Here's an update from the Umass luncheon:
OK this is what I was able to find out speaking privately to some people at the luncheon. The MAC people are coming in early next week for two days and I am not sure if we are making a pitch to them or they are making a pitch to us. UMass is extremely positive in making the move with the chancellor being 100% in favor for the move. This is very important. Shortly after the visit by MAC officials they expect the offer to accept UMass FB ONLY as a MAC member. All of the stuff required, new locker facilities and stadium upgrades/expansion have been/are in the planning stages. I certainly expect that by the first of the year UMass will be a member of the MAC for football.
I must admit that I'm having trouble understanding this potential move. Not from the perspective of UMass -- while there is some downside to them in making the move, there is some upside as well, so certainly the move is at least worth UMass's time to consider. But I don't really understand what the MAC hopes to gain by this -- is it really just "locking in" Temple football (as tute79 suggested)? Given that Temple football just got left out of the 2010 bowl season while some seemingly inferior teams were selected, I have to wonder if Temple football really adds that much value to the conference. (And I do not think it's likely that Temple will move their other sports over to the MAC, so that source of added value doesn't seem viable.) I've also read some things to the effect that this would increase the exposure of the MAC in the Northeast -- but does this exposure really compensate for splitting the (already small) football revenues 14 ways? Is there some other benefit here that I'm just too dense to see?
Again, this is not intended to be a slam on UMass -- they've been a successful program at the I-AA/FCS level, and obviously the potential exists to carry on with that. But, to substantially paraphrase Deep Throat, if the MAC follows the money, what will they see?
Regards, Driver 8