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I-A vs. I-AA
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Post: #1
 
Until 1978 football was like every other sport in the NCAA. It was organized into three divisions.

Division III for schools not wishing to award athletic aid.
Division II for schools wishing to award aid but at a low cost level and offering few sports.
Division I for schools with broad based athletic programs (read lots of sports) willing to offer a lot of scholies.

The NCAA had a contract with ABC (and later others) for football (it was THE cash cow for the NCAA). Schools were limited in number of national appearances (5 in two years) and every conference was guaranteed at least one regional appearance every two years. Revenue went into two pools. Pool one was to the televised schools per appearance. Pool two was divided among all Division I schools.

In 1978 Division I was divided into I-A and I-AA. To be I-A you had to either offer a broad based program (ie. 12 sports) or meet minimum attendance requirements. The attendance requirement was there to "save" well supported football programs at schools that didn't have 12 sports.

I-AA was actually a nice compromise for the time. There were over 180 schools playing Division I football at the time. There were only 13 bowl games at the time. Unless you were a member of the Big 8 (Orange), Big 10(Rose), Pac-10(Rose), SWC(Cotton), SEC(Sugar), WAC(Fiesta, then in 1978 Holiday), or Southland (Independence) conferences you were not guaranteed access to a bowl. Division I leagues like the SWAC, MEAC, Big Sky, Ivy, Missouri Valley, PCAA (Big West), MAC, Southern, Ohio Valley, and Yankee (A-10) you were very unlikely to send a team to post-season.

I-AA offered a playoff for those schools. Scholarships were capped at 75 compared to 100 (later 95) for I-A. Many of the Division I leagues already had scholarship caps ranging from 0 in Ivy to 85 in the MAC, MoValley, etc.

Many leagues opted to remain I-A (notably MoValley, Southland, Southern, Yankee, Ivy)


The bigger schools chaffed at sharing the pot of gold (ABC-TV) with over 1. At the end of the 1981 season they eliminated the sport sponsorship element, making it purely attendance based. That knocked I-A down to right at 100. A year later the rest of the MAC got it's house in order (with help from a lawsuit to enjoin enforcement against them) and I-A was at 105 members.

The new I-AA schools were made the following promises.
1) They would have access to television through the ABC contract but would only be paid based on appearances instead of sharing the big check and would be guaranteed a minimum number of regional appearances.
2) They would be able to continue to schedule I-A schools.
3) I-AA would be a division for schools wanting to play high scholarship football.
4) They would have access to a playoff.

Promise #1 was broken in 1983 thanks to the United States Supreme Court striking down the NCAA football television contract. The NCAA was out of the TV business and I-AA was guaranteed one tv appearance, that being the title game and then in most years only because televising the game was made a requirement for bidding on the NCAA basketball tournament.

Promise #2 was when a new rule was adopted for 1989. I-A schools could no longer count a win over a I-AA toward bowl eligibility. From 1981 to 1988 two schools had moved to I-A (not counting the MAC schools that yo-yo'd into I-AA for one year). One was Akron, who had their eyes on MAC membership. The other was La.Tech who made their move partly in response to the proposed legislation. Once the rule was adopted two more schools dashed up, Nevada and Arkansas State, two schools that traditionally relied on playing at least one regional I-A school every year and found those games in danger. After that the dash was on.

Promise #3 was broken when Division III tired of having to recruit against Division I schools like Dayton and Georgetown that played Division I in all sports except football and played Division III football. Shortly after Dayton won national title #2 in 1989 the push was on to get them out of Division III. A couple western schools were playing Division II football. At the request of Division III, the NCAA adopted a new rule requiring football be played in the same division as basketball and in turn nearly forty schools were pushed out of Division II and Division III (mostly III) and into I-AA (including UAB who opted to go on to I-A). Nearly one-third of Division I-A was now non-scholarship programs.

While Promise #4 was kept it was dimished a bit while the SWAC and MEAC pulled out of the playoffs to participate in their own game, the Heritage Bowl. The MEAC has since returned to participation in the playoffs.

The sad fact is that the reasons for creating I-AA initially are gone.
-We no longer have 13 bowl games for 180 schools, we have 28 and potentially 31, for 117 soon to be 119 schools.
-There is no shared revenue from a national TV contract. Each league cuts its own deal.
-I-AA is no longer the exclusive preserve of high scholarship football one-third of the schools are strongly limited in the aid they can give and another handful are like Tenn-Martin, Richmond, Prarie View (and until a few years ago Western Ky) that are in high scholie leagues but awarding well under the limit.
-The schools are still impaired in their ability to schedule I-A schools, both because only one game in four years can count toward a bowl and because now the smaller I-A's must schedule five I-A home games and no longer have a spot available to schedule them.

There may yet be a purpose for I-AA, but as a home for high scholarship football it is an abject failure.
05-17-2004 11:23 AM
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arkstfan Away
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Post: #2
 
Using a post I made at the UNT site to carry this thought forward.

How about we come up with a standard for basketball?

Let's break basketball into I-A and I-AA.

15,000 minimum attendance is roughly 13.5% of the best attendance in football. Let's apply the same standard to basketball. The best attendance in basketball is 22,271, 13.5% is roughly 3,000 (rounding down to the nearest 1,000 to be fair).

I hereby propose that EVERY school averaging less than 3,000 per game in basketball be reclassified to Division I-AA which will have its own basketball tournament for these undeserving programs. I further propose that the new I-AA basketball division be allowed one fewer assistant coach than I-A. That I-A schools only be permitted to count one win every four years over the I-AA programs toward eligibility for the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. I propose that the I-AA's be permitted only 10 scholarships in the sport of basketball in order to save money.

It's a reasonable standard after all the average attendance for a Division I basketball game is 5,125. If you can't do 59% of the national average do you really belong in Division I-A? There are 31 conferences in Division I basketball. 17 average 3,000 or more.

In football there are 26 Division I football conferences, 11 I-A, and 15 I-AA. Splitting Division I basketball into 17 I-A and 14 I-AA is fair.

Pot meet kettle.

What's wrong? Is there something wrong with that standard? It makes perfect sense to me. I'm sick of hearing football held to such a high standard when basketball with its BILLION dollar TV contract is subsidizing all these sub-3,000 attendance programs that just cash a check. Everyone that made the Sweet 16 met the standard, obviously if you can't meet the standard you can't compete for a national title.
05-17-2004 11:54 AM
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NuMexAg Offline
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Post: #3
 
Of course the little guys could argue that it's the small, less than 3,000 (or 1,000 even) attendance schools that make the NCAA BB tourney so appealing to many by bringing the David v Goliath aspect to the tourney. It's the chance (and the fact that it actually happens) that you could see a Siena upset a Kentucky that attracts so many to watch those early round games.

I realize this is only partially true - I'm sure ratings for the sweet 16 and beyond are bigger, but nonetheless there is a large appeal to giving the small guy a chance - even if it's for only 1 or 2 victories.

What would be your ideal setup for FB?
Sounds like you would not be for an all-inclusive 1A (i.e. eliminate 1AA) Would you rather see a formal split of 1AA with a lower scholie 1AA and then a non-scholie 1AA, (or something else?)

Great posts BTW, thanks for the historical info.
05-17-2004 12:29 PM
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broncobob Offline
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Post: #4
 
Thanks for the great history lesson on the D1A/D1AA division in football ARKStFan.

I also like analogy to D1 basktball. I agree 100%. It is actually more reasonable to establish a d1a/d1aa split in basktball than football. But who ever claimed that the NCAA was reasonable?

The NCAA can be likend to the Federal Government, Do you believe them when they show up and say "Hi, I am from the NCAA and I am here to help you"!

Money Talks and the non-bcs schools walk. The real division is the BCS/Non-BCS school division now!
05-17-2004 12:33 PM
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Post: #5
 
broncobob Wrote:Thanks for the great history lesson on the D1A/D1AA division in football ARKStFan.

I also like analogy to D1 basktball. I agree 100%. It is actually more reasonable to establish a d1a/d1aa split in basktball than football. But who ever claimed that the NCAA was reasonable?

The NCAA can be likend to the Federal Government, Do you believe them when they show up and say "Hi, I am from the NCAA and I am here to help you"!

Money Talks and the non-bcs schools walk. The real division is the BCS/Non-BCS school division now!
Unless kept in check, I see the BCS/non-BCS thing easily becoming the next D-1A/D-1AA split. Do you really believe that the BCS schools are looking out for the best interests of all schools, or are they just trying to keep a larger part of the pie for themselves?

They clearly want to push out any other teams that aren't lucky enough to be in the select few, even though the selection of conference members has little to do with athletic ability.
05-17-2004 12:48 PM
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gaard Offline
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Post: #6
 
99Tiger Wrote:Unless kept in check, I see the BCS/non-BCS thing easily becoming the next D-1A/D-1AA split. Do you really believe that the BCS schools are looking out for the best interests of all schools, or are they just trying to keep a larger part of the pie for themselves?

They clearly want to push out any other teams that aren't lucky enough to be in the select few, even though the selection of conference members has little to do with athletic ability.
Yes and No. They want to keep the non-BCS out of the money, but want to keep them around for the tune up games at the start of the season.
05-17-2004 01:00 PM
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Post: #7
 
NewMexAg, we can't postulate what would be the attraction if the "little" schools got to play the "big" schools head-to-head in post-season because it is so uncommon.

What we know is that the Tangerine (now Citrus) provided MAC champion vs. Big Name school match-ups and became so successful that it now matchs big names. We know that the Fiesta matching the WAC against big names grew into a major event. We know that the Independence matching the Southland champ against big names is now a million plus pay-out bowl. We know that the Holiday matching WAC against big names (including a national title) grew to where it is all big names.

The little guys gave those bowl games their start and they were successful and that success led to bigger tv contracts, higher ticket prices and in turn "safer" contracts with the big names locking out the small names. Miami of Ohio might be good enough to play in the Citrus but if I want to keep the sponsors and TV execs happy I've got to take the safe route and take a name so they can justify future payments equal to what I was able to do with the little guys. Taking the WAC or CUSA champion isn't safe. Last year TCU was the marketable choice in CUSA but they messed it up by losing head-to-head to Southern Miss.

The college football fan has been told and believes a number of lies. 1) Anything outside the BCS is inferior to the BCS. 2) Anything outside I-A is inferior to I-A. 3) I-A membership is a meritocracy or at least should be. While Richmond might deserve a chance to take on the best in the NCAA Tournament by meeting the stringent requirement of having 14 sports and playing a Division I schedule, they cannot be allowed to taint I-A football unless they add two more sports, 20 football scholarships and average 15,000 paid attendance every year.
05-17-2004 01:26 PM
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NuMexAg Offline
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Post: #8
 
Yeah, I totally agree on the FB post season. A little guy vs big guy match up isn't going to happen very often. I was more referring to BB and your hypothetical 1A-1AA split. And I get your point. Just throwing out a different angle.

As far as FB, I think most schools in lower 1A and upper 1AA (and alums) just want the chance to compete against like minded, peer schools, and have something to play for at the end of each year (bowl) - and don't want to go broke doing it. THere are certainly exceptions - and of course success at one level breeds the desire to compete on a higher plane.

Seems like to me though some kind of arrangement could be put together that allowed schools to do so without being driven into financial distress over it, and without that inferior feeling.

That would assume though the NCAA is looking out for the good of the whole - which IMHO isn't the case.
05-17-2004 02:07 PM
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arkstfan Away
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Post: #9
 
Oh I got your point Nu. I was just pointing out that we have no idea if big guy vs. little guy would be an attraction in post-season in football because it doesn't happen.
05-17-2004 02:37 PM
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Aggieboy Offline
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Post: #10
 
Please excuse my rant, but…

If memory serves, Notre Dame and BYU are the only non-BCS schools to ever win a mythical national championship.

Does anyone really think that the BCS schools will let the rest of us in on the pot of gold without intervention? I don’t. Just like so many things in life, the money is protected by the haves and the have-nots are left to pick s**t with the chickens. Why do you think gas is so high? The big boys are not regulated and all the talk in the world will not force them into lowering the prices.

Name your topic and the money wins.

Face it guys, we cheer for the have-nots and I love it that way. The big schools are overrated the small schools are underrated. This is fun, don’t you agree?

Go Aggies.
05-17-2004 08:37 PM
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Post: #11
 
"This is fun, don’t you agree?"


nah. i'd rather have money and power and championships.
:)
05-17-2004 08:55 PM
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broncobob Offline
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Post: #12
 
Aggieboy Wrote:Please excuse my rant, but…

If memory serves, Notre Dame and BYU are the only non-BCS schools to ever win a mythical national championship.

Does anyone really think that the BCS schools will let the rest of us in on the pot of gold without intervention? I don’t. Just like so many things in life, the money is protected by the haves and the have-nots are left to pick s**t with the chickens. Why do you think gas is so high? The big boys are not regulated and all the talk in the world will not force them into lowering the prices.

Name your topic and the money wins.

Face it guys, we cheer for the have-nots and I love it that way. The big schools are overrated the small schools are underrated. This is fun, don’t you agree?

Go Aggies.
Notre Dame is a BCS school, so that leaves BYU as the only non-BCS school to ever win a national title, albeit their title came before the establishment of the BCS.
05-18-2004 02:18 PM
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Post: #13
 
Notre Dame is BCS, they get money all to themselves and a spot in a BCS bowl if they are ranked high enough. Which comes to my next point. They also have their own contract on NBC, so why would the Big East or Big 10/11 ever hold a spot for them. if they have to do no sharing and have their own contract, why join a conf. it's absolutly crazy. The Big 11 might was well add Syracues or Pitt and make themself the Big 12 biecause ND will never join.
05-18-2004 03:26 PM
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polsongriz Offline
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Post: #14
 
1boisebro Wrote:"This is fun, don’t you agree?"


nah. i'd rather have money and power and championships.
:)
Better move on to a diffferent school then. Or drop back down to 1AA.
05-28-2004 01:54 AM
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Post: #15
 
Why can't 1-A [I]and [I] I-AA both be marketed to the same audience?


Down with the BCS.
05-28-2004 11:07 AM
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