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

The early bird catches the scheduling conflict.

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has struggled with attendance the past couple of seasons and is asking itself why.  One of the problem areas (and a potential solution) mentioned gave me a chuckle.

… Some fans complained about the start times — 11 of the 13 home games the past two seasons have started at 4 p.m. or earlier — but the thought is that later start times would yield similar attendance figures.

The administration has preferred earlier start times to try to maximize the number of people in the stands, with the thought that fans of SEC schools could go watch a UTC game, then get home in time to watch their favorite program play.

Evidently there must not be many Mocs fans who follow Georgia football.

Advertisements

3 Comments

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

Wishing won’t make it so.

The American Athletic Conference now refers to itself as a “Power Six” conference.

Good luck with that, fellas.

10 Comments

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

Live, in front of a television audience

The MAC decides to boldly go where no other conference has gone.

You either love MACtion or you hate America. Pick a side, comrade.

While you’re deciding, take a look at the vast array of dates this November when Mid-American Conference football games will be showcased: 11/1, 11/2, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9, 11/14, 11/15, 11/16, 11/21 and 11/24.

That seems like a lot of game days, especially since there are only four Saturdays in college football’s most critical month. November contains 30 total days. Ten of them will feature MACtion.

Guess which day of the week won’t have any?

NOVEMBER IN THE MAC, 2017
NOVEMBER DAY MAC GAMES
TUESDAY 12
WEDNESDAY 7
THURSDAY 4
FRIDAY 3
SATURDAY 0

Imagine being a season ticket holder and seeing this. Now blink, makes some weird noises and imagine how quickly you just decided to stop being a season ticket holder.

There’s only one reason to do that, and, podnah, you know what that is.

It’s not hard to see that ESPNthe MACquietly made a financial decision to transform its flagship sport from a live in-person rite of college life into made-for-TV programming for the masses for the sake of margins. The casual smattering of fans in their stands is set to shrink even more, and the atmosphere that makes November college football so great will be replaced with a figurative green screen, along with literal green.

On the bright side, I bet you can pick up a Tuesday night ticket to watch the Zips play for pennies on the dollar.  Maybe a penny on the dollar, now that I think about it.

26 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Is football bad for basketball?

If you’re a mid-major program, Matt Melton makes an argument that it sure is.

Why have mid-major teams been squeezed out of the tournament over the past few seasons? You can blame football, and more specifically conference expansion. It began with a small ripple in the middle of the aughts when the ACC grabbed Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech from the Big East. The Big East responded by raiding Conference USA, Conference USA took some teams from the WAC and the MAC, the WAC stole some teams from the Sun Belt, and the MAC and Sun Belt pretty much stood pat. This is an abbreviated retelling, but that’s most of the important stuff. Aside from a few teams joining FBS, things were quiet for about five seasons, but then there was a seismic shift.

Beginning with the 2011 season, the Big 10, Pac-10, and SEC brought the Big 12 to the brink of extinction. The Big 10 added Nebraska, the Pac-10 added Colorado and also called up Utah from the Mountain West to get to twelve teams, and the SEC poached Missouri and Texas A&M. To survive, the Big 12 added West Virginia from the Big East and called up TCU from the Mountain West. Elsewhere in the major conference landscape, the Big 10 eventually added Maryland from the ACC and Rutgers from the Big East, while the ACC further depleted the Big East by adding Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse. The Big East again bolstered their membership by grabbing school further down the food chain from Conference USA. The Big East eventually ceased to exist after the 2012 season, but was rechristened as the American Athletic Conference. Conference USA again seized teams from the Sun Belt, the Sun Belt acquired teams from the WAC, as did the Mountain West who also lost BYU to independence. With no pipeline to replenish their lost members, the WAC went extinct and exists solely as a basketball conference now.

While these changes were driven by football, they also had and continue to have a profound impact on college basketball. When football teams change conferences, the basketball programs often move as well. While college football only has ten conferences (formerly eleven when expansion began) at the FBS level, college basketball has 32 leagues in its ecosystem. Changes at the top trickle down to the mid and low-major conferences. For some teams, this has been beneficial as they have been called up or graduated to major conferences and seen their profile expand. However, one needn’t ask Kirk Cameron what life is like for those left behind.

When programs graduate to better leagues, it makes it even harder for the remaining mid-majors to garner at large bids.

Eat or be eaten.

I suspect we’ll look back in another decade or two and realize we severely underestimated the effect of conference realignment as it went through.

18 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Mid-majors have feelings too, damn it.

Sun Belt Conference commissioner issues a statement to Arkansas about its new gun law.  It’s just as significant as Sankey’s was, minus the $40 million a year backing the University of Arkansas gets from the SEC.

2 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Political Wankery

Today, in it’s all about the kids

Just another example of coaches looking out for number one:

Poaching has become so common that mid-major coaches have resorted to tactics like slowing down players’ academic schedules so they can’t graduate early. (Graduation allows them to transfer without sitting). “We better get used to it at our level,” says Maine coach Bob Walsh. “There’s a free-agent culture in college basketball now.”

For players, he means.  Coaches, as we all know, are indentured servants who can never leave one school for another.

Two problems identified…

Coaches recommended two tweaks to help the transfer environment—a crackdown on tampering and changing the rules to force graduate transfers to sit out a year. The tampering has gotten so bad that coaches have white boards in their office of players on other teams they’re targeting to poach.

Which one do you think the NCAA addresses?

16 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, The NCAA

It was just an innocent birthday greeting.

Mark Coyle, I’m not sure that “reassured” means what you think it means.  Neither, I suspect, is the Western Michigan AD.

2 Comments

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