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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 5:33 pm 
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In the style of FiniteMan's series about running various FBS conferences, what would you do if you were the A10 commish? Your current conference lineup is a mix of public and private, football and non-football, rather large at 14 schools, and stretches from Massachusetts to Missouri to North Carolina. What do you do about this potentially unstable lineup? Let's see some ideas!


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 5:48 pm 
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  • I would anticipate a Big East split in 2012-2014.

  • I would let St. Louis, Xavier, and Dayton go join with the non-FB schools.

  • I would honor the FBS desires of Temple and Charlotte and let them go- not sure what conference they would land in though.

  • I would encourage my 2 remaining publics- UMass and Rhode Island- to join up with the America East Conference, and have that conference start FCS football.


With the A-10 down to 7, and only two playing scholarship FCS football (Richmond and Duquesne), I build on the theme of becoming the number two non-FB conference in the east coast big media markets (behind Big East non-FBs after split). I would add the following schools:

Siena (MAAC)
Manhattan (MAAC)
Boston U (America East)
Davidson (SoCon)
Winthrop (Big South)

I know Winthrop would be the only public in this arrangement, but they are a small school and do provide the Charlotte market. Traveling partners in this new 12-team A10 would be Winthrop-Davidson, Richmond-GW, La Salle-St. Joe's, Manhattan-Fordham, St. Bonnie's-Duquesne, and Boston U-Siena.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:11 pm 
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If you're willing to retain Duquesne, Richmond, adn Fordham and let Davidson and Winthrop in despite playing football in other conferences, why wouldn't you try to retain UMass or Rhode Island? They offer much more to the conference than all the teams you would add. You're supposed to be the A-10 commissioner, not the American East's.


At 14 schools, there's little the A-10 commish could do right now but react. Since Big East basketball will likely target them, here's my shortlist of replacements: Delaware, George Mason, Old Dominion, Albany. I would target Buffalo for non-football if they ever join Big East football. It would gain the conference another large media market.
Hmm, I just noticed the schools were publics. The A-10 has a history of privates and if the Big East takes Dayton and Xavier, the balance will be 6 Catholic 2 private 4 public. In that case, BU may be attractive even if they have deemphasize sports. So would Drexel if St. Joe's and LaSalle agrees. Loyola Chicago and Detroit fit the profile as large Catholic schools in big cities with basketball-rich histories, but would only garner consideration if St. Louis was still in the league.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:04 pm 
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rferry wrote:
If you're willing to retain Duquesne, Richmond, adn Fordham and let Davidson and Winthrop in despite playing football in other conferences, why wouldn't you try to retain UMass or Rhode Island? They offer much more to the conference than all the teams you would add. You're supposed to be the A-10 commissioner, not the American East's.


Richmond and Duquesne are the only ones who play any sort of scholarship football. Fordham is in non-scholarship Patriot, Davidson is in non-scholarship Pioneer (Winthrop does not play football). Non-scholarship = miniscule FB budget. I wouldn't be surprised if any non-scholarship FB teams folded, just like A-10's La Salle did after this past season. By securing the next best crop of non-(scholarship)-football schools, the A-10 could be less vulnerable to future raids from say a stronger CAA. This new conference alignment I think would be more stable. No FBS conference will want these schools, an FCS conference would have a very small chance of securing any of them, and they would be #2 only to the new Big East of all the non-football conferences.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:31 pm 
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While FCS football can impact a school's athletics budget, it's not a true-tale sign of how well a school can fund and compete in basketball and non-revenue sports. Non-football St. John's, FBS South Florida and FCS non-scholarship Georgetown spend the same amount on athletics.
There's really no reason to even consider football. The FCS has a long history of football-only members. The better basketball teams will seek basketball membership in the A10 and football-only membership in another league.
The Atlantic 10 is already to #2 to the ACC and Big East. It's the premier non-football league on the east coast. It's reputation is well above the CAA. It won't take much to retain that status even if they lose Xavier and Dayton. No A10 team would jump to CAA for basketball unless they were downgrading their athletics and seeking to reduce expenses. But put UMass and RI together with Vermont and the promising SUNY schools, you're talking about a strong base for league that could rival your new stable A10. Why even allow them the chance. UMass is one of the A10's flagship programs. You keep them. You don't worry about being stable. Your presence as the top eastern league outside of the ACC and BE keeps you stable. If you start adding programs like Siena and Winthrop, you won't be stable for long as St. Joe's, Richmond and Temple start to explore their options.


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 7:19 am 
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rferry wrote:
While FCS football can impact a school's athletics budget, it's not a true-tale sign of how well a school can fund and compete in basketball and non-revenue sports. Non-football St. John's, FBS South Florida and FCS non-scholarship Georgetown spend the same amount on athletics.
There's really no reason to even consider football. The FCS has a long history of football-only members. The better basketball teams will seek basketball membership in the A10 and football-only membership in another league.
The Atlantic 10 is already to #2 to the ACC and Big East. It's the premier non-football league on the east coast. It's reputation is well above the CAA. It won't take much to retain that status even if they lose Xavier and Dayton. No A10 team would jump to CAA for basketball unless they were downgrading their athletics and seeking to reduce expenses. But put UMass and RI together with Vermont and the promising SUNY schools, you're talking about a strong base for league that could rival your new stable A10. Why even allow them the chance. UMass is one of the A10's flagship programs. You keep them. You don't worry about being stable. Your presence as the top eastern league outside of the ACC and BE keeps you stable. If you start adding programs like Siena and Winthrop, you won't be stable for long as St. Joe's, Richmond and Temple start to explore their options.


The A-10 is a respected basketball conference because of programs like Xavier, Dayton, St. Louis, Temple, Charlotte. In my scenario I had them all leaving the A-10 by each school's own choice, before the A-10 could do anything about it. If all those schools leave, would the A-10 still be considered as good a basketball conference? Would publics George Mason, Old Dominion, Delaware, etc... want to leave a mostly public CAA for a mostly private A-10? What's wrong with schools like Boston U (Boston market), Siena (Albany market), Manhattan (New York market), Winthrop (Charlotte market), Davidson (also Charlotte market)?


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 4:18 pm 
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And you're left with UMass, Rhode Island, GW, Richmond, St. Joe's, Fordham, St. Bonnie and LaSalle. Aside from the last 2, you're talking about some of strongest programs at the FCS or non-football level when not considering football. If anything, you'd want to keep them. Not let them go create a conference that would suddenly be comparable to your own.

BU isn't a sports school and can't really bring any part of the Boston market.
Siena may be private and Catholic, but it's also very small and can't compete against SUNY for local interest.
Davidson's a great school, but too tiny to be the league's southern reach. Public Winthrop doesn't really help either. Also too small, and too regionally known. It's basketball may be on a tear, but it can't compete with College of Charleston (Davidson's fierciest rival) or UNC Wilmington for reputation. For the league to bring in small southern schools, you'd probably have to keep Charlotte or expand into Norfolk.
None of them represent a step forward by the conference. And certainly can't compensate for letting UMass and Rhode Island go.

The first choice should programs similar to UMass, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Joe's, GW and Fordham to help retain the league's stellar reputation. If the long list of publics refuse to drop the CAA or AEC, then perhaps the league would look to retain its Catholic or northeastern image. In which case, Manhattan is certainly attractive. Then consideration for underserved markets like Baltimore (Loyola MD) and Connecticut (Fairfield, Hartford). No school recognized as below St. Bonnie or LaSalle should warrant any interest.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:45 pm 
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Those are all good points that were brought up by rferry. I was trying to make a conference of similar schools, but ended up making some poor choices for schools (save for Manhattan). The A-10 definitely has other options, one of which I think would be interesting to see.

ALTERNATE PROPOSAL:

* I still anticipate a Big East split, and the non-football schools grabbing Dayton, Xavier and St. Louis
* I anticipate the Big East taking UCF and Memphis.
* With an 11-team conference, I invite East Carolina, Marshall, Ohio, Miami of Ohio, and Buffalo. These five plus existing members Temple (already FBS), and Charlotte and UMass (upgrades) form the new A-10 football conference-- in FBS.

The FBS schools might be weary of joining a fledgling FB conference, but I think the basketball strength of this conference would be enough of a benefit to join. This also gives more incentive for Charlotte and UMass to upgrade, knowing they have a conference home when they land.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:10 pm 
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I think St. Louis is out regardless where Memphis moves-moving to the MVC just makes too much sense for St. Louis, and it would allow Memphis to be a football-only school in the Big East and a non-football member in the MVC.

I would try to negotiate exits (behind the scenes of course) for some of the non-FBS members, essentially swapping them with schools in the CAA, SoCon, etc., who plan to upgrade their football programs, yet at the same time looking for ways to use conference resources to promote growth from the existing membership (Rhode Island, George Washington, Charlotte, Massachusetts, etc.).


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 7:50 pm 
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wbyeager wrote:
I think St. Louis is out regardless where Memphis moves-moving to the MVC just makes too much sense for St. Louis, and it would allow Memphis to be a football-only school in the Big East and a non-football member in the MVC.

I would try to negotiate exits (behind the scenes of course) for some of the non-FBS members, essentially swapping them with schools in the CAA, SoCon, etc., who plan to upgrade their football programs, yet at the same time looking for ways to use conference resources to promote growth from the existing membership (Rhode Island, George Washington, Charlotte, Massachusetts, etc.).


I think the main problem for SLU is finding another school to join them in the MVC (football would be a plus it would give them a possible handing over of the reins of the Gateway from the Summit). SIU-E is definitely out, as I'm sure Carbondale would definitely jump ship if that happened. That doesn't leave a major list to choose from without pickpocketing the Horizon/Summit, which is questionable in itself unless you pick up Butler.

As far as the A-10, you hope and pray that Marquette and DePaul choose to stay with rivals UC and UofL instead of going off with the remaining BE non-hoops schools. You try to hold onto Dayton, Xavier, UMass, and St. Joseph's, but you'll probably lose them all, so it's time to cherry-pick the best of the Northeast/Middle Atlantic conferences (Albany, Boston, Vermont, Colonial schools, possibly Davidson).


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 6:50 pm 
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I am amazed about how jaded we all are about the BE.

Just brushing up for anyone not as jaded as us, the BE is a 16 team conference, 8 of which play FBS football and 8 of which don't. They are structured where the football schools cannot outvote the basketball schools and vice versa. It has worked out for the BE since the ACC raid because they are probably the #1 BB conference in the US. They have the dominant teams in the NY and Chicago markets and argueably in Philadelphia as well. That is a LOT of TV sets---~13M right there!

They also have done quite well as a conference with only 8 football members splitting a full share of the BCS revenue. They make more per team than ANY other BCS conference as they have the fewest members. That also increases each schools odds of winning the title and getting into a BCS bowl.

They are making money hand over fist with the current setup, but the reality is conferences like the SEC and big 12 aren't going to be happy with the existing staus quo. There was a though that the BE would fall OUT of the BCS without their strongest schools. The BE conference payout will change if the 8/8 setup remains.

Control of their own schedule, higher per team payouts, and scheduling ease will probably cause the football teams to break away. I think they might consider Memphis, UCF, E. Carolina, Buffalo, and Temple as FBS candidates, but ultimately will pass on all of them.

Memphis is too distant. Great basketball, decent football, poor academic reputation, Small endowment, 27M athletic budget.

UCF is too distant. None of the BE schools want 2 flights to florida. Good Football, so so basketball, decent academic reputation, Small endowment, 25M athletic budget.

ECU is semi distant. So so basketball, decent football, poor academic reputation, Small endowment, 21M athletic budget.

Buffalo is in Syracuse's opinion too CLOSE! So So basketball, improving football, good academic reputation, semi-large endowment, 18M athletic budget.

UMASS might be considered too close for UCONN. Great basketball, good football, good academic reputation, Small endowment, 20M athletic budget.

I think they will stay at 8 football schools to offer themselves future versatility. I could see Army and Navy coming on as football only members. The BCS schools would see those 2 as neutrals and the BE as a more acceptable 10 members.

I think the FB BE would steal 4 non-football schools to complete the conference. Georgetown (DC DMA) is a no brainer. Great basketball, Great market, History, large endowment, and top academic reputation. ND (South bend DMA, Indiana DMA + national and Chicago appeal) is probable. OK basketball, Great markets, History, large endowment, and top academic reputation. Villanova is probable as it gives them Philadelphia DMA without competing in the Eagle's NFL killzone or splitting the BCS pie. Solid basketball, Great market, History, large endowment, and good academic reputation. I think Ultimately they would take St. john's over Depaul as they could use NYC team ---more the center of the conference and in the largest DMA --- over a Chicago team on the fringe of their footprint.

I could also see them writing off the "ND problem" if they thought it wouldn't hurt them with the BCS schools and taking Depaul for the chicago DMA and leaving ND for the BB schools.

But anyway, it should be 12 schools out of those 13 making up the FB BE.

==============================

The Remaining BB BE would probably be:

Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and either ND or DePaul

I think the NCAA would waive their 6/5 rule. Just my opinion. I think there is going to be a lot of conference movement and the rule might make it worse, so you will see it waived.

If it is waived, I think you will see the BB BE look to add schools with TV markets, academics, and VERY developed BB programs (ie. well attended) regardless of originating conference. Religious schools preferred. Travel is not as bad when you don't play football so the conference footprint will probably stretch more. I also expect them to come out with a huge chip on their shoulders against FBS schools, so no schools with FBS aspirations.

Their TV totals will take a big hit so they will want schools that get them into big markets. Look for DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and Detroit to be targeted. Adding 1-2 more NY teams would also make sense as their only NYC representation is is NJ's Seton Hall

The BB BE will still be in the NYC DMA and will either be in the Chicago DMA or have appeal to the Chicago DMA, but will have nothing in between, so step two will be to add BB power schools that fit near one or the other.

With the 6/5 rule waived I agree with everyone else that they would they would raid the A10 for Midwestern powers Dayton, Xavier, and St. Louis. I think it is also likely that George Washington, Fordham, and Saint Joeseph's and (maybe Lasalle) would be considered.

If the rule is not waived, I think the BE would be forced to satisfy it by offering Dayton, Xavier, St. Louis, George Washington, Fordham, and Saint Joeseph's slots.

That would likely be the new 10 school BB BE.

It is possible the BB BE might bring in MVC powers Creighton and Bradley, but I wouldn't be suprised if they are again snubbed for distance and small DMA reasons.

I wouldn't be suprised to see some teams being considered due to their DMA even though their BB programs don't currently merit it. Detroit Mercy and Northeastern or Boston U come to mind. Perhaps a12 school BB BE?

Based on that, I like your logic, but not the exact choices.



dafoeberezin3494 wrote:

  • I would anticipate a Big East split in 2012-2014.

  • I would let St. Louis, Xavier, and Dayton go join with the non-FB schools.

  • I would honor the FBS desires of Temple and Charlotte and let them go- not sure what conference they would land in though.

  • I would encourage my 2 remaining publics- UMass and Rhode Island- to join up with the America East Conference, and have that conference start FCS football.


With the A-10 down to 7, and only two playing scholarship FCS football (Richmond and Duquesne), I build on the theme of becoming the number two non-FB conference in the east coast big media markets (behind Big East non-FBs after split). I would add the following schools:

Siena (MAAC)
Manhattan (MAAC)
Boston U (America East)
Davidson (SoCon)
Winthrop (Big South)


I like the fact that you too look at the conference commisioner job as looking out for the best interests of all your members and not just the survival of the conference. I don't think any schools want to be "let go" but it is a good sentiment.

I also share your appreciation for the AEC schools. Very bright futures for a lot of those schools and I agree it might be a good place for some A10 schools to look for the future.


Last edited by finiteman on Sun May 18, 2008 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 8:17 pm 
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Ok, so at this point I walk into the A10 job with:

Charlotte (moveing to FBS), Duquesne, UMass (with FBS dreams), URI, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Temple (FBS), and either St. Joe's or Lasalle...Probably Lasalle as St. Joe pulls almost double their attendance per game.

A collection of competitve basketball schools with good markets --- Charlotte, Pittsburgh, The Mass Markets, Providence, Richmond, Buffalo, and Philadelphia --- but really a conference with a lot of challenges ahead. There is no reason for those schools to stay together long term.

I would expand to create a future schism that leaves all of the schools in a good situation. I would want to have two conferences when it was all done--- one that resembles what the A10 used to be --- as sensible collection of highly though of privates that play good basketball and have large markets and one that is similar to what the new football Big east will be --- a hybrid FBS conference.

To start, I would need to target potential FBS jumpers and FBS disaffecteds.

The A10 is seen as good academic conference and is seen as a better conference overall than the MAC even without football, as evidenced by the Temple not being willing to join the MAC for all sports.

It is possible that Temple MIGHT take this opportunity to reevaluate MAC full membership. I would pre-empt this by using our superior media money leverage to offer Buffalo, Ohio, and Miami of Ohio a deal they can't refuse --- non-football memberships matching Temple's --- with the knowlege that the league will one day soon be all sports. As the A10 still would have the NY & Boston markets, the money would be better, the competition better, and the academic reputation better, so I think they would bite. The MAC in addition has always been respectful to teams that leave, knowing they may be back. I would be very upfront with the league of my intentions and would express an interest in playing bowl games against them when we get our FBS feet.

I would add FCS publics Old Dominion & Stony Brook and privates Fairfeild, Siena, and Hofstra.

Stony Brook, Fairfeild, and Hofstra are all in the NYC DMA establishing a presence in the nation's largest market. Siena is in the nearby Albany DMA and with Buffalo and St. Bonaventure give the conference a chance to take a strong hold in the state of NY.

All are solid basketball schools with good academics.

So for 5 years it would be a 16 team conference with the top 5 teams from each division making the post season tourney (teams 4&5 in each division would have to play in).

North
UMass, URI, Buffalo, Stony Brook, Fairfield, Siena, Miami of Ohio, Ohio

South
Hofstra, St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, Lasalle, Temple, Richmond, Old Dominion, Charlotte

======================================

Then it would split into a public school FBS hybrid conference and a FCS/IAA mostly privates conference.

======================================

Mostly FBS Eastern American Conference hybrid
Football (9)
UMass, Buffalo, Ohio, Miami of Ohio, Delaware, Temple, VCU, Old Dominion, Charlotte,
Non Football/FCS members (3)
URI, VT, Stony Brook

The non-football members ease UMASS's travel burden in other sports by allowing split division scheduling.

North
VT, UMass, URI, Stony Brook, Delaware, Temple,

South
Buffalo, Ohio, Miami of Ohio, VCU, Old Dominion, Charlotte,

----------------------------------

I might also offer non-football slots to Maine and New Hampshire as adding a couple more academically strong state flagships to your conference doesn't hurt your public perception or goodwill towards you.

If I did that, for scheduling and travel it would be:

North
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, URI, UMASS, Stony Brook, Temple,

West
Ohio, Miami of Ohio, Buffalo, Delaware, VCU, ODU, Charlotte


This conference would have 6 tier 2 Academic schools, 5 tier 3 schools, and 1 Tier 4 school.


============================
All Privates A10
Northeastern
Boston University
Fairfeild
Hofstra
Siena
St. Bonaventure
Duquesne
Drexel
Lasalle
Richmond

Again this should be a pretty good basketball conference.


Last edited by finiteman on Mon May 19, 2008 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 12:04 pm 
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There are no dominant schools in the New York City market.

BTW... the Big East has 9 schools that play FBS football, but one that does not play BIG EAST football. If ever there was a rub...

...of course, part of that rub could be that ND might be the most popular school in Chicago AND New York City. I might be kidding, I might not.


Last edited by pounder on Mon May 19, 2008 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 4:27 pm 
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I'd hope that Stonybrook might emerge as a decent BB school after a few years in the A10, but yeah...not a lot of healthy BB programs in the NY area. Lots of them can play, but very few draw well. I put my conference's money on stonybrook as they are a semi-large state school and could quickly ramp up attendance if they focused on it.


Regarding the ND point, it is a good one.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:20 pm 
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The Atlantic Ten is a gig I'd love to have. If the conference can play its cards right, it could end up as the dominant non-bcs conference on the eastern seaboard. Just as easily, the A10 could be flushed out of the future high major equation and end up a small conference of tiny private schools who can only watch as its once great flagships sail to the American East,CAA or Conference-USA.

Becuase the future of the Atlantic Ten hinges on the moves of other conferences, I will enter my term as commisioner on the following assumptions:

1) The Big East has split into two seperate conferences, one football and one basketball. The new 'football' big east has brought along Notre Dame as a affilate member and Memphis as a full member.

I see Memphis, despite its geographic isolation from the other schools, as the most established school the Big East can choose from. They have the best year in-year out basketball program of the canidates availble and also are one of the few with Big East level institutions always in place. They also would give the Big East a tie in to a new year's day bowl (liberty) and a possible tie in to the other fedex sponsored bowl (orange). As another plus, the state flagship (UT) is 500 miles away and more relevant in Nashville than Memphis.

Notre Dame, even sans football, is still a force to be reckoned with both academically and athletically. The university has a huge fanbase and a large following amoung catholics and non-catholics in both New York and Chicago. If the Big East is to add a non-football school, Notre Dame might be the most logical choice. Also, I feel there is some sort of comraderie between the Big East schools that would keep FiniteMan's scenario from happening -- the Publics would be uninclined to leave thier fellow private peers searching the non-football conference wasteland for a home -- especially with the Atlantic Ten and CAA near full capacity. Seven - Seton Hall, Saint John's, Georgetown, Providence, Villanova, Marquette and DePaul - is a stable number for a new conference.

Also, I doubt the Big East is going to be devastated over losing members third or forth in both alumni and media exposure in thier home markets behind larger state schools, with the possible exception of Villanova. In Villanova's case, the possibility of a resurgent Temple or a future addition of Delaware could gather more of a following in the Philly area than Villanova can by itself.

2) I will note here that the Nine-team Big East is seen as a lion on the prowl, in search of one more solid school to add to the conference pride. If and when a school separates itself from the figurative herd of mid-major antelopes -- be it Massachusetts, Temple, UCF, UNC-Charlotte, ECU or Delaware-- the rest of mid-majors will be helpless to stop the Big East. I concede that this new 'Big East' will desperatly need to solidfy its northeastern footprint, this means that the 'Big East' will likely poach a school from our new 'Atlantic Ten'-- Temple being the most likely suspect. However, it will be a while before any of the northeastern canidates could field a BCS-caliber football team or [other than temple] facilities. For simplicities sake, we'll say the Big East stops expanding at 9 full members for now.

3) The Seven realigned catholic schools provide more in markets, size and compeitition than my Atlantic Ten can. Since 7 is not enough for a stable conference, I will anticipate the new catholic basketball league to expand with three midwestern schools from the A10: Saint Louis, Xavier and Dayton. These three are clear cut choices for the new catholic league, what they bring in markets, endowment and erollment the other competitors just can't match.


I would also like to approach this project with some key goals:

1) I would like to establish two seperate conferences: One of football playing mid-sized publics and the other of acadmeically elite privates. Even more importantly, I want to establish an Atlantic Ten football conference at the FCS level before CAA can move up, using the A10's reputation as a basketball league to draw a few of the schools the CAA wil need to upgrade to the A10.

2) I would like to become the dominant mid-major conference on the East Coast, eclipsing both C-USA and the Sun Belt. I would do this using a similar strategy to C-USA: putting 2nd or 3rd tier mid-sized publics in several of the east coast's largest markets [atlanta, Virginia Beach, Boston, Philadelphia]. The end result of this goal is to raid C-USA for juggernaught UCF, academically and atheltically the crem de la crop of C-USA.

3) To establish an above-par baseball league; Hockey may be big up north, but rarely is sponsered as a conference sport. Baseball will give me a solid third sport, and while I don't think the league will ever be on par with C-USA, it should atleast give me a third sport to fall back on and free time on ESPN.

This leaves me with the following schools [around 2011]:

Publics:
Temple, UMASS, Rhode Island, UNC-Charlotte,
Privates:
George Washington, Duquenese, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Joeseph's, Richmond, La Salle, Fordham

With this setup in mind, I would push expansion up to 14 by adding three football schools. The first school I would choose would be the University of Delaware. With an enrollment around 20,000, a huge endowment and some of the best fan support in FCS, Delaware will one day carry the flag for our newly minted football league. While the program has been down since moving to the tougher CAA, Delaware has a great baseball program historically. The second addition to the Atlantic Ten would be SUNY-Stony Brook. Stony Brook is a mid-sized state university, complete with a solid endowment and focused enough on cademics to join the American Association of Universities (along with SUNY-Buffalo). My third addtion will be Old Dominion University. While James Madison has had more recent football success, Old Dominion is a little bigger, a bit more succesful at basketball and has better academics. More importantly, ODU is smack-dab in the middle of the Norfolk-virginia Beach metro area [1.7 M], which is flush with recruits and tv sets. ODU will have the facilities in place for future FCS football success upon arrival to our conference, but will need commitment and funds for the future.

These new members leave me with seven privates and seven publics. While it is my intention to eventually split the A-10 in two, I would temporarly keep the conference together while UNC-Charlotte and Old Dominion start up their football programs. After Old Dominion has started up its football program, I would take my four FCS publics (Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Old Dominion) along with Stony Brook, Georgia State, Villanova and Richmond secede from the overinflated FCS CAA. Georgia State would be an affiliate member for a few years, with a promise of full membership down the road after I split the conference. All other things equal, I think Villanova would rather follow local rival UDelaware than stay behind in a weakened CAA. I have serious doubts about Rhode Island, SUNY-Stony Brook, and ODU's ability to play at an FBS level, so for now 'Atlantic Ten Football' stays at Division 1-AA.

"Atlantic Ten" Football: Richmond, Georgia State, SUNY-Stony Brook, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Old Dominion, Villanova
Atlantic Ten Publics: Temple, UMASS, Rhode Island, UNC-Charlotte, SUNY-Stony Brook, Deleware, Old Dominion,
Atlantic Ten Privates: George Washington, Duqueneses, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Joesph's, Richmond, La Salle, Fordham

Given some good luck, the Atlantic Ten should be a compeititive FCS football conference by the time 2015 rolls around. The departure of programs UDelaware, Richmond and UMassachusetts has hit the FCS CAA pretty hard, but the conference is far from dead. I would like to maintain a relationship between the A10 and the CAA similar to the one between the WAC and the MWC: Atleast during the early going, I'd like to keep the CAA as a competitive rival if only for sceduling reasons. Yet With the exit of Old Dominion, Georgia State, UMASS, UDelaware, and Richmond, I have sentenced the CAA to life in FCS. Never again can CAA legitimatly think beyond 1-AA.

I would encourage, but not require, UNC-Charlotte to start its football program at the FBS level as an independent. NC-Charlotte will face alot of competition from tobacco road, ECU and the Virginia schools. I'll wager that UNC-Charlotte will be more likely to drum up support for the highest level of football, even if FBS costs more in the first place. It'll probably be roughly 10-15 years for the program to reach FBS play. This coinsides with the timetable I have for Stony Brook and Rhode Island. Hopefully, the A-10 can all upgrade together.

Next would be my plan of attack for FBS level football. Before I split away from the private schools and form my new conference, I would need all eight members to upgrade thier facilities to an FBS acceptable level, around 20k. Georgia State, Delaware and [i think] Old Dominion will have no problem meeting these requirements. UMASS should have the funding, and if they can't build thier own, they can always rent out the Patriots stadium in nearby Foxburo. I'm worried about Stony Brook, as they just spent about 22 million on a stadium 10,000 short from acceptable Division I levels. But they have a large enough endowment and a large enough fanbase in a large enough market that I'm not too worried about it. If you thought Stony Brook was bad, you'll be absoulty terrified about Rhode Island's ability to garner enough funding for Division IA football. The school has A) a less than 100m endowment B) plays in the smallest state in the union and C) plays in a staduim nearly a century old that seats under 6,000. If Rhode Island can't cut it at the game of FBS, then I'll switch them out for the University of New Hampshire, who is in much better shape to reach if not 20k, atleast 15k capacity.

However, I have a plan even for little Rhode Island. I would have the small school take out a 40 million loan -- about twice what Stony Brook paid for thier 10,000 seat wonder -- from the state. I would pay this back over a twenty year period by A) Selling the land and/or the old staduim to developers and B) through my mid-major NCAA tournament earnings and future profits from Body-Bag games with the big east and C) Rights to a local all-rams ppv sports channel, which I hope might just take off given the lack of a major franchise [either NCAA or Pro] in Rhode Island [and yes, I know UCONN and BC are near by, they're just a little less close by than they are in Conneticut and Massachusetts, respectivly] . Even with all these factors, the state would still have to pay atleast a forth of the costs. But with a little good will and a little bit of luck, we might just get Division I football off the ground in America's smallest state. If SUNY-Stony Brook struggles with staduim capacity, I'll use a similar plan for them. However, Stony Brook would be instructed to focus only on staduim expansion -- we could probably cut the accounts paid down to 10 Million. Also, the school may be open to renting from a NY professional team.

I would also encourage (push, not shove) the incoming Universities to expand their basketball seating to around 7k. Delaware, Stony Brook and Georgia State are the only universities to fail this requirement (all three around 5k).

After I have taken care of my facilities, my first item on the agenda is to split away from the private schools in the friendliest and most pleasant way I can. I would try to coax Fordham, Hofstra and Northeastern into creating a new mostly private and acadmically friendly football-only conference. However, Instead of completely outlawing scholarships like the patriot league, I would just limit the scholarships given by 5/8. It would also only be a soft ban; there are no forced scholarship limits and schools are allowed to use or not use as many scholarships as they want to. This keeps the Division 1-AA tournament as a possibility while not playing quite to the level of full-out FCS scholarship football.
I'd offer spots to Georgetown, Holy Cross, William & Mary, Duqunese, SUNY-Albany, Dayton and Marist. With the rising price of travel that's become an obstacle in the far-flung football-only Pioneer League, I'd bet atleast some of the schools would bite.

My Vision is something along these lines, somewhat similar to the NEC:

2015-2020 "Atlantic Ten" Football: Villanova, Richmond, Dayton, Duquenese, Marist, Northeastern, Fordham, SUNY-Albany, Hofstra

As a double-actor and head honcho of the basketball schools, I would take thier half of the conference and expand by three. I'd add Boston University, Northeastern and Hofstra. I would market the conference akin to a 'scholarship-level' Ivy league, which should allow me to snatch Northeastern and Hofstra from the public-oriented CAA. All three of these schools are D/RU, private, and have large endoments (BU 1.1B, NE 500M, Hofstra 200M). This mission syncs up well with the other conference members (Richmond and Fordham notably). Plus, they bring back two markets that were hit hardest during the split, Boston and New York City. Having two teams in Boston would make rivalry games between the two conferences a bit easier. I would hope to keep in touch with my former conferencemates in a Big Ten-ACC challenge kind of way, a friendly relationship where both conferences can benefit from. I would love to solidify this with an academic consortium, and possibly a sport where the two leagues play together (hockey anyone?).

I would wait until UNC-Charlotte's program was off the ground before upgrading the publics to FBS. This should be around 2020, or twelve years into my reign as the Atlantic Ten's commishiner. UNC-Charlotte stabilizes the footprint and gives the conference more continuity. I would invite Georgia State as a full member, and then two more schools into my grand conference: Temple and SUNY-Buffalo. While both of these colleges have struggled as Division I members, they have the endowments, stadiums, and alumni bases to build succesful college teams. Plus, Buffalo brings an AAU level academic program. Both Temple and Buffalo would enjoy playing local teams, while maybe not closer than MAC schools distance wise, are atleast culturally relevant to fans. And both schools would love to have a stable membership to a Northeastern all-sports conference. Given time, I think both Temple and Buffalo can get back on thier feet and atleast draw well for home games.

Our new all-sports league: SUNY-Stony Brook, Delaware, Georgia State, Old Dominion, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,Temple, SUNY-Buffalo, UNC-Charlotte

Our new "Atlantic Ten": George Washington, Duquenese, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Joeseph's, Richmond, La Salle, Fordham , Boston University, Northeastern, Hofstra

Founding members in bold

To answer the third question: Would our new athletic conference be enough to woo Central Florida? Would the new all sports league be dominant mid-major in the eastern seaboard? With the departure of Memphis, C-USA loses its flagship university. What glue will then be holding UCF to a conference that is centered in Texas? Our new league could offer the same level of excellence in academics, baseball and football, and easier travel plus better basketball than C-USA. So if given the offer, I think we could get UCF to bolt for greener pastures. The question is, will they still need a home by the time our new league is fully Division 1 compliant?


Last edited by thelurker on Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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