One poster suggested that the NCAA restructure itself along the lines of English soccer leagues where you can play yourself into a higher division.
I think conceptually this is a great idea, although wins and losses should not be the driving force. Fan support, NFL team, Enrollment, Academics, and Media Markets should be. Possibly in that order.
A lot of people discount the importance of fan support, but fan support is revenue to support the program in IA & IAA and it is an indication of the relative TV ratings you might get in an area in IA. If a team draws well, they will probably generate good ratings in a broadcast market. To me, fan support, which I think is measurable in attendance, is a key mesurable for IA schools and vital at the IAA.
Whether or not there is an NFL team within 40 miles really plays a huge factor in fan support IMO. NFL teams compete directly with college football teams for the general public's entertainment dollars. There is a reason UH, Rice, SMU, and TCU are no longer collegiate powers. Within 1 generation attendance at college schools within 40-100 miles (depending on the quality of the NFL team and the rabidity of fans in the region), what I call an "NFL killzone" will see a dramatic drop in fan support from the non-alumni public. I would argue the resurgance of USC and UCLA attendance in a generation after the NFL left LA supports my theories on this. (I am curious to see how BC does over the next 10 years with NE's dominance and BC's move to the ACC. I think the decline is coming.)
Enrollment USUALLY dovetails with football attendance pretty well. There is a reason that elite private schools generally draw less than 30K. It you have a university with an enrollment of 10K, your alumni base is probably no more than (10/4x40=)100k. You have to assume at least half of them are not interested in football and some part of them are no longer close enough to attend. If you compare that with a public school with an enrollment of 70K, the public school might have 7 times the number of alumni. This would seem to me to be the logical reason most of IA schools are larger publics --- it is easier to generate attendance numbers with a large student body. (IMO, the private schools that are the exception to this have properly marketed to the surrounding communities. ND for example has an enrollment of 12k, but pulls 80K per game.)
Large public schools can put a stadium on campus and just off their enrollment can often put 20-30K+ in the stands. UCF and USF are good examples of this. Both schools are enormous but are (reportedly - I'm not from FL) large commuter schools that are relatively new additions to IA. So far, they have been able to leverage their huge enrollments into solid attendence numbers. Enrollment can be a valid indicator of solid IA attendance numbers.
(I don't have anything to support this next claim, but it is generally accepted on this forum. "Commuter schools don't do as well as schools with lots of on campus or near campus housing." Since I don't have any numbers to support that, I won't suggest that for a criteria --more as an aid for fans/alumni considering the IA viability of their school.)
Academics should always be considered. The BCS schools are usually among the top 2 tiers of the US News ranking. (Those rankings are not the full picture, but are a good quick indicator of how universities see themselves vs. other universities.) BCS schools see themselves as academically and athletically superior to the rest of the feild. Unless your academics match up well/ are trending upwards and you have an athletic budget that shows a BCS sized committment to athletics (say at least 25M before BCS admission) and have a healthy neighboring media market that expands their TV deal, BCS schools will not be admitting you unless they are really despirate (ex. Cinnci into the BE).
In general, if you don't fit those criteria, you will find yourself in a sub-BCS conference. Most of those conferences will judge you mostly by whether or not you fit in their footprint and the size of your native media market(s). (The MWC being the lone exception to that. They have two criteria: will this school help us into the BCS, and barring that, will they add enough media market to offset the further division of the TV pie.)
As far as Media Markets go there seems to be 3 ways universities are evaluated:
If you are a flagship university (usually "the University of Xstate" but Ohio State, LSU, and some others are notable exceptions) or the second long established, large university in a state with good academics (Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, Michigan State), it can be argued that you have alumni all over the state and therefore all media markets in the state are your native markets.
If you aren't a large and academically dominant university your native market is often evaluated by your local DMA only. Rice is in Houston. Houston has a DMA of 2M TV household. That is a big part of why rice is in CUSA and not the sunbelt, for example.
Then sometimes a university is in a small market next to a large market or another small market with no native universities. Usually this is the case with a large school in a small town cranking out graduates who move to the nearby big city. Texas A&M grads to Houston is a decent example. (This is why UMASS and Delaware hit it out of the park on demographics.) Sometimes it seems true with privates too. Notre Dame is in south bend (300K Tv households) but they probably are the #1 college football team in the neighboring Chicago market (3.5 M TV households). This is a little tough to evaluate. Does S. Miss deliver Jackson (300K) or only their native Hattiesburg (110K)? Does Troy get credit for being the #2 school to Auburn in Montgomery, Dothan, and Columbus (a total of over 500k TVs) or only Montgomery?
So anyway there is the background thought process. On to the proposal.
Last edited by finiteman on Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.