I am guessing whatever happened to my post happened to JP's, so I will quote. Maybe future responses should not use the quote button...
Damn. This is like the Frazier-Ali of long winded posts! Well done, sir.
#1 - Yes, Tulane wanted to build relationships with the WAC schools in Texas and Tulsa (where the Tulane AD worked). Still doesn't mean they'd want to split in half and break ties with USM, UAB and Memphis, teams they founded the conference with.
Again, I think it is a no brainer for the academic part of Tulane and they probably make the call. Tulsa, SMU, Rice are top academic schools and Houston may be the frontrunner to become Texas's #3 tier 1 university with it's high research funds.
Every school wants to be part of a Big 10 like conference --- good academics and athletics in a reasonable footprint with good TV revenue. The Western schools may have that kind of future (10-20 years down the road ---although where they'd be at 5 years from now isn't bad). The eastern schools are simply striving to follow Louisville in being a bad academic school that moves up on athletic reasons.
#2 - The basketball discussion is the prime example of why a split is silly: The mediocre conference becomes two worse ones. The last time I checked, the biggest sources of revenue from areas outside your own college (ie why conferences form) are TV Revenue.
That comes in three forms:
Conference TV contract.
BCS payouts (hardly a factor since the best shot C-USA's had was 1998 Tulane. You need to go undefeated for a BCS shot)
NCAA Basketball Tournament money (1.2 million just to make it to the dance; and you don't even need to win your conference to get in)
That's why I think basketball is relevant. Memphis is still a national program. Not a final four team, but one that can stay in the top 25 and go 17-2 in conference instead of 19-0. And those two teams who beat Memphis will now get a marquee win and potentially punch their ticket to the dance.
As I illustrated in the previous post, the DMAs that each resulting conference could put together would not be dwarfed by the existing CUSA.
BCS payouts would probably be a wash. With no conference championship game, the schools do not have a means to potentially jump them ove the WAC or MWC candidate, but it does increase the odds of an undefeated school coming up.
In basketball, Vs. a split where memphis (at your percieved level of excellence) goes 17-1 in conference and UAB gets in off their win over memphis while Tulsa takes the SWC autobid = 3 teams in.
My point is the difference in many potentially negative areas seems quite marginal.
#3 - What is the point of your "market size per school" stuff? Who is there who cares how many schools are in the conference and "how many mouths there are to feed." There's no mouths to feed. There's eyes for TV to sell ads to.
If your whole point is "how much a TV deal would have to worth for each group to make money," that's relevant. How many people are in the geographic area per school in the conference doesn't matter at all. How many people in those areas actually care for your product is important (see #6 below), but I am completely missing out on the relevance of market size per school.
I was probably inartful in my "mouths to feed" arguement, but it is really an important one. Simply put lets say CUSA has about 20M people in their native DMAs. Some areas they have good market saturation and in other areas no one gives a crap about their schools. The end result is that ESPN and the lot will give them X dollars for their broadcasts. For ease of math we will say ESPN gives CUSA 12 Quinnbucks for football and another 8 Quinnbucks for basketball = 20 Quinnbucks. Now with 12 Mouths to feed, that means each school's share of broadcast revenue is 1.67 Quinnbucks.
Now the proposed SWC might only have say 15.5M in their native DMAs, but with UNT's large DFW alumni base backing SMU's small but rich Dallas alumni base, the conference would have better relevance in the important DFW market making their Quinnbuck per DMA resident slightly richer that what CUSA garners for the Texas markets. 3/4 of the TV households in CUSA DMAs are in teh Western areas. Lets say instead of getting a little less than 9 Quinnbucks for football, their CUSA share is more like 7 due to poor market saturation in DFW. In the SWC, with UNT good penetration in DFW and Houston, it might very well be a full 9 Quinnbucks.
Now in BB CUSA might be more of a 50/50 split with baskketball being an afterthought in the west outside of small markets Tulsa and El Paso, while Memphis is a national power akin to UNLV in the tarkanian era. Now with the remergance of Tulsa as the dominant school in their league and UNT helping the DFW market, in time, I could see the BB share hitting say 5 or so.
That means say 16 Quinnbucks split between 8 school = 2 Quinnbucks per school.
Now lets look at the east. With Army, Navy, and Temple as football only added and Charlotte as all sports, their native DMAs rise from 5M to 17.5M. Additionally, Temple is the biggest college football program in Philly, NYC has only 2 ---eternally depressed Rutgers and Army. Army and Navy are national names. It is entirely possible that they will get strong penetration into the football starved NE DMAs. 10 or even 12 quinnbucks is not out of the question.
In basketball, all of the schools would have quite strong penetration and support that goes beyond native DMAs even though their markets would be lesser. Again, I think 5 Quinnbucks is a conservative guess.
If you divide the 12 football quinnbucks between 10 schools you get 1.2. Add in the 5 Quinnbucks divided by 9 BB schools and you get another .55 for a total of 1.75 quinnbucks or so. Now certainly that would have to be partitioned out a bit to lure in St. Louis, but my point is that the loss of revenue you discuss in a split is not a given and even if it occured would be modest, not likely be the kind of major disaster scenario you are painting. Would the cut in travel revenue make it a financial positive? Probably for schools like UCF, Marshall, and ECU.
#4 I'd disagree with the assesment of La Tech. I'm not sure what Tulane's interest level in La Tech is.
I think you can tell a lot about the La Tech-Tulane relationship by the chronology of 2003-06. I do not know the specifics of the C-USA expansion vote. I do not know if... the seven C-USA schools voted on adding SMU, Tulsa, Rice, UCF and Marshall, and then again on UTEP, or if all 11 voted after TCU bailed. I also don't know who voted for whom.
But I DO know that: La Tech was openly campaigning for C-USA inclusion and the league took UTEP instead. And after this vote, when Tulane needed a place for its football team after Katrina, La Tech took them in.
La Tech's attitude wasn't "Screw those guys" which means La Tech needs C-USA and Tulane more than Tulane needs La Tech.
From that, you can go either way:
A - Tulane will be grateful for the Katrina hospitality and be their advocate.
B - Tulane's stay in a condemned dorm an issues with racist campus police affirmed their belief that La Tech isn't C-USA worthy.
I think Tulane isn't totally in love with La Tech, but the western schools long ago concluded La Tech is PERCIEVED by the BCS to be the #3 Lousiana school.
From Tulane's perpsective (a practicality one), they would be a needed close game to help football attendance if they leave their tradional CUSA rivals.
#5 I would agree with you on your assessment of UNT's alumni base and what they would provide to the West. I'd be an advocate for adding UNT...
However, why on earth would the teams in the west want UNT over Memphis, UCF and Southern Miss? (See point #7)
IMO, Memphis just lost a ton more luster than you see them losing. I think the Grizz will eat away at their local support and the team will drop down to Tourney bubble status on the court, costing them their national following within 5 years. Memphis is a BB school with BE dreams. Joining a football first western stretching team like the SWC would likely be only underscores how far west they are. They want to seem eastern.
UNT over UCF is just travel. UCF is the better school and program, but UNT is what the CUSA west NEEDS. Plus it takes two. I don't know why UCF would want into the SWC.
So. Miss as I stated above might very well take Tulane's bid to the SWC if Tulane hemms and haws. They are a football first school that might be able to replicate (on a lower level) the success in football that Arkansas had playing in the old SWC. Mississippi talent plus massive Texas exposure could be a real boon for them. Tulane won't hesitate if it comes to that.
I think that if the west breaks away, they won't want to kill the eastern schools by taking the NCAA bid which they would need to rebuild, so they will only take 1 school.
#6 Yes. I absolutely agree that market SHARE is more imporant than market SIZE.
For example, Dallas and Houston are really big, but no one cares about SMU or Houston or TCU or Rice... or North Texas because they all root for the Longhorns anyway.
LOL! I disagree that market SHARE is more imporant than market SIZE. I'd much rather have say Temple (moderate sliver of Philly DMA) than ULM (owns most of Monroe DMA). I think Media figures out what is reasonable based on prior broadcasts and the like and determines how many actual viewers that potentially equates to.
The point of the NBA cities comment was to show that you're taking a league with a wide market SIZE (not SHARE) and splitting up the five biggest markets.
Still not getting the point in this. NBA teams kill college BB programs' fan support ---live and on TV. It just isn't a positive. UT-Austin and even U Buffalo have good basketball situations --- good markets too small for NBA competition. Memphis used to have that.
Do this: rank order the schools by market share. In your opinion, who's the most powerful and "in demand" schools in the conference? Isn't that what your list would be? Now add in the teams you'd think would join these 12 for two 16-18 team conferences?
Now after you do that, take a look at where each West school is and each East school is. And ask, why would the teams on the list give up the SIX from the other side in favor of the TWO-to-THREE new people on their side?
This is all based off the faulty premise that market share is is more important that market size. It isn't.
There is a reason that the BE brought in USF. USF was an afterthought in Florida, but the potential (enrollment, stadium, DMA) was there for USF to grow beyond what it had been.
In otherwords it HAD poor market share, but good market size. It has since grown to have good market share.
If the BE had instead tabbed a school with a small market, it would not have had the growth potential.
#7 - Virtually all of the first six points add up to this main one:
What is there to GAIN by splitting in half? Who benefits? How does each of the 12 schools benefit from splitting compared to staying together?
So far, all I've heard is that "travel costs" equate to savings that offset losing money from TV, losing markets, and losing rivalries.
I can't see why Houston, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and SMU would want to add North Texas and La Tech at the expense of Memphis, UCF, UAB, East Carolina and Southern Miss.
Or why Memphis, UCF, UAB, East Carolina and Southern Miss would trade Houston, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and SMU for Charlotte, Saint Louis and UALR.
Furthermore, Memphis, UAB, East Carolina and Southern Miss made up four of the six schools which voted to add SMU, Tulsa, and Rice in the first place.
They also realized the need to go to a 12-team all-sports conference instead of the hybrid model, which leads me to believe that they'd be hesitant at best to revert to that sort of model.
Even when you consider that the only advocate for a change to the current C-USA structure (besides those en route to El Paso), has been ECU AD Terry Holland. And he didn't mention SLU, Charlotte or UALR. It was Sun Belt teams in the discussion: Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and South Alabama.
I think the thing you aren't looking at is the nature of this conference. It is two conferences using each other to mask their weaknesses. And both think they contribute more. The Eastern schools have the much stronger public support for their programs that Bowls like to see. The Western schools have the top academics, endowments, and reputations that BCS schools would not mind having an affiliation with. Members of each half think the other is dragging them down.
Now concerning who comes out better, again it boils down to what you want. The Western schools would have a nice sensible conference with 4 top academic privates and a public school that is the front runner to be the states 3rd tier 1 academic institution. UNT also wants and is pursuing tier 1 status. Could this conference follow UT's lead and insist all member schools push for higher academic standards? Sure. Long term that could be a reasonable goal. There is a lot there to suggest long term stability. Texas State and UTSA would likely want in and might tailor their universities to fit those conference goals. They'd make good members down the road. These schools want stability and have been pursueing it for 20 years. It seems within reach with this setup.
Now the Eastern schools want Big East membership. Pure and Simple. Their conference would have the goal of presenting them as being as BCS-like AS INSTITUTIONS as possible.
I think the two seperate goals of CUSA membership is really the wedge here.
#8 - I don't want to sound like I'm totally crapping on the concept, the train of thought, etc.
I really think points 1-6 on this list are just arguing the semantics and the details.
My opinion is that I can't forsee C-USA instigating a change that splits the most powerful six teams in C-USA apart, as well as the six biggest population/TV markets, and replaces them with lesser schools.
I am merely looking for instability. I think CUSA appears one of the most unstable conferences at the FBS level. If it happens or doesn't, we can't say until it does or doesn't.
#9 - I especially think it's unlikely given the situations with the Big Ten, Big East and Mountain West.
If C-USA splits and the Big East comes calling for one or two of Memphis, UCF, ECU, where does that leave UAB and Southern Miss? If the Mountain West takes UTEP and or Tulsa, where does that leave Houston, Rice, SMU and Tulane?
If the Big East takes Memphis and UCF, I'd definitely advocate adding North Texas. If the Sun Belt teams rise up and seem poised to surpass C-USA, I could see something happen there too (with the ECU AD leading the charge to dump the West and form a new league).
But making the first move appears to be a step down for both sides to me.
Lets be clear. I am anticipating stress brought on by dealing with future high oil prices leading to the eastern schools (ECU, lol!) pissing off the Texas schools. I think it MARGINALLY makes sense to stay together, but that is a very tiny margin based on costs today. I think high travel costs and frustrated angry admins could easily tip that scale.
Please do not use the quote post button as it may wipe this post.