After 38 replies on the A-10 board, this proposal still has wings... submitting it here for your consideration and criticism... first post shown here, rest of the discussion available at the given URL link...
First, if you're not one who enjoys "what if" speculation, this post is not intended for you... just pass on by.
I'm a Marshall fan with, at worst, a vivid imagination, and at best, a mind for problem-solving... depends on who you talk to.
With that preface, and assuming you have the time to wade through the idea, I have a proposal for an A-10/CUSA agreement that offers a pro-active initiative for the two to cooperate in an unprecedented way, given their individual and common concerns.
Here's how I posted it on a popular CUSA forum:
1. CUSA football expands with Temple, Toledo, NIU, and WMU, plus an alternating-year arrangement with Army and Navy
so that each competes for the CUSA title every other year, and plays a national independent schedule every other year (while being eligible for CUSA-affiliated bowls every year)... giving the conference a full-blown presence in the lucrative northeast quandrant of the US.
2. Simulatanouesly, the 14-team (i.e., minus the Army/Navy football slot) CUSA basketball conference signs an agreement with the 14 team (i.e., including Temple) A-10. The four best basketball programs from each will come forward from the two conferences to become the Great Eight Conference.
Every four years, the best program from CUSA and the best from the A-10 will get to graduate to the Great Eight, replacing the two worst programs in the G8 over that period.
Great Eight schools will play 14 conference games, and will be committed to play a handful (3 to 5) of OOC games with their original conference. Beyond that, CUSA and A-10 also will have a scheduling agreement for those schools that, in a given year, do not get to play a Great Eight school.
In this arrangement, the A-10 returns to its roots as a ten team league, and CUSA also becomes a ten team league.
Both retain their automatic bids, while the Great Eight, though w/o an automatic bid, becomes arguably the most potent league going, possibly boasting over half of its members to be Big Dance invitees.
In terms of revenue shares, members of the Great Eight get to enjoy the fruit of their success. However, CUSA and A-10 schools continue to benefit from the Great Eight's prowess in two ways:
First, the OOC scheduling arrangement portends money to the CUSA and A-10 schools through normal regular season games.
Second, the hybrid conference's tournament would be set-up to alternate between CUSA and A-10 host cities each year
--meaning that, for example, one year the Great Eight Tournament and the CUSA Tournament may be going on simultaneously in Memphis, then the next year, the Great Eight and A-10 tournaments may be going on simultaneously in Philadelphia. While the tournaments would be distinct from one another in terms of competition, ticket packages would be sold together, and revenues generated from any tournament would be split evenly among all of the schools participating. This could represent an every-other-year bump in revenue for both conferences, above anything they would ordinarily be able to take in separately under the current state.
Then, here's the addendum...
PurplePeopleEater,Feb 18 2004, 10:13 PM
_sturt_,Feb 18 2004, 09:07 PM] I've never been accused of being unimaginative.
How about unrealistic? :P
Yeah... I've been accused of that... it goes with the imaginative territory, so I'm used to it. I'm not one to let conventional thinking or other obstacles cloud my view once a solution has been identified that not only appears to remedy a multitude of problems, but even enhances the product in question.
If I may toot my own horn, I'm a Marshall fan proposing something that [u]isn't
even in Marshall's favor. [/u]
But it's what is in the whole CUSA family's interest
that I'm proposing here.
And there's nothing
proposed that requires new NCAA regulations to accomplish. It can all be done as schools could perceive the benefit to their institution, as they admit what is historically evident (i.e., that the success/demise of the majority of programs in any sport is going to be cyclical), and as they see the synergy (whole greater than individual parts) generated in establishing this format.
We know that Army
are already talking about a scheduling arrangement. Ostensibly, we also know that neither would commit to full membership. But what about a something-in-between that accomplishes what they want to accomplish -- having the opportunity to play a "national" schedule -- yet also entitles them to compete for the CUSA title periodically, and in so doing, fills an important slot in the northeast quadrant group? It's not so much beyond what is already being talked about that it is to be automatically dismissed.
is concerned, this works particularly wonderfully. They effectively, at the least get to continue to play all their best A-10 friends, plus they get to compete in an even stronger league (at least at first), plus they get a CUSA football slot. Nothing there that they'd be too unhappy about.
would be a whole lot more comfortable jumping if they could see stability in it... if they were not on the periphery and could quell the concerns that they could someday fall into a Louisiana Tech-like dilemma. The conference, thus, must establish a footprint, and in adding these schools (or schools like them), that's accomplished.
are good schools, but they're the interchangeable parts to this equation, along with MiamiU
, and conceivably, an eventual UMass
D1a football entry.
The A-10 considers this because it keeps Temple in the fold. But moreover, they consider it because establishing the new elite conference establishes a new income stream, effectively opens up an extra NCAA automatic berth (since what would have been a middling school will now win the conference), and maybe most importantly, vaccinates the conference against the potential for future defections since the elite programs would have less reason to be interested in any "new Big East" scheme.
considers this for practically the same reasons as mentioned for the A-10, and because it legitimately opens up the northeast to their product.
So there's something here that makes a winner out of everyone, or at least, that puts them in a better position than where they're at otherwise.
The only thing that keeps something like this from getting done is people who say "it can't be done"... kinda like when _sturt_ the Astros fan chuckled to himself as people pondered the possibility that Andy Pettitte might be willing to foresake his pinstripes and go home to play in Houston... and the even bigger chuckle when someone said, "wonder if Roger Clemens would come out of retirement to play for the Astros?" I swear it happened last November. I heard those things and I did those things... I wasn't just skeptical, I was a scoffer.
Good ideas have a way of rising to the surface... eventually.
Is there any good idea in this?
Only time will tell.
And one more...
Sturt, you are ignoring the financial realities of the situation
Few, if any, can afford a hodge podge 8 team league flying all over the country every other week, every sport.
It doesn't help long-term financial stability-playing a bunch of a-10 and mac teams will destroy southern attendance (and probably vice versa). Little chance to develop rivalries. Eastern exposure is worthless if not met with tangible tv dollars, and a lot of them.
I guess I didn't make it clear that the Great Eight is only intended as a basketball superconference. Pretty important point.
As it would stand today, CUSA and the A-10 would contribute to a Great Eight Conference
that might arguably look like this:
- St. Joseph's
It's not the MAC in terms of geographical proximity, but it's also not that much beyond the distances that schools in the current CUSA already must negotiate.
And I guess I would question how the rivalry thing is that much affected by this(?). The CUSA schools would still play each other for the most part; ditto the A-10.
Football-wise, with four groups of four schools, geographic rivalries obviously are enhanced -- not eroded.
Finally, your presumption that I'm somehow disappointed in CUSA's "standards" is just plain wrong.
Rather, I'm motivated by the premise that the Big East is going to try to shake things up again sometime down the not-too-distant road, and that CUSA would be wise to be pro-active against that threat to its stability. I think you accomplish that in different ways, but all of those ways are about giving your best programs every advantage you can that will allow them to compete for a national title.
The A-10 faces the same "gathering threat" that CUSA does. And alliances of those who share common threats just about always make some amount of sense, whether you're talking about NATO or talking about NCAA sports.
Thoughts? Positive or negative... likely negative, but all the same, interested in your feedback, fwiw.