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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:38 pm 
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7520.1
Owls move timetable up for I-A
Florida Atlantic will move from Division I-AA next season, and the team must average 15,000 fans per home game the next two seasons to maintain the status.
BY BARRY JACKSON
bjackson@herald.com
Florida Atlantic University, in its third season fielding a football team, will move to Division I-A, the highest level in the sport, coach Howard Schnellenberger said Wednesday.

But the FAU football team, which now competes in Division I-AA, will need to improve its attendance significantly to gain full I-A membership after a two-year trial period.

According to NCAA rules, teams declaring for I-A must average at least 15,000 fans for two required ''provisional membership'' seasons. Despite a 7-2 record and a No. 15 national ranking, FAU has averaged 4,387 fans in its first season at Lockhart Stadium. There is a chance the attendance requirement could be changed by the NCAA to make it more attainable.

The other requirement to attain full I-A status is playing at least five home games against I-A opponents each season. Schnellenberger said that won't be a problem because the Owls intend to join a conference.

The Sun Belt, based in New Orleans, has expressed interest in FAU. Asked if FAU has received an invitation, Schnellenberger said, ''not officially.'' Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said the league is interested in FAU but no vote has been scheduled among conference presidents.

The Sun Belt will make an official site visit to FAU's Boca Raton campus next week, according to FAU athletic director Craig Angelos. If FAU becomes a member of the Sun Belt, it would join in other sports a year or two after it joins for football, Angelos said. FAU's programs, other than football, currently compete in the Atlantic Sun.

The Sun Belt's football members are Arkansas State, Idaho, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, North Texas State and Utah State. Troy State will join next season.

Schnellenberger said next year's move to I-A ``is not too soon. It's just right. It takes five years to build a championship at the Division I level. We were worse starting at Louisville than we were at Florida Atlantic, and we didn't have to tear anything down at Florida Atlantic.''

Schnellenberger insists the attendance requirement, should it remain in place, is ``absolutely doable.''

''Once you schedule I-A teams at home, people will begin to come,'' he said.

Angelos said he hopes to boost attendance by coupling football games with other entertainment options, such as fairs or concerts.

Schnellenberger said he would like to play Miami, Florida and Florida State, but that's unlikely anytime soon.

FAU plans to build an on-campus stadium in the next few years. Angelos said the university is considering a domed football/basketball complex similar to Syracuse's Carrier Dome.



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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:11 pm 
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I like this idea. I think that FAU, Florida A&M, and Florida International should be great SunBelt schools. Especially for the Sun Belt to deal with the losses of New Mexico State and Utah State to the WAC. Idaho and North Texas may be next to go as well, so the Sun Belt will need the replacements. I think the Sun Belt can be a good regional conference as long as Idaho gets out of there. We are the lone Western school (Denver isn't really western) and travel from Idaho to Florida for a conference game seems a bit on the ridiculous side...


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:26 pm 
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"FAU has averaged 4,387 fans in its first season at Lockhart Stadium. There is a chance the attendance requirement could be changed by the NCAA to make it more attainable."


So far this year they are averaging 5,869 which puts them # 79 in IAA. I think it will take more than some home visits by current Sunbelts schools to get the attendance up to IA standards.


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:09 am 
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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-fausunbelt19nov19,0,2112244.story?coll=sfla-sports-headlines

looks like fau is coming to the sunbelt sooner than later with fiu coming up right behind them. this would make up for the loss of the two western schools, but if north texas leaves for the wac, would one more be needed?


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:35 am 
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FIU would make 8.


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:37 am 
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And Florida A&M may also join the conference.


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:49 am 
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FAU, FIU, Florida A&M and Maybe Western Kentucky will join the Sunbelt. Idaho is gone, So is North Texas that leaves Denver which could go to the MCC or A Western Conference soon.

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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:53 pm 
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FAU, FIU, Florida A&M and Maybe Western Kentucky will join the Sunbelt. Idaho is gone, So is North Texas that leaves Denver which could go to the MCC or A Western Conference soon.


The SBC doesn't want to touch FAMU. They will go down in history as having the most poorly planned move up to 1-A in history. They will likely be back down in 1-AA in a couple of years (or they will call the NCAA's bluff and we'll all see the new requirements are a sham). WKU is still four to five years away from a commitment to move up.

UNT is only leaving if they go to C-USA. If the WAC had acted faster and offered UNT/ASU/ULa (pick your combination) immediately after offering USU & NMSU, then UNT would have gone.

Karl Benson waited too long. The SBC schools have had time to crunch numbers and act ... not react. The new WAC's travel budget would eat any SBC school's lunch (other than Idaho). At least with the 'Belt, you are surrounded by teams in your time zone that might actually travel to your games.

The WAC is the Big West II. UNT, ASU & ULa have already been there, done that. We'd rather establish Eastern rivals.

Also, there are already rumors of a new bowl featuring a TBD ACC team and the #2 SBC team, to be played in Miami (SBC has two schools there, plus Miami from the ACC). So, the "SBC only has one bowl game" logic could very quickly be thrown out of the window.


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:22 pm 
Isn't a second bowl invitation for the Sun Belt Conference one of the signs of the approach of the apocalypse? As for FAMU, the move may have been ill-conceived, but at least they have a successful tradition at the I-AA level and conform to the revised attendance standards applicable to I-A. Obviously the prospect of an HBCU at the I-A level is very surprising, but let's give the Rattlers some credit. What are their "shortcomings" other than the obvious?


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:25 pm 
Oh, and the optimism about WKU is expressed like a true partisan...we'll be waiting...


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 4:12 pm 
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Quote:
Isn't a second bowl invitation for the Sun Belt Conference one of the signs of the approach of the apocalypse? As for FAMU, the move may have been ill-conceived, but at least they have a successful tradition at the I-AA level and conform to the revised attendance standards applicable to I-A. Obviously the prospect of an HBCU at the I-A level is very surprising, but let's give the Rattlers some credit. What are their "shortcomings" other than the obvious?


Funny.

As far as FAMU... they have one homegame next year against a 1-A foe. One.

I'm all for a HBCU school at the 1-A level.

I'm all against any school that hasn't planned well joining the Sun Belt.


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 7:26 pm 
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Quote:


Funny.

As far as FAMU... they have one homegame next year against a 1-A foe. One.

I'm all for a HBCU school at the 1-A level.

I'm all against any school that hasn't planned well joining the Sun Belt.


I don't mean to bash the SunBelt so much, because I do think it is an up and coming conference, but didn't they decide to have football because a bunch of teams didn't have a conference? Wouldn't that be seen as not planning well for the jump to 1-A? I think that several independent schools (Utah State, LA-Monroe, etc.) jumped on the sunbelt bus. Big West went away and the remnants of that went to the BELT (Idaho, North Texas, NM State). It seems that several teams all ready in the SunBelt would fit the description of poor planning for 1-A level.

Another conference that would be similar is the MAC. While they have several well established teams, there are many others that aren't doing so well.

I think FAMU wouldn't have any home games against 1-A because they just moved up. I think that the SunBelt will take them. Not only because of FAU and FIU joining, but also because SunBelt might lose another team in the jockeying between the WAC and CUSA after MWC is done. I think that the SunBelt has done a good job as a home for those that didn't have one (Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State) and helped a few programs do well (North Texas, Middle Tennessee, Ark State, etc.) Those schools that have done well are the base to build on and NM State and USU are gone, with Idaho hopefully on its way out. I don't see a problem with the SunBelt helping out some fledgling programs (all 3 florida schools qualify) because they have the good base to build on and make the conference a successful football conference. Not everyone in a conference can be the best member when they enter, but they become much better by being there.


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 11:33 am 
On a more serious note, has the Sun Belt had a season in which more than one team has been bowl-eligible?


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:41 pm 
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Quote:
On a more serious note, has the Sun Belt had a season in which more than one team has been bowl-eligible?


The answer of course is No...
In fact N.Texas went to the 1st New Orleans bowl with a record of 5-6, which required an NCAA ruling. I believe there was another SunBelt team that year who had a winning record, but I wouldn't count that as two bowl eligible teams.

This reinforces the need for the Belt to get up to 9 members!

They have in their infancy been running with no more than 8, which leaves you with 7 league games or less this year because of scheduling conflicts and 4-5 non-league games. If you take this scenario to its logical conclusion, your average Belt team is going to go 1-3 or 0-4 in their non-league schedule, IF they play 1A schools. This would mean at 1-3 you would have to go 5-2 in league to be "bowl eligible" as the 2nd place team in the league, if you get all 7 league games in. Relying on 1AA wins or doing better non-league will not help the SunBelt get a 2nd bowl eligible team.

This requires 8 league games and only 3 non-league. Now you can play the body bag games for revenue, go 0-3, or 1-2 and perhaps get the extra win in league against "similar" competition. This HAS to be the BELT plan if they plan on getting TWO bowl bids. They need a minimum of 9 league teams.
8-)


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 Post subject: FAU to Sunbelt
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:53 pm 
More conference members + more conference games = less non-conference games

Let's face it, most I-A non-conference games for SBC teams are obvious "body bag" games...


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