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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:31 am 
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Unfortunately, there should be a NE 1A conference to take teams from 1AA that want to move up. Currently, there are conferences that have taken recently upgraded 1AA teams in the midwest (MAC), south (Sun Belt), and West (WAC). IF there was one in the NE, I think more schools would move up - especially teams from the CAA.

Here is the link to the thread started by FriarFan:
http://collegesportsinfo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=639

+++

By Bob Hohler, Globe Staff | December 8, 2006

AMHERST -- Two victories shy of a national championship, the University of Massachusetts football team enters its biggest game in years tonight having already cinched a singular distinction. No public college or university in the country has reported losing more money on a Division 1-AA football program in recent years than UMass, according to financial records the school files with the US Department of Education.

Breaking News Alerts UMass officials said the annual shortfall of at least $2.6 million has been budgeted as the price of sustaining a competitive football program that promotes the school's image, provides a unifying, entertaining resource for students and alumni, and extends opportunities to student-athletes, among other perceived benefits. The UMass operating budget is covered by state funds and student fees.

But some members of the university's newly realigned board of trustees think there may be a better way to run a football program. In an initiative certain to stoke debate over the school's priorities from the Amherst campus to Beacon Hill, the board members want UMass to move up to Division 1-A and challenge Boston College and the University of Connecticut in New England's intercollegiate football market, a move that could ease the financial burden.

Boston College reported turning more than a $1.4 million profit last year on its football program, while UConn reported earning $2.2 million.

"Nobody is saying we could pay for other programs with the profits we make from Division 1-A football," said Matthew Carlin, chairman of the board's committee on athletics. "But we're determined to enhance the UMass brand and we think football and excellence in athletics can continue to do that."

The bottom line UMass athletic programs

Carlin said the board could vote as early as its next meeting in March on authorizing a feasibility study on UMass adopting Division 1-A football.

"There is definitely interest in trying to take the next step," said Dr. Ken MacAfee, an oral surgeon and former National Football League player who is one of six new members Governor Mitt Romney appointed in September to the 19-member board of voting trustees. "It would be nice to see another Division 1-A team in the area besides Boston College."

Nationally, there are 116 Division 1-AA programs, 70 of which are at public schools. There are 119 Division 1-A teams. Moving up to Division 1-A would require UMass to build at least a 30,000-seat stadium, upgrade other facilities and services to appeal to the nation's top recruits, and increase the number of scholarship players to 85 from 63. The school also would need to secure a potentially lucrative invitation to join a Division 1-A conference, such as the Big East. By competing in the higher conference, the football program could boost its bottom line by sharing in television revenues and bowl money, while also increasing its marketing opportunities.

MacAfee said board members who share his view consider the prospect more than a pipe dream, though he acknowledged "many roadblocks" -- none greater than the exorbitant start-up costs. He said the transition to Division 1-A "may be years or decades away, but hopefully we could get the ball rolling in the near future."

Many students and alumni would welcome the jump to Division 1-A. But a key member of the faculty senate, biology professor Brian O'Connor, said the plan would trigger an "outcry" on campus, and UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said the shift would require the governor and Legislature to unleash a massive investment of state funds, a dubious prospect considering the commonwealth's needs.

"I'm OK with where we are, but I'm not OK if they want to move up," said O'Connor, the faculty's delegate to the board of trustees. "It would be absolutely foolish to think the university could move up to Division 1-A in football. The money is just not there and, if the money appeared, I would argue that we should use it to grow the faculty and reduce class size."

McCutcheon estimated it would cost $250 million to build a new stadium and other football-related facilities that would allow UMass to compete at the highest collegiate level (UConn has undergone nearly $150 million in football-related capital improvements, including a state-financed $90 million stadium, since it began the transition in 1999 from Division 1-AA to Division 1-A).

In addition, McCutcheon said, annual football expenses at UMass likely would more than double from about $2.9 million and the overall athletic budget of nearly $19 million would increase sharply to cover a commensurate investment in women's sports to meet Title IX requirements.

"There is a group of our fans that would love to see it happen," McCutcheon said. "They're passionate folks, competitive folks. But we have to think not with that passion but with reality, practicality, and feasibility."

The university's most recent feasibility study, conducted in 2003, recommended the school revisit the issue of moving to Division 1-A in three to five years. It cited concerns about the economy and questions about which Division 1-A conference UMass could join.

"UMass was in a different place at that time," Carlin said. "Now there is some interest among the president's office and the board to take another close look at it. We have decided it makes sense to at least update the data that was collected."


No playoff windfall
The renewed interest comes amid the football team's best season since the Minutemen won the Division 1-AA national title in 1998. At 12-1, with its only loss coming by 1 point to Division 1-A Navy, UMass faces the University of Montana tonight in a national semifinal in Missoula, Mont. The winner will play for the national title Dec. 15 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The financial payoff of the Minutemen's current success, however, may be minimal. Unlike Division 1-A schools, which stand to reap large sums by qualifying for postseason bowl games or sharing in bowl revenues as conference members, Division 1-AA teams participating in playoffs receive little more than reimbursement for their travel costs, revenues from games they host, and potential marketing opportunities.

Indeed, two Division 1-AA schools -- Southern and Grambling State -- shun the playoffs for a bigger payday. They choose to face each other in the annual Bayou Classic, which has paid each school $1 million to appear.

Thanks to UMass's playoff run, the school could exceed its football revenue projections of $345,000 for the 2006-07 academic year by about $20,000, McCutcheon estimated. So, with a total expense budget of $2,962,749 and revenues of $365,000, UMass football this year would cost nearly $2.6 million.

That would beat last year, when UMass spent $3,318,205 on football and generated $388,812 in revenues for a cost of more than $2.9 million. The final cost in 2004-05 exceeded $2.8 million, and the figure topped $3 million in 2003-04, according to the school's annual reports to the US Department of Education. Expenses include the maximum 63 scholarships allowed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, salaries and benefits for 10 coaches and additional staff, equipment for 95 players, travel, game-day operations, and recruiting costs, among other items.

"We've made a conscious decision to play at a competitive level," McCutcheon said. "We can afford to do it this way and we can be successful [at the Division 1-AA level]."

The UMass football program's distinction of losing more than any of the other 69 1-AA teams at public schools stems in part from different accounting practices at different schools. The greatest difference is that some schools, such as the flagship universities in Maine and Rhode Island that compete with UMass in the Atlantic-10 Conference, count state funds they allocate for football as revenues, which UMass does not.

The practice, while acceptable by federal guidelines, effectively means a small number of schools may not have disclosed football losses greater than UMass's.

In any case, only one of the nation's Division 1-AA programs reported losing more money on football last year than UMass. That was Villanova, a private Catholic institution, which reported a $3.1 million deficit.

Breaking down figures
McCutcheon said it would be wrong, however, to describe the difference between UMass football's expenses and revenues as a deficit. He said the team meets its budget projections each year in both categories, as do the school's 22 other intercollegiate sports programs, none of which makes money.

In fact, UMass expects to spend $27,555 per participant this year on the 95-member football team, less than the rates per person in five other sports: women's basketball ($80,605), men's basketball ($73,077), men's ice hockey ($36,550), softball ($30,329), and women's tennis ($28,072).

"Football becomes an easy target," McCutcheon said, "but just because it has the biggest bottom line doesn't mean it's a problem."

Not everyone on campus is tickled about it, however. Some believe there is a better to spend the athletic department funds.

"My opinion is that we ought to go big on basketball and not worry about football," said Richard Bogartz, a psychology professor who serves on the faculty senate's rules committee. "I'd rather we were like Kentucky or UConn. No one has heard of their football teams, but everyone knows about their basketball teams."

Bogartz appears outnumbered, though, by football fans eager for UMass to reach Division 1-A. Bob DeFlavio, president of the Friends of UMass Football, said the move could reverse the team's financial fortunes and benefit the entire institution.

"You need to look at the big picture of how it could help the whole university," said DeFlavio, a former All-America defensive tackle at UMass.

He said the football team would fit perfectly in the Division 1-A Big East, playing the likes of Syracuse, Rutgers, and West Virginia. But McCutcheon questioned whether the Big East would admit the Minutemen because the conference appears content with eight current members, including UConn, which might not appreciate UMass competing in its backyard.

"I would never say never about anything in this business," McCutcheon said, "but we would face some daunting challenges."

Still, the status quo worries DeFlavio.

"What scares me the most is, how many 1-AA teams are going to be around in 10 years?" he said. "How many can afford to keep playing when they cost so much and don't bring in revenue? UMass has had football for more than 100 years. It would be a shame if we lost it."

Bob Hohler can be reached at hohler@globe.com.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.


Last edited by panthersc97 on Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:30 am 
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Thanks for the post, panther. Very interesting article. I don't understand the comment about a $250 million dollar investment in facilities. The existing McGuirk Stadium has a seating capacity of 17,000 without any end zone seating. The simple addition of seats in this area should be able to bring capacity at least up to 25K or more. I don't think that it would take a huge investment to bring a 25 K stadium up to 30. I'm not saying this would be state of the art, but it would be sufficient for an entry into D-I I would think that such an expansion plus other facilites could be done for much less than $100 mill - probably around $50 mill. I should think that the initial goal should be to generate interest at the I-A level & not to wait until everything is perfect. Let fund raising for a major stadium investment follow development of the program.

As a D-I independent, UMass could build the core of its schedule around East Coast schools like Army, Navy, Buffalo, Temple, East Carolina, plus one or two games vs opponents from Big East, BC, or Penn State and another game vs a traditional I-AA opponent, they actually wouldn't have to travel far to have an interesting schedule. If they added 4 home-&-home games outside the region, it would mean only 2 road games a year at any great distance. Such a schedule could have a lot of appeal & many of those games would be winnable for them. They played a very good Navy team to a 1-point game on the road this year.

Final note . . . BC is already on the UMass schedule for 2007 & Texas Tech is on for 2008.


Last edited by friarfan on Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:47 pm 
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I was at the UMass @ Montana game on Friday (for those that don't know, I'm a UMass alum) and the topic of a I-A upgrade came up again with some of the people I was with. This article touches on the basic stance I've had on a UMass upgrade: If an upgrade is to happen it needs only 1 thing, a Big East invite. If the Big East offers Umass a deal similar to UConn "upgrade and you can join us for football" then the school and the state will find the money. Why? Because it's economics. And being in a conference for all sports with UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers as well as WVU and Pitt (schools UMass has a history with) than the school knows money and interest will follow. They will with ease be able to schedule 1:1 games with Buffalo, Army and Navy and the state could push for 1:1 with BC (while BC would try holding out for 2:1). Home games with local schools will increase attendance along with the idea of I-A.

The issue is the Big East. With BC gone they could use a NE presence for football, beyond UConn. And if a split with the BB-only schools happens, Providence would be gone.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:02 am 
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Quote:
I was at the UMass @ Montana game on Friday (for those that don't know, I'm a UMass alum) and the topic of a I-A upgrade came up again with some of the people I was with. This article touches on the basic stance I've had on a UMass upgrade: If an upgrade is to happen it needs only 1 thing, a Big East invite. If the Big East offers Umass a deal similar to UConn "upgrade and you can join us for football" then the school and the state will find the money. Why? Because it's economics. And being in a conference for all sports with UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers as well as WVU and Pitt (schools UMass has a history with) than the school knows money and interest will follow. They will with ease be able to schedule 1:1 games with Buffalo, Army and Navy and the state could push for 1:1 with BC (while BC would try holding out for 2:1). Home games with local schools will increase attendance along with the idea of I-A.

The issue is the Big East. With BC gone they could use a NE presence for football, beyond UConn. And if a split with the BB-only schools happens, Providence would be gone.


Quinn, I completely agree with your position & I have for some years pushed the idea that the Big East should propose to UMass exactly the deal that you suggest - not because it's good for UMass but because it's in the interests of the Big East. It would of course be good for UMass, but it would be even better for the Big East. The Big East football schools in their heart of hearts want an all-sports conference, not the current hybrid. And I believe they should go that route. They need more than 8 football schools. It would be insane for them to add schools that would always play second or third fiddle to BCs schools in their home states. The Northeast is where the open markets are & the Big East should look there. UMass is the school that is best positioned to be the 9th member of an all-sports Big East. There really is no one else. Moreover, the conference needs the presence of state flagships for stability. They form the base of any conference by providing consistent fan support & by being the focus of interenst for an entire state. Syracuse, Pitt, Cincinnati, Louisville, & USF will never provide that.

I hope that someone at the Big East office is listening.

PS - Good luck Friday night! 8-)


Last edited by friarfan on Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:53 am 
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Here's some perspective from the Villanova board:

http://villanova.rivals.com/showmsg.asp?fid=562&tid=84971334&mid=84971334&sid=1000&style=2

I thought this post was interesting by novaclassof90:

Don't hold your breath fellas.

As someone who worked at UMass for six years I just don't see it happening. Why?

1. The school would need the state to kick in easily over $100M to make it happen. No way is the state leg. (which is populated mostly by Bostonians who didn't go to UMass and care very little about UMass) appropriating such funding. Big difference between UMass and UConn on that issue.

2. The UMass faculty would absolutely FLIP if such an investment was made in athletics on a campus that has an infrastructure that is falling to pieces. The campus was hit hard by the early 2000s recession. Classrooms need to be upgraded, technology advanced, and prof. salaries increased. All of those would be a higher priority than I-A football for the faculty.

3. Where would they go? Can't see Big East taking them in and being the 17th. Only way Big East would allow it is if 1 of the other 16 left. Who would that be? Is it really worth moving up if you have to be in the MAC?

4. Lack of interest on the campus/community. The western Mass pioneer valley simply can't support a I-A football program. Attendance would probaby be in the 15-20K level for them at I-A. Go walk around Amherst and Northampton on a sat. Do you thing those people go to FB games? Just how many UMass alums would trek out there from Boston?

5. Athletics infrastructure (meeting rooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, etc.) need a HUGE upgrade to meet I-A standards. Investment of tens of millions. Heck, that campus doesn't even have a fitness center for students!!!!

More thoughts by novaclassof90:
UConn was successful for 1 reason, the state paid for the vast majority of the costs assoc. with moving up. NO WAY will the Mass. state leg. provide that type of support. Heck, they won't give the BoSox the $$ to build a new Fenway and Kraft had to sign a deal with the Gov. of CT before the state leg. would pony up the $$ for a new Pats Stadium.




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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:53 am 
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Panther, this may be a glass is half full/half empty kind of thing. Some of Nova'90's comments are out-of-date & others are slanted by his perspective, which is certainly a fair one. As I said, half full or half empty.

My perspective is that where there's a will, there's a way. Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states in the country & its population is twice the size of Connecticut's. The resources are there if they want to tap them.

The references on that thread to Buffalo & Troy really don't apply because neither is a state flagship, neither is seeking a shot in the Big East, & neither was a 2-time national champion at I-AA as UMass is on the verge of achieving. I'll repond to Nova'90 point by point.


Quote:
Here's some perspective from the Villanova board:

http://villanova.rivals.com/showmsg.asp?fid=562&tid=84971334&mid=84971334&sid=1000&style=2

I thought this post was interesting by novaclassof90:

Don't hold your breath fellas.

As someone who worked at UMass for six years I just don't see it happening. Why?

1. The school would need the state to kick in easily over $100M to make it happen. No way is the state leg. (which is populated mostly by Bostonians who didn't go to UMass and care very little about UMass) appropriating such funding. Big difference between UMass and UConn on that issue.


I live in Connecticut & I have no idea what makes him think that Massachusetts is so different than Connecticut in this regard. Does he think that the Connecticut legislature is full of UConn alums? Not true. both states have Ivy League schools as the academic focus of attention (Harvard & Yale) and both states send a disproportionate number of their young people to private colleges throughout the region. The irony here is that the governor of Connecticut during UConn's upgrade was/is a Villanova alum.

UMass has a much larger student body than UConn. No matter where these legislators went to school themselves, these families are their constituents & they must listen to them. UConn too was ignored for a long time. The library was literally falling apart. The dorms were slums. The governor put on a big push in the '90s for infrastructure upgrades on the whole campus with his UConn 2000 initiative. Sometimes things have to hit rock bottom before the politicians will address them. That's what happened at UConn. Politicians love to stake out education as a campaign issue. Some politician will take up the cause at UMass. But sports are not im competition with these things. They often go hand in glove & they did so at UConn. Football actually piggy backed on the academic infrastructure initiative, which had begun first.


Quote:
2. The UMass faculty would absolutely FLIP if such an investment was made in athletics on a campus that has an infrastructure that is falling to pieces. The campus was hit hard by the early 2000s recession. Classrooms need to be upgraded, technology advanced, and prof. salaries increased. All of those would be a higher priority than I-A football for the faculty.


Irrelevant as was pointed out on the Villanova board. what they need is a university president who will champion this thing. the Board of Trustees is much more important than the faculty.


Quote:
3. Where would they go? Can't see Big East taking them in and being the 17th. Only way Big East would allow it is if 1 of the other 16 left. Who would that be? Is it really worth moving up if you have to be in the MAC?


Obviously this is a Nova guy writing & he can't even entertain the thought of a split. No way is the Big East is taking a 17th. The momentum for UMass would come from a split when football would need a 9th.


Quote:
4. Lack of interest on the campus/community. The western Mass pioneer valley simply can't support a I-A football program. Attendance would probaby be in the 15-20K level for them at I-A. Go walk around Amherst and Northampton on a sat. Do you thing those people go to FB games? Just how many UMass alums would trek out there from Boston?


Actually UMass has averaged 12,000 for home football gamesw for at least the past two years. Much, much better than UConn before their move to IA which now has fans who drive a long way from the other end of the state to get to games. Since when does a state flagship draw its attendance from the immediate vicinity? Hard to fathom how a Villanova guy who has spent at least 4 years in Pennsylvania thinks that the 100-mile trip from Boston to Amherst is too long when he has to know that Philadelphians regularly make a 200-mile trip to State College for Penn state games. Or does he think that support for Penn State football comes from the the Happy Valley vicinity & fills 100,000 seats?

This thing only works if someone has a vision & sells it. It doesn't work with the negative thinking displayed in this post. As you know, historically, Penn State was considered out in a cow pasture & Pitt was big time football - far bigger & more successful than BC is today or ever has been. No one thought that Penn State football would work. Someone had a vision 50 years ago & now PSU is one of the most successful programs in the country - & one of the richest. Same dynamic today in Massachusetts with competition from the pro team & a successful private school.


Quote:
5. Athletics infrastructure (meeting rooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, etc.) need a HUGE upgrade to meet I-A standards. Investment of tens of millions. Heck, that campus doesn't even have a fitness center for students!!!!


This comment is out of date. In fact, UMass attributes its resurgence in football to facilities upgrades including a new 9000 sq ft strength training facility that was opened 3 years ago. He's also wrong about the student fitness centers. They have two fitness centers which along with intramural fields were all upgraded within the past few years.

I'm not saying that there wouldn't need to be further improvements to compete at IA - especially in the Big East, but the state & the university have shown a willingnes to invest in facilities. The 12-year-old Mullin Center holds 9300 for basketball - about the same size as Gampel at UConn. It's a Big East caliber on-campus facility & they have access to a larger Civic Center in nearby Springfield same as UConn.


Quote:
More thoughts by novaclassof90:
UConn was successful for 1 reason, the state paid for the vast majority of the costs assoc. with moving up. NO WAY will the Mass. state leg. provide that type of support. Heck, they won't give the BoSox the $$ to build a new Fenway and Kraft had to sign a deal with the Gov. of CT before the state leg. would pony up the $$ for a new Pats Stadium.


This statement is completely inaccurate. UConn has been successful because it had a vision first & foremost. That vision was formed in 1985 when UConn basketball hit bottom. The boosters decided to go all out to raise funds, support the program & can the coach. The university went out & got Calhoun. He stepped into a situation which offered huge support but antiquated facilities & a home court 30 miles away in Hartford. The boosters had influential members who put pressure on the state to support the program, which led to Gampel Pavilion on campus. As the name reflects, there were private funds behind the new basketball arena which in turn convinced the state to invest as well.

Second, UConn had a president harry Hartley who became good friends with Jim Calhoun. Hartley supported athletics & made them a priority. He was politically astute & was able to sell his ideas to the Trustees & the state.

Third, UConn had an AD Lew Perkins, starting in 1991, who made football a priority. He lobbied incessantly for a UConn upgrade to IA but his efforts yielded little results until the Big East persented an open invitation. With the groundwork laid by Perkins, the stat ecould not say no. While there were big state dollars involved in the construction of the football stadium, the land itself was donated by a private corporation. That represents huge start-up funding & created the momentum for the state's financial support, which was roundly debated before it was approved.

Fourth, the state never ponied up the money for the new Pats' stadium. It was all built with private funds. The state provided something like $60 mill in infrastructure investments to upgrade roads, highway acces, etc. to make the location more workable. They also supported zoning issues & the evacuation of some local citizens who wer living in a trailer park on land that Kraft wanted. This model of public/private funding worked here & could work well in Amherst where the existing site could easily be used for a new facility.


Last edited by friarfan on Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:05 pm 
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Thanks for the info Friar. I certainly expected that the Nova poster was a bit biased so I did read what he said with a bit of skepticism.

If only the BE could trade USF for BC, split, and have UMass upgrade. That would be a nice NE-Ohio Valley conference in BB and FB with 9 teams!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:15 pm 
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Commentary from UMass country about a move to 1A:

http://www.masslive.com/chimelis/republican/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/11660881043810.xml&coll=1&thispage=1

Please don't move to I-A
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Trustees at the University of Massachusetts are considering a new feasibility study on elevating its Division I-AA football team to I-A status.

Who said reruns aren't popular?

Here we go again, giving a magical season the backdrop of, nah, we can do even better. UMass lost $2.93 million on football last year, the reddest ink for any public university in I-AA.

Even the Minutemen's spot in tomorrow night's national championship game won't make this year's totals much better, whether UMass beats Appalachian State or not.

So, is it such a waste of time and energy to reopen the Division I-A debate? Yes.

Former athletic director Bob Marcum looked exhaustively into this in the 1990s. Marcum worried the NCAA might eventually eliminate I-AA football altogether, a more legitimate concern then than it is now.

Current AD John McCutcheon has sensibly put his energies into making UMass the best I-AA program possible. The results (a championship team, bigger crowds, and the first home sellout in 33 years) speak to his success.

To play I-A, UMass would need a new stadium and access roads, more scholarship money, and more money for women's sports to cover Title IX.

It has no money for any of that. It also does not have a league, one of many reasons the popular comparison to UConn is inherently flawed.

UConn already belonged to the Big East in other sports. And the Big East is the only league that would make it feasible for UMass to even remotely consider I-A.

When I asked Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese about this years ago, he cited Boston College's Big East membership, and said UMass offered no new, major market the league didn't have already.

With BC gone to the ACC, I asked Tranghese Monday if UMass, which has a potential Boston presence, would have new appeal.

His answer: No.

"We can't afford to take a I-AA program that would have to build itself up," Tranghese said. "We're (also) not interested in taking a football-only member, and we already have 16 overall members. That's the breaking point.

"Anyone new would have to deliver a big, immediate improvement to our league - on the field, financially and with TV," he said.

A school can lose money in I-A, too. If UMass wants to study anything, it should examine how to cut its red ink in I-AA, yet maintain a top-shelf national program.

I don't know how that can be done, but it's worth a look.

Division I-AA will almost certainly lose money, though. Then again, if every university program (including academics) existed just to make money, a lot of them would be cut.

If the Big East felt differently about UMass, another look at I-A would be worth it. It's not.

I'd rather see the trustees and McCutcheon try to pare the losses somewhat, accept what's left as the cost of running an important program, and keep developing what we have - a premier Division I-AA team - rather than wistfully dwelling on what we don't.

Ron Chimelis can be reached at rchimelis@repub.com



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:14 pm 
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Friarfan/PantherSC97, I find it very interesting that UMass is exploring moving to 1A and looking to the Big East for membership. I find it more interesting that MT the Big East Commishioner is saying no to possible UMass membership according to that article.

Fact 1: "MT stated the Big East would consider expanding with a 9th member if that member would bring value to the conference."

If the Big East is really planning on remaining together with 16 members for the long haul, TV markets are not the issue for saying no. Really - what difference is one more tv market going to make for all sports. If you don't have the market already with 8 football members, what difference will a 9th member market make if you did not have that market already for football.

Nope this can't be the reason for saying no to UMass for lack of TV markets. Actually UMass would probably bring the Boston Market for certain Big East TV games if provided membership.

If UMass can pull off an upset to night a win a second a more recent National Championship, this could provide much needed momentum for both sides to rethink expansion to Big East for UMass membership.

Fact 2. The Big East needs a 9th football member to balance football schedules regardless if a split is in the future.

We know from recent Big East articles that it was the football schools decision to remain together or better stated the football schools desire to remain with the basketball schools more than split into two separate conferences.

I don't think the basketball schools will put up much fight to keep a much needed 9th football member from pushing the conference to 17. With the new exposure and revenue potential, there is more benefit to being bigger that separating and this is true for the basketball schools as well. The 8 basketball schools probably could not come up with the same exposure of all games on ESPN if the split occurred or were to occur in the future. With 18 regular season BB games, 17 members will not make any difference and all 17 members could play single round robin and two round robin games for TV interest. 16 or 17 does not impact the 12 team BB tournament.

Nope it can not be the basketball schools or Notre Dame keeping the conference from expanding for a 9th football member.

Fact 3: The Big East is going to expand with a 9th football member and is just waiting for the right time and the best possible expansion candidate.

I was thinking and quickly dismissed it that BE may be waiting for Boston College to return with all the issues BC has put up with the ACC. BC and ACC are probably stuck together just like the Big 10 odd alignment with 11th member Penn State. Or is the Big East waiting for BC?

So that leads us back to the best possible candidate.

If UMass wins a the National Championship tonight, this could be major market material for Big East. Similar to how the ACC claims all those Heisman Trophies and National Championships with team and players that never played in the ACC. If the team comes to a new conference you get to claim all that teams history right.

If UMass can win tonight!

It should push both UMass Leaders and Big East Leaders to start looking at UMass as the best candidate for the 9th football member.

If the Big East needs other comparison, MT and company can just review the countless post over the last two years on this board to why UMass is the best expansion candidate. There are many not the least UMass is a major state supported eastern school.

I think the 9th football member and 17th all sports member of the Big East will most likely come from the state of Massachusetts. The Big East may just be waiting to see which football team is the most interested and most willing to sacrifice to make the Big East conference the best football conference in the east or north east.

Less just hope that UMass wins the National Championship which will put more preasure on both the school and Big East to consider moving on up to 1A. It could be a win/win for both.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:45 pm 
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Sadly UMass lost last night. :(

I watched the game & thought that both teams played well. By the fourth quarter, ASU just had too much speed for UMass.

UMass fans can console themselves with the thought that it was their third trip to the I-AA national finals in the 30 years since I-AA was founded & they had their 10th sellout at home since their stadium was built in 1965. The opponent was New Hampshire.

Rumors here in New England abound that former UMass coach, Mark Whipple, who took them to the NC 8 years ago before moving on to tutor Ben Roethlisberger, will be named head coach at BC in a few days. The fear at UMass is that he may recruit UMass HC Don Brown to be his defensive coordinator, the role Brown played under Whipple at UMass. I believe that UMass had the best defense in I-AA this year. If not, they were close to it.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:55 am 
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BC is a follower - not a leader - and would want a big dog to join the BE before they would commit to a BABE. These schools include ND and PSU (obviously) but if Miami ever decides to go back then you may have BC join them as well. Miami would be nice because it would provide a 'travel partner' for USF. Obviously this is < 1 % chance but just throwing it out there. The BE will probably play it conservative and wait.

PSU is not out of water in the Big10 because they contiguous with a Big10 state. The 11 schools is a pain for scheduling but the Big10 doesn't seem to care.

I will say this though, that if a 1A playoff starts to get some steam that this MAY prompt some bigger fish to move conferences to give them easier access.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:13 pm 
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Quote:
BC is a follower - not a leader - and would want a big dog to join the BE before they would commit to a BABE. These schools include ND and PSU (obviously) but if Miami ever decides to go back then you may have BC join them as well. Miami would be nice because it would provide a 'travel partner' for USF. Obviously this is < 1 % chance but just throwing it out there. The BE will probably play it conservative and wait.

PSU is not out of water in the Big10 because they contiguous with a Big10 state. The 11 schools is a pain for scheduling but the Big10 doesn't seem to care.

I will say this though, that if a 1A playoff starts to get some steam that this MAY prompt some bigger fish to move conferences to give them easier access.


Excellent points.

While it doesn't seem to bother the Big Ten, their schedule sure is tough to follow. A few years ago, OSU & Iowa tied for the conference title - & hadn't played each other. Iowa doesn't play either OSU or Michigan next year. In a year like this past one when the conference was down, it seemed that OSU & UM were the only 2 good teams in the conference. Wisconsin lost to UM but didn't even play OSU - which means that they didn't really beat anyone of consequence this year. Like I said . . . frustrating to follow. :P


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:07 pm 
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I really liked reading this. My bro played for the MM back in the early 80's. Right before they built their basketball team.

Back then it was "ZooMass". And all anyone cared about was partying.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:11 pm 
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I feel for UMASS, because the way the ACC thing went down did not allow them to make the jump and it would have been the right thing for both school and conference. The Big East is not the conference it should be because of BCS fears and the desires of the basketball schools.

Adding Cinnci was a mistake. They are a middling academic school that was forced into the conference because they have a good market and the basketball schools wanted the rogue Bob Huggins program. Then huggins got fired and the BE had nothing to show for it. Louisville and USF are similarly not at the Big East academic level but they provide good markets. Louisville had the largest athletic department budget outside of the BCS. USF offered a good toehold into Florida recruiting, but was in Tampa Bay's footprint.

When the ACC schools bolted, MT, IMO, should have approached the basketball schools and assurred them there would be no scism, then he should have approached Villanova (Philly Market), St. John's (NYC), & Georgetown (DC), about moving up. Any one of those would have been a ton healthier for the conference than Cinnci. Now odds are even under a tough sell those schools would not have moved up, but one or more might. Once it was established that they were not moving up, I think expansion of IA and IAA teams to move to IA would have been the choice.

At that point I would have pressed the issue with the basketball schools that expansion has to be done to fit the needs of the football schools.

Delaware & UMass

With that in mind adding Delaware or UMASS to the basketball mix with standing offer of a IA home if they go IA in 3-4 years would have made a lot of sense. Both are good sized stateflagships with good educational reputations and with statewide followings. Both are elite IAA schools with great annual football attendance. Both are could ligitimately be argued to have enough graduates to hold significant pull in local big markets (Baltimore/Philadelphia & Boston), but are far enough from the markets to be outside the "nfl killzone". (NFL teams take the public's football ticket revenue in large markets. This is why almost every college football team in a large city has fallen apart in a generation when an NFL team moves in. Houston, Rice, SMU, TCU --- USC and UCLA have been resurgent 1 generation after the Rams and Raiders left. Delaware and UMASS are similar to Texas A&M - far enough away to have their own fans, but close enough to have large alumni followings in Houston.)

Both schools have toyed with the idea of moving up, but there has been no publically stated offer of membership into a BCS conference to build the public support neccessary to finance the facilities upgrades. (I am shocked about the numbers UMASS throws out. It would cost Idaho 30M to build a 30K stadium but in Mass it costs $250M? Come on now. Union workers are not THAT expensive. That is a ridiculous number probably based on replacing EVERYTHING connected to football at UMASS. Frankly if their facilities are good enough to be a great basketball school and an elite IAA school, the facilities are survivable for now.)

I think Delaware would stay a IAA power and UMASS would make the jump.

As good of an idea as that might have been, their football BCS needs were more immediate and could not wait 5-10 years.

The MAC has 3 top acedemic schools with 3 of the bigger athletic budgets in the conference. Ohio U (~16M), Miami University Oxford (~21M), and Buffalo (~18M). All 3 fit the Northeast footprint and all 3 might do a lot better in a higher profile conference. None of them have great attendance, but there are arguements for all of them.

Ohio University is THE University in Ohio, even though State gets the flagship designation and the funding. Ohio U. could quickly grow in esteem and enrollment if they graduated out of the MAC (a conference of perceived equals). I don't see them ever challenging Ohio State, but becoming what Michigan State is to Michigan? That would be possible with membership in a BSC conference. Ohio U. is the distant #2 in the Columbus Market.

Miami University is located in the Cincinnati media market. They are one of about 20 public schools designated as "public Ivy's". That is a VERY impressive academic distinction. This SHOULD have been the Big East's choice for the Cinnci market as they are about 1 hour outside the city and it can be argued on the verge of being outside of the NFL killzone. They have a history of moments of football brilliance, but their athletic program is no Louisville. Still they are the #1 athletic budget in the MAC.

It is very reasonable to think that one or both of these Ohio schools would have had equal football success to Cinnci's most recent season if they were in the Big East. Ohio is a football hotbed.

Buffalo is a program that jumped to IA too soon. They really needed to become an IAA power for at least a 5-6 years before jumping. They do not have a dedicated fan base yet for this reason. Additionally Buffalo is in an NFL killzone and has huge snowfalls which just kills their attendance in the second half of the season. I'd have offered them a sweet deal --- inclusion in the Big East as a non-football member and a committment to schedule them in football if they committ to playing an independent schedule. WV, UCONN, Syracuse, Pitt, and Rutgers would play Buffalo in Buffalo home and home in their first 5 games each season with Buffalo playing at home the first 2 or 3 weeks of every season to get the maximium attendance bump possible. I'd also try to organize home and home games with Army and Navy in weeks 6-7 and miami U and Ohio in 8-9. My idea would be to prep Buffalo for potenial football membership and secure a good market in the footprint for basketball. Buffalo has excellent IA potential long term for some sad reasons. When the Bills owner does ultimately pass on, the Bills will move to canada. When that happens Buffalo will be a large college sports town. Saving Buffalo as a Div IA school is in the Big East's long term benefit. Buffalo probably won't make it in the MAC.

Louisville had the largest athletic budget outside of the BCS schools. I'd have offered them football ONLY for the next 20 years with a reduced football share. There would have been howls from the basketball schools, but acedemically they are not BE caliber.

I'd have offered Army and Navy football only memberships with reduced football share and no gurantees. They are well respected in BCS circles in spite of their modest IA football potential, would only be looking for a football home, have national followings, and are located in "trouble areas" (Baltimore DMA and NY/NJ DMA).

I'd have been torn on USF, but I'd have offered USF and UCF the Louisville offer but with no guarantees.

so that would have my football membership as:

UCONN
WV
Pitt
Syracuse
Rutgers
+
Miami University Oxford
Ohio University
+
Louisville (FBO)
USF (FBO)
UCF (FBO)
Army (FBO)
Navy (FBO)
+
Buffalo (affiliated non-FB member)

so 12 FB members with Louisville providing the football power, USF & UCF providing florida FB recruiting, Ohio and Miami proving Ohio recruiting and the academic resumes that would tell the other BCS schools this is still a BCS conference. The old school East schools would play in one division with Ohio U. Everyone else would be in the southern division --- which would be a nice tweak of U. Miami's future name recognition in Central florida.

Eventually Buffalo, UMASS, or Delaware would become permanant football member #8.

In basketball, I think DePaul is like the Louisville of Basketball. I'd have passed on them and with that, I'd have passed on Marquette for now for distance reasons. With no Chicago, adding Milwaukee seems excessive. I would have gone for Boston College's throat though. Northeastern would be in to gurantee that the Big East would become #1 in the Boston DMA (Northeastern + Umass alumni).

1 UMASS
2 Delaware
3 Buffalo
4 Miami U.
5 Ohio U.
6 UCONN
7 Syracuse
8 Rutgers
9 WV
10 Pitt
11 St. John's
12 Georgetown
13 Villanova
14 Seton Hall
15 Providence
16 Northeastern

ah well...





Last edited by finiteman on Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 10:38 am 
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Quote:
I feel for UMASS, because the way the ACC thing went down did not allow them to make the jump and it would have been the right thing for both school and conference. The Big East is not the conference it should be because of BCS fears and the desires of the basketball schools.


The BE was never going to add UMASS when BC was in the conference. No Way. They would have had NE covered with BC, SU, and UConn.

The BE is not the conference that it could be because the two teams that are most popular in the region - PSU and ND chose not to play FB in the conference for various reason.


Quote:

Adding Cinnci was a mistake. They are a middling academic school that was forced into the conference because they have a good market and the basketball schools wanted the rogue Bob Huggins program. Then huggins got fired and the BE had nothing to show for it. Louisville and USF are similarly not at the Big East academic level but they provide good markets. Louisville had the largest athletic department budget outside of the BCS. USF offered a good toehold into Florida recruiting, but was in Tampa Bay's footprint.

UCinn is a much better school that you give them credit for. They will improve in the rankings quickly because their President (Zimpher) is dedicated to improving them. They were better than UL, WVu, and USF when they entered and I'm sure they will be Tier 2 within 5 years. WVu and UL will never be Tier 2.

When the ACC raided, UC was added because the BE wanted a school committed to their academics and athletics with a 'NE' type footprint. UL was getting in no matter what. However, UC - under the direction of Zimpher is dedicated to improving academics. In addition, UC built the 'Varsity Village' - a new athletic complex that cost over $100 million. They are also a school that is near WVu, Pitt, and UL, and are an urban research institution. I don't see how anyone would consider they should not be invited over Memphis, ECu, Temple, etc.

The BE didn't originally want USF. As a matter of fact, they wanted a breakaway 8 team conference and they were only considering UCF (amongst others) for FB only. This would have given the BE two 'quadrants' - a NE (BC, SU, UConn, RU) and Ohio Valley (UCinn, UL, Pitt, WVu). That all changed when BC left.
UCF was thought of for FB only because all of their sports were already in the Atlantic Sun so they would only have to move their FB from the MAC to BE. And STILL, it was not 100% that the BABE (BReakaway BE) would have a Florida school.

USF was brought up in the past by Tranghese by Miami nixed it. Jurich (UL AD) really pushed for them to be invited ONCE BC agreed to leave for the ACC. AGain, they weren't getting in unless BC left.
[/quote]


Quote:

When the ACC schools bolted, MT, IMO, should have approached the basketball schools and assurred them there would be no scism, then he should have approached Villanova (Philly Market), St. John's (NYC), & Georgetown (DC), about moving up. Any one of those would have been a ton healthier for the conference than Cinnci. Now odds are even under a tough sell those schools would not have moved up, but one or more might. Once it was established that they were not moving up, I think expansion of IA and IAA teams to move to IA would have been the choice.

At that point I would have pressed the issue with the basketball schools that expansion has to be done to fit the needs of the football schools.

Delaware & UMass

With that in mind adding Delaware or UMASS to the basketball mix with standing offer of a IA home if they go IA in 3-4 years would have made a lot of sense. Both are good sized stateflagships with good educational reputations and with statewide followings. Both are elite IAA schools with great annual football attendance. Both are could ligitimately be argued to have enough graduates to hold significant pull in local big markets (Baltimore/Philadelphia & Boston), but are far enough from the markets to be outside the "nfl killzone". (NFL teams take the public's football ticket revenue in large markets. This is why almost every college football team in a large city has fallen apart in a generation when an NFL team moves in. Houston, Rice, SMU, TCU --- USC and UCLA have been resurgent 1 generation after the Rams and Raiders left. Delaware and UMASS are similar to Texas A&M - far enough away to have their own fans, but close enough to have large alumni followings in Houston.)

Both schools have toyed with the idea of moving up, but there has been no publically stated offer of membership into a BCS conference to build the public support neccessary to finance the facilities upgrades. (I am shocked about the numbers UMASS throws out. It would cost Idaho 30M to build a 30K stadium but in Mass it costs $250M? Come on now. Union workers are not THAT expensive. That is a ridiculous number probably based on replacing EVERYTHING connected to football at UMASS. Frankly if their facilities are good enough to be a great basketball school and an elite IAA school, the facilities are survivable for now.)

I think Delaware would stay a IAA power and UMASS would make the jump.

As good of an idea as that might have been, their football BCS needs were more immediate and could not wait 5-10 years.

All the BE BB schools have consistently voted NO to a FB upgrade. The BE even assured them that they would be automatically invited into BE FB and they still said no. It requires a HUGE investment - just look at how much money UConn spent - that the BB schools were not willing to undertake.


Quote:

The MAC has 3 top acedemic schools with 3 of the bigger athletic budgets in the conference. Ohio U (~16M), Miami University Oxford (~21M), and Buffalo (~18M). All 3 fit the Northeast footprint and all 3 might do a lot better in a higher profile conference. None of them have great attendance, but there are arguements for all of them.

Ohio University is THE University in Ohio, even though State gets the flagship designation and the funding. Ohio U. could quickly grow in esteem and enrollment if they graduated out of the MAC (a conference of perceived equals). I don't see them ever challenging Ohio State, but becoming what Michigan State is to Michigan? That would be possible with membership in a BSC conference. Ohio U. is the distant #2 in the Columbus Market.

Miami University is located in the Cincinnati media market. They are one of about 20 public schools designated as "public Ivy's". That is a VERY impressive academic distinction. This SHOULD have been the Big East's choice for the Cinnci market as they are about 1 hour outside the city and it can be argued on the verge of being outside of the NFL killzone. They have a history of moments of football brilliance, but their athletic program is no Louisville. Still they are the #1 athletic budget in the MAC.

It is very reasonable to think that one or both of these Ohio schools would have had equal football success to Cinnci's most recent season if they were in the Big East. Ohio is a football hotbed.

The BE isn't going to take Miami or Ohio U. They are fine academic institutions and would be a great academic fit. They just don't bring in the TV viewers that are needed.


Quote:

Buffalo is a program that jumped to IA too soon. They really needed to become an IAA power for at least a 5-6 years before jumping. They do not have a dedicated fan base yet for this reason. Additionally Buffalo is in an NFL killzone and has huge snowfalls which just kills their attendance in the second half of the season. I'd have offered them a sweet deal --- inclusion in the Big East as a non-football member and a committment to schedule them in football if they committ to playing an independent schedule. WV, UCONN, Syracuse, Pitt, and Rutgers would play Buffalo in Buffalo home and home in their first 5 games each season with Buffalo playing at home the first 2 or 3 weeks of every season to get the maximium attendance bump possible. I'd also try to organize home and home games with Army and Navy in weeks 6-7 and miami U and Ohio in 8-9. My idea would be to prep Buffalo for potenial football membership and secure a good market in the footprint for basketball. Buffalo has excellent IA potential long term for some sad reasons. When the Bills owner does ultimately pass on, the Bills will move to canada. When that happens Buffalo will be a large college sports town. Saving Buffalo as a Div IA school is in the Big East's long term benefit. Buffalo probably won't make it in the MAC.

Buffalo's market is already covered by SU. AGain, Buffalo is a great academic school (AAU) but they aren't going to get invited.



Quote:

I'd have offered Army and Navy football only memberships with reduced football share and no gurantees. They are well respected in BCS circles in spite of their modest IA football potential, would only be looking for a football home, have national followings, and are located in "trouble areas" (Baltimore DMA and NY/NJ DMA).

The academies were offered partial membership and probably would have accepted - if BC had stayed in the BE. That would have also upgraded ND's schedule from 3 to 4 BE teams a year.

Ever since then, the academies have always said no.



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