Looking at that (11- StL to CUSA West= 10 ) as my starting point, I think an entirely different approach is required. With the privates in the driver's seat, they might be very much inclined to pick up 4 privates and say the heck to the FBS wannabes. I would make the arguement to them that there is money and long term benefit in delaying their departure a few years.
I would broker very favorable terms from the publics after a future schism (future tournaments, 20-30 year favorable scheduling agreements, etc.) in return for the privates letting the publics add who they like to get back up to 14.
1) Retain FBS and wannabe FBS teams
2) Establish FBS level "Atlantic" brand name as quickly as possible.
3) Pull in the best academic schools in a reasonable footprint available today at the FBS level.
4) Close the door on competitors in the empty NE region.
You will likely be competing with CUSA East (UTEP, S. Miss, UAB, ECU, Marshall, and UCF) for members. There are enough teams in flux to support 2 new eastern conferences in the East in 2011 with another likely to emerge in 2017.
Ultimately, what can't be lost, is that the goal of every conference is to establish a "brand" that means academic excellence, like the Big 10, Pac 10, and Ivy league. Along those lines schools like Temple and UMASS can either strike first and take the best established and upgrading schools, or lose out the more developed CUSA and likely be part of the batch upgrading in 2017.
Temple (Tier 3 academically, 204M endowment, Philly DMA=2.9M) is FBS, Massachusetts (flagship, Tier 2 academically, 348M endowment, Spingfeild +Boston DMAs= 2.7M) has long wanted to jump to FBS, but can't put together the 40K stadium the BE would require, and Charlotte (Charlotte DMA = 1.085M, 105M endowment) is not only starting FBS football, but they have a relationship with the main predator of the conference --- CUSA East (specifically ECU).
To retain Charlotte (Tier 4 academics, but a flagship), you have to take immediate action with the goal of immediate FBS status. I would stress the fact to Charlotte that this will be a conference of flagships and academic elites who's shared academic reputaion will dwarf CUSA East in short order and will make each member that much more highly respected in academic circles.
I would again invite a trio of tier 2 academic schools from the MAC: Ohio (columbus DMA=905K) , Miami (OH) (cinnci DMA=904K), and Buffalo (semi-flagship, buffalo DMA = 636K)... again in a way respectful to the membership of the MAC. (Those universities have the 3 largest endowments in the MAC at 240M, 320M, and 566M, respectively.)
Then I would meet with USF (tier 3 academically. 48K enrollment 115M endowment Orlando DMA=1.434M and offer them a full membership--- parallelling the BE's toenail philosophy for Florida recruiting. Together I would suggest that we meet with CUSA East an offer a compromise to help them retain their NCAA automatic berth ---- UCF would be a football only member of the A10 and other sports in CUSA East for 6 years... or until the NCAA decides CUSA east satisfies the rules.
This would leave CUSA precarious but intact for a sunbelt raid. In return we would demand a bowl game matchup agreement.
Recouping a full membership slot, I would offer Delaware (tier 2 academics. 1.3975B endowment in Philadelphia Market =2.9M) full A10 membership in return for a promise to jump to FBS with UMASS. Delaware is an FCS power. They are a mid to large public with a 19K enrollment and a state flagship. They average 22K in FCS. They are working on their stadium---possibly expanding it. They help Temple deliver TVs in the Philly DMA.
I'd add Army and Navy as Football only members. They left CUSA over travel and competive reasons. This is a lower competition level, better academic reputation, and a much smaller travel budget, so I think they'd bite on a temporary arrangement, especially if it came with an agreement to give them football scheduling preferences in the future. They both average in the mid to high 30's in attendance and are soundly in the footprint. Adding them to the conferenece not only bumps up the average attendance, it also adds fanatical football fans who will travel to away games. They are seen as academic pluses. Finally they are near NYC and DC --- two areas in which we frankly need help.
I thought at one point to offer ECU a football only membership with a promise/possibility of ALL-sports membership in 6 years, but when I look at what that does to the map, it really forces future growth southwards --- where the athletics are better, but the academics are much worse.
ECU averaged 41K last season, $121 endowment, and has a 26K enrollment. ECU has no market (276K) but along with UCF, they would provide football credibilty that we could use. Unfortunately we just cannot afford it because of where it leaves us and frankly to keep the other CUSA East schools in a viable conference, we really can't do it.
(I see CUSA East adding maybe USA, FAU, and FIU --- good market teams and Florida recruiting --- so they can have flexibility for future growth and don't kill the sunbelt.)
That would give me 14 for an all sports A10 w/good markets and a football only A10 FBS overlay.
FBS Atlantic 10 Conference
3) Miami (OH)
6) USF (football only)
7) Army (football only)
8) Navy (football only)
Rhode Island (list them as a possible upgrade, but my take is they will have trouble raising the funds to build a stadium to escape FCS)
non-football/FCS remaining A10
From here the question is which schools yeild the maxium benefit for future expansion and, if they are FCS schools, trying to tie them to the UMASS/Delaware/URI upgrade timeline - say 2017 or so to coincide with FBS schools satisfying the 6/5 rule for a breakaway of the FBS football playing schools as "Atlantic Football Conference".
List for the last 4 potential all sports slots for a 12 team AFC circa 2017 (if that is the goal):
Maine (Tier 3 Academics. small to mid-sized public w/12K enrollment, $230M endowment. Flagship. 10K Alford stadium. Bangor+Portland+Presque DMA =580K TV Households )
New Hampshire (Tier 2 Academics. mid-sized public w/15K enrollment, $116M endowment. Flagship. 7K Cowell stadium. Boston + Portland + Burlington DMAs = 3.1M)
Vermont (Tier 2 Academics. small to mid-sized public w/11K enrollment. $290M endowment. Flagship. Non-Football School. Bulington + very debateably Boston DMA = 328K or 2.7M)
Northeastern (Tier 2 Academics. large private 23K enrollment. $698M endowment. Parson's feild 7K /3.5k ATT. Boston DMA=2.4M)
Boston U (Tier 1 Academics. very large private 30K enrollment, $1.14 B endowment. football failed at BU when it succeeded at BC? Questionable sports support. 9K Nickerson Field likely can't be expanded up to FBS levels. Boston DMA=2.4M)
Rhode Island (Tier 3 Academics. mid to large public w/19K enrollment. $80M endowment. Flagship. Meade Stadium 7K. Providence DMA= 626K)
Stony Brook (tier 2 academics. $110M endowment, large 22K flagship eq. w/small 8k stadium in NYC market = 7.4M)
Hofstra (Tier 3 Academics. large private 13K enrollment with good football in NYC market. $226M endowment. James M. Shuart Stadium 15K/ 4.5k ATT. NYC market = 7.4M)
Marshall (mid-sized public w/16K enrollment, 38K stadium, $60M endowment. Charleston DMA = 476K).
Youngstown St. (former FCS power, small to mid-sized public w/13K enrollment, 20K stadium. Youngstown DMA = 273K).
Drexel (large private 17K enrollment next door to Penn. $640M endowment. non-football, but possibly could play at Penn's Franklin Field 53K less than half a mile away. Insurance for a future temple defection to the BE? Philadelphia DMA=2.9M).
Howard University (tier 2 academics. $532M endowment. Not just an HBCU, "The Black Harvard". large private w/11k enrollment in the Washington DC Market. William H. Greene Stadium could be enlarged to 20-25K fairly easily and that would be sufficient for an FBS school in an NFL killzone. It would just make a lot of sense. DC Market=2.3M.)
George Mason (tier 3 academics. $51M endowment. No football, but apparently "fell one vote short of adding I-AA football in 1998." Robinson Field (cap 5k?) is not ready for FBS. Large 29K public is a great location for FBS football on the opposite side of DC from the redskins. DC Market=2.3M.)
James Madison (medium 16K public expanding Bridgeforth Stadium to 25K by 2011? Seems like another FBS wannabe. $50M endowment. Harrisonburg=89K)
Liberty University (now out of debt private. large private with 11K enrollment. 12K Wiliams stadium. Roanoke/Lynchburg DMA=451K)
Virginia Commonwealth (Tier 3 Academics. large public 30K flagship eq. with 20K publically owned Richmond stadium 1.5 Mi away, but stuck with an entrenched, short-sighted, fanatically anti-football president. $410M endowment. Richmond DMA=526K)
Richmond (small 3K but rich private with a plan to upgrade on campus First Market Stadium to 9K for football. FBS seems out of the question. $1.656B endowment. Richmond DMA=526K)
William & Mary (tier 1 academics. $586M endowment. Small public 8K flagship eq. in Virginia Beach/Norfolk DMA = 700K. 12K Stadium. Very well respected school founded in 1692.)
Old Dominion (tier 3 academics. large public 22K flagship 20K foreman stadium. Virginia Beach/Norfolk DMA = 700K)
Applachian State (current 800 lb gorilla of FCS; mid sized public w/15K enrollment; 17K stadium; $62M endowment. North edge of Charlotte DMA=1.085M).
Georgia St. (tier 4 Academics. $98M endowment. large public w/27K students. 71K pro stadium Georgia Dome 1 mile from campus. Atlanta DMA =2.310M).
Georgia Southern (Most FCS titles all time; mid sized public w/17K enrollment ; 18K stadium. $32M endowment. Savannah(native) + Augusta + Macon + Albany + Jacksonville DMAs = 1.596M).
Jacksonville St. (small public w/9K enrollment; 15K stadium. Birmingham DMA =730K).
UAB (Tier 3 Academics. $400M endowment. mid-sized public 18K enrollment. 71K stadium. Birmingham DMA =730K).
USA (Adding football. $270 endowment. mid-sized public 14K enrollment. Mobile DMA = 517K)
Tennessee St. (HBCU. small to mid-sized public w/12K enrollment. Pro LP field 68K. Nashville DMA=986K)
Memphis (Tier 4 Academics. large public w/21K enrollement. $183M endowment. Liberty Bowl 62K. Memphis DMA=667K)
FAU (Tier 4 Academics. $190M endowment. large public at 26K enrollment. 30K stadium. W. Palm Beach DMA = 775K).
FIU (Tier 4 Academics. $92M endowment. giant public at 40K enrollment. 45K stadium. Miami DMA = 1.536M).
It really becomes very clear that there are enough schools there to form 3 eastern conferences at the FBS level, CUSA East, a NE conference, and another sunbelt level SE conference. The question is do you let the CUSA east cherry pick the east?
I would tend to lean to a smaller footprint, larger endowments, established stadiums, and better academics. I would try to seal off the region (the better academic schools and all those huge TV markets) by nabbing all the better schools in the NE. I would be willing to leave a lot of good FBS candidates for our bowl partner CUSA East.
...still working on it...
Last edited by finiteman on Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.