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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 9:01 pm 
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Southern Conference member East Tennessee State has just announced they will discontinue football after this coming season due to state budget crunch and other finacial issues. Several more IAA Tennesee teams may follow. IAA right now is a mess. A few of the better teams want to move up to IA and a few Div 2 teams would like to move to IAA furhter diluting the quality of play. I would like to see a new divison made up of the non BCS IA schools and the upper level of IAA. Any thoughts on how to save IAA football?


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 9:45 pm 
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What better I-AA teams are currently looking to upgrade to I-A?


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 6:36 am 
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N C A&T has made a public announcement recently that they would explore the possibility. Alabama State made short lived effort last year. FAI, FAU have made it known there goal is to be IA.Both of these schools want to be the first HBC to go 1A. I don't know of any others that have announced a desire but there are several that could meet the attendance requirement better than some MAC and Sunbelt.schools. Delaware, Montana, Applalachian State, Georgia Southern, McNeese State,several of the HBC schools, Eastern Kentucky, Portland State . Maybe Villanova, Furman, Citadel, Richmond. There are a lot more that would be good if the non BCS and upper level schools formed a new division.


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 9:29 am 
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Quote:
What better I-AA teams are currently looking to upgrade to I-A?


SW TX ST has explored the possibility in the past as part of an "image overall" movement that includes a name change to Texas State University at San Marcos, getting rid of the negative connotation that many Americans associate with "Directional schools." The administrators seem to have backed off of the IA idea for now, but the name change push continues.


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 12:10 pm 
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Appalachian State
aka UNC Boone
is looking to improve football crowd capacity and make the jump up to I-A. Probably hoping to move into the MAC.

Just thought yall might be curious


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 12:13 pm 
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btw... Theres alot of talk about C-USA members Tulane, UAB, and Houston maybe dipping down to AA. Their fans will argue it, but its not far fetched. Army will likely have to seriously debate its ability to keep a A football program too.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 8:48 am 
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East Tennessee State to plead case to remain in Southern Conference


By Tommy Bowman
JOURNAL REPORTER


East Tennessee State's decision to drop football after the 2003 season might not lead to specific action by the Southern Conference during its spring meeting, which begins today and runs through Thursday in Myrtle Beach, but it will be the hot topic of discussion.

ETSU wants to stay in the Southern Conference, but will need a waiver from a rule that requires members to play football. It will try to rally support at the meeting.

'We are going to present a case, explaining the context and reasons for our football decision in light of our state-funding situation,' said Dave Mullins, ETSU's athletics director. 'We're going to talk with the members about what we feel are the strengths of our overall program and our history in the conference and the things we think makes us a strong member and see what response we get.'

Roachel Laney, Appalachian State's athletics director, said that he isn't sure that ETSU has enough support to obtain a waiver, which requires a three-quarters majority (nine of 12 votes) from member schools. Laney said that ASU hasn't taken a stance yet, and that it will go to the meeting and listen to what is presented before making a decision whether to vote for keeping ETSU in the conference as a non-football-playing member.

Davidson (which plays football in a lower-level conference) as well as College of Charleston and UNC Greensboro (which don't have football teams) all were granted waivers when they joined the conference.

Danny Morrison, the conference commissioner, said that ETSU's circumstance is a bit different. 'We really haven't had a situation where we've had a member school that has dropped football,' Morrison said.

Laney said that VMI, which is leaving the conference to play football in the Big South, is a somewhat similar case. 'VMI wanted to stay in the league in other sports but not play football,' Laney said. 'They didn't formally ask, but they didn't have the support to do that. Given that we took that stance as a conference, how is that much different than what East Tennessee State is now seeking?'

Mullins said that ETSU probably won't ask for a waiver at this week's meeting but will present its case on Wednesday.

Morrison said that conference members could press for a vote, but that ETSU's fate doesn't have to be decided this week. 'I guess the timing of the request for a waiver is still to be determined and will probably be based on how the dialogue goes,' Morrison said.

Mullins said: 'We're going to play football through the fall, so there's probably not a real advantage to ask for (a waiver) right now. We mainly want to give the whole story and have open dialogue. Everybody has sort of gotten bits and pieces of the story and some have jumped to their own conclusions - we feel without all the information - and it may not make any difference but at least we'd like to have a forum where we can present our case.'

ETSU said earlier this month that it would drop football, citing financial factors including state budget cuts and the fact that the program loses money.

By dropping football, ETSU's ability to meet Title IX gender-equity requirements will be achieved and, with less money funneled toward football, other sports could benefit financially and become more competitive.

Mullins said that the prospect of enhancing other sports isn't the reason for dropping football, but said that the result will eventually mean more money for other programs, many of which he said aren't fully funded.

Transferring money once used for football to strengthen other sports has raised some eyebrows around the conference.

'Football is a major budget factor for a lot of us,' said Jeff Compher, the athletics director at Western Carolina. 'If you don't have it, obviously that creates opportunities for other programs.'

Regardless of whether ETSU stays or leaves, the Southern Conference will have to decide at some point whether to operate with eight football-playing members or seek an additional member. There doesn't appear to be an expansion candidate on the horizon.

'People do like having nine football members - it gives you four home and four away games - but, on the other hand, there have been conferences that have worked well with eight,' Morrison said. 'It will be a very interesting discussion, but our focus right now will be to look at the issue at hand (ETSU's situation).'

Compher said: 'I would hope that our conference will look ahead regardless. We need to be aggressively looking at our future as well as strategically planning what we are going to do. If we're going to grow, and what are we going to look like over the next five to 10 years?'

All agreed that losing ETSU in football is a blow.

'The thing that makes this unique is that here we are out raising money and enhancing our football program and East Tennessee is going in the opposite direction,' said Laney, whose school, in the early stages of a $32 million athletics-facilities enhancement project, is losing one of its chief rivals and most lucrative games with the departure of ETSU. 'We think we're doing the right thing and they think they're doing the right thing.'

Jerry Moore, ASU's football coach, said: 'I hate to see it for the conference. We lost VMI, now East Tennessee State. Those are schools that have been in the conference for a long time.' Moore said he has already received inquiries from players from ETSU's program, and that he expects that a few might wind up with the Mountaineers.

ASU's name has also been bantered about in rumor mills - fueled by speculation of a domino effect that might occur from a shakeup in the Big East if Miami, Boston College and Syracuse bolt for the ACC. The Big East might look for replacements, leaving conferences such as the MAC seeking new additions.

'I think that (speculation) shows what we're trying to do with our facilities and upgrade to give us that type of opportunity, although immediately I don't think it could be done,' Laney said. 'We don't currently meet the criteria to jump into a I-A conference.'



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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 3:43 pm 
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Quote:
What better I-AA teams are currently looking to upgrade to I-A?


Florida A&M is looking into it.
http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/5916476.htm

If they made the move they would be the first historically black college to play Div 1-A football.



To answer the original question, I think the SoCon has a few options available, in no particular order:

1. Coastal Carolina (starts playing Div 1-AA football this season as a member of the Big South)

2. Charleston Southern (Biggest drawback besides the fact they have a weak football program is there are already two SoCon schools in Charleston already.)

3. Gardner Webb (Big South for football only. Top 25 team last year. Would allow SoCon to keep ETSU for everything except football)

4. Savannah State (First year Div 1-AA Indy last season, Give the SoCon another Ga team. Would require all sports.)

5. Florida International (Indy in football, in the Atlantic Sun for other sports. Would allow the SoCon to keep ETSU for everything except football. Is looking to move to Div 1-A in football in the next couple years.)

6. Florida Atlantic (Indy in football, in the SunBelt for all other sports. Would allow the SoCon to keep ETSU for all other sports. Also looking to move to Div 1-A in football in a few years.)

7. Southeastern Lousiana (Opens play this year as Div 1-AA Indy. In Southland for all other sports, allowing the SoCon to keep ETSU for all other sports. Distance from the rest of the SoCon poses a problem.)

8. Stand pat at 8 football schools until the proposed Div 1-A requirements are supposed to go into effect and decide at that point, with the additional schools available, if to expand.

As it stands, the SoCon isn't in that bad of shape even after ETSU drops football. The VMI/Elon swap with the Big South was smart, in as much as Elon has much better potential in football. As long as Ga Southern, Furman, and App. State keep playing they way they have the past few years the SoCon will not only survive, but thrive.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 5:12 pm 
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Quote:


Florida A&M is looking into it.
http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/5916476.htm

If they made the move they would be the first historically black college to play Div 1-A football.



To answer the original question, I think the SoCon has a few options available, in no particular order:

1. Coastal Carolina (starts playing Div 1-AA football this season as a member of the Big South)

2. Charleston Southern (Biggest drawback besides the fact they have a weak football program is there are already two SoCon schools in Charleston already.)

3. Gardner Webb (Big South for football only. Top 25 team last year. Would allow SoCon to keep ETSU for everything except football)

4. Savannah State (First year Div 1-AA Indy last season, Give the SoCon another Ga team. Would require all sports.)

5. Florida International (Indy in football, in the Atlantic Sun for other sports. Would allow the SoCon to keep ETSU for everything except football. Is looking to move to Div 1-A in football in the next couple years.)

6. Florida Atlantic (Indy in football, in the SunBelt for all other sports. Would allow the SoCon to keep ETSU for all other sports. Also looking to move to Div 1-A in football in a few years.)

7. Southeastern Lousiana (Opens play this year as Div 1-AA Indy. In Southland for all other sports, allowing the SoCon to keep ETSU for all other sports. Distance from the rest of the SoCon poses a problem.)

8. Stand pat at 8 football schools until the proposed Div 1-A requirements are supposed to go into effect and decide at that point, with the additional schools available, if to expand.

As it stands, the SoCon isn't in that bad of shape even after ETSU drops football. The VMI/Elon swap with the Big South was smart, in as much as Elon has much better potential in football. As long as Ga Southern, Furman, and App. State keep playing they way they have the past few years the SoCon will not only survive, but thrive.

Slight correction here Catdaddy. FAU has never played in the Sunbelt in any sport. They do compete in the A-Sun for all other sports but football though.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 6:37 pm 
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Quote:
Slight correction here Catdaddy. FAU has never played in the Sunbelt in any sport. They do compete in the A-Sun for all other sports but football though.


My bad, I mixed up FAU and FIU. FAU is the Atlantic Sun school, FIU is in the SunBelt.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 7:10 pm 
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I just can't see the Southern Conference inviting a football-only member. An associate member would simply serve no useful purpose at this time, especially if it were a Miami-area school with sights ultimately set on the I-A ranks (Florida Atlantic/Florida International). Even with the departure of East Tennessee State football, the SoCon should be able to retain its status as one of the premiere conferences in I-AA. With 8 football-playing members, the SoCon will retain its automatic bid for the I-AA Playoffs.

However, it may be in the SoCon's best interest to preemptively expand now lest the other member school from Tennessee (UT-Chattanooga) is forced to resort to measures similar to those of ETSU. If that were to be the case, I think the SoCon would invite Gardner-Webb as an all-sports member, despite its issues with the NCAA and the further rift this would cause between the larger public schools (Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, West Carolina, UT-Chattanooga) and the smaller private schools (Elon, Furman, Wofford). As for the other candidates...

1. Coastal Carolina: while a public school, Coastal does not have a very high enrollment (~6,000) and its football program has yet to take the field.

2. Charleston Southern: as noted, this would leave Charleston with 3 SoCon schools. Charleston Southern would be member of Elon-Furman-Wofford bloc.

3. Gardner-Webb: maybe not the best choice, but probably most realistic.

4. Savannah State: HBCU with serious financial problems and tentative D-I status. Too further emphasize the point, apparently even the MEAC isn't interested.

5. Florida International: as long as Sun Belt remains I-A, I-A football will be ultimate goal for this program.

6. Florida Atlantic: two words: Howard Schnellenburger.

7. Southeastern Louisiana: football program already slated for eventual Southland membership.

While the SoCon still has underlying issues regarding the current composition of its membership and the possibilities for future expansion, do not see any action being taken unless it loses another football member.




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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 10:35 pm 
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A couple of years ago Richmond inquired about playing football in the Southern. They were unsure how the A-10 football schools, which are comprised of mostly CAA basketball schools, would react to the Spiders moving their highly successful basketball program to the A-10. Don't know if that is still an option, but one thing is for sure, with Richmond making a move to build an on campus stadium of less than 10,000 seats some of the SoCon big boys may question their commitment to football. An official at one of the smaller SoCon schools told me a while back if a new conference opportunity presented itself his school would rather be in a league w/o ASU & GSU. Some how I still get the impression that one day a conference with the four smaler SoCon schools may very well link up with some of the A-10 schools in a conference. The Citadel, Elon, Furman, Wofford, William & Mary, Richmond, and possibly Presbyterian (who just built a very nice new stadium of about 7,000). I believe JMU is beginning to see the light so-to-speak as they are planning a new on-campus stadium in the 20,000 seat range and are rapidly outgrowing the other A-10 schools. Western Carolina is also upgrading & expanding their stadium to 16,000. Another situation to be considered is Navy. Several years ago they made some inquiries to the SoCon, but I don't know if they could stand dropping to 1-AA and lose the connection with Army and Air Force. Ideally I'd like to see Navy, Delaware, JMU, ASU, WCU, GSU, and some other regional schools join together in a football only type situation like the Southland.


Last edited by appman on Sun May 25, 2003 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 9:09 am 
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Quote:
I just can't see the Southern Conference inviting a football-only member. An associate member would simply serve no useful purpose at this time, especially if it were a Miami-area school with sights ultimately set on the I-A ranks (Florida Atlantic/Florida International). Even with the departure of East Tennessee State football, the SoCon should be able to retain its status as one of the premiere conferences in I-AA. With 8 football-playing members, the SoCon will retain its automatic bid for the I-AA Playoffs


If you read the bottom par of my post you will see I agree with you. I was just throwing out likely canidates if they did want to remain at 9 for football.
However, associate members in certain sports are common in Div 1-AA conferences so a football only member to the SoCon is not that far a stretch.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 9:57 pm 
GA Southern University stay 1-AA and keep winning them national championships!


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