I have mentioned before that I spent my teen years in the Texas Panhandle and as such have a major soft spot in my heart for the WT buffaloes. Like any fan of WT from the WTSU days who saw them play at the top level of college football for years in the MVC, their success at the Div II level (annual attendance champions) is bittersweet. While I am certainly glad they are excelling at that level, I and so many others dream of them getting back up to the FCS level at least, to allow the more regular matchups with their old MVC rivals.
I think I have finally come up with a POTENTIAL scheme that could potentially allow that to happen while acknowledging the financial realities of the university, travel distance, and the DMA --- none of which allow for a "NORMAL" FCS membership.
Div II allows for the giving of up to 36 football scholarships. FCS allows up to 63 full scholarships or they can chose to divide up their scholarships and give up to 85 partial scholarships. But there are some exceptions. This is our potential opening.
The IVY and Pioneer conferences are FCS conferences that offer no athletic scholarships to football players. The Patriot league offers no football scholarships but does offer scholarships for other sports. The NEC offers 30...soon to be 40 full scholarships in football per school.
It seems like you could technically split the LSC into 2 conferences and have the bigger schools take the 8 year move to FCS without substantially increasing scholarship levels. I think it is a 10-15 year plan (-- troublesome as schools like UCO could bolt on their own before then).
The LSC is a conference of Div II dominant schools and a bottom rung of typical division II schools. It is a "haves and have nots" conference. The have nots are content. The haves dream of higher conference affiliation, possible body bag games against Tech, UTEP, and UNT, and NCAA tourney money. The haves have attendance in the top 45 of Div II's 152 members.
The LSC is already so large that they are a two tier conference to make coordinating schedules easier. They seem a notable Div II conference for upgrading. Eventually you could have the good Texas football schools move up as the LSC and most of the OKL schools and ENMU stay in Div II as the "Oklahoma conference" or some such.
I have TAMU-Kingsville going with the good football schools even though they are a huge travel anchor. Maybe they can catch on with the southland after upgrading...
The 8 year conference upgrade time frame gives plenty of time for the "new LSC" teams to complete the facility upgrades most have underway, but I suspect it would take longer. (Hopefully that would allow enough time for the ingress/egress problems and parking problems at WT to be resolved and new supporting facilities to be funded and built.)
On the FCS level the conference could slowly build up scholarships every 5 years or so, like the NEC. Honestly, I have no idea what the current scholarship load is in the LSC. I would think that the "new LSC" would need to all get to full loads in basketball and partial in baseball because in spite of the regions football love, basketball and baseball competence could potentially get revenue going and get the conference into FCS solidly. I think a lot of FCS schools would love to have more baseball and football options in the area to cut travel.
Finally, as an IAAA school TWU could develop into a or even the women's basketball/athletics power in the metroplex--- that would be totally be worth having in the conference. A very good investment there and a future add.
I think Commerce should not upgrade now, but maybe in a few years when they get their house in order.
School enrollment pub/priv stad cap (att) arena cap DMA
University of Central Oklahoma 15K pub 10K (4K) 3K (OKC = 676K)
Northeastern State University 10K pub 12K (5.5K) 1.2K (Tulsa = 519K)
West Texas A&M University 7K pub 20K (12K) 5K (Amarillo = 191K)
Texas A&M University-Kingsville 7K pub 15K (7K) 4K (Corpus Christi =195k)
Midwestern State University 7K pub 15K (6.5K) 5K (Wichita Falls = 152k)
Angelo State University 6K pub 18K (7K) 6.5K (San Angelo =53K)
Tarleton State University 6K pub 5K (5K) 5K (rural fringe of DFW = 2.435M)
Abilene Christian University 5K priv 15K (8K) 8K (Abilene = 113K)
Texas Woman's University (eventual upgrade non- football) 11K pub - (-) 1K (northern edge of DFW metroplex = 2.435M)
Texas A&M University-Commerce (eventual upgrade) 9K pub 10K (2K) 5K (rural fringe of DFW = 2.435M)
Div II Oklahoma conference
Texas Woman's University (for now)
Texas A&M University-Commerce (for now)
East Central University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Eastern New Mexico University
Oklahoma Panhandle State?
Last edited by finiteman on Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.