Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?
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Author:  friarfan [ Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

The logical next step in the Northeast is probably not a I-AA team jumping to IA status & joining the Big East. However, that next logical step should be some I-AA teams stepping up to IA & forming a second Eastern football conference.

There are currently 6 BCS conferences & 5 IA non-BCs conferences. Or putting it another way, there is a non-BCS IA conference behind a BCS conference in every region of the country except in the Northeast.

In the South, CUSA & the Sun Belt compete just below the SEC & the ACC. West of the Mississippi, the Mountain wes & the WAC play in the shadows of the Pac Ten & the Big XII.

In the Midwest, the MAC competes in Big ten territory.

But not in the Northeast. There's the Big East or it's I-AA - exept for independents Army & Navy and MAC members Buffalo & Temple.

The real barrier to Northeastern teams moving up to IA is that there is almost no one in IA to schedule in this part of the country outside the Big East. If there were a second IA conference, it would be a lot easier for schools to migrate up from IAA & possibly become candidates for a BCS conference rather than having to make the jump all at once.

UMass & New Hampshire are two of the best teams in I-AA right now - both ranked in the top ten. New Hampshire is among the best for the second year in a row & UMass has been one of the best of I-AA for most of the past decade. Maine is also ranked int he top 25.

Perhaps it's time for thes 3 to join with other current Eastern IA schools to form a conference. Maine & New Hampshire come from small states - but neither are much smaller than Utah, which has TWO successful IA programs - Utah & BYU. They're about the same size as Idaho, which has ranked & undefeated Boise State. If they can buils a successful conference in the Rockies, why not in the East?

How would this look as for starters ?

New Hampshire

(Buffalo is a Great Lakes city & seems like a better fit in the MAC.)

They could look to the national rankings for other members - Richmond & Towson perhaps?

Or a traditional power like Delaware?

Or they could build around geography with more state flagships & consider schools like Rhode Island, SUNY Albany, & SUNY Stony Brook.

Or they could add all or most of the above for a conference of as many as 12 members.

It seems like an idea whose time has come.

Author:  panthersc97 [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:46 am ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?


I think this is an interesting topic but I just don't think that there is the 'will' to get this done by those schools in 1AA.

I think Delaware would be the most obvious choice because they draw so well but time and time again they say they are not interested.

If you could add some more teams to the 'pool' of teams available I would think that you could add YSU to the mix as well as James Madison. While a little out of the footrprint both would be good additions I think - at least in FB. I seriously doubt the MAC would ever be interested in YSU because they are so close to Kent and Akron. JMU was rumored to be thinking about 1A in the future....

Author:  friarfan [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

Panther, you're right about the will unfortunately.

I just wonder if there will eventually be some movement in this direction. The research campuses of SUNY have been gradually upgrading their programs. Stony Brook & Albany in particular have enormous potential. They all went D-I in basketball a few years ago & Albany made a very good showing against UConn in last year's NCAA tournament. Stony Brook, which sits in the heart of Ong Island's almost 7 million population, has been giving special emphsis to football, gradually upgrading both scholarships & facilities. It will be interesting to see where they are 10 years from now.

There has been a niche at UMass for some time now with interest to upgrade. However, there has been no one for them to join with, so what's the point? However, if several schools made the move together, I think that it can happen.

I don't know much about Youngstown State, but i know that James Madison is having a very nice season & has had some other good years in the recent past. I see nothing wrong with expanding the footpring. Atlantic Ten Football already goes down into Virginia & The Big East goes into Ohio. If Buffalo wanted to be included in a I-A conference with the other SUNY schools, then Youngstown wouldn't be much of a stretch.

Author:  panthersc97 [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

Another tought is that are there really enough 1A recruits to go around to a new 1A NE conference?

The reason I brought up YSU was becuase they've been rumored to want to go 1A but I just don't think the MAC would take them. If there is another 1A NE conference AND they need teams to fill it out then YSU might be a team available if say a Delaware or SUNY school doesn't want to go. YSU usually has some strong attendance and has lead the Gateway in attendance since 1997. I think they average around 15k.

Another school too look into is App State but I just think they are too far south. They are also looking at going 1A.

It will be interesting to see how the CAA works out. You could have a 1A NE based conference right there with most of the teams.

Author:  tute79 [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

I find this idea rather intriguing. There are a number of "flagship" schools in the NE, but they are small by 1-A standards and these schools do not seem to have the financial wherewithal to move up to 1-A (at least right now).

Here's what COULD possibly happen. SUNY - Stony Brook (American East) announced their move up to 1-AA over the next few years. They will need a FB home. The Colonial (CAA) has this football amalgamation of 6 CAA schools and 6 others. Old Dominion (CAA) decided to resume FB. It seems unlikely they would be denied a place in CAA Football. That would be 13 teams, and the CAA FB guest schools at that time may start looking elsewhere.

IF the American East decided to sponsor 1-AA FB, that could be a home for SUNY - Stony Brook, and two other current AE 1-AA teams (now in CAA FB) - Maine and New Hampshire. 6 is the critical number to retain an auto-bid. UMass and Rhode Island of the A-10 would likely be interested; possibly Villanova (BE), and less likely Richmond (A-10, but a natural rival with all the CAA Virginia schools).

Here are a few other candidates:
Youngstown State (geographically isolated in the Gateway, soon likely to be forced to travel to Dakota schools).
Temple (committed to the MAC through 2010 only) - if they continue to be pounded in 1-A, would they consider dropping to 1-AA ?

FriarFan suggested Army / Navy (if they struggle as 1-A independents and could play a 1-AA schedule with 4 or more OOC games ?)

Delaware (presumably happy in CAA, but would they like to be part of this new Northeastern flagship league for FB ?)

Any of the other 3 SUNYs (Buffalo - now in 1-A MAC),
Albany (would need to add scholarships to move to 1-AA),
Binghamton (currently does not play FB).

I think there is enough potential here to invite people to a meeting and start some discussion. It hardly seems a stretch to assemble 6-7 interested schools out of this pool.

The American East Conference would need to be the sponsoring agent to make this happen. If the Old Dominion move is in 2009, and Stony Brook moves up about the same time, I would look for Stony Brook to start promoting this idea. They need a home for their FB team.

Author:  pounder [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

If Idaho can move up to 1-A, virtually anyone can. :D

Author:  wbyeager [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

Don't forget Jerry Falwell wants Liberty to move up to I-A. :)

Author:  wbyeager [ Mon May 28, 2007 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

Charlotte, Massachusetts, and Temple are probably the only A-10 schools that could make it. Charlotte obviously will have farther to come than the others.

I think Stony Brook and Albany could very well make it to the Bowl Subdivision if given enough time. Boston University certainly is large enough (27,000+ students) to support a football program and hopefully will revive their program.

In the CAA, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, and Georgia State are all some of the larger schools in the country not in the Bowl Subdivision. George Mason and Georgia State are in the same boat as Charlotte, but already seems to be exploring the possibility of taking the leap. A few more deep runs into the NCAA tournament, and George Mason will find the move easier to make. If Delaware sees its neighbors moving up, they may move up as well.

So the question is, which conference wants to be it? The Atlantic 10 has too much of a basketball reputation for its members to voluntarily leave without a very good reason. America East would have to change over too much of its membership for it to be feasible. Therefore, the CAA would probably be the most likely candidate.

CAA (Bowl Subdivision):

Drexel (no football)
George Mason
Georgia State
Hofstra (plays America East football)
Stony Brook
Old Dominion
Virginia Commonwealth
Wilmington (no football)

The CAA could wind up with East Carolina or Marshall instead of Georgia State as both the CAA and C-USA may want to condense their footprints.

America East (Championship Subdivision):

Binghamton (no football)
Boston University (if they don't move up)
Hartford (no football)
Maine (football from CAA)
Maryland-Baltimore Co (no football)
New Hampshire (football from CAA)
Towson (all sports from CAA)
Vermont (no football)
William & Mary (all sports from CAA)
Football only: Rhode Island, Richmond, Villanova

Atlantic 10:

Dayton (Pioneer League football)
George washington
La Salle
Northeastern (from CAA)
Rhode Island (plays America East football)
Richmond (plays America East football)
St. Bonaventure
St. Joseph's
St. Louis

Author:  panthersc97 [ Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  Why not a 2nd Eastern IA conference?

Delware has constantly maintained that they want to remain 1AA but they are looking at upgrading their athletic facilities. There is no mention of stadium expansion.

NEWARK – The University of Delaware has hired HOK Sport, one of the world’s leading sports architectural firms, to study how UD can best improve its athletic facilities, athletic director Edgar Johnson said today.

Johnson, echoing UD president Patrick Harker, said that improved facilities for weight-training, academic enrichment, medical services and athletic training would be the first priority. Johnson did not know the financial details of the deal.

“They’re going to come in and meet with our staff and our coaches to talk about what our priorities are and how they can help us meet those priorities,” Johnson said.

He added that the best approach to updating 22,000-seat Delaware Stadium, UD’s 56-year-old football facility, will also be explored.

HOK has designed what it terms facility “master plans” for many colleges and universities, including Arizona State, Indiana and Washington. The company has been designing athletic facilities since 1982, including UD’s 5,000-seat basketball arena, the Carpenter Center, which opened in 1992.

Among its larger works have been numerous NFL and Major League Baseball stadiums, including Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and the stadiums under construction for both the Mets and Yankees. HOK has also worked on several NBA and NHL arenas and overseas projects such as Emirates Stadium in London, home of the Arsenal soccer club.

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