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

So this must be what Mike Slive meant by a level playing field.

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.]

Good times.

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

Friday morning buffet

Grab a plate and get in line.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, See You In Court, Stats Geek!, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

The Zombie program

I don’t want to take too much luster off the announcement that UAB President Ray Watts has reversed his decision of six (!) months ago and decided to reinstate football at that school – I have no doubt that it means a lot to the players, coaches and supporters of the program – but it’s hard not to be cynical about it.

At a news conference, Watts said the biggest reason for the reversal is UAB now has “tangible” additional financial support it did not have before. UAB supporters have committed $17.2 million to cover the athletic department’s operating deficit and need to produce an additional $13 million for facilities, Watts said.

Watts laid out three conditions for the return of football: UAB can’t exceed the amount of institutional support it currently provides for athletics; public and private donors must meet “reasonable” timelines to convert their pledges into money, a timeframe Watts said he will make public at a later date; and UAB won’t borrow money to improve outdated athletic facilities. UAB is a rare Football Bowl Subdivision School that for years has not carried an annual debt service due to athletics.

At times, Watts became annoyed by specific questions, such as why the university couldn’t have better analyzed football’s future on the front end before eliminating the sport. “I don’t want to pursue a lot of time looking back,” Watts said.

I bet you don’t.

There is so little of substance there, nothing that constitutes a firm commitment to anything, that I can’t help but cynically wonder if this is just Watts’ way of keeping the school in Conference USA for at least a little while longer.

For months, Conference USA played the long game with UAB’s future while the university couldn’t get a grip on what to do. C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky elected not to rush UAB into a decision about reinstatement, thus avoiding giving the UAB administration an out to kill the reinstatement possibility sooner. C-USA was content to let the issue run its course.

“I hoped that the longer it played out, the better the chances would be for it to be reinstated,” Banowsky said. “I was trying to encourage everyone just to be patient and give them the space they needed to get the answers they needed.”

Watts confirmed UAB plans to remain an FBS program in C-USA. New UAB athletic director Mark Ingram said the goal is to play football again as soon as possible, which may be 2016. There will be NCAA issues to navigate through for UAB to regain its FBS status.

Banowsky described UAB’s immediate FBS status as “unchartered territory” because he doesn’t think there has ever been a program to take this route. A school can stay in FBS if it has 76 scholarships — 90 percent of the maximum 85 scholarships.

“My initial thought is I think they’ll be able to maintain FBS status, even though they don’t field a team in a given year,” Banowsky said. “The sooner they can get back to 76 (scholarships), I think the better off they’ll be under the NCAA’s eyes. I think UAB’s intention is to move it along as quickly as they can within practical reasons.”

Getting those sweet checks is about as practical a reason as I can think of.  Hey, maybe UAB’s new athletic director can schedule a few cupcake games while they’re putting the band back together.  How much of a guarantee can a FBS team without a roster get for a road game these days?

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He’s got a report, and he’s not afraid to use it.

Shorter Ray Watts:  UAB LEAVE $25 MILLION IN UNMARKED BILLS IN A PLACE I TELL YOU OR YOU’LL NEVER SEE YOUR LITTLE FOOTBALL PROGRAM AGAIN.

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The new mid-major math

Louisiana Tech’s new AD steps in, finds his team has three SEC West opponents on its 2016 schedule, and proceeds to find a way to lighten the load.

Fortunately, there’s gold in them thar schedule changes these days.

McClelland said A&M administrators had asked if he’d pay $500,000 to buy out the game, which would have paid Tech $200,000. Texas Tech offered an $800,000 game guarantee, so Louisiana Tech will be $100,000 ahead even after paying A&M.

One thing college football doesn’t lack these days is willing bidders.  Lighten the load and make a profit in the process is a nice business model.  Expect to see more of it.

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‘I’ve been in sports all my life, and I like the underdog.’

If you need more proof that “prudent government” is an oxymoron, the Utah Legislature has allocated $1.5 million in public funds to Utah State so the school can pay for its COA stipends.

(h/t)

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UPDATE:  Too bad Utah State didn’t just lose its head coach(h/t)

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

For UAB, the fix is out.

I’m not a numbers guru – like you didn’t know that already – so I couldn’t pick through all the fuzzy math contained in the report UAB’s president relied on to shut down the football program the way Andy Schwarz could.  But the one assumption made there  that jumped out at me as being questionable at best was that Conference USA, which has a requirement that all members field football teams, would continue to accept UAB as a part of the conference and keep the checks flowing.

Turns out that was more than questionable.  It was wrong.

Conference USA has communicated to UAB that the league won’t amend its bylaws to keep the Blazers without football, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

UAB dropped football in December and has a study from a consultant expected to be released by May 15 on whether the school made the right decision in cutting the sport. Conference USA’s executive committee meets in June and will formally vote on UAB’s future. But there is not interest from two-thirds of C-USA’s presidents to change the league’s bylaws requiring football as a condition of membership.

Assuming UAB doesn’t reinstate football for 2016, the school will most likely be a C-USA member for one more academic year in 2015-16, given the short timeframe for the Blazers to find a new home. C-USA is reluctant to kick out UAB and leave its sports without playing schedules.

So it’s one and done for the Blazers.  And what about that money?  Er… what money?

UAB would not receive a full revenue share next year in C-USA if it stays. UAB is expected to receive about $2.2 to $2.4 million this fiscal year from C-USA. The College Football Playoff is expected to be worth about $800,000 for UAB. C-USA’s postseason football revenue increased by about 500 percent this year due to the CFP compared to past revenue from the Bowl Championship Series.

That’s a lot of money to lose.  Maybe the school can recoup some of the loss by asking for a refund on the report for getting advice based on this:

When UAB eliminated football, bowling and rifle in December, the report the university used did not include a financial model accounting for no C-USA revenue.

Then again, I’m not sure it would have mattered if it had.

Enjoy your new home in the Missouri Valley Conference, fellas.

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