Category Archives: It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Leave it to the pros, ctd.

Athletic director at University of Louisiana-Monroe attempts to justify his school playing so many road games not by stating the obvious, which would be they need the guaranteed money from cupcake games, but rather, that the school’s fans  “…  can’t afford to pay for a season ticket with 6 home games.”  Way to build morale there, fella.

Somebody mentioned AD school in the comments the other day.  Sadly, that’s not such a bad idea.

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The satellite camp mess, getting messier

There is so much packed into this article (h/t) that I hardly know where to start.  When in doubt, bring in the bullet points.

  • “The NCAA is considering banning satellite football camps and replacing them next spring with camps it would sponsor at NFL training centers and high schools.”
  • “If the NCAA doesn’t ban the current camps, documents indicate it is likely to set a 10-day window for coaches to attend camps. The current window is 30 days.”
  • “The NCAA would mandate counseling on recruiting and academics at its satellite camps, and is considering compensating low-income athletes for the cost of traveling to the camps.”
  • “The NCAA Council banned satellite camps earlier this spring. But just weeks later, the ban was overturned by the NCAA Board, composed largely of college presidents. The short-lived ban drew the attention of the Justice Department, which was preparing to investigate because it was concerned the ban might discriminate against players from low-income families who could not afford to travel to camps on campus sites far from their homes.
  • “Sources said the Justice Department has been involved in discussions with the NCAA.”

That all comes from a bunch of potential football rules changes discussed at the recent Conference USA spring meetings. (Copies of the proposals were obtained from ODU by The Virginian-Pilot under the Freedom of Information Act.)

The NFL on one side and Uncle Sam on the other.  Nice can of worms you opened there, Jim Harbaugh.

And that’s just on the satellite camp front.  Check out some of the other topics up for discussion:

High school football players who are rising seniors might be able to sign binding letters of intent after July 31. This would eliminate the early February signing day. If this rule takes effect, there is a proposed provision allowing players who have signed with a school to be released without penalty if the head coach leaves.

… The practice of enrolling high school players in January, before their scheduled high school graduations, might be banned or limited. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has questioned the practice of enrolling players early.

Schools might be held responsible for all players they sign, not just those who qualify academically. College football programs don’t lose a scholarship or get penalized under NCAA academic ratings when a high school player they’ve signed fails to qualify academically. Forcing schools to count all signees against their scholarship limit of 85 would discourage them from signing players they know are unlikely to qualify. That would give those athletes an earlier chance to sign with a Division II school.

They ought to call that last one the Houston Nutt rule.  Taken together, those would radically restructure the recruiting process.  Which is why I can’t imagine most P5 coaches would be in favor of them.

If other mid-major conferences get behind this, it could get interesting.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Recruiting, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Conference USA, putting the not into have not

Holy declining television revenues, Batman!

The value of Conference USA’s television contracts has eroded even more than earlier reports indicated.

The league will receive about $2.8 million in TV revenue in 2016-2017 from four broadcast networks, according to documents The Virginian-Pilot obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

That’s about $200,000 for each school, according to notes Old Dominion officials received during C-USA’s spring meetings last month.

It represents a steep decline from the $15.4 million, or about $1.1 million per school, to be distributed this year.

To put that in some sort of perspective, $1.1 million wouldn’t even cover Georgia’s football recruiting budget… in 2o15.  $200k is what Georgia drops on support staff when Kirby wakes up in the morning and decides he needs a few more bodies to watch tape and send texts to recruits.

The bigger picture is hardly less disheartening for C-USA.

The league’s TV revenue has now fallen to among the lowest in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which continues to see a canyon-like widening in the financial gap between the haves and have-nots.

The SEC, at the top of the food chain, made $476 million in TV, bowl and NCAA tournament money in 2014-2015, with each school getting about $34 million. Among the Power 5 conferences, the ACC came in fifth, at $22.1 million per school.

In all, documents indicate that C-USA schools will split about $20.5 million in revenue from the league, including NCAA basketball tournament money. That’s down from the projected $34.4 million to be distributed this year.

The main thing propping up the revenues is football playoff money.

While SEC coaches are tooling around in exotic cars, C-USA coaches will be asked to meet by teleconference rather than in person.

Looks like they’re gonna need a bigger cupcake game payout.

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Manhood and conference expansion

If you think that a lot of what drives the decision making behind college athletics boils down to a bunch of assholes who are into johnson-measuring contests, then I think you’ll agree that Houston would make an excellent candidate for Big 12 expansion.

“That’s kind of disappointing that Texas with their big budget fears the University of Houston,” Fertitta said. “For other schools in the Big 12 to keep them out because they’re scared of them, men need to be men.”

I’ve heard worse reasons.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Put a cap on it.

The state

The Regents set limits on the amount of money from student fees and tuition that can go toward athletic programs at the state’s public colleges and universities. The cap will be between 65 percent and 85 percent of the athletic budget at most schools, depending on each school’s athletic association.

The new rules come as a national review of the high cost of athletics at some schools has led to debate about rising college costs and whether students get a good return on their investment when they foot the bill for sports. The goal is for Georgia colleges to seek money for sports through fundraising and other revenue sources beyond what students pay.

All well and good at UGA.  But elsewhere, not so much.

Georgia State University would have to cut the amount of student fees and tuition that fund its athletic programs by about $700,000, according to a new policy adopted by the state’s Board of Regents on Tuesday.

Part two is more of the same in terms where the crunch will fall.

The new rules also cap growth in athletics expenses at 5 percent a year.

The policy update will have little impact on athletic powerhouses Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, which already fund most of their sports programs through broadcasting rights, contributions, ticket sales and other revenue sources. UGA relied on just 2.8 percent of student funding for sports last year; Georgia Tech, 7.2 percent. Both were well under the 10 percent cap placed on them.

Georgia State is one of six schools — along with Armstrong State, Middle Georgia State, East Georgia State, Gordon State and Atlanta Metropolitan State colleges — that is over the subsidy cap, and must cut its reliance on student funding. Almost 68 percent of Georgia State’s athletics budget was subsidized last year, almost 3 percentage points higher than the 65 percent cap now set.

Personally speaking, this is a long time coming and the BOR is to be commended for adopting these policies.  But there’s little doubt it’s more of the rich getting richer.  I doubt Georgia Tech will mind much if Georgia State has a harder time raising money to be competitive.

Meanwhile, McGarity gets to keep students contributing to the reserve fund and can tell Kirby there’s only so much new spending a year he can do.  Win-win, baby!

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“You don’t want to be the first school to do this.”

Idaho’s decided to live in its own private Idaho.

Idaho will become what is believed to be the first program in history to decide to move down from FBS to the lower-division FCS beginning in 2018, CBS Sports was told Wednesday afternoon by a source close to the situation.

The move comes after the Sun Belt Conference exercised an option on March 1 to drop Idaho and New Mexico State from the league and go with a 10-team conference beginning in 2018.

Idaho then had to make a choice where it wanted to continue playing football. The only FBS option was to compete as an independent where it had previously spent a season in 2013. Without a conference tie, that option is not financially viable for the school.

A source told CBS Sports on Wednesday that the deal is done: Idaho will begin playing football in the Big Sky Conference in 2018.

If you want a clear sign that this move was overdue, try this out:

While the move enjoys some support in the community, Idaho will lose its FBS branding — playing at the highest level of college football. Idaho students fund football to the tune of $127 per semester in their tuition payments.

While that’s not as costly as some student subsidies in other conferences, it’s enough at Idaho. The athletic department will save money having to fund fewer scholarships (63 as opposed to 85), but a source told CBS Sports that the program will lose money overall[Emphasis added.]

So even moving down a division doesn’t stop the money bleed.  And worse for the program, moving down to the FCS level means lower payments for offering itself up as a sacrificial cupcake to P5 schools.  Still, and considering the ego that has to be swallowed in deciding to retreat like this, you have to figure the economics were extremely compelling.  In this day and age, that’s hardly surprising.

Idaho may be the first to relegate itself, but I doubt it’ll be the last.

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Today, in amateurism

Shorter Actual Marshall University athletic director Mike Hamrick: “College athletics are the most unfair competition in the sports world,” he said. “Look around. In the NBA, there’s a salary cap. In Major League baseball, there’s a salary cap. But there’s no cap in college athletics.”

It’s almost like these guys don’t realize anyone hears what they’re saying.

(h/t)

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness