What are they doing here, anyway?

I want to go back to this quote:

So that begs the question: if the resources aren’t there to solve the problem, and there are tons of empty seats at games, is that school meant to be Division I-A (er, the Football Bowl Subdivision)? I mean really. The NCAA has allowed so much expansion in I-A, and many of those universities are set up to fail. They’re allowed to average only 15,000 fans a game–and even if they don’t, it never gets to a sanction stage…

Sixteen D-1 football teams took an APR hit this year. Here’s the list, along with each program’s average attendance and national attendance ranking from last year:

  • Kansas – 46,784 (#49)
  • Washington State – 33,045 (#71)
  • UNLV – 29,281 (#80)
  • Temple – 28,859 (#81)
  • San Diego State – 27,940 (#82)
  • Central Michigan – 18,771 (#93)
  • Toledo – 18,668 (#94)
  • North Texas – 17,734 (#98 )
  • UAB – 16,706 (#102)
  • Akron – 15,978 (#108 )
  • Florida Atlantic – 15,741 (#109)
  • San Jose State – 15,465 (#110)
  • New Mexico State – 14,412 (#111)
  • Buffalo – 13,568 (#112)
  • Idaho – 11,479 (#116)
  • Florida International – 7,982 (#118 )

Notice a pattern there?

By the way, two more schools in the bottom 10 attendance figures, #119 Eastern Michigan and #117 Kent State, while not penalized, also failed to meet the APR standard of 925.

Of those 18 teams, three – Kansas, Central Michigan and Florida Atlantic – had winning records. Ten of the eighteen teams played more road games than home games last season. To put this in perspective, Georgia’s average game attendance (92,746) exceeded the total season attendance of nine of these schools.

These schools don’t draw. They have to play on the road to draw visitor checks to survive (two of these schools only played four home games). If we accept Dick Tomey’s argument, they lack the resources to provide their student athletes with sufficient academic support. So why are they playing D-1 football? Why do they want to play D-1 football?

College football fans like to complain about the proliferation of bowl games and what that means for promoting mediocre teams, attendance and TV ratings. Compared to this stuff, the PapaJohns.com Bowl comes off looking like a BCS game.

7 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

7 responses to “What are they doing here, anyway?

  1. NebraskaDawg

    And wasn’t it one of those Florida wannabe schools that gave away free tickets to the last game last year?

  2. I’ve been saying for years the best way to make Div I football better isn’t a playoff. The opportunity to improve the game is to improve the match-ups:

    1. Drop the bottom the 20 teams from Div I. As you said, WHY are they bothering to play Div I, if they are both bad at it, and ill equipped to support their kids.

    2. Make playing Div I-AA teams count towards bowl eligibility only once every 4 years.

    Those two combined things would lead to about 100-120 “slightly” better games per year in a trickle up process.

    Utah State, FIU and Ark State have no business playing div 1 football.

  3. NM

    “So why are they playing D-1 football? Why do they want to play D-1 football?”

    Name recognition, money, lots of reasons. Being I-A makes you “legit” to prospective students, donors, people watching TV across the country. It makes it easier for you to schedule lucrative I-A road games to fund your athletic program.

    Ga State is getting football because people outside of Atlanta have never heard of their school. That will change, even being I-AA. Ga Southern has gotten lots of benefits from football, and if they ever moved up to I-A, I guarantee they would see more applications, better students, and more donations. It’s a signal that you’re a big time school, and it’s hard to put a price on that.

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  5. I’ve been saying for years the best way to make Div I football better isn’t a playoff. The opportunity to improve the game is to improve the match-ups…

    Good points you raise. I agree.

    You could also require all conferences, Pac-10 excepted, to play one more conference game than they do now. Of course, the Big East would have to add another team to do that, but it’s ridiculous that those schools only play seven conference games.

  6. “So why are they playing D-1 football? Why do they want to play D-1 football?”

    Name recognition, money, lots of reasons. Being I-A makes you “legit” to prospective students, donors, people watching TV across the country…

    You really think a Buffalo or an Idaho is accomplishing something like that?

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