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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:19 pm 
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Interesting article out of Fresno discussing how the economic crisis is causing some WAC members,especially Fresno State and Utah State to "rethink" the focus of athletics on their campuses.Unclear whether either school will drop to D-2,but that possibility was mentioned and rejected regarding Fresno in this piece.According to WAC Commish Karl Benson,"all of our schools are at a juncture where they're just trying to tread water".What happens to the WAC if/when one or more of it's members can no longer "tread water"? It should be interesting to see how future budget concerns impact on the athletic programs of various WAC schools. Link at http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/1184179.html


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:29 pm 
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Article out of Utah discussing pressure on the USU administration to cut sports programs and specifically FB.Apparently the USU athletic budget is subsidized at about a 53% rate. Link at http://hjnews.townnews.com/articles/200 ... -08-09.txt


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:45 am 
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Got to think that due to the success of the WAC overall, that sunbelt teams would be willing to fill the void. North Texas is a school that we here about often on here. Maybe even 2-3 teams to add stability.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:42 am 
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Are you sure about that Quinn? I mean, how much would travel costs be versus the increased payout?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:03 am 
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Quinn,Panther,thanks for the posts.WAC schools appear to be in a "tricky" situation where a major source of revenue(state funding) is drying up and they really cannot make major cost cuts without dropping below D-1 requirements.
Looks like they will make all of the limited cuts available and try to hold out(tread water) as long as they can.

The severity of the situation is very problematic and depends almost entirely on how fast the economy can stop bleeding and then get turned around.A big question mark.

If things go wrong the WAC may have some holes to fill.The problem is that the economic problems facing them are also being faced by schools in the Big Sky and the Sunbelt.Depending on when the WAC may send out for reinforcements there may not be that many viable candidates available. This should be a very interesting story to follow.

Another FSU article regarding their financial problems indicating that about 15% of their athletic budget is subsidized. Link at http://collegian.csufresno.edu/2009/02/ ... in-the-red


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:46 am 
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As we progress into the second year of this recession the budget crunch at many state universities gets worse.The University of Idaho is also feeling the economic pain of budget cuts as state spending is slashed.
Article out of Moscow discussing how tension is building between the school's athletic department and other school departments.There currently appears to be a minority view that the school's athletic program should drop from D-1 to D-2.
If the recession drags on will that opinion become the majority view? Link at http://www.uiargonaut.com/content/view/7448/48


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:35 am 
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WAC MB thread discussing financial problems facing WAC schools at http://forums.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=451&f=2368&t=3934937


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:59 am 
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USAToday article discussing the impact of the recession on college athletic budgets.Article covers several conferences with the WAC getting some discussion also.Generally underscores the notion that FY10 may cause some D-1 schools to cut non-revenue sports. Link at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/ ... over_N.htm


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:23 am 
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Articles out of Honolulu discussing the UH athletic department budget situation with the possibility of one of their men's teams being eliminiated.Links at http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/artic ... 00371/1001

and at http://www.starbulletin.com/sports/spor ... sport.html


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:15 am 
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Couple more articles in today's Advertiser regarding UH athletic department financial problems at http://sports.honoluluadvertiser.com/ar ... e=UHSPORTS

and at http://sports.honoluluadvertiser.com/ar ... e=UHSPORTS


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Quinn wrote:
Got to think that due to the success of the WAC overall, that sunbelt teams would be willing to fill the void. North Texas is a school that we here about often on here. Maybe even 2-3 teams to add stability.


I REALLY doubt this. UNT has already turned down the WAC. They are in a conference in better timezones for TV and are upgrading their athletic budget to a point where the WAC would truly be beneath them within 5 years (Probably 27M+ by 2014). No UNT to bridge them and the WAC can forget about ULL or ARKY state.

IMO there are 2 pretty good options for the WAC in managing this. The first is expansion to large markets in the core of their footprint.

The WAC needs to seriously consider adding a school like Sac State. Sacramento is a huge DMA and doesn't have an NFL presence. They have a survivable FBS sized stadium in their on campus 21K hornets stadium, so the biggest hurdle to FBS play is already covered. Additionally, there is 23,000 seat hughes stadium that could fit temp seating in one end zone for one high capacity game a year---possibly as much as 28,000? If the WAC threw out a conditional offer, I think the money for a FB upgrade to FBS would show up from their alumni quickly. Sacramento is centrally located, has no competition from the NFL, and close enough to not only sell out Fresno (3 Hours), San Jose (2 hours), and Reno (2 Hours) home games and travel well to those universities helping their bottom lines. The size and distance from NFL teams makes them likely to be able to sell out vs. a big opponent like Boise, Hawaii, or even Stanford. Their presence would really help the always precarious San Jose St. in the Bay area, league's largest and most important DMA. The protacted nature of NCAA transition time doesn't matter. Once Sac State started playing WAC schools, the TV revenue would start showing up.

UC-Davis would be a smart add as a non-football school. They are 20 Miles from Sac State. (20 miles closer to San Jose St.) They probably don't have the money to expand their stadium for FBS play anytime soon, but if the WAC let them in and SAC State was up on them, maybe that money would show up quicker. Their other programs are strong and the Great West could host their FB in the interim.

Portland State could provide a big TV bump as an all sports member or even as a basketball-only member. If the USFL team leads Portland to expand PGE Park to 30K, that would be a good fit for the WAC as an all-sports member (even though it is not close enough to travel fans like the Sac schools). The situation with their semi-pro baseball team might not allow the stadium expansion to take place, though. It is a fly in site, but with no NFL, PSU could easily be a FBS hit. Portland is a 6 Hour drive from Idaho & Boise State and 10 hours from San Jose or Reno. Don't expect travelling fans from Portland to prop up attendance, but the travel costs would certainly be much less than flying out to Ruston (1663 Miles) or Las Cruces (1180 miles from San Jose).

Non- football Denver would be another smart add although not nearly as smart as Sac State or PSU. Denver has a 20M athletic budget, fits the footprint, is a very good academic school, has a good airport situation in spite of being somewhat distant (about the same distance from San Jose as NMSU), and is another big important DMA. Flying that far to add the Denver market makes a lot more sense than flying for Las Cruces (El Paso DMA). Additionally, the fact that they don't play football would really help. The WAC could initally just add them for basketball. It is the only money sport, so Denver may be OK with that.

NAU as we have discussed in other threads recently is probably considering dropping football. Admitting them temporarily as a basketball only member would give the conference a Pheonix market TV presence and might help NAU save their Big Sky FCS football program---making it a situation the Big Sky might bless.


The WAC athletic departments are seeing state funding at their schools dry up. How do you fix that? How about adding major TV markets and doubling the WAC's native TV DMAs? More TV money could save the conference's athletic departments, but I have been beating this rotting horse for years.

The WAC may have to fire their commisioner before that league takes the steps they need to take.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:55 pm 
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Finiteman,thanks for the post.
Here is MWC MB thread discussing the WAC financial situation at http://www.mwcboard.com/www/forums/inde ... opic=16919


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:49 pm 
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I mentioned a second option that I want to source before I discuss it. This link is from the forum you listed.

http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/1184179.html

A guy by the username of lemoore77 suggests simply cutting the WAC back to a football only conference. This is frankly a pretty decent idea, at least as a starting point. Other regional conferences would likely absorb WAC members. He suggests that WAC could make a standing offer to house members of those co-operating conference if any chose to move up to FBS football. To me, this is a sort of "best of both worlds" scenario --- the WAC survives, all members' travel budgets are dramatically cut, Schools have the ability to renew old rivalries, and they still retain their ability to play in BCS bowls --- but the commisioner and some schools might fight it over a "loss of esteem" and a loss of control over conference membership.

=====

A third option would be to get outliers to become football only members of the WAC. I know that a lot of respondents have a tendency to attack ideas like this as unworkable, but it just takes a little out of the box thinking.

You have 3 outliers that kill travel budgets in the conference. Assume that you will never in a million years get Hawaii out of the conference because you are the closest schools they could play. NMSU and LA Tech are schools you want to make into football only members. That doesn't hurt you marketwise, retains your conference powers, and leaves you with the 7 needed to satisfy the 7/6/5 rule to retain your basketball bid and a very fan friendly footprint.

Now how do you get those two schools to agree to do this? You have to show them the numbers. The status quo has been bleeding them of their competitiveness for years. LA tech has a 10M budget and the state is having major financial issues. NMSU has a 19M budget, but huge travel. If the agreement guarantees neither school will be voted or pushed out of the football conference for the next 20 years and both schools can opt to rejoin the conference as full members in 10 years --- what do they have to lose?

There is no reason for a good basketball conference like the MVC to admit them --- they just add to travel. The southland is a crap basketball conference and only wants teams for football anyway. The Sunbelt has bad blood with LA Tech and would not want to travel to NMSU.

IMO there are two conferences which would consider it and offer shorter or similar travel for the two schools--- the Summit and...get ready for it...the Great West. IMO, the Summit would likely pass. They would NEVER be able to retain LA Tech or NMSU long term, so there is too little gained unless the WAC makes it worth their while via scheduling favors, higher profile tournaments, ect.

The Great West, however, has the world to gain. Consider the following scenario. The WAC agrees to a limited scheduling deal with the western GW teams and agrees to allow all of the GW teams (and LA Tech and NMSU) into a "Great West Division" of the WAC for basketball. End result, the GW teams all suddenly have a legit path to the NCAA tourney if they do well--- upgrading the status of the conference. S. Utah probably would bolt for the "Great WAC". The WAC connection would make it interesting enough for Denver. The WAC would probably want them in to help TV and speed the growth of the GW. The best teams from both divisions would play in the WAC tourney. The WAC schools would usually prevail and make the NCAA Tourney, but the GW schools could legitimately get in with a great regular season and a reasonable WAC tourney run.

Financially, things can be worked out where the WAC retains most of the money. The GW would make their money on tourney bids and greater stature in their TV exposure.

NMSU and LA Tech would probably dominate the GW, resurrecting those basketball programs which have been eroded by years of expensive travel. The WAC schools might actually agree to each surrender a small slice of their increased TV revenue to funnel to NMSU and La Tech to cover their still pronounced travel costs. If the net result is that the western WAC schools each save say 500K in travel costs a year not going to each of those schools in non-revenue sports and pull up to $1M more per school via greater TV revenue, they could sent $250K each to NMSU and LA Tech (---regardless of which conference the WAC partners). In the GW, NMSU and LA Tech would give the GW two more Core schools (to go with Chicago State and UTPA), speeding up their ability to break away from the WAC and claim their own NCAA autobid.

Great WAC basketball
WAC Division
Hawaii
San Jose
Sac State
Portland State (BB only)
UC-Davis (non-football)
UNR
Idaho
Fresno St.
Boise State
Utah State
NAU (BB only)


GW Division
Chicago St.
UTPA
LA Tech
NMSU
SUU
HBU
UVU
Denver
UND
USD
NJIT

That is a huge 11/11 balance. In theory after 5 years (2015), the GW could snag NAU and breakaway. NAU, Chicago St., UTPA, LA Tech, NMSU, SUU, & Denver would satisfy the 7/6/5 rule, giving the GW an autobid in BB. (The GW would make it worth NAU's time for a few more years.) In a couple of years NAU could return to the BSC for Basketball as UVU amd NJ tech become core members of the NCAA.

The WAC would be a 10 team BB conference (+PSU, UCD, and Sac St.) and a 10 team FB conference (current lot + Sac St.).

Convoluted, I know...I am pretty sleepy....but it could make financial sense for all involved.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:56 pm 
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La Tech has vowed never to leave the WAC unless a C-USA spot opened. They see the Sun Belt as below them. Only other senario is a new SWC forms and they join that.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:41 am 
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I wonder how long La Tech can afford that stance. Their old cash cow, women's basketball, has gone into the tank (relatively), and they still outdraw the men by 50%. Football doesn't even outdraw Lafayette or Monroe. They must have quite the donor base to continue shoveling travel money into the conference.

BTW, I find the WAC-as-football-only idea intriguing... but then I noticed some of the same old board shenanigans at play. I wouldn't be surprised to see some reorganizing among Big Sky, Big West, WAC, and possibly other independent schools in order to save on travel costs... MAYBE even WCC schools, as I fancy Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount wishing they could play league games all in SoCal right now. However, Texas schools absorbing New Mexico State seems more plausible to me than western schools taking on all the Texas and further east schools. I could even see some D-2 schools out west making a move to join such a concept.

(Just remind me about this tomorrow... I can come up with a mock-up, but today I have bigger fish to fry, as I speak to support stadium renovation and realignment in Portland.)


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