, against the BCS since the BCS didn’t have undefeated Utah in the National Championship game.

    The BCS had six preferred conferences, the ACC, the Big East, the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pac-10 and the SEC. The Mountain West Conference was not part of the BCS preferred six. Shurtleff had to prove, which he wasn’t able to, that the BCS was running a monopoly. His lawsuit never got off the ground.
    If Connecticut and Massachusetts get to be an accredited AAU member, the Big 10 would have no interest in them since their football attendance doesn’t average 20,000 per game.

  • David Stroud

    UALR could bring football back. There was a big news last week about the issue. Little Rock is in need of football games at the college level since Arkansas stiffed them.

  • David Stroud

    South Carolina State could be the school that would be closed down for a year. The lawmakers in the state are putting a bill together to have the school closed down for the 2015 and 2016 year, and then reopen in the fall of 2016-2017 year. That means all sports would be shut down for a year, and re-added after the year. The school is in $100 million dollars debt.

    Also big news out of Little Rock is that the pressure is growing for UALR to re-add football. They will be playing in the War Memorial Stadium if they do. The new AD of the school is the son of former head football coach of Central Arkansas. If they get donations from the community and alum that could foot the bill the bring football and some other sports? They could be the 12th team for the Sun Belt Conference.

  • David Stroud

    Penn. State is blocking Pittsburgh. Missouri is happy now in the SEC. Buffalo and Stony Brook may not have any objections from the other schools. If U. Mass. and U. Conn. gets AAU status? They both could be 15 and 16.

  • David Stroud

    Utah got in because one of the Senators made a threat about anti-trust lawsuit. So, the other states who do not have a school in the P5 conferences could do the same. Just make MWC become a P6 conference, move San Jose State out, then add Montana, North Dakota State and South Dakota State in which would covered those western and central states that have no schools in the P5 be in. Make the AAC as number 7, and add schools like Delaware, U. Mass., URI, Maine, Vermont (turned their club into a varsity team), New Hampshire, Stony Brook, Northern Illinois, Buffalo, James Madison, and some others in the east be part of that power conference. I read that U. Conn. and U. Mass. are gunning for AAU status. If they do get that, you might see both in the Bog 10 in the future.

  • Mad Hatter

    Baylor grads in the Texas State Assembly, threatened to withhold funding from Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech didn’t push to bring Baylor with them to the Big 8.

    The job of the Government is not to blackmail institutes of higher learning if they don’t get what they want. Those Texas State Assembly members over reached on their job title, and acted like a bunch of banana republic dictators drunk on power.

    Many of those State Assembly members paid the price for that decision (among other decisions) when the people of Texas fired them in the elections of 96.

    If politicians have the power to dictate who is going to be in a conference, then the conferences would lose control of their ability to Govern themselves.

    State Legislators who were grads from Ball State would try to force their will upon the Big 12 to accept Ball State, or Indiana and Purdue would lose funding.

    The same would apply with State Legislators in Michigan who were grads of Western, and Central Michigan, or they would withhold funding from Michigan and Michigan State.

    Ohio Legislators who were grads of Miami-Ohio, Toledo, Akron, Kent State and Bowling Green, or they would withhold funding from Ohio State.

    Fill in the state, and conference in the above examples, and there would be chaos in the college ranks as politicians would be controlling conferences. As we know from history, when politicians get their hands on something, it doesn’t end well.

  • David Stroud

    Big 12 was forced to take Baylor because of Texas lawmakers. BYU or TCU were the most wanted team at the time to go to 12 instead of Baylor. Yes, lawmakers do have a say so because they have the purse strings to hand out money for research fundings to the schools. They do not want to jeoperdized that money.

  • Boyee

    If the Big Ten expands to 16 and Notre Dame isn’t an option. I think Missouri and Pittsburgh are the best options, Missouri and Kansas would be unlikely because adding Kansas would likely mean having to add Kansas State. Missouri already has a Big Ten rival in Illinois and Pittsburgh has a potential rivalry with Penn State.

  • Mad Hatter

    Illinois lawmakers have no jurisdiction or control over the Big 10 conference. They have no legal standing to force their will upon an organization to accept what an elected person wants. That’s called abuse of power.

    You’re all over the map with the Big 12. The reality is, your fantasy conference just isn’t going to happen. North Dakota State with their 18,000 dome stadium? Old Dominion who can’t draw 20,000 per game?

    A conference that expands from Fresno and San Diego to West Virginia and Virginia?

    Do you really believe what you type?

  • David Stroud

    South Alabama does not have the history yet. C-USA took Old Dominion and Charlotte from the FCS. Jacksonville State could help boast football right now. There are schools from FCS that wants to go FBS. Several schools are making upgrades on their facilities to go to FBS.

    Eastern Washington
    Missouri State
    Northern Iowa
    Lamar
    Liberty
    Eastern Kentucky
    Jacksonville State
    James Madison
    Delaware (could be as well)

    As it is, FCS is losing their power schools to FBS right now. There are D2 schools want to join D1 that have football, but they are being blocked by the basketball schools, There have been talks that the MVFC and the WAC could merge for football only. I could see the WAC could invite North Dakota State, South Dakota State, South Dakota and Western Illinois as full members. This would give them a home for all sports in the WAC instead of being in 2 conferences. This could also free up spaces for schools that want to move up as well.

    I think the WAC, Southern, Southland, MVC, Big West and CAA all have been a FBS conferences since they had schools that went to bowl games. There are a lot of schools in the Big West talking about re-adding football, and might want to join the MWC as well. If the Big West rejoins the FBS landscape again? Cal-Davis and Cal-Poly could upgrade, Hawaii goes all sports in the Big West. Sacramento State could join them in all sports. San Jose State could move back to Big Sky. UTEP, BYU, UTSA, Houston, Tulsa, Montana, Montana State and Eastern Washington could join MWC. MWC needs to expand as well because they could lose several schools to the next rounds of expansions.

  • David Stroud

    Illinois lawmakers are trying to past a law to force a school like Southern Illinois-Edwardsville unto the Big 10. One problem is that the school do not have a football team except for the club team. The second problem is that they are not AAU. Northern Illinois going to the Big 12 will be a favor for the Big 10 so that they will keep the lawmakers happy in the state of Illinois.

    Yeah, 24 team super conference would be great if you think about it. Each Pod could have their own TV contracts. Like Big 12 West could have their own.

    West:
    BYU (their own TV contract)
    Boise State (their own tv contract for home games)
    Fresno State
    San Diego State
    UNR
    New Mexico

    North:
    Colorado State
    North Dakota State
    Kansas
    Kansas State
    Iowa State
    Illinois State

    South:
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma State
    Baylor
    Texas
    TCU
    Texas Tech

    East:
    West Virginia
    Cincinnati
    Memphis
    Central Florida
    East Carolina
    Old Dominion

    Other schools could fill in like if Texas and Kansas leaves.
    Houston
    Tulane
    UNLV
    Air Force
    Montana
    South Dakota State
    Georgia Southern
    Ohio U.
    Toledo
    Ball State
    La.-Monroe
    La. Tech
    La.-Lafayette
    Southern Mississippi
    Tulsa
    Marshall
    South Florida
    Western Kentucky
    Rice
    SMU
    UTEP
    UTSA
    Arkansas State

  • jimgar73

    You do realize Jacksonville State plays FCS football. You’re suggestion that South Alabama is too new for C-USA makes zero sense.

  • Mad Hatter

    If/when the Big 12 expands, they’ll go after, and get either Central Florida, or South Florida. Central Florida gives them the Orlando market, while South Florida gives them the Tampa/St. Pete market. The Big 12 won’t double down on Florida since they want to expand their broadcast footprint.

    After one of the Florida schools is selected, it will come down to Cincinnati, or Memphis. The Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky area, and the Western Tennessee/Eastern Arkansas/Northern Mississippi area are good recruiting grounds for football. Both schools have solid basketball programs, and the Big 12 wants to give Kansas a new basketball rival now that Missouri is gone.

  • Mad Hatter

    Northern Illinois would be a favor for the Big 10?? Where did you hear that from? There’s a Big 10 bylaw that states all schools that join the Conference have to be part of the AAU, the Association of American Universities. These are very high research Universities. Northern Illinois isn’t even close to being part of the AAU.

    The Big 12 will become a 24 team super conference? I’ll give you this much, you have a great imagination that runs wild.

  • David Stroud

    Matt? When did Alaska Pacific University became a D1 school? NCAA have them listed as an independent in D1.

  • William Epps

    I have heared Cincy, Memphis, ECU, and UCF. Also have heard of South Florida instead of Memphis or ECU.

    In all honesty, they should just take the shot and go to 16 IMO. Grab Cincy, UCF, USF, ECU, Memphis, and Northern Illinois. UCF and USF can be travel partners, WVU with Cincy, NIU with Iowa State, ECU goes with Memphis (not the best pairing, but ECU and Memphis would be the two left). It would grab the best out there east of the Rockies and give the Big 12 footholds in Big 10, SEC, and ACC territory.

    Split it North/South-
    North:
    Iowa St
    NIU
    WVU
    Cincy
    Memphis
    ECU
    Kansas
    Kansas St

    South:
    Texas
    Texas Tech
    Baylor
    TCU
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma St
    UCF
    USF

    Guarantee every North team a game in either Texas or Florida each year. Conf Championship rotates between a North city and a South city every 2-4 years (my rec is host it in Dallas/Tampa for South, KC/Chicago for North). It has to be a minimum of 9 conf games at this point also.

  • David Stroud

    I heard that it might be these 4 teams.

    Cincinnati
    Memphis
    East Carolina
    Central Florida

    East Carolina has the better fan support, and more of a following than people think. It would help bridge between West Virginia to Florida.

    If they go to 6 teams?
    Northern Illinois and South Florida

    Iowa State could go into the east.

    West
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma State
    Kansas
    Kansas State
    Texas
    TCU
    Baylor
    Texas Tech

    East:
    West Virginia
    Central Florida
    South Florida
    Memphis
    South Florida
    Cincinnati
    Iowa State
    East Carolina

    Northern Illinois would be a favor for the Big 10 since it will keep the Illinois lawmakers silent from trying to force another Illinois school from joining the Bih 10.

    Houston would be too many Texas schools in Texas unless Texas is leaving. Rice is way behind the other Texas schools.

    BYU is too far west. Unless the Big 12 will become the first super conference to go to 24 teams with 4 pods of 6. BYU’s only hope now is either PAC 12 goes to 16 to include them, or that The power 5 will announce that power 6 conference to include the MWC. MWC is better than most of the power 5 schools.

  • eb

    UAB vs. VCU in A10….just like old times.

  • William Epps

    Next issue.. rumors out of Big 12 HQ (I live in Dallas) is they are wanting to add 2-4 teams for either the 2015 or 2016 seasons. Outside of BYU, Cincy, and UConn (if any of these 3 were invited, they would accept in a heartbeat) who is really worth it?

  • David Stroud

    Okay. Alabama’s polticians might be investigating this issue if Alabama purposely sabatage UAB because of a grudge from Paul Bear Bryant JR and UAB’s former basketball coach Bartow. Second, business leaders donars and Alumi donated a lot of money to build UAB a new on campus football stadium, and BoTs of Alabama said no. The sme group raised more money to save the football team with extra money donated, and the president and BoTs rejected the money and went ahead and shut down the team. Third, UAB’s president is also an alum of Alabama University. He does not care about UAB, and do what he is told by Alabama University.

  • David Stroud

    Unless there could be an agreement between OVC and C-USA that they could trade schools. This would give OVC UAB and C-USA gets Jacksonville State. South Alabama is way too new when C-uSA have 2 new start up teams with Old Dominion and Charlotte. Troy’s population is too small. Jacksonville State is better. But there are 2 Alabama teams that wants FBS. Alabama State and North Alabama.

  • Travis

    Yes, but you have to assume the new member of the C-USA will come from the SBC. Georgia St. makes the most sense to me, but who knows? That will leave the SBC with 10 football and 10 full members (UTA and UALR not having football teams). I’d add UAB, UMass for football only, and a 12th (the options are endless) for all sports.

  • Rob

    The Horizon League would be a better option than the CAA. Even though UAB isn’t in their footprint, flying from Birmingham to Green Bay is about the same travel time as to El Paso. Unlike most other conferences, the Horizon is at 9 and could use another member. It’s also a non-football conference with other large branch campuses and all schools in bigger cities/metros, and UAB was in the Great Midwest & C-USA with Saint Louis, Marquette, Dayton and others up there.

    The Big South is another option, but the Atlantic Sun has a better profile at this point and would take them so I don’t see that happening.

  • Rob

    The Sun Belt wants a 12th member with football.

  • Phil

    Interesting that the Sun Belt wasn’t included since they have two non-football members









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