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 Post subject: The Geography Myth
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:34 pm 
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I'm getting pretty sick of reading about geography concerns for conference alignment. So why don't we just knock this out...

1. Geography Doesn't Matter.
Obviously, it does in some capacity. While the Pac 10 probably isn't considering UConn, in the general sense, it doesn't matter.

For the most part, conference expansion is about increasing your market share, adding more viewers to your TV package. Which basically means, INCREASING the distance between your farthest two conference foes.

Take a look at what the conference distances are now.
It's 950 miles from USC to Washington.
It's 950 miles from Nebraska to Texas A&M
It's 1000 miles from UConn to Marquette
It's 1300 miles from UConn to USF
It's 1300 miles from USF to Marquette
It's 1500 miles from BC to Miami

The idea of Kansas in the Big East seems absurd, but the distance between UConn to Lawrence, Kansas is only 67 miles further than UConn to USF.

2. "Travel Costs" are a joke.
Every media/blogger who's talking about expansion is mentioning travel as a concern for these schools. But this is big time business in college athletics.

I think it goes without saying that Hawai'i has the largest travel expenses in all of Division I. I found online that their travel expenses are $2 million a year.

The difference in travel expenses from one conference to the next is such a small drop in the bucket that virtually any increase in revenue by switching conferences will cover it.

TCU left a conference in which they had two conference opponents via bus trip (Houston, Rice) and one "Road trip" in which they wouldn't have to leave their homes (SMU) for the Mountain West (closest opponent, 650 miles away), so so they could gain a mere $400,000 in TV revenue.

Virtually ANY conference change that will equal more revenue is going to cover travel expenses.

If TCU can absorb being 650 miles from their nearest conference opponent, I think Texas can handle being 860 miles from their closest Big Ten opponent.

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 Post subject: Re: The Geography Myth
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:43 pm 
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Agreed. But some rivalries and culture come into play. So a general footprint is usually used. The northeast and Florida have always been hand-in-hand, so they are an exception to the rule. But once you get out west or in the plains, it's real far from schools on one end to the other end.

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 Post subject: Re: The Geography Myth
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:05 pm 
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As someone who has taught, and done administration, in higher education 36 years, I disagree. During this time, I have had thousands of athletes (some notable ones), student trainers, band members, and cheerleaders in class. I have been on athletic policy study groups and accreditation studies/teams over three decades. I've worked at a BIG TEN University and live in the community. I know the concerns about class attendance policies (and travel expenses). It's not a silent issue. I have seen BIG TEN teams travel, by bus or campus vans, for track meets, field hockey matches, wrestling tournaments, golf events, etc., sometimes on 500 mile plus (one way) journeys. Having a coach or student player plea for accommodation to miss an extra day of class, sometimes two, is not uncommon. This is sometimes in addition to what the policy normally allows, and can sometimes be unexpected, such as a given team making some play-off.


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 Post subject: Re: The Geography Myth
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:16 pm 
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louisvillecard01 wrote:
As someone who has taught, and done administration, in higher education 36 years, I disagree. During this time, I have had thousands of athletes (some notable ones), student trainers, band members, and cheerleaders in class. I have been on athletic policy study groups and accreditation studies/teams over three decades. I've worked at a BIG TEN University and live in the community. I know the concerns about class attendance policies (and travel expenses). It's not a silent issue. I have seen BIG TEN teams travel, by bus or campus vans, for track meets, field hockey matches, wrestling tournaments, golf events, etc., sometimes on 500 mile plus (one way) journeys. Having a coach or student player plea for accommodation to miss an extra day of class, sometimes two, is not uncommon. This is sometimes in addition to what the policy normally allows, and can sometimes be unexpected, such as a given team making some play-off.


I hear that, I've spent time in college athletics as a travel party member with teams in the A-10 and C-USA. I understand the academic issues and travel expenses...

But we're talking about a conference travel schedule. In the grand scheme of things, adding a member that's at a distance doesn't change that much, because you're probably not changing the number of conference games/conference road trips. Texas isn't being ADDED, it's taking the place of a different road trip.

For example. Penn State women's hoops, flying commercial I assume.

This was their conference schedule (18)
Home: Ohio St, Mich St, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Ill, Minn, Wisc,
Away: NWern, Mich St, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Ill, Minn, Wisc

Now, you add Texas for a 12-team league. You're probably going to 16 games because a hoops schedule based on East/West divisions makes total sense (football divisions have nothing to do with it, and the standings could still be 1-12, like C-USA does).

E: PSU, OSU, MSU, Mich, Purdue, Indiana (H/A) W divide up: Iowa, Illinois, Minn, Wisc, Texas, NW

Now their schedule looks like this (16)
Home: OSU, MSU, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Wisc
Away: OSU, MSU, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Texas, Northwestern, Minn

Six road trips are the same.

Instead of Iowa, Ill and Wisc, they go to OSU, Texas, and I gave them two of the three furthest road trips the same year in the E/W split. (Many conferences have issues like this and schedule so two teams in the East wouldn't go to both Texas AND Iowa in the same year, they'd get one at home).

So you're talking about the difference in travel time between flying to Austin vs Ames. It's not that great. It's an hour or two. And it's an hour they are spending on a plane instead of at a hotel room in Ames, anyway.

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