"There is no need or demand for Sac St and the few others to move up."
I agree and disagree.
TEXT Sacramento media market is in the top 25 nationally. The population is exploding. The market includes Sac, Stockton, Modesto, N. Valley, Tahoe and into the E. Bay.
I think Sac will invest heavily in at least trying to be a top I-AA prgram, but the long term, 40,000 students projected by 2010, goal is to play regional, peer institutions like San Diego State, San Jose and Nevada. At least that is what the new President has said his goal is. The campus is adding 5K beds to enhance the on-campus community.
40K students provide a nice consistent fee (IRA) for athletic revenue. Sacramento Sports Association supports Sac State 110%. Alex Spanos is bank rolling upgrades to the stadium and soon RWEC, which is already named in his honor.
The Sacramento community is beside themselves with the Kings. The CFL Gold Miners and Surge drew over 25K a game at Hornet stadium. The school almost has the same budget as WAC member and C-USA hopeful La. Tech.
The school is Title IX complient and offers 63 football schollies (Big Sky mandate). The volleyball, MBall, and tennis teams either won or participated in the conferece title.
There is no money in I-AA.
TEXT I would like to see bottom IA schools drop to I-AA. It would add instant credibility and competetiveness to the league. It might allow some schools who have dropped football the ability to re-instate their program. Form some I-AA leagues that are strictly non scholarship like the IVY (Rice, Tulane, SMU, etc.) or have some conference's with cost containment (45-50 schollies max).
IA is becoming semi-pro, keep I-AA a college oriented game. The Sacramento community wants to see competetion at the highest level though. Sac averaged over 11K fans between 99-01 when the team was winning and having players establish new NCAA records (Charles Roberts). The interest is there. Other than our Davis neighbor, there is no hometown team at the IA level in a 125 mile radius.
A new President, AD, executive officers and a recent passing of a huge student referendum has Sac buzzing. I think the people pushing the buttons at Sac are swinging for the fence in fund raising and community awareness saturation. The ultimate goal for Sac is to become another Fresno State, which is a compliment to Fresno.
Hell, our football coach and almost his entire staff are former FSU players/coaches. The new Sac President was at FSU during the 80's and saw the growth.
Logistically, the numbers are there for Sac. Easy airport, baseball/softball, large media market, large student population who has exhibited a desire for growth, 170K alumni, soon facilities.
Exploration of joining the WAC was mentioned by the Pres. in his SOU speach. Something should be announced at or near the start of the Olympic Trials held at Sac. in July.