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Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
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jwawker Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 10:26 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 08:51 AM)Bogg Wrote:  
(08-11-2019 11:35 PM)Stugray2 Wrote:  That's the root of the problem, the school is writing an $11M plus check each year to keep athletics funded. Student athletic fees are already pretty high.

...

$15,159,430 is already taken in fees from the 19,958 full time students (over $750 per head -- which is the highest of any FBS school), so that is not a realistic source for additional revenue.

For what it's worth, mandatory student athletic fees are revenue in the same way a check written by the university is revenue. There isn't a meaningful difference between tacking a mandatory athletic fee onto the semester's tuition and raising tuition to pay for a transfer to the athletic department, although it is a little more honest.

...and yes, UConn's among the biggest offenders out there.

(08-12-2019 07:59 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  But at second glance, the explanation is also pretty clear: UConn leaving the AAC has set off tremors and reverbs, it's been a kind of shock wave, and so constituencies at other G5 schools are asking the same questions about their futures, and thinking along the lines of UConn. And this is a manifestation of that. Will these tremors be just that, temporary shakes that pass, or will more dominos in all G5 leagues fall? We'll see.

Eh, the UConn/Big East situation was pretty unique in the world of college sports for a number of reasons, and ECU's identity is pretty tied in to being a "football school". They'll cut the rest of the department to the NCAA limit before they do something that would seriously impact football (kind of like UConn is willing to possibly set football adrift to preserve basketball).

Far be it from me to tell a UConn supporter what UConn is doing, but here goes ... I do not think UConn has 'cut football adrift' in the sense of leaving behind FBS or the ultimate dream of P5 membership. IMO, UConn remains fully dedicated to achieving P5 membership in the ACC or B1G, and that this move to the Big East is designed to advance towards that. It's one reason my delight as a Big East fan in having UConn back is not full-throated, we are not your destination conference.

IMO, the Big East move advances the P5 agenda because not only was football failing in the AAC (so it could hardly do worse as Indy), but the prized basketball programs were withering on the vine as well**, and the Big East is a chance to revive hoops while working on football. It may not work out that way, but IMO that is the logic of it.

That said, to me, the big difference between UConn and ECU is that ECU has no Big East option. But UConn is that most prestigious public G5 school, so if they do something dramatic, that will be impactful, and I think this article is an example of that.


Yeah I know, UConn women's hoops is still #1, but their are now a few thousand UConn students who have been on the campus for more than 3 years and have not seen the team win the national title. At UConn, that's a bit of a wither.

I would not describe the women failing to win it all the past 3 years as a bit of a wither. They have still been in the Final Four for 12 consecutive years. In their last title drought, from 2005-2007, they did not advance even that far. All it took to get back on the "medal stand" was to recruit difference makers like Maya Moore. Granted the game is evolving and more schools are competitive at the top than there used to be, but that is a good thing.
08-12-2019 12:07 PM
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quo vadis Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 11:19 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  It's also a reflection that of what I've stated many times before: the "Football is all that matters!" line of thinking applies to the P5, but it isn't necessarily the best line of thinking for the G5. At the G5 level, basketball revenue has significantly more *relative* importance compared to football. (Total football revenue might be generally higher at virtually every school, even at "basketball schools", but that also comes with much higher expenses.)

The football positioning of a lot of schools (particularly in the AAC and MWC) has largely been driven more by the hope of eventually cashing in on a P5 lottery ticket than actually having a financially sustainable home in the G5.

I think you answered your own query here: Yes, it's only at top P5 schools where football really does bring in the monstrous revenues that dwarf basketball and also make the whole athletic enterprise profitable. At the G5 level, football often is the most money-losing of all the sports, because of its huge expenses. So at most G5, in a dollars sense, football is the opposite of being what it is at Penn State, USC, etc.

But .... these same G5 know that to have a shot at a P5 bid, they must have a football program that "looks P5 ready". And that means paying your HC two million a year, it means spending on training facilities and transportation and stadiums and all the other bells and whistles. To these G5, the enormous expenses for football are desperate investments in the hope that a P5 bid will come, in which case, the long-run profits will surely exceed the enormous short-run costs.

Of course, if the P5 bid doesn't come, then it is just a massive waste. And for most, it will never come. But they are all hoping they will be the next Rutgers or UofL that does get the call up.

Is this long-run sustainable? I don't think so by a long shot.
(This post was last modified: 08-12-2019 12:21 PM by quo vadis.)
08-12-2019 12:20 PM
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Post: #23
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 08:48 AM)Pir8inRichmond Wrote:  
Quote:Pinching corners and revenue games are about all they can do. So that is probably what they will do. They also should actively work to slow the budget growth, and let the AAC revenue improvement help to trim as well. $15,159,430 is already taken in fees from the 19,958 full time students (over $750 per head -- which is the highest of any FBS school), so that is not a realistic source for additional revenue. They might want to consider dropping one men's and one women's sport to trim costs $1M or so annually (Golf and Swimming look like good candidates -- swimming & diving is not an AAC sport).

“Highest of all FBS schools”. Where did u come up with that? The 750 is low compared to many G5. Even several P5 are close to that number - UVA, Rutgers. Probably others but I’m not spending an hour researching this.

ODU was close to $1500 but I believe a new VA law has lowered it by a few hundred.

I don’t know where ECU ranks among G5’s, but they are third behind SMU and UCONN in the AAC. The student fee is a flat $696. Houston, Tulsa and Tulane also charge one fee regardless of number of credit hours taken. The rest are graduated per credit hour/range of credit hours.
08-12-2019 12:23 PM
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Attackcoog Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:19 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I actually think the AAC got a fairly good media deal. However, to your point, the core issue is that even a "good" media deal at the G5 level might not be sustainable for these athletic departments in the long term.

It's also a reflection that of what I've stated many times before: the "Football is all that matters!" line of thinking applies to the P5, but it isn't necessarily the best line of thinking for the G5. At the G5 level, basketball revenue has significantly more *relative* importance compared to football. (Total football revenue might be generally higher at virtually every school, even at "basketball schools", but that also comes with much higher expenses.)

The football positioning of a lot of schools (particularly in the AAC and MWC) has largely been driven more by the hope of eventually cashing in on a P5 lottery ticket than actually having a financially sustainable home in the G5. That was certainly the case for UConn. If UConn truly believed that it was going to the P5 within the next decade, then it would have sucked it up and stayed in the AAC. UConn simply got smacked in the face with the reality that it went from being a frontrunner to replacing Maryland in the ACC (a spot that eventually went to Louisville) to being an afterthought in the Big 12 expansion bake-off. Once UConn came to the self-realization that it simply wasn't ever realistically going to get to the P5, it was better off leveraging its core basketball brand to go back to the Big East.

To be sure, UConn was in the unique position of having a natural home in the Big East that may very well end up making more financial sense for them (even as a football independent). There isn't a natural home for any FBS school to have a similar setup as of now.

However, maybe some schools need to start thinking outside of the box with different setups. For instance, Gonzaga and BYU have financially outgrown the WCC, yet joining the MWC as non-football members isn't any more attractive (with less control and power in exchange for little, if any, financial gain). Could Gonzaga and BYU spearhead a western equivalent of the Big East instead? Maybe pitch schools such as Houston and UNLV with solid basketball brand names (plus schools like Boise State and Air Force that have football programs that could conceivably survive on their own) that creating a western equivalent of the Big East for basketball with independent football could yield a better financial return than staying in a G5 league as a full member. I'm not saying that this would actually end up being true or that's even viable, but the point is that the "Football is all that matters!" thinking for G5 schools needs to at least be reevaluated.

It feels like the G5 leagues are old line brick-and-mortar retailers trying to compete against Amazon and Walmart. No matter what they do, they're simply not going to be able to compete with the size and scale of the P5 conferences. The brick-and-mortar stores that are still performing well have largely all found a different niche lane compared to Amazon and Walmart. The Big East has a different lane and it has been working for them both financially and competitively. If all that you're selling is that you're a cheaper and lower-ranked version of a P5 conference, though, then that probably isn't going to be sustainable.

"Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with. Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football. The most important aspect is the current/past institutional relationships and associations. Without those, it makes it close to impossible to move up the ladder.

Regarding the Big East's path, they are a unique case because they, essentially, had five schools that were long-time partners via association (Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall), along with two newer schools that they shared a conference with (and were very like-minded in terms of athletics: Marquette and DePaul). For a possible West Coast version of the Big East, that - to me - is unlikely because there is no other larger football/non-football league split at the moment. The most likely substantial shift within the G5 is a likely C-USA/Sun Belt reorganization/merger, with more efficient divisions for travel purposes.

The Big10 distributed about 54 million to each member school--with the vast majority of that revenue due primarily to football. The latest Big East 990 Tax filing indicated the Big Distributed about 3.5 million a school. So, yeah---its kinda hard to argue that football doesnt still drives the bus. Additionally, it has to be noted that college football is second only to the NFL as the most viewed sport on television--so if your going to have an athletics department---its not really crazy to want it to participate in that very popular sport if your goal is to maximize the impact of that department.

That said---I absolutely agree that lots of other factors go into league composition. The cohesion among very "like minded peer" schools is always going to be better than a collection of left over parts like the admittedly Frankenstien AAC (or CUSA or Sunbelt for that matter). Academics is a metric many realignment posters under rate as a factor. I also totally agree that a conference can be successful as a basketball conference without football (like the Big East of even the A-10). That said, as the most popular college sport---football will be the primary driver of athletics for most conferences and for good reason.
(This post was last modified: 08-13-2019 09:58 AM by Attackcoog.)
08-12-2019 12:40 PM
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Post: #25
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:19 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I actually think the AAC got a fairly good media deal. However, to your point, the core issue is that even a "good" media deal at the G5 level might not be sustainable for these athletic departments in the long term.

It's also a reflection that of what I've stated many times before: the "Football is all that matters!" line of thinking applies to the P5, but it isn't necessarily the best line of thinking for the G5. At the G5 level, basketball revenue has significantly more *relative* importance compared to football. (Total football revenue might be generally higher at virtually every school, even at "basketball schools", but that also comes with much higher expenses.)

The football positioning of a lot of schools (particularly in the AAC and MWC) has largely been driven more by the hope of eventually cashing in on a P5 lottery ticket than actually having a financially sustainable home in the G5. That was certainly the case for UConn. If UConn truly believed that it was going to the P5 within the next decade, then it would have sucked it up and stayed in the AAC. UConn simply got smacked in the face with the reality that it went from being a frontrunner to replacing Maryland in the ACC (a spot that eventually went to Louisville) to being an afterthought in the Big 12 expansion bake-off. Once UConn came to the self-realization that it simply wasn't ever realistically going to get to the P5, it was better off leveraging its core basketball brand to go back to the Big East.

To be sure, UConn was in the unique position of having a natural home in the Big East that may very well end up making more financial sense for them (even as a football independent). There isn't a natural home for any FBS school to have a similar setup as of now.

However, maybe some schools need to start thinking outside of the box with different setups. For instance, Gonzaga and BYU have financially outgrown the WCC, yet joining the MWC as non-football members isn't any more attractive (with less control and power in exchange for little, if any, financial gain). Could Gonzaga and BYU spearhead a western equivalent of the Big East instead? Maybe pitch schools such as Houston and UNLV with solid basketball brand names (plus schools like Boise State and Air Force that have football programs that could conceivably survive on their own) that creating a western equivalent of the Big East for basketball with independent football could yield a better financial return than staying in a G5 league as a full member. I'm not saying that this would actually end up being true or that's even viable, but the point is that the "Football is all that matters!" thinking for G5 schools needs to at least be reevaluated.

It feels like the G5 leagues are old line brick-and-mortar retailers trying to compete against Amazon and Walmart. No matter what they do, they're simply not going to be able to compete with the size and scale of the P5 conferences. The brick-and-mortar stores that are still performing well have largely all found a different niche lane compared to Amazon and Walmart. The Big East has a different lane and it has been working for them both financially and competitively. If all that you're selling is that you're a cheaper and lower-ranked version of a P5 conference, though, then that probably isn't going to be sustainable.

"Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with. Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football. The most important aspect is the current/past institutional relationships and associations. Without those, it makes it close to impossible to move up the ladder.

Regarding the Big East's path, they are a unique case because they, essentially, had five schools that were long-time partners via association (Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall), along with two newer schools that they shared a conference with (and were very like-minded in terms of athletics: Marquette and DePaul). For a possible West Coast version of the Big East, that - to me - is unlikely because there is no other larger football/non-football league split at the moment. The most likely substantial shift within the G5 is a likely C-USA/Sun Belt reorganization/merger, with more efficient divisions for travel purposes.

You are confusing prerequisites with drivers. If you are hiring a salesman, you may want a bachelor's degree, but that is simply a prerequisite. The drivers are how much money the salesman will bring in. So football absolutely is the driver. It's just not sufficient without the prerequisites.

So Boise got no interest from the Big 12 despite having the premier G5 football program. Rice, Tulane and SMU got to visit the Big 12 party, but when it came time to get serious, it was BYU, Houston and Cincinnati they were talking to.
08-12-2019 12:59 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  "Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with.


Fan support and market are largely based on football and to a lesser extent basketball for FBS schools. (There are a few exceptions for basketball-focused programs like Kansas or Duke or UConn.) "Market" is not really the population of a media market, it's just another way of saying "fan support", the number of people who actually follow the team, whether casually or as diehards. The SEC didn't just invite any school at random from Texas, just to say "we're in the market" or "the state of Texas is now in our footprint"; they invited a school with SEC-level media value. Michigan and Eastern Michigan might be in the same media market, but they don't have the same market value, because the difference in fan support is immense.

For P5 conferences, the additions made for football fan support almost always add more value to the conference as a whole. Those without great fan support who were added only for "market" or "expanding the footprint" or "academic credentials" are more likely to fall in the category of "inviting that school was not the smartest decision this conference ever made."

(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football.

The criteria for invitation apply to schools that are not already in, regardless of whether a conference's current members with less media value would be invited today. Of course if conferences were formed from scratch today, based largely on fan support, football (and to a lesser extent basketball) success, and avoiding market overlap, a power conference wouldn't have two schools in Oregon, or two in Indiana, or two in Mississippi, or four in North Carolina. But none of the P5 conferences were formed recently; all five are at least 60 years old.
08-12-2019 01:09 PM
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Post: #27
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
To quote the great Ari Gold:

The garbage man who wins the lottery does not throw out the ticket...
08-12-2019 01:46 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
In this case it's more like, a man who was one of Amazon's first employees isn't going to give away his Amazon stock from the first round of employee shares just because someone else wants to get rich today.
(This post was last modified: 08-12-2019 02:16 PM by Wedge.)
08-12-2019 02:16 PM
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Post: #29
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
Here's where a lot of money is going:

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[Image: DjnJdvtV4AUD69G.jpg]

[Image: EByaGioWsAIhWTb?format=jpg&name=4096x4096]

[Image: EByaGirXkAAqUJn?format=jpg&name=4096x4096]

[Image: EBycvn3WwAArULf?format=jpg&name=medium]

[Image: EBycvn7WsAE16sz?format=jpg&name=medium]
08-12-2019 02:47 PM
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Post: #30
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 01:09 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  "Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with.


Fan support and market are largely based on football and to a lesser extent basketball for FBS schools. (There are a few exceptions for basketball-focused programs like Kansas or Duke or UConn.) "Market" is not really the population of a media market, it's just another way of saying "fan support", the number of people who actually follow the team, whether casually or as diehards. The SEC didn't just invite any school at random from Texas, just to say "we're in the market" or "the state of Texas is now in our footprint"; they invited a school with SEC-level media value. Michigan and Eastern Michigan might be in the same media market, but they don't have the same market value, because the difference in fan support is immense.

For P5 conferences, the additions made for football fan support almost always add more value to the conference as a whole. Those without great fan support who were added only for "market" or "expanding the footprint" or "academic credentials" are more likely to fall in the category of "inviting that school was not the smartest decision this conference ever made."

(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football.

The criteria for invitation apply to schools that are not already in, regardless of whether a conference's current members with less media value would be invited today. Of course if conferences were formed from scratch today, based largely on fan support, football (and to a lesser extent basketball) success, and avoiding market overlap, a power conference wouldn't have two schools in Oregon, or two in Indiana, or two in Mississippi, or four in North Carolina. But none of the P5 conferences were formed recently; all five are at least 60 years old.

If we redid the P5 today from scratch, very little would change. You might see 2-4 schools be exchanged. San Diego State for Washington State, Houston for Kansas State, Cincinnati for Wake Forest, and maybe UCF for Mississippi State. That's about it.

Your other two examples don't make sense. OSU has more alumni, a much bigger endowment, and is academically superior to every MWC school. U. of Oregon is 90 minutes away - does the PAC really want to give the MWC home-field advantage in a city of 2 million people with no NFL team? It's open for debate, but if I were the PAC, I'd choose OSU over UNLV or CSU or New Mexico or anyone else other than maybe SDSU (but SDSU is replacing WSU).

As for Indiana... Indiana is just as big as Tennessee. It's 50% bigger than Alabama, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. It's bigger than Iowa and Kansas combined. And that's not even counting Purdue and IU's large alumni bases in Chicago. Purdue has over 600,000 living alumni - more than Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss combined. And Indiana has even more than Purdue (690,000). I'm a Cincinnati fan and I'll readily admit that Purdue and IU both have bigger markets and fanbases than my team. If the Big 10 dropped IU or Purdue today, the Big 12 would add them in a heartbeat.

The very fact that two of the four examples you cited are far from slam dunks shows that there's only going to be very slight movement around the edges.
08-12-2019 05:03 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 05:03 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 01:09 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  "Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with.


Fan support and market are largely based on football and to a lesser extent basketball for FBS schools. (There are a few exceptions for basketball-focused programs like Kansas or Duke or UConn.) "Market" is not really the population of a media market, it's just another way of saying "fan support", the number of people who actually follow the team, whether casually or as diehards. The SEC didn't just invite any school at random from Texas, just to say "we're in the market" or "the state of Texas is now in our footprint"; they invited a school with SEC-level media value. Michigan and Eastern Michigan might be in the same media market, but they don't have the same market value, because the difference in fan support is immense.

For P5 conferences, the additions made for football fan support almost always add more value to the conference as a whole. Those without great fan support who were added only for "market" or "expanding the footprint" or "academic credentials" are more likely to fall in the category of "inviting that school was not the smartest decision this conference ever made."

(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football.

The criteria for invitation apply to schools that are not already in, regardless of whether a conference's current members with less media value would be invited today. Of course if conferences were formed from scratch today, based largely on fan support, football (and to a lesser extent basketball) success, and avoiding market overlap, a power conference wouldn't have two schools in Oregon, or two in Indiana, or two in Mississippi, or four in North Carolina. But none of the P5 conferences were formed recently; all five are at least 60 years old.

If we redid the P5 today from scratch, very little would change. You might see 2-4 schools be exchanged. San Diego State for Washington State, Houston for Kansas State, Cincinnati for Wake Forest, and maybe UCF for Mississippi State. That's about it.

Your other two examples don't make sense. OSU has more alumni, a much bigger endowment, and is academically superior to every MWC school. U. of Oregon is 90 minutes away - does the PAC really want to give the MWC home-field advantage in a city of 2 million people with no NFL team? It's open for debate, but if I were the PAC, I'd choose OSU over UNLV or CSU or New Mexico or anyone else other than maybe SDSU (but SDSU is replacing WSU).

As for Indiana... Indiana is just as big as Tennessee.

Indiana has 3 current P5 schools, and the most valuable by far for college sports isn't in the Big Ten because long ago some folks didn't want a Catholic school in the Big Ten. Oops.

So you're looking at 3 P5 schools in Indiana, and no states of that size have 3. Florida has 3 and has 3 times the population of Indiana. North Carolina has 4 and no one thinks they would have 4 in power conferences if all conferences were started from scratch today.

You are probably correct that Wazzu would be more vulnerable than Oregon State if conferences were started from scratch in 2019.

As for any of them, I don't think it would necessarily be a matter of replacement. Could easily be just fewer members in a conference. The Pac doesn't need exactly 12. The Big Ten, ACC, and SEC definitely don't need 14.
08-12-2019 05:32 PM
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Post: #32
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 12:40 PM)Attackcoog Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:19 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I actually think the AAC got a fairly good media deal. However, to your point, the core issue is that even a "good" media deal at the G5 level might not be sustainable for these athletic departments in the long term.

It's also a reflection that of what I've stated many times before: the "Football is all that matters!" line of thinking applies to the P5, but it isn't necessarily the best line of thinking for the G5. At the G5 level, basketball revenue has significantly more *relative* importance compared to football. (Total football revenue might be generally higher at virtually every school, even at "basketball schools", but that also comes with much higher expenses.)

The football positioning of a lot of schools (particularly in the AAC and MWC) has largely been driven more by the hope of eventually cashing in on a P5 lottery ticket than actually having a financially sustainable home in the G5. That was certainly the case for UConn. If UConn truly believed that it was going to the P5 within the next decade, then it would have sucked it up and stayed in the AAC. UConn simply got smacked in the face with the reality that it went from being a frontrunner to replacing Maryland in the ACC (a spot that eventually went to Louisville) to being an afterthought in the Big 12 expansion bake-off. Once UConn came to the self-realization that it simply wasn't ever realistically going to get to the P5, it was better off leveraging its core basketball brand to go back to the Big East.

To be sure, UConn was in the unique position of having a natural home in the Big East that may very well end up making more financial sense for them (even as a football independent). There isn't a natural home for any FBS school to have a similar setup as of now.

However, maybe some schools need to start thinking outside of the box with different setups. For instance, Gonzaga and BYU have financially outgrown the WCC, yet joining the MWC as non-football members isn't any more attractive (with less control and power in exchange for little, if any, financial gain). Could Gonzaga and BYU spearhead a western equivalent of the Big East instead? Maybe pitch schools such as Houston and UNLV with solid basketball brand names (plus schools like Boise State and Air Force that have football programs that could conceivably survive on their own) that creating a western equivalent of the Big East for basketball with independent football could yield a better financial return than staying in a G5 league as a full member. I'm not saying that this would actually end up being true or that's even viable, but the point is that the "Football is all that matters!" thinking for G5 schools needs to at least be reevaluated.

It feels like the G5 leagues are old line brick-and-mortar retailers trying to compete against Amazon and Walmart. No matter what they do, they're simply not going to be able to compete with the size and scale of the P5 conferences. The brick-and-mortar stores that are still performing well have largely all found a different niche lane compared to Amazon and Walmart. The Big East has a different lane and it has been working for them both financially and competitively. If all that you're selling is that you're a cheaper and lower-ranked version of a P5 conference, though, then that probably isn't going to be sustainable.

"Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with. Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football. The most important aspect is the current/past institutional relationships and associations. Without those, it makes it close to impossible to move up the ladder.

Regarding the Big East's path, they are a unique case because they, essentially, had five schools that were long-time partners via association (Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall), along with two newer schools that they shared a conference with (and were very like-minded in terms of athletics: Marquette and DePaul). For a possible West Coast version of the Big East, that - to me - is unlikely because there is no other larger football/non-football league split at the moment. The most likely substantial shift within the G5 is a likely C-USA/Sun Belt reorganization/merger, with more efficient divisions for travel purposes.

The Big10 distributed about 54 million to each member school--with the vast majority of that revenue due primarily to football. The latest Big East 990 Tax filing indicated the Big Distributed about 3.5 million a school. So, yeah---its kinda hard to argue that football doesnt still drives the bus. Additionally, it has to be noted that college football is second only to the NFL as the most viewed sport on television--so if your going to have an athletics department---its not really crazy to want it to participate in that very popular sport if your goal is to maximize the impact of that department.

... but as Frank noted, that's the B1G. It's not the G5. In the G5, teams get peanut payouts, such that even if most of the payout is due to football, the gross amount is very small, typically far smaller than how much football costs.

So for G5 schools, football doesn't drive the bus, in the sense of making the big money that fuels athletic department profits, rather it is the biggest cost-sink.

As I explained, IMO the only justification for such massive spending on football is to view it as a desperation play to get into a P5 conference, where suddenly those giant media payouts will cover the costs of football and more.

At the biggest schools, football costs a lot. E.g., last year, LSU spent $30m on football. That's what a G5 is competing against.
08-12-2019 05:48 PM
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dbackjon Offline
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Post: #33
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 05:32 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 05:03 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 01:09 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  "Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with.


Fan support and market are largely based on football and to a lesser extent basketball for FBS schools. (There are a few exceptions for basketball-focused programs like Kansas or Duke or UConn.) "Market" is not really the population of a media market, it's just another way of saying "fan support", the number of people who actually follow the team, whether casually or as diehards. The SEC didn't just invite any school at random from Texas, just to say "we're in the market" or "the state of Texas is now in our footprint"; they invited a school with SEC-level media value. Michigan and Eastern Michigan might be in the same media market, but they don't have the same market value, because the difference in fan support is immense.

For P5 conferences, the additions made for football fan support almost always add more value to the conference as a whole. Those without great fan support who were added only for "market" or "expanding the footprint" or "academic credentials" are more likely to fall in the category of "inviting that school was not the smartest decision this conference ever made."

(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football.

The criteria for invitation apply to schools that are not already in, regardless of whether a conference's current members with less media value would be invited today. Of course if conferences were formed from scratch today, based largely on fan support, football (and to a lesser extent basketball) success, and avoiding market overlap, a power conference wouldn't have two schools in Oregon, or two in Indiana, or two in Mississippi, or four in North Carolina. But none of the P5 conferences were formed recently; all five are at least 60 years old.

If we redid the P5 today from scratch, very little would change. You might see 2-4 schools be exchanged. San Diego State for Washington State, Houston for Kansas State, Cincinnati for Wake Forest, and maybe UCF for Mississippi State. That's about it.

Your other two examples don't make sense. OSU has more alumni, a much bigger endowment, and is academically superior to every MWC school. U. of Oregon is 90 minutes away - does the PAC really want to give the MWC home-field advantage in a city of 2 million people with no NFL team? It's open for debate, but if I were the PAC, I'd choose OSU over UNLV or CSU or New Mexico or anyone else other than maybe SDSU (but SDSU is replacing WSU).

As for Indiana... Indiana is just as big as Tennessee.

Indiana has 3 current P5 schools, and the most valuable by far for college sports isn't in the Big Ten because long ago some folks didn't want a Catholic school in the Big Ten. Oops.

So you're looking at 3 P5 schools in Indiana, and no states of that size have 3. Florida has 3 and has 3 times the population of Indiana. North Carolina has 4 and no one thinks they would have 4 in power conferences if all conferences were started from scratch today.

You are probably correct that Wazzu would be more vulnerable than Oregon State if conferences were started from scratch in 2019.

As for any of them, I don't think it would necessarily be a matter of replacement. Could easily be just fewer members in a conference. The Pac doesn't need exactly 12. The Big Ten, ACC, and SEC definitely don't need 14.

Notre Dame may be located physically in Indiana, but it is not an Indiana school - it is a National School.

https://wsbt.com/news/local/notre-dae-is...he-country

I would bet there are more students from Illinois than Indiana there. And as the article says, more students from NYC than any other Metro area.
08-12-2019 05:55 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #34
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 05:55 PM)dbackjon Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 05:32 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 05:03 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 01:09 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  "Football Drives the Bus!"

Boy, I'll never get tired of laughing at that phrase. The reality is that an overwhelming majority of realignment decisions are bigger than football, or any one sport. Academic associations, prior conference affiliations, academic rankings, alumni, fan support, market, and a host of other criteria always get factored (and weighed heavily) in which leagues choose to associate themselves with.


Fan support and market are largely based on football and to a lesser extent basketball for FBS schools. (There are a few exceptions for basketball-focused programs like Kansas or Duke or UConn.) "Market" is not really the population of a media market, it's just another way of saying "fan support", the number of people who actually follow the team, whether casually or as diehards. The SEC didn't just invite any school at random from Texas, just to say "we're in the market" or "the state of Texas is now in our footprint"; they invited a school with SEC-level media value. Michigan and Eastern Michigan might be in the same media market, but they don't have the same market value, because the difference in fan support is immense.

For P5 conferences, the additions made for football fan support almost always add more value to the conference as a whole. Those without great fan support who were added only for "market" or "expanding the footprint" or "academic credentials" are more likely to fall in the category of "inviting that school was not the smartest decision this conference ever made."

(08-12-2019 11:41 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Football is just a piece of the pie - and, a good number from the current P5 would not be under consideration for P5 membership (if it wasn't a part of it) due to its lack of historical success/prestige in football.

The criteria for invitation apply to schools that are not already in, regardless of whether a conference's current members with less media value would be invited today. Of course if conferences were formed from scratch today, based largely on fan support, football (and to a lesser extent basketball) success, and avoiding market overlap, a power conference wouldn't have two schools in Oregon, or two in Indiana, or two in Mississippi, or four in North Carolina. But none of the P5 conferences were formed recently; all five are at least 60 years old.

If we redid the P5 today from scratch, very little would change. You might see 2-4 schools be exchanged. San Diego State for Washington State, Houston for Kansas State, Cincinnati for Wake Forest, and maybe UCF for Mississippi State. That's about it.

Your other two examples don't make sense. OSU has more alumni, a much bigger endowment, and is academically superior to every MWC school. U. of Oregon is 90 minutes away - does the PAC really want to give the MWC home-field advantage in a city of 2 million people with no NFL team? It's open for debate, but if I were the PAC, I'd choose OSU over UNLV or CSU or New Mexico or anyone else other than maybe SDSU (but SDSU is replacing WSU).

As for Indiana... Indiana is just as big as Tennessee.

Indiana has 3 current P5 schools, and the most valuable by far for college sports isn't in the Big Ten because long ago some folks didn't want a Catholic school in the Big Ten. Oops.

So you're looking at 3 P5 schools in Indiana, and no states of that size have 3. Florida has 3 and has 3 times the population of Indiana. North Carolina has 4 and no one thinks they would have 4 in power conferences if all conferences were started from scratch today.

You are probably correct that Wazzu would be more vulnerable than Oregon State if conferences were started from scratch in 2019.

As for any of them, I don't think it would necessarily be a matter of replacement. Could easily be just fewer members in a conference. The Pac doesn't need exactly 12. The Big Ten, ACC, and SEC definitely don't need 14.

Notre Dame may be located physically in Indiana, but it is not an Indiana school - it is a National School.

https://wsbt.com/news/local/notre-dae-is...he-country

I would bet there are more students from Illinois than Indiana there. And as the article says, more students from NYC than any other Metro area.

The relevant issue here is the number of people in Indiana for whom Notre Dame is their favorite CFB team. I'd guess that if you ranked CFB teams in popularity among Indiana residents, Notre Dame would rank first.
08-12-2019 06:06 PM
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Post: #35
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-11-2019 09:16 PM)HawaiiMongoose Wrote:  In other news, the sky is blue and the ocean is wet.

The sun rose today...from the east!

But in actuality, it's not quite so simple. ECU could leave the AAC and do okay as an Indy or do something crazy and dominate C-USA or the eastern half if the leagues ever split up. The problem is (short of the latter scenario, as that would ease travel concerns for them) the AAC scenario is way better, so why leave?
08-12-2019 06:18 PM
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dbackjon Offline
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Post: #36
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 06:06 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 05:55 PM)dbackjon Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 05:32 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 05:03 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 01:09 PM)Wedge Wrote:  Fan support and market are largely based on football and to a lesser extent basketball for FBS schools. (There are a few exceptions for basketball-focused programs like Kansas or Duke or UConn.) "Market" is not really the population of a media market, it's just another way of saying "fan support", the number of people who actually follow the team, whether casually or as diehards. The SEC didn't just invite any school at random from Texas, just to say "we're in the market" or "the state of Texas is now in our footprint"; they invited a school with SEC-level media value. Michigan and Eastern Michigan might be in the same media market, but they don't have the same market value, because the difference in fan support is immense.

For P5 conferences, the additions made for football fan support almost always add more value to the conference as a whole. Those without great fan support who were added only for "market" or "expanding the footprint" or "academic credentials" are more likely to fall in the category of "inviting that school was not the smartest decision this conference ever made."


The criteria for invitation apply to schools that are not already in, regardless of whether a conference's current members with less media value would be invited today. Of course if conferences were formed from scratch today, based largely on fan support, football (and to a lesser extent basketball) success, and avoiding market overlap, a power conference wouldn't have two schools in Oregon, or two in Indiana, or two in Mississippi, or four in North Carolina. But none of the P5 conferences were formed recently; all five are at least 60 years old.

If we redid the P5 today from scratch, very little would change. You might see 2-4 schools be exchanged. San Diego State for Washington State, Houston for Kansas State, Cincinnati for Wake Forest, and maybe UCF for Mississippi State. That's about it.

Your other two examples don't make sense. OSU has more alumni, a much bigger endowment, and is academically superior to every MWC school. U. of Oregon is 90 minutes away - does the PAC really want to give the MWC home-field advantage in a city of 2 million people with no NFL team? It's open for debate, but if I were the PAC, I'd choose OSU over UNLV or CSU or New Mexico or anyone else other than maybe SDSU (but SDSU is replacing WSU).

As for Indiana... Indiana is just as big as Tennessee.

Indiana has 3 current P5 schools, and the most valuable by far for college sports isn't in the Big Ten because long ago some folks didn't want a Catholic school in the Big Ten. Oops.

So you're looking at 3 P5 schools in Indiana, and no states of that size have 3. Florida has 3 and has 3 times the population of Indiana. North Carolina has 4 and no one thinks they would have 4 in power conferences if all conferences were started from scratch today.

You are probably correct that Wazzu would be more vulnerable than Oregon State if conferences were started from scratch in 2019.

As for any of them, I don't think it would necessarily be a matter of replacement. Could easily be just fewer members in a conference. The Pac doesn't need exactly 12. The Big Ten, ACC, and SEC definitely don't need 14.

Notre Dame may be located physically in Indiana, but it is not an Indiana school - it is a National School.

https://wsbt.com/news/local/notre-dae-is...he-country

I would bet there are more students from Illinois than Indiana there. And as the article says, more students from NYC than any other Metro area.

The relevant issue here is the number of people in Indiana for whom Notre Dame is their favorite CFB team. I'd guess that if you ranked CFB teams in popularity among Indiana residents, Notre Dame would rank first.

Probably in Illinois as well.

BTW - Illinois only has 2 P5's, and is 20% more populated than NC.

Heck, NY has ONE P5,

Both Mississippi and Kansas have half the population of Indiana, they have 2 each.
(This post was last modified: 08-12-2019 06:22 PM by dbackjon.)
08-12-2019 06:20 PM
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Post: #37
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 12:00 AM)TexanMark Wrote:  Yet ECU still throws money at their stadium. ECU is at their pinnacle. A P5 invite isn't happening.

If the stars aligned differently, ECU would have been in the Big East in the 90's or later. They never had (and still don't) have a chance at the ACC because of the saturation of schools in their state and neighboring states who are already there but they could have been in the Big East and carried their weight, including some on the field.

But they'd be like USF today, there would be no chair for them at that table in this game of musical chairs. No chance at a Big 10+4, a miracle chance at the Big 12, no chance (on multiple levels but for certain in the future, geography) at the Pac, a minor chance at the SEC (maybe they'd like to get into North Carolina) and if they ever get in the ACC, I'd assume Virginia, UNC, Duke and NCSU (or some combo) would be gone.

There's nothing wrong with this as an apex, they can still field nationally relevant programs at this level. 04-cheers
08-12-2019 06:25 PM
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Post: #38
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 11:19 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  However, maybe some schools need to start thinking outside of the box with different setups. For instance, Gonzaga and BYU have financially outgrown the WCC, yet joining the MWC as non-football members isn't any more attractive (with less control and power in exchange for little, if any, financial gain). Could Gonzaga and BYU spearhead a western equivalent of the Big East instead? Maybe pitch schools such as Houston and UNLV with solid basketball brand names (plus schools like Boise State and Air Force that have football programs that could conceivably survive on their own) that creating a western equivalent of the Big East for basketball with independent football could yield a better financial return than staying in a G5 league as a full member. I'm not saying that this would actually end up being true or that's even viable, but the point is that the "Football is all that matters!" thinking for G5 schools needs to at least be reevaluated.

It feels like the G5 leagues are old line brick-and-mortar retailers trying to compete against Amazon and Walmart. No matter what they do, they're simply not going to be able to compete with the size and scale of the P5 conferences. The brick-and-mortar stores that are still performing well have largely all found a different niche lane compared to Amazon and Walmart. The Big East has a different lane and it has been working for them both financially and competitively. If all that you're selling is that you're a cheaper and lower-ranked version of a P5 conference, though, then that probably isn't going to be sustainable.

BYU is fine no matter what they do and that's a crazy conference you proposed. Gonzaga's best interest is to join the MWC as a non-football school or try to create a West Coast A-10 before their star fades (they will be good off and on when Few retires/leaves but they will not sustain this).

They should be trying to get WCC officials to add schools like Hawai'i and some SoCal CSU's and UC's. Sure this is a crazy proposal in itself and I admit as such after calling yours crazy but they need to keep basketball relevant, so don't be afraid to try and add some public schools. Get some schools with an outside chance at an at-large over the years (St. Mary's will be roughly done when Bennett leaves) and they won't have to worry about fading into irrelevance.
08-12-2019 06:35 PM
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Post: #39
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 05:55 PM)dbackjon Wrote:  Notre Dame may be located physically in Indiana, but it is not an Indiana school - it is a National School.

https://wsbt.com/news/local/notre-dae-is...he-country

I would bet there are more students from Illinois than Indiana there. And as the article says, more students from NYC than any other Metro area.

I've always found it ironic that in basketball's graceland, arguably the most storied and iconic football program lies in its borders. That'd be like having a school with the history of the University of Kentucky being located in Texas.
08-12-2019 06:48 PM
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Post: #40
RE: Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option (for ECU)
(08-12-2019 11:19 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(08-12-2019 07:59 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(08-11-2019 10:39 PM)Attackcoog Wrote:  
(08-11-2019 09:07 PM)Dr. Isaly von Yinzer Wrote:  Yeah, no kidding. Where else are they going to go?

Kind of an odd angle for that story to take.

Yes, seemingly, because at first glance, as others have noted, ECU is the poster child for a school with infinite opportunity costs, the AAC is obviously their best possible home so they ain't going anywhere.

But at second glance, the explanation is also pretty clear: UConn leaving the AAC has set off tremors and reverbs, it's been a kind of shock wave, and so constituencies at other G5 schools are asking the same questions about their futures, and thinking along the lines of UConn. And this is a manifestation of that. Will these tremors be just that, temporary shakes that pass, or will more dominos in all G5 leagues fall? We'll see.

It also underscores the weakness of the media deal that Aresco signed. Bottom line is that it is clear that while an extra $5m (the difference between the old deal and new deal) is surely welcome, it in no way keeps up with the expenses of trying to maintain the facade of a program "in touch" with the P5, which are rising faster. The P5, with true rising revenues, keep upping the bar on expenses of all kinds, which is just ratcheting up what is needed for aspirational G5 to stay in the ballpark.

All the touted Aresco deal did was slow the rate at which AAC schools are falling behind their comparison P5 benchmarks, and only temporarily as well.

So schools like ECU are now trying to come up with new ideas given that even with the new media deal, it's just high student fees and rising deficits as far as the eye can see. The article mentions playing more pay-for-play games with P5, a 0-1 strategy that is the opposite of what UCF is trying to do, and one that abjectly reinforces the lower status of the G5 school doing it. But bills have to be paid, and ECU doesn't have a Big East option like UConn did.

I actually think the AAC got a fairly good media deal. However, to your point, the core issue is that even a "good" media deal at the G5 level might not be sustainable for these athletic departments in the long term.

It's also a reflection that of what I've stated many times before: the "Football is all that matters!" line of thinking applies to the P5, but it isn't necessarily the best line of thinking for the G5. At the G5 level, basketball revenue has significantly more *relative* importance compared to football. (Total football revenue might be generally higher at virtually every school, even at "basketball schools", but that also comes with much higher expenses.)

The football positioning of a lot of schools (particularly in the AAC and MWC) has largely been driven more by the hope of eventually cashing in on a P5 lottery ticket than actually having a financially sustainable home in the G5. That was certainly the case for UConn. If UConn truly believed that it was going to the P5 within the next decade, then it would have sucked it up and stayed in the AAC. UConn simply got smacked in the face with the reality that it went from being a frontrunner to replacing Maryland in the ACC (a spot that eventually went to Louisville) to being an afterthought in the Big 12 expansion bake-off. Once UConn came to the self-realization that it simply wasn't ever realistically going to get to the P5, it was better off leveraging its core basketball brand to go back to the Big East.

To be sure, UConn was in the unique position of having a natural home in the Big East that may very well end up making more financial sense for them (even as a football independent). There isn't a natural home for any FBS school to have a similar setup as of now.

However, maybe some schools need to start thinking outside of the box with different setups. For instance, Gonzaga and BYU have financially outgrown the WCC, yet joining the MWC as non-football members isn't any more attractive (with less control and power in exchange for little, if any, financial gain). Could Gonzaga and BYU spearhead a western equivalent of the Big East instead? Maybe pitch schools such as Houston and UNLV with solid basketball brand names (plus schools like Boise State and Air Force that have football programs that could conceivably survive on their own) that creating a western equivalent of the Big East for basketball with independent football could yield a better financial return than staying in a G5 league as a full member. I'm not saying that this would actually end up being true or that's even viable, but the point is that the "Football is all that matters!" thinking for G5 schools needs to at least be reevaluated.

It feels like the G5 leagues are old line brick-and-mortar retailers trying to compete against Amazon and Walmart. No matter what they do, they're simply not going to be able to compete with the size and scale of the P5 conferences. The brick-and-mortar stores that are still performing well have largely all found a different niche lane compared to Amazon and Walmart. The Big East has a different lane and it has been working for them both financially and competitively. If all that you're selling is that you're a cheaper and lower-ranked version of a P5 conference, though, then that probably isn't going to be sustainable.

This is a great analogy for G5 schools. They need to be creative. I admire UConn for being different and taking a chance.

Unfortunately its hard to be creative when you cannot start a new conference with out an 8 year waiting period for automatic bids and you need to be in conference to have a shot at a NY6 bowl.
08-12-2019 06:49 PM
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