....for new FBS conferences and for some schools to join them and will the schools be ready, willing and able to take advantage of the opportunity? Will the window of opportunity be short lived or will it remain open for a long period of time?
I'm figuring that if the four mega conferences happen, that just about every conference outside the Ivy and SWAC will be significantly impacted. Between the basketball tournament increasing the field to 68 and the distinct possibility that a league or two will cease to exist, the usual stumbling block for forming a new conference, no AQ to the Big Dance, will probably become a non factor. Could this lead to the formation of a new FBS Conference along the Atlantic Coast? Over in the FCS World it is pretty common knowledge that schools like James Madison, Appalachian State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville State, etc. have FBS aspirations. Charlotte isn't starting up a football program to remain at the FCS level. If George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth start programs, it's doubtful they'd do so to be FCS programs.
So, let's assume that a new conference forms even though it might be an evolution of the CAA. JMU, App State, Jax State and GA State have facilities (or will have when a construction project is completed) that will allow an immediate move to FBS. GA Southern has an easily expandable stadium. Charlotte has plans to build an on campus facility that would meet initial FBS needs. I think all of those institutions have the "institutional fortitude" to make the move to FBS. By that I think they can fund the additional 44 scholarships (22 for football, 22 for Women's Sports) and the institutional support to do so.
There are some other schools that have expressed interest in going FBS -- UMass, Stony Brook, Youngstown State, Illinois State, Texas State, etc. For argument sake, let's say that within the next year or two, opportunities become available for membership in a FBS Conference. For example, Illinois State to the MAC; Texas State to the WAC, C-USA or Sunbelt; JMU, App, GaStU, GaSoU to a new conference, C-USA or Sunbelt; etc.
The schools I have question marks about are UMass, Stony Brook, Delaware, Old Dominion and Youngstown State. I think the others are positioned to make a quick move and be accepted by an existing conference or by their peers in forming a new conference.
UMass -- probably needs to make modest enhancements to McGuirk Stadium. Mullins Center for basketball is fine as is. Will they be able to mobilize the financial support for a stadium enhancement as well as for the 44 scholarship increase? Pretty safe to say the MA State Legislature isn't ponying up any money.
Stony Brook -- Can they muster the financial support needed to add say 10K seat to LaValle Stadium as well as get the renovation of their main basketball arena completed? Same question about the 44 scholarships? With the financial woes in NY State, will their peers have enough faith in their ability to raise the resources necessary?
Delaware -- Has announced plans to enlarge their football stadium from the current 22K+ to about 30K (rather than building a brand new stadium). I have no doubt about Delaware being able to afford FBS, but I wonder about their desire to do so. Why didn't they put a plan together to have a larger capacity when JMU has plans that allow enlargement to 45K? And from the many people from Delaware that I've talked with, there is a strong commitment to academics that might be inconsistent with FBS football. Add in that Delaware is more of a North East institution than a Southern institution and I again wonder if they're ready to join any new endeavor initiated by large, Southeastern public institutions? Would Temple, UMass and Stony Brook participating make Delaware a more willing partner?
Old Dominion -- I think that ODU has the financial wherewithal to go FBS and that if JMU, Charlotte, GaStU, etc. were to form a FBS league that they would also be able to make the move.
Youngstown State -- I don't know as much about them, but I do know they have one huge side to their football stadium and I assume the other side could be enlarged. I believe they've tried to join the MAC which really seems to be their logical home with fellow Ohio schools Kent State, Akron, Ohio U, Toledo, Miami, Bowling Green as well as relatively nearby Buffalo. I've been led to believe that they have the resources to upgrade and would do so if a conference home was available.
So, what are your thoughts about FBS upgrades from FCS? Who will be ready, willing and able to take advantage of opportunies?