If this story is accurate, that’s a knee to the nuts of Pitt and Syracuse, ain’t it?
Who’da thunk the only other conference besides the SEC with a national broadcast contract would be… the Big East?
Chow down, people.
The Conference USA commissioner looks at the sweeping away of AQ and non-AQ designations for conferences and sees a glass half full.
“The old system, with the AQ and non-AQ, was very difficult for us,” said Banowsky. “To be honest, it was just a negative branding for our universities.
“There was no reason for it. It was a branding that labeled some schools worthy and other schools unworthy. That label as unworthy was very damaging.”
But here’s the thing about that. What he’s most excited about – “We now have the possibility of a team from our league being in the national championship conversation.” – never had anything to do with whether his conference was an AQ. That designation only had to do with admission to the BCS games that weren’t hosting the title game.
It’s true that conferences like C-USA won’t be automatically locked out from having more than a certain number of their schools play in the upper tier bowls. But that doesn’t mean they still won’t be facing an uphill struggle to do so. Meet the new perception:
It will take a school in the perceived smaller football conferences playing a difficult nonconference schedule and then sweeping through its schedule without a loss.
“The schools in our league understand that,” said Banowsky. “Schools in our league have done that.
“I think you can look at Tulsa. They played Oklahoma last year.”
Now he’s discussing that in the context of the four-team playoff, but it’s applicable to the other games as well. After all, the selection committee is going to be ranking more than four teams at season’s end.
Bottom line? It’ll be interesting to see if he’s as optimistic about the new regime in, say, 2018 or 2019.
Meanwhile, Joe Bailey, the Big East’s new commissioner, looks at that same glass and can’t help staring at the half empty part. He knows that the Big East losing its AQ status and not having a contractual tie in with a top-tier bowl puts his conference in a tougher spot than before. He just can’t put it that baldly.
“… This relationship with the bowls that other conferences have, they’ve always had them. We’ve always felt that at the end of the day, even though there was AQ status, you wanted to play well and earn your way into a bowl and not necessarily be anointed.
“Based on the meritocracy, we feel pretty good that quite a number of teams based on our historical performance level will mean the conference will be absolutely fine.”
That’s the thought of a man who goes home at night praying that the Boise State love doesn’t end any time soon. Because talk of historical meritocracy doesn’t go very far when it’s about a conference that’s been blown up and reassembled with parts from mid-major conferences scattered across the continent. And that’s why instead of talking specifics, Joe Bailey winds up sounding like Chance the gardener.
“The best way to say this is that most schools and then most conferences have peaks and valleys,” Bailey said. “Sometimes you perform well over a period of time, and other times you go down a little bit.”
Expect to hear more talk like this from Big East folks if the ACC continues in its present mediocrity. It’ll be small consolation for not having an Orange Bowl contract.
Congrats, you made it! Now have some football.
Here are a few tasty tidbits to nibble on:
… Rutgers funneled $28.5 million from the university budget and student fees into sports, the most among 54 U.S. public universities in the biggest football conferences, based on data compiled by Bloomberg for the fiscal year ended last June. It was at least the second straight year at the top of the list for the state university of New Jersey, despite cost-cutting after lawmakers and faculty protested that academics were losing out.
That basically happened as a result of the football program’s slide last season.
Fiscal 2011 included the first losing football season in six years. Ticket sales for all sports, led by football, plunged by $3.1 million; contributions fell $1.5 million; and income from royalties and licensing declined $477,558. The lost revenue more than offset the spending reductions Pernetti was making.
Pernetti squeezed athletic administration salaries 12 percent by negotiating lower pay for new employees and shifting responsibilities of people who left or retired to remaining workers. He reduced travel costs 21 percent. And he lowered fundraising, marketing and promotion expenses 24 percent by using more e-mail.
Pernetti still needed $9 million from student athletics fees and $19.4 million from the Rutgers general budget, according to the school’s report. The total worked out to $969 a student, more than three times the average among the 54 universities.
You want to know what’s sad? Coach Schiano’s departure to the NFL turned out to be a cost-saving boon, as the school chose to promote an assistant who will make more than $1 million/year less. You know what’s even sadder? That Rutgers’ AD thinks the next Big East TV contract is going to “at least” double in revenue. Oy.
If you’re interested, there’s an interactive chart here where you can see how Georgia stacks up against other public schools in raising funds outside of the athletic department.
Man, the Big East is turning itself into one shitty football conference.
… The Big East will also be adding Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Navy, San Diego State and Boise State in the coming years, and soon will lose West Virginia to the Big 12 and Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Big East’s plan has been to get to 12 football teams and eventually have a conference championship game. Memphis, plus incumbent schools Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida, could get the conference to that point by 2015.
No geography and diminished quality (here’s a statistical snapshot of Memphis’ last football season. Ugh.) make for a helluva combination. Boise State’s gotta be pinching itself today over its good fortune. It looks like the Broncos have fallen into the best of both worlds: a BCS conference which they stand a good chance of dominating.
Rick Pitino’s happy, though. That must count for something.