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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 11:59 am 
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Barring some minor miracles, the WAC will likely survive for the foreseeable future, but it certainly has it's work cut out. The sheer number of 1-A schools beyond Texas is not simple to work with as 1 or 2 conferences, even if SJSU drops football. Too many decent schools would be cut off if the MWC took three, even then the numbers don't bear out for that conference to go to 12 any time soon. So let's play along and find out what the WAC must do to prosper:

- As a conference office, quit all whining. However much some of it may be justified, acting like the ship is sinking only makes the passengers act more worried.

- Begin realignment by dropping La. Tech. Don't revisit the Eastern WAC scenario again, especially with weaker schools and markets. The money just doesn't bear our. Be bolstered by the knowledge the MWC won't raid you again any time soon, so take the time to live up to the Western part of your namesake.

- Develop a strategy for how the league can help it's members grow as Universities. Let the schools, Admins., and fans know the league is acting to support each school. What can you do to help them with budgeting and fundraising, with promotion and recruitment, etc. Now more than ever you need to prove your value, and nothing can do that better than highlighting how the WAC can help raise the value and credibility of each member. Good potential from Utah State, and the WAC still has some notable members to build upon.

- Develop (quickly) a long term plan based on the members as of 2005. Be bold, be confident. Make it harder for them to find the MWC that much more attractive, especially knowing that conference has found other expansion plans not viable. Learn the growth trends and the new 1-A landscape and be more proactive than reactive. What could/should the WAC look like in 2025 and how would it benefit it's members?



Maybe the league has done/is doing this, and even if they do Fresno and other may still bolt the first chance they got. Till then it's time to "love the one you're with," and we all know nothing better will happen unless the WAC makes it so. Until the West does overflow with more residents (ie: TV households), I think the WAC will escape a MWC death penalty.


Last edited by gunnerfan on Mon May 03, 2004 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 11:24 am 
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As is referenced elsewhere, the WAC presidents have stated their intent to stay together. Still, I haven't heard of substanially raising exit fees to put teeth behind this oath. The WAC can say they are committed to staying together all they want but until it is made concrete no one will believe it.

I don't have a very optimistic feeling for the future of the WAC. Even if they add Idaho and/or North Texas, they are still at the mercy of the MWC plucking Fresno, Boise et. al.. The day Fresno State leaves is the day SJSU drops football. The same may be said for Boise/Idaho though to a lesser extent. So, IMO, even if the MWC only takes one of those schools, it will be a net two loss. That leaves the WAC scrambling again.

The EWAC/WWAC concept has now shown twice that it doesn't work. I don't see a Sun Belt raid as an option as a result.

I really only see one viable option for the WAC's long-term survival. I am assuming here that Fresno State, Boise State, Hawai'i, and (maybe) Nevada already have their finances in order for an invite to the MWC, otherwise they wouldn't have been lobbying so earlier. If each of these schools have $2,000,000+/- for entrance/exit fees, wouldn't $8,000,000 be a large incentive to entice San Diego State and UNLV to return to the WAC? That should be enough to pay MWC exit fees, waive WAC entrance fees, subsidize lost TV revenue/NCAA credits and maybe some left over to sweeten the pot even more.

I realize that this is nothing more than bribary but its not like that hasn't been done before (ie.Big East/Miami). It also costs FSU, BSU, Hawai'i and Nevada more than the other schools, but they have more to lose if the WAC folds and they are left out of the MWC invite.

Options like this are indeed a long shot, but that, IMO, is all the WAC has left. Mr. Bensen has got to start thinking big if his conference is to survive.



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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 12:20 pm 
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Gumby, I'd hate to think that's all the options the WAC has. Earlier articles mentioned candidate schools that could step in to fill the non-football ranks of the conference. I think this is a good idea. Unlike the BE, the western schools have a greater need for efficient travel arrangements, especially for financially weaker leagues.

What's the rule for a football conference, 8 schools? BSU, Fresno, Hawaii, Nevada, SJSU, NMSU, USU and Idaho. Done. Now, thinking geography and markets, I'd examine the potential of Eastern Washington, Pacific or one of the Portland schools to help fill in the gaps. Could the WAC offer Gonzaga more $$ as a member? What's the potential down at Northern Arizona? Think bold, but most importantly think outside football, because you've got a good base to build on already. If a candidate school has the potential to play football one day, great. If not, at least you've covered the regional aspect and bulked up in other sports to maintain NCAA conference status.

I'd also really attack the basketball angle. MWC seems down in that, while Nevada and USU are doing well. Work on this while four WAC schools can hold their own on the football field.


Last edited by gunnerfan on Tue May 04, 2004 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 12:45 pm 
I believe Mr. Benson and the WAC have been prudent in exploring their options and trying to maintain their conference. Them losing Texas schools and Tulsa in Oklahoma to C-USA is understandable. They brought in Utah State and New Mexico State which were rational moves.
The affected schools in Texas may have visions of yesteryear and a mini-ole Southwest Conference contained therein of C-USA. But, it may prove to offer enhanced security to a few who have been struggling with resources and recognition.
It goes back to geography and the time zone stuff. The WAC has Hawaii which is travel enough for anyone. Their options are few, i. e. Idaho, N. Texas (if willing). If a couple of the Big Sky types, i. e. Montana, Northern Arizona, decide to upgrade, there may be other possibilities, however remote or in the future.
If the WAC takes N. Texas, that at least puts them back somewhere in Texas and would be a distance bridge for LaTech. Does that solve their geography stretch? No. But it would give them a respectable number of teams for scheduling purposes, and at least maintain three of their four bowl tie-ins, if not all.
Of course they will be vulnerable to a future MWC raid. But the MWC is not being aggressive at this time either. The WAC will have those members who see their membership as a marriage of convenience. Not much can be done about that. Schools not in the prime 5 of the current 6 BCS conferences will always have the thinking of jumping to something better if given the opportunity. What's happening in the WAC and SunBelt is the tail-end of the ACC's moves last year and the ripple effect. Strangely, the most impacted conference in terms of membership changes, C-USA, may actually end up better for the long-term.


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 3:44 pm 
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With the # of sponsored sports making them borderline in qualifying as a I-A conference (only qualified conference champs can qualify for BCS bowl #5?-that may be a requirement), I think they desperately need to expand to at least 10. SJSU's instability makes that even more important. I don't think they should make themselves look like the Sun Belt or its predecessor the Big West and try to bring up I-AA schools. They just need to live with the travel.

UNT is claiming it is not interested. I think there is probably some truth or they would have been invited when NMSU and USU were invited (LT was on an island and wasn't going anywhere then-before TCU moved to MWC). But the right deal would get them interested. The WAC has a lot better image than the Sun Belt and better revenues. I don't have any insider's views on what that "deal" might be. But it would probably require at least one other eastern school-ULL most likely. That would mean the WAC inviting UNT and ULL. 12 really doesn't make sense as they might lose a member to the MWC and have to fill that slot again. And I only see 4 viable expansion candidates-UNT, ULL, Idaho and Ark. St. Anybody else is just too far east. That would mean that if Boise were to go to the MWC in 2 or 3 years, the WAC would be stuck at 11.

So I recommend UNT and ULL. It doesn't create too many eastern teams, but gives the eastern teams some close opponents. Given the out of the way location of some of the Sun Belt teams and the competitive airline market in the west, the WAC probably doesn't add too much in cost or time for UNT and ULL (Troy, MTSU, FIU, FAU are a different story).


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 3:55 pm 
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I recommend the WAC stay the WAC.Get rid of LATech and send it back east in exchange for Idaho.It might also be smart to grab UDenver (they just won the NCAA hockey),thus there must be some good backing for an expensive sport.If more programs are needed Sacremento.


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 6:30 pm 
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Even though Las Vegas and San Diego are larger markets, even though Idaho is actually established in 1-A (if by the skin of their teeth), it's more worth the ROI to dangle money in front of Montana... and perhaps Montana State. Montana hasn't totally dismissed the notion of moving up- their issue is being attached to Montana State by the state legislature. The money might help with the issues both schools (two more sports, expansion at MSU) would be faced with in attempting a move up. Montana has greater earning potential (in the short term, anyway).

While on the subject of the Sky...

Code:
BIG SKY FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE

Team            2003 Att         G         2003 Avg       % Cap
Montana       163,532         7            23,362         100.0
Montana St     71,352         6            11,892           78.3
No Arizona      43,749         5              8,750           57.2
Idaho St         45,451         6              7,575           63.1
Weber St        50,995         7              7,285           41.6
Sac St             41,078         6              6,846           32.0
Portland St     37,561         6              6,260           27.2
E Wash           30,909         5              6,182         103.0


Montana State improved by more than 2K over 2002, Montana had stadium expansion from 19K, Northern Arizona improved plenty over 2002 (not even in Top 50 in 2002), Weber and Idaho and Sac all fell by a few hundred, Portland State fell by almost 1.5K, and Eastern Washington (???) probably didn't change much.


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 11:27 pm 
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If we're talking WAC in 2020, how about:

West
Hawaii
Nevada
Boise St.
Idaho
Utah State
New Mexico State

East
Montana
Montana State
Northern Colorado
South Dakota State
North Dakota State
North Dakota

Don't freak on me...we're talking 2020...Fresno has gone on (back) to the MWC...the WAC East represents the flagship institutions of their respective states, or in UNC a presence in the fast-growing Colorado Front Range.

I realize that the East is composed of what are today upper tier I-AA, provisional I-AA, or current II members, but with some football stadium and attendance upgrades could easily make the move in the next 15-16 years.

What the WAC needs to do to make this happen:
Let NDSU, SDSU, UNC do D-I penance in the Mid-Con, schedule them and the Montana schools for tune-up September games in football through say 2012, maybe occasionally giving them a home game towards the end of that period. Take the Montana teams in first, followed by the former D-II NCC schools. Kind of a farm-team system for the conference.

Sure it's crazy, but so is the entire concept of the Sun Belt Conference . . .


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 6:39 am 
Are you smoking Gypsum weed? The Dakota's! The WAC needs bodies and population.

Adding the D2 teams, whose whole state population does not equal the cities of Sacramento, San Jose and Boise?

UM and MSU are great state schools. But they don't offer baseball/softball and are located again in remotely populated areas.

The NCC teams are D2 and will never have the resources or student population to compete at DI.

The WAC will need to expand in large metro markets. Like Sacramento/Davis/Stockton.


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 6:45 am 
Plus, if the Big Sky said 'no thanks' to the Dakota's, what makes you think the WAC would even consider them?


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 7:03 am 
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The NCC teams are D2 and will never have the resources or student population to compete at DI.



UNC, NDSU, and SDSU are already going D-I, and have resources and student populations similar to MWC member Wyoming. Speaking of that, the state of Wyoming has the smallest population in the Union so I don't think it is all about population size. Some of it comes down to support, and we are talking 2020.



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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 7:19 am 
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Quote:
.

What's the rule for a football conference, 8 schools? BSU, Fresno, Hawaii, Nevada, SJSU, NMSU, USU and Idaho. Done. Now, thinking geography and markets, I'd examine the potential of Eastern Washington, Pacific or one of the Portland schools to help fill in the gaps. Could the WAC offer Gonzaga more $$ as a member? What's the potential down at Northern Arizona? Think bold, but most importantly think outside football, because you've got a good base to build on already. If a candidate school has the potential to play football one day, great. If not, at least you've covered the regional aspect and bulked up in other sports to maintain NCAA conference status.



While the rule is eight for football, IMO nine is the minimum number needed for the WAC. In the years that conference members only host 3 confernces games, I could see USU, SJSU, NMSU and Idaho having trouble scheduling the required 5 home 1-A games. Utah visits USU, UTEP visits NMSU, but Idaho and SJSU will have to schedule constant home and homes. Who is there that would schedule home/home with these schools? I only see the Sun Belt.

While there are some schools with potenticial to make the move out west, this is not the football-crazy southeast. Sacramento State and Montana show the most to me. Montana could move now if they wanted, but they don't. Sac. St. may want to follow the Fresno St. model and make it work. Eastern Washington doesn't have the potential. WSU and Idaho are both within 50 miles. Too little population to support 3 1-A schools. NAU? maybe, I like the 'jacks, but its a project for certain.

I just think it would be worth putting together a substantial proposal to SDSU/UNLV. If accepted, that would cement a long-term future for the WAC.


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 7:20 am 
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Plus, if the Big Sky said 'no thanks' to the Dakota's, what makes you think the WAC would even consider them?


The Big Sky said no in part because of the extremely long probationary period that the NCAA had saddeled us with. Now that this has changed (or is changing) you may see the Big Sky take a second look.

http://www.argusleader.com/sports/Thursdayfeature.shtml

NCAA proposal boosts SDSU's Division I move
Staff & Wire Reports


published: 4/22/2004


South Dakota State's move to Division I athletics received a boost Monday when the NCAA Management Council approved a plan to reduce the probationary period for schools moving up in class.

The plan would reduce to five years the probationary period, during which a school is ineligible for postseason play. It currently is 13 years for men's basketball and seven years for all other sports.

"This takes away a huge barrier," said SDSU athletic director Fred Oien. "I think this will allow us to move much quicker." . . .

SDSU is moving to Division I in all its sports programs except football next fall. Football is moving to Division I-AA and will play in the newly-formed Great West Football Conference.

From the start of the process to move to Division I, Oien, and NDSU athletic directo Gene Taylor, have said that the length of the probation period was a hurdle to getting an invitation to an established conference such as the Big Sky or the Midcontinent.

Now, a school like SDSU, which could produce competitive Division I programs in key sports like men's and women's basketball as soon as next season, could become a much more attractive target for conference expansion.

"This means every freshman we recruit as a senior in high school - and we recruit them this year - if they were to take one redshirt year, they could compete for the national championship in their sport," Oien said Wednesday.

"This waiting period seemed long, and it seemed like an argument not to do it, but (now) it'll be pretty short in the lifespan of the university."

The proposal will be forwarded to the NCAA Board of Directors this summer. Its approval is considered a formality because it did not receive opposition at the Management Council level.

"When we were out there talking to people about the Division I move, we knew it was on the horizon, that they were going to try to change it," Oien said of the NCAA proposal.

"We're just glad that our student athletes in every sport, if we're in a qualifying conference, could be in their national championships by 2008-2009."


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 8:38 am 
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Difference between Wyoming and the Dakotas is that the U of Wy is the only public school in the state (outside some JCs, which aren't state-funded IIRC), while you have several smaller public institutions in the Dakotas. As such, the school in Laramie gets what little TLC the state has to offer, and has something of a national reputation for being a good value school. The Dakota schools will be fighting for limited resources.

That being said, Wyoming's attendance this year was a cause for concern (yes, I remember, three November home dates). It's been widely circulated that troubles at Wyoming (which apparently are deeper than just the attendance) is a decent chunk of the reason the MWC was prompted to expand at all.

(Enter sharp transition here, or lack thereof)

A large market like Sacramento is made of people with Bay Area ties, or Central American ties, the politico crowd, plus the more-than-a-smattering of relocations from back east. I don't think that market is a COLLEGE football market, in a state that is proving to not be a strong college football state (Fresno proves the exception to the rule IMO... and USC drew 77K this last season, the HIGHEST they've ever drawn in the Coliseum). The state is so large that it still is a place to recruit heavily, but that hasn't stopped most of the D3 schools, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, Northridge, Pacific, Long Beach, and Fullerton from shutting down. San Jose and Sacramento are competing to be next, and I don't think San Diego State is too far behind (well, I give them upwards of 10 years).

OK, I'll cut the rambling here, but I'm not done yet.


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 Post subject: WAC Realignment
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 8:56 am 
"The Big Sky said no in part because of the extremely long probationary period that the NCAA had saddeled us with. Now that this has changed (or is changing) you may see the Big Sky take a second look."

No reason was given by the Big Sky for not being interested in the Dakota's proposal. That is your definition of why they said No.

the Big Sky like the WAC wants to add bodies and metro markets.


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