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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:31 pm 
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Article out of Hampton Roads with comments from SBC Commish who says that JMU is not interested in joining the SBC and "may" not be interested in jumping to FBS at this time.The SBC has a meeting scheduled for May18-21 where conference expansion is expected to be discussed.Link at http://www.hamptonroads.com/2014/04/sun ... remain-caa


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:30 pm 
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tkalmus wrote:
The Bishin Cutter wrote:
The only thing separating Liberty and Grand Canyon University is a tax-exempt status, and, like I said, based on others' not wanting to work with them, even if it is snobbery, these other schools don't want them as an equal.

No worries, though. Let those FCS upgrade projects see what doing business at the FBS bottom rung is like, especially if the SBC commissioner does his own thing to get a state represented in his conference no matter which school it is. It sounds like this is how Benson might play it, regardless of who's available. So be it, if that's how it's going to be.

Let's not give Liberty or GCU a full pass here, yes there is smome snoobery but its not completely unwarrented.

GCU has only 1 graduate degree, a MBA.

Liberty has a few more but mostly concentrated in religious studies, teaching, & consuling and most of their graduate degrees are online as well.

Like it said a few posts back, the other 'snobby' universities are focusing on real research and improving the value of their degrees (many of which imporved by joining the SBC/FBS), while Liberty/GCU are simply focused on making money and making graduates (and while that last one sounds good many would preface that with the term 'under qualified'). These universities don't match up, none of these schools are going to want to partner with Liberty/GCU in athletics because it tells less knowledgebale people that a degree from Liberty is similar in value to a degree from Georgia State or any other SBC despite a near 300 point SAT gap between the average students of Liberty and the rest of the SBC.

The SBC is a collegiate athletic conference. It only becomes an collegiate academic conference as well if the members choose to treat it as such. In theory, the SBC could create a separate organization for academics, and exclude Liberty.

Whether warranted or not, at some point snobbery becomes irrelevant. If JMU is out, then the SBC is beyond that point. As we all know, conference realignment is primarily about money, and in this case it's not even close. On one hand you have Liberty, which seems infinitely wealthy, and would increase SBC schools' media exposure and attendance, putting cash in each school's coffers. On the other hand you have EKU, which is not ready to move up, and likely would contribute little if anything to the conference - other than fulfilling their strategic plan - for at least a decade. (That is, assuming they don't take Fresno State Alum's advice and get someone like Larry Flynt to pledge $20 million per year to the EKU athletic department.) Liberty has an athletic budget of about $30 million and growing rapidly, while EKU's is about a third of that and scratching for more. In my opinion, Liberty has developed what is probably THE winning business model in their industry - i.e., university education.

How could a Sun Belt school president vote to reject Liberty in favor of EKU under those circumstances? Remember that presidents have a fiduciary duty to do what is best for their universities. Also, keep in mind that SBC schools are all public, and therefore subject to FoIA requests, meaning that all the information available to them when making the decision can - and probably will - be published. In a time when most state universities are begging state legislatures for more funds, I doubt any school president can afford to pass on an opportunity to increase athletics department revenue.

Anyway, regardless of whether the SBC accepts or rejects Liberty, I think this will make a very interesting Harvard Business School Case Study someday.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:53 pm 
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A: DI athletic conferences are also academic associations whether or not anyone wants to acknowledge it. Only the lowest DI conferences don't care much about academics like the Big South, Summit, WAC, and ASun. SoCon and the CAA didn't want to associate athletically nor academically Liberty, I'm not sure how many of those same schools that said no in those conferences will now say yes in their shiny bigger and better new conference.

B: Just an FYI, as a former employee of a University, trust me, it's not hard to get around the FOIA. Typically the admin staff knows when emails get archived and delete/purge any unflattering one prior to that, in fact we had a subject header that relayed the equivalent of "burn after reading" and were sent gentle reminders to clean house when the subject matter was especially sensitive.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:16 pm 
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Dennis wrote:
On one hand you have Liberty, which seems infinitely wealthy, and would increase SBC schools' media exposure and attendance, putting cash in each school's coffers. On the other hand you have EKU, which is not ready to move up, and likely would contribute little if anything to the conference - other than fulfilling their strategic plan - for at least a decade. (That is, assuming they don't take Fresno State Alum's advice and get someone like Larry Flynt to pledge $20 million per year to the EKU athletic department.) Liberty has an athletic budget of about $30 million and growing rapidly, while EKU's is about a third of that and scratching for more. In my opinion, Liberty has developed what is probably THE winning business model in their industry - i.e., university education.


Dennis,
In your presentation to identify some of Liberty's strengths, it is also noting aspects that schools already in the SunBelt conference could be grappling with to determine if they indeed want to pursue a formal association with Liberty. I appreciate you delivering your points. And I have no intent to be overtly critical about them, but to note that what may be seen as merit for Liberty, could be seen as undesirable aspects by those that regard certain initiatives differently.

When it comes to academics and fund-raising, "THE winning business model in their industry" is a red-flag for state-supported (and academically elite private institutions). They shall state, the mission for higher education is not for profit, but to provide the best available educational opportunities for students within their means. These schools are limited, and should be, in engaging in certain unorthodox practices aimed essentially at growth for profit. It could be a war with traditionalists, and certainly Liberty is not unique in exploiting avenues for growth and revenue that traditionalist find counter to their approach to determine what is academic excellence.

I'll make a revelation here. I have an undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University. Also, I had academic (including graduate) and/or employment experiences and other places in the southeast and northeast. I have dealt extensively with distance education, have taught traditional and online classes, written successful state and federal grants, and have served on a couple of occasions as a member of accreditation review teams.

Online classes can be real challenging for students and certainly for the professor if done correctly. I had experience with some students treating such as an endeavor to receive an easy high grade while doing little to no work, though vigorously advising them otherwise. More than a few experienced the negative consequences of procrastination, laziness, and deficient submissions. If a higher education institution uses non-traditional instructional methodology essentially as a means for convenience, low overhead, new tuition, and a new-found openness in terms of acceptance; then major academic compromising is going on if extensive monitoring and firm standards are not in place.

When I was an undergraduate student at Georgia Southern, I asked in a student meeting with administrators why Georgia Southern did not have a football team. This was before they had one, though they had one decades back. The response was as if I asked an absurd question with other students giving a collective sigh. One administrator said there would be nobody really to play close by---maybe The Citadel. Several years later, Georgia Southern had a football program with long-time UGA defensive coordinator, Irk Russell, leading the charge.

I can't say how Georgia Southern or any other SB conference member would ultimately vote on Liberty's membership application. Each needs to ask themselves is Liberty somebody we would want to play regularly in all our spectrum of sports? If the SunBelt Presidents see Liberty as having an advantage in revenue through practices they label as questionable, I expect such shall be a formidable part of the discussion. These schools are seeking to add a "peer"; and even if Liberty delivers on the location, fans, facilities, etc., they (SB schools) are also focused on protecting reputation, their practices, and not affording another an inherent advantage in revenue available for sports. When one group is accountable to state legislatures and system governances for survival, and another is a self-sustaining private entity accountable to their own hierarchy with an unshared mission, there are philosophical and practical differences. Do they choose to bridge the divide?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:32 pm 
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Liberty is not being invited to sbc. Not enough votes or they would have been invited
back in March.
No JMU
No EKU
No Mo st
No Jax st
No coastal
No UMass
No SHSU

Then who? There is only one school within SBC footprint that is ready to join FBS.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:47 pm 
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sec03 wrote:
Dennis wrote:
On one hand you have Liberty, which seems infinitely wealthy, and would increase SBC schools' media exposure and attendance, putting cash in each school's coffers. On the other hand you have EKU, which is not ready to move up, and likely would contribute little if anything to the conference - other than fulfilling their strategic plan - for at least a decade. (That is, assuming they don't take Fresno State Alum's advice and get someone like Larry Flynt to pledge $20 million per year to the EKU athletic department.) Liberty has an athletic budget of about $30 million and growing rapidly, while EKU's is about a third of that and scratching for more. In my opinion, Liberty has developed what is probably THE winning business model in their industry - i.e., university education.

. . . the mission for higher education is not for profit, but to provide the best available educational opportunities for students within their means . . .

This is exactly what Liberty is doing, too. They generate enormous cash flow, but they are a not-for-profit entity, which is why their business model is superior to GCU's -- no taxes, no stockholders, no dividend payments, etc. What they are doing is neither illegal nor unethical, it's just delivered differently.
Quote:
. . . if extensive monitoring and firm standards are not in place . . .

Excellent point. I'm assuming these are already in place at Liberty, as they have 90,000 online students now. But in any case, these are questions the SBC would need to ask, and surely has asked, during their due diligence stage. They would need to ensure that Liberty is not a house of cards that will fall flat at some point. I have no inside information, but I believe if they had not received adequate answers, Karl Benson would not be pushing Liberty so hard.
Quote:
. . . These schools are seeking to add a "peer"; and even if Liberty delivers on the location, fans, facilities, etc., they (SB schools) are also focused on protecting reputation, their practices, and not affording another an inherent advantage in revenue available for sports . . .

The University of Texas gets a lot of money for academic facilities from oil wells on land in West Texas donated by some guy about a century ago, which allows them to spend more of their other revenues on athletics. Does this give them a competitive advantage over other Big 12 schools? Of course. But having Texas spend more on athletics is good for the other schools in their conference, just as having Ohio State spend more on athletics is good for other schools in the Big Ten. The high-spending schools generate more media attention, fill arenas, and ultimately help their conferences get higher media revenue. Having a high-spending Liberty would do the same for the SBC. If the SBC presidents don't take advantage of this opportunity, they could be missing the gravy train. Consider an extreme, though unrealistic, example: suppose the U. of Florida decided to leave the SEC and join the SBC - would the SBC reject them because of their much higher athletics budget? Absolutely not!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:02 pm 
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playa4life wrote:
Liberty is not being invited to sbc. Not enough votes or they would have been invited
back in March.
No JMU
No EKU
No Mo st
No Jax st
No coastal
No UMass
No SHSU

Then who? There is only one school within SBC footprint that is ready to join FBS.


I think you mean a Southland Conference team. If not Sam Houston St, then who?

Stephen F. Austin St? Central Arkansas? Abilene Christian? Houston Baptist? Incarnate Word? McNeese St? Nicholls St? Northwestern St? Southeastern Louisiana?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:21 pm 
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BePcr07 wrote:
playa4life wrote:
Liberty is not being invited to sbc. Not enough votes or they would have been invited
back in March.
No JMU
No EKU
No Mo st
No Jax st
No coastal
No UMass
No SHSU

Then who? There is only one school within SBC footprint that is ready to join FBS.


I think you mean a Southland Conference team. If not Sam Houston St, then who?

Stephen F. Austin St? Central Arkansas? Abilene Christian? Houston Baptist? Incarnate Word? McNeese St? Nicholls St? Northwestern St? Southeastern Louisiana?

HaHa, very funny. I will get the last laugh.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:56 pm 
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playa4life wrote:
BePcr07 wrote:
playa4life wrote:
Liberty is not being invited to sbc. Not enough votes or they would have been invited
back in March.
No JMU
No EKU
No Mo st
No Jax st
No coastal
No UMass
No SHSU

Then who? There is only one school within SBC footprint that is ready to join FBS.


I think you mean a Southland Conference team. If not Sam Houston St, then who?

Stephen F. Austin St? Central Arkansas? Abilene Christian? Houston Baptist? Incarnate Word? McNeese St? Nicholls St? Northwestern St? Southeastern Louisiana?

HaHa, very funny. I will get the last laugh.


Sorry for that, I know you're a homer for Lamar. I do like them as I have a lot of friends who went there.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:17 pm 
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Dennis wrote:
The University of Texas gets a lot of money for academic facilities from oil wells on land in West Texas donated by some guy about a century ago, which allows them to spend more of their other revenues on athletics.

Just FYI, THE University of Texas only receives about 8% of its overall budget from the state, and of that 8% only about a third of that comes from the PUF (Public University Fund). Most of its money comes from tuition, donations/endowment, research/grants, and athletics (yes, athletics contributes to the university's budget, not the other way around like in 99% of other universities).

Texas actually proposed to remove themselves from the PUF, if the State removed the tuition freeze that was put on them by our @$$#*!& Aggie Gov.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:19 pm 
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BePcr07 wrote:
playa4life wrote:
BePcr07 wrote:
playa4life wrote:
Liberty is not being invited to sbc. Not enough votes or they would have been invited
back in March.
No JMU
No EKU
No Mo st
No Jax st
No coastal
No UMass
No SHSU

Then who? There is only one school within SBC footprint that is ready to join FBS.


I think you mean a Southland Conference team. If not Sam Houston St, then who?

Stephen F. Austin St? Central Arkansas? Abilene Christian? Houston Baptist? Incarnate Word? McNeese St? Nicholls St? Northwestern St? Southeastern Louisiana?

HaHa, very funny. I will get the last laugh.


Sorry for that, I know you're a homer for Lamar. I do like them as I have a lot of friends who went there.
Homer or not, Lamar is the only one left that can say yes within 30 days. Plus an admin. told me Lamar was joining the SBC this year.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:53 am 
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There's chatter Benson may be pressing a timeline and/or pushing a school(s) the SB Presidents don't want to assume a remaining spot.

I know it's around the bottom rung of FBS conferences, but starting with adding fb-only Idaho should be a clue that commonality got compromised. Is this a junior example of the old and failed Marinatto doctrine at work? Comparatively, UMass as fb-only MAC made more sense.

I can see why the SB Presidents are urging an eastern division add. They want likeness and compatibility fully evident in projecting their identity as a conference.

Why can't Benson wait until there is a solid consensus with an element of enthusiasm about it? If a CCG has to be delayed a year, so be it. The exception would be a NCAA freeze for any FCS school moving up in the near future. It's not such a cash cow there can't be some wait. If JMU is saying no, and other possibilities are causing friction, then maybe wait and cultivate that interested FBS school (possibly directionally- named) that shows potential and that near all members would find acceptable.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:22 am 
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To be fair to Benson, after James Madison, Liberty appears to be the most ready of the FCS programs, whereas schools like MoSU and EKU are varying distances behind the two VA schools. So, LU has that going for them. Just, you know, let's not look at how they got to be so "ready."

I agree, though. Let the member schools dictate the course of action, not the commissioner. Sealing in the conference with a school many may not want with the logic of "if not us, where can you go" is not going to end well for Benson if the topic is divisive. Maybe movement might be capped for some considerable time...but these kind of things? They're never forgotten. And schools DO hold grudges and act accordingly.

Still, I think JMU, EKU, and MoSU are the real deals. Liberty's the wannabe.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:37 pm 
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why not add NMSU for all sports since everything else they have is better than fb. Then add UMass for fb only, until 2017 or whenever Idaho's contract is up, that gives Mo. St. and EKU to get up to speed. Then drop the fb onlys and add Mo St., EKU for all sports in 2017. Or JMU if they figure out they'll be stuck in FCS for a long time if they don't take the golden ticket.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:21 pm 
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Fresno St. Alum wrote:
why not add NMSU for all sports since everything else they have is better than fb. Then add UMass for fb only, until 2017 or whenever Idaho's contract is up, that gives Mo. St. and EKU to get up to speed. Then drop the fb onlys and add Mo St., EKU for all sports in 2017. Or JMU if they figure out they'll be stuck in FCS for a long time if they don't take the golden ticket.


I like that idea. My concern is that I've heard that Massachusetts football was having monetary issues traveling within the MAC. Would they be willing to travel within the Sun Belt? The closest school would probably be Appalachian St in North Carolina. New Mexico St is good option for the Sun Belt. Its a contiguous state with genuinely decent basketball. There is a gap in the conference in the state of Mississippi, but there aren't any Mississippi schools in FCS worthy of bringing up (Jackson St, Alcorn St, Mississippi Valley St - all SWAC programs). The State of Tennessee could build a contiguous bridge (Austin Peay, UT - Martin, Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee St - 4 in OVC, 1 in SoCon). I'm not sure what all 5 of those schools have said. However, after adding New Mexico St and Idaho (albeit for football only), I'm not convinced contiguousness is important to the Sun Belt. They've also added Howard (Washington, D.C.), NJIT (New Jersey), and Hartwick (New York) for men's soccer which aren't contiguous to the rest of the Sun Belt either.


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