Daily Archives: January 14, 2011

Think there are too many bowl games? Blame the NCAA.

It’s quite simple, really.  There’s an attendance requirement for all D-1 schools to meet if they wish to stay in college football’s top division.

To maintain FBS status, a school must average 15,000 in paid or actual attendance a game at least once every two seasons.

The 2010 regular season attendance figures are out.  Here’s how one D-1 conference performed:

The MAC had tremendous trouble getting fans to the game. Seven of the bottom 10 teams in attendance were from the MAC and none of those teams (Eastern Michigan, Miami University, Western Michigan, Buffalo, Akron and Ball State) drew more than 16,000 fans per game. Ball State had the worst attendance among FBS schools at 8,947 fans per game.

If you look at the 2009 numbers, you’ll see that the MAC’s attendance figures in that year were just as dreadful.  The average attendance for the conference was 15,317.  Ball State’s attendance that season was 10,888 (that wasn’t the worst – Eastern Michigan’s 5,016 was the lowest in all of D-1).  Ball State, then, is far short of the minimum attendance requirement the NCAA sets for D-1 eligibility.  What’s the likelihood that the school will be dropped from D-1?

The fact is that there are too many schools playing D-1 football.  They don’t draw; they don’t get much TV money.  They don’t generate much revenue (including direct institutional support) in the context of their expenses.  In fact, the MAC as a whole suffered a net operating loss in football in the 2008 season.

The BCS/playoff debate masks this underlying problem, or calls it one of fairness.  The issue is whether D-1 football should be structured to provide financial support to money-losing conferences, or whether it should require its member institutions to stand on firmer financial footing by eliminating those which are unable to meet fairly low performance standards.  I think the latter approach makes more sense, as it makes the top tier more competitive and alleviates the financial pressure on those schools which are unable to perform in an economically viable way.

Further, this study makes it clear that financial demographics don’t favor most mid-majors.

My guess is that the NCAA doesn’t see things that way, though.  Which is one reason you’ll continue to see too many bowl games and too many teams eligible to play in bowl games.

At least the D-1 folks are taking steps to close the barn door, though.

Pricier neighborhood: The Division I Legislative Council approved new conditions for joining the highest-profile division, including a far steeper application fee expected to range from $900,000 to $1.3 million. Reclassifying schools now pay $15,000. The action, designed to stem the division’s rapid growth, also requires a standing invitation from a D-I conference.

As much interest as there’s been for lower level schools to move up to D-1 in football, imagine what it would be like in the context of an NCAA-sanctioned, extended playoff-format postseason.  (Hint:  there are currently 343 schools eligible for March Madness.)


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

There is no Seat 37F in Bristol.

The Florida media starts to get its licks in on Urban Meyer, TV analyst:

Urban Meyer, hoping for a job with ESPN, was dreadfully dull in his halftime appearance.

How long do you figure his ego can take shots like that without the opportunity to retaliate?


Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

While I’m on the subject of the NCAA…

two paragraphs from today’s Tony Barnhart post illustrate what stinks about the haphazard approach the NCAA has taken in upholding its sacred amateurism guidelines:

**–Agent gate: One bad decision by one of the game’s premier players (A.J. Green), basically wrecked Georgia’s season. An agent throws a South Florida party for underclassmen because the benefit far outweighs the risk. This problem is not going away. It is only going to get worse if something doesn’t change–and quickly. Unfortunately, the NCAA doesn’t do much of anything quickly. They need to open up the proccess (sic) and get these kids talking to agents much earlier in their careers.

**–And then there was the Ohio State ruling, which suspended five players for selling stuff given to them by the school. But the NCAA allowed the suspensions to start after they played in the Sugar Bowl. Critics jumped on the NCAA and college football because it appears both are making these rules up as they go along. The ruling made no sense unless you believe Ohio State’s claim that their players had not been instructed on the rules. I don’t.

A.J.’s transgression had nothing to do with any South Beach party, at least not directly.  The NCAA got on his trail as a result of an allegation on an Internet gossip site that he attended one.  The rumor didn’t check out, but that didn’t stop the NCAA from investigating his personal finances, which led to the discovery of his sale of a game jersey.  The player and the school, it should be noted, cooperated fully, hid nothing and acknowledged that a mistake was made.  All of which led to the maximum penalty after the NCAA took considerable time to rule, adding uncertainty to Georgia’s game preparation in the early part of the season.  (As things turned out, it couldn’t have been any worse for the school to have played him in the first three conference games, could it?)

Contrast that with Tatgate.  Even Barnhart doesn’t buy the fig leaf the NCAA placed over the facts to justify letting the ineligible players take part fully in the 2010 season.  And let’s not forget that Ohio State is appealing the ruling and asking the NCAA to reduce the suspension of those players to four games next season, conveniently in time for conference play.  If the appeal is granted, the lesson to be learned is that it pays to lie about the compliance procedures in place at an institution.  No doubt Mark Emmert will attempt an explanation, all the while castigating those who would accuse his organization of double standards galore.

All in all, pretty nauseating.


Filed under The NCAA

Only we can do that to our pledges.

Mark Emmert wants you to think he and the NCAA would stand tall against exploiting the student athlete.  And maybe they do, sort of.

“We have to make sure that we can be as clear as possible about our values and about how they’re reflected in our regulatory records and our rules.  Student-athletes are students. They’re not professionals, and we’re not going to pay them and we’re not going to allow other people to pay them to play.”

One small catch – the NCAA isn’t above letting its own membership exploit those same student athletes.  In fact, it’s considering a proposal to make that easier.

… The issue involving likeness of student athletes could be revisited in three to four months, Lyons said. Under the proposal, schools would have greater autonomy to use the likeness of their most recognizable stars in school and charitable promotions.

Lyons called it one of the “hottest topics” that the NCAA will continue to discuss over the next three to four months…

Hmmm.  Wonder why he thinks it’s “hot”.

“There’s some concern of potential exploitation and more and more uses of the student athlete’s likeness,” Lyons said.

Gee.  Go figure.


Filed under The NCAA