Karl Benson is the Sun Belt commissioner. He’s also detached from reality.
Benson said he wants Sun Belt teams to try to shed their “addiction” to lucrative, nonconference games against heavily favored Power Five opponents. He wants to improve the Sun Belt’s chances of having an undefeated team to reach a College Football Playoff access bowl and increase the league’s portion of CFP money divided among Group of Five schools.
“This isn’t anything new I’m saying, but it’s the first time we’ve had all 11 schools around the table that had been with the Sun Belt for a period of time for stability,” Benson told CBSSports.com. “Rather than playing multiple million-dollar payday games, we’re better off to get a return on our investment, so to speak, on the back end by being able to win games against our peer opponents.”
As Solomon points out, there are two rather sizable holes in his gameplan. One is Marshall’s experience last season, going unranked by the selection committee despite its gaudy record because its schedule was deemed too soft. It’s great to aspire to be king of the dipshits, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get to date the homecoming queen.
Second, he’s seriously underestimating how much his schools need the upfront money.
… Also, money games produce a likely loss on the field but guaranteed money to help balance athletic department budgets. This year, the Sun Belt’s 11 teams combined play 19 of their 35 nonconference games against teams from the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big 12.
There’s no way that extra pop from the access bowl – which Benson himself estimates was worth about $2 million last season – is gonna make up for dumping that. But, hey, it never hurts to dream.
You know the story of how the classic definition of chutzpah is someone who kills his parents and then begs the court for mercy because he’s an orphan?
Well, Ray Watts is that kid.
In the last year, UAB shelled out more money to consultants ($546,869) to shut down and then reopen its football program than it did to its football coach ($500,000).
Which makes you wonder why the school feels the need to ask fans to make pledges to support the program – or, perhaps more accurately, why it would expect fans to hand over a blank check to do so.
This is sad.
The attendance at University of Akron home football games wasn’t just bad last year, it was the worst among all 125 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
The Zips, who play at 30,000-seat InfoCision Stadium, reported drawing a total of 55,019 fans for six games, according to data the NCAA recently released.
It was the lowest number reported by the university since 2005, when the team attracted 54,464 and played at the decrepit, off-campus Rubber Bowl.
It’s also expensive. The stadium was built in 2009, at a cost of more than $60 million. And that’s not the only expense the school suffers.
… With the university subsidizing the football operations by about $8 million, it’s not good that fans and their much-needed cash are staying away from games.
That has forced the university — already making annual debt payments of $4.3 million on the stadium — to dip deeper into its own pocket to drive up attendance artificially.
The NCAA requires universities to average 15,000 fans in actual or paid attendance over a rolling two-year period to remain in Division I. In 2013, the school bought 56,710 tickets valued at $10 each.
I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. Then again, with fans like these…
“I don’t know what it is about Akron,” LaBate said. “If you live in Columbus, you kill to go to an Ohio State game. It’s the way you grow up. That culture doesn’t exist in Akron. I don’t know why.”
… there are probably a lot of things that seem like good ideas. Maybe they need to think about adding WiFi.
Buffet away, dudes and dudines.
At Middle Tennessee State, head coach Rick Stockstill proposes that he forego a $100K raise for a few years to make sure the school can afford to pay for the cost of attendance stipends.
Meanwhile, Christmas comes early in Happy Valley.
It’s a shame he thinks this is in the past now.
There have been three Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge events the past three years, and of the 240 players who were entering their senior year at the time of the camp, 237 signed with a Power Five school (99 percent), including all 160 over the past two summers. [Emphasis added.]