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If it's really about reducing the number of plays and, therefore, the number of opportunities for injury, then why not reduce quarters to ten minutes each? That would surely solve the problem.
Of course Saban doesn't like fast, no-huddle offenses. He can't make use of his defensive depth advantage. Peyton Manning has been using the no-huddle to wear down NFL defenses for years. High school teams are doing it. It's not a fad - it's an evolution, one that does not favor power-oriented teams. It allows Big 12 style, hurry-up teams to compete with the top SEC teams.
The SEC already has just about every advantage imaginable - many of them earned, by the way. If it takes a no-huddle spread offense to counterbalance a superior local recruiting base, gobs of money, relatively little competition from pro football, top fight facilities, and unmatched fan loyalty and intensity, then so be it.
1 year ago on Ole Miss’ Freeze Not Happy With NCAA Proposal To Slow The Game; But The NCAA Should Do Just That
@the_voice @Roggespierre An excellent, excellent point. It's been awhile since I've read Oklahoma Board of Regents v. NCAA, but I seem to recall that Justice Stevens used the example of Minor League Baseball to present a similar argument in the Majority Opinion. I do not disagree with him or with you.
Every time I turn this thing over in my mind, I get a sufficient number of scenarios and permutations to drive myself crazy. Of course the star QB is worth more than the long snapper. However, football teams can't punt or kick field goals in televised football games without a long snapper... and football games on television obviously have substantial economic value... so... you see where I'm going.
There will always be underpaid and overpaid players in professional sports. Were Tre Mason and Jameis Winston worth more than the value of their scholarships this season? Of course. I don't think anybody would argue with that. Likewise, I doubt that anybody would argue that Auburn's scout team RB was probably overpaid, assuming of course that he was a scholarship player. I guess that's why I see the relatively level of pay as a completely separate issue.
In the big picture, should players be paid at all aside from the scholarship? I see good arguments both ways, but I think the argument against paying players has lost a lot of credibility in the 30 years since the Oklahoma decision. One issue that I would like to see explored further is the fact that so many football players would not otherwise be admitted to the universities that recruited them. Thus, it seems to me that they are by definition NOT student-athletes, but rather they are, well, professionals that were acquired in order to generate revenue. That's a simplistic argument, to be sure, but I don't think it's unsound.
1 year ago on A Union Would Be Good For College Football Players, But Bad For Most Everyone Else
@the_voice Undoubtedly true, but does it matter? Every prospective employee at any company creates zero value for the enterprise until he/she works on that enterprise's behalf. The football team at every Big 5 Conference university creates more than the economic value of its scholarships due to television money.
The NCAA's claim that athletic participation is voluntary also has the appearance of a moot point. That they play voluntarily does not make the players something less than employees.
This issue has been building since the Oklahoma Supreme Court win over the NCAA. At that time, the notion that college football and men's basketball were not businesses seemed to retain some merit. And then the money started rolling in, accelerating each year and increasing geometrically in the broadband/digital age. Technology and its associated new economics changed the reality of college football and men's basketball. It makes sense that the old structures and regulations are no longer sufficient.
Does that mean players should be unionized? Perhaps. But I think it's fair to say they have a much stronger argument for unionization today than they did 30 years ago.
@DaveinExile Of course you're right. History proves it. Broadcast television networks were once a license to print money. Local television stations were the only options. Broadcast radio stations were worth a lot. SI and Time magazines were dominant. Local newspaper publishers had to build bigger rooms so they could stash all of the money.
None of that is true today. Were those all bubbles? If we go with your definition - and I'm fine with that - then we must conclude that they were. But isn't that the case with just about everything?
The market is unpredictable. Many believed that the internet would put paper mills out of business. Instead, it created a boom culture for paper producers because consumers printed more documents than ever before. Newspapers were supposed to be immune to internet competitors because they had a monopoly on local print coverage. But it didn't exactly work out that way.
Reasonable financial projections are based on assumed and historic revenue growth. That's really all anyone has to go on. Billions are traded on Wall Street every day based on nothing more than that. And, yes, sometimes they go bust.
Delany is making the best possible use of the market that exists today. He innovated with the BTN and created a model that others are now feverishly attempting to copy. He might not be they guy you want at your dinner party, but he seems to know how to do his job.
And when the market shifts, my guess is that he'll either be prepared or dead. If it's the latter, then the B1G had better have a strong successor in place.
1 year, 11 months ago on Realignment-Followers Hold Their Breath As Blowback Increases Against Maryland’s Move
@Dan Ramsey They won't because they'll lose money. The only way that happens - and it is possible - is if they're forced to do it by either the government or a new competitor. The latter, via digital a la carte over the internet, seems very likely at some point.
@Dan Ramsey Okay. I''m sure the ACC is on fine footing. Coach K clearly had it wrong when he said that the conference is "vulnerable". What would he know?
And you seem to purposely misrepresent my statement about the ACC being a power conference. Maryland has nothing to do with it. But there is a reason that Maryland is moving to the Big Ten regardless of whether or not it has to pay a $52 million exit fee. There is a reason that the ACC set that fee so high. Could it be fear of losing more members? Nah, of course not.
Clearly, Florida State AD Spetman is publicly talking about how nice it would be to get an invite from the SEC because he absolutely loves what he has in the ACC.
Any conference that accommodates Notre Dame's football independence must be strong, right. Look at how it helped the Big East.
LOL! Indeed! Go ACC!
@DanHogan @John at MrSEC Yes, and this is not at all unusual in the corporate takeover world. Non-disclosure agreements are the norm. Boards are often given a 30 minute presentation along with an ultimatum. If you can't handle it, then you have no business being on the Board. Hey, that's life in the Big Ten (pun intended).
The democratic deliberative process isn't designed to prevent leaks. In addition, the Board could have voted no and/or asked for more time - a request that likely and rightly would have been denied by Delany.
It did neither.
@ezgame Obviously, these are my own opinion, nothing more and nothing less. But I'll try to answer your questions as well as I can.
When I talk about power conferences, I'm talking about money. So, too, is just about everyone else, I think. Public perception is nice, but it doesn't fund athletic departments. Maryland is leaving the ACC and joining the Big Ten exactly because its athletic department is desperate for money. The previous administration spent tens of millions on amenities that it Maryland was unable to sell. You should see all of the empty club seats and sky boxes at Byrd Stadium on Saturday afternoons. In the future, they will be filled - by Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State fans.
More to the point, others that might be considering the ACC will do so only if it is obvious that moving is in their best interest from a financial perspective. The BTN and the upcoming SEC Network are going to give those conferences a huge advantage on the ACC with regards to media rights revenue. The Big Ten will soon auction off its tier 1 and tier 2 football and basketball rights. It'll be the last major conference to do so. The B1G is going to be very, very rich. The SEC is going to be very, very rich. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are already reasonably rich. The ACC is going to fall behind unless it can convince ESPN to renegotiate it distribution rights. Why would ESPN do that?
Maryland does not have a natural rival in the ACC, but just try to tell that to Terps fans. Many of them fully believe that Duke and Carolina are their top rivals. They don't seem to understand that the hatred is not reciprocal and that Duke and Carolina fans would rate Maryland among the middle tier of their ACC rivals, or at least somewhere after each other and NC State.
As a Purdue fan, I get this. The Boiler faithful consider Notre Dame their 2nd biggest rival after Indiana. Does Notre Dame feel that way? Of course not. It's much more interested in USC, Stanford, and Navy. Notre Dame has publicly made it clear that it values those rivalries more than its Midwestern rivalries. Does that change anything for Purdue fans? Not at all.
McMillan's ego was definitely bruised. But he wasn't alone. He couldn't have been happy to learn that Under Armour founder Kevin Plank was consulted from Day 1 while he was kept in the dark. McMillan doesn't think he's smearing the university; he's smearing the President Loh. If the latter walks away from this with his job, then he will have really accomplished something.
It makes perfect sense that the Maryland move would be controversial internally. This isn't a former SWC expat looking to trade up or to get away from the outsize influence of the University of Texas. It isn't a late 1970s Eastern Independent that has switched leagues on multiple occasions after the Supreme Court Oklahoma/NCAA decision. Maryland a founding member of a power conference. A move of this magnitude is unprecedented. More importantly, the ACC needs to win the lawsuit - or at least make it very expensive for Maryland to leave - if it is to remain a power conference.
Maryland insiders are accustomed to the traditions of the ACC. Understandably, they like those traditions. They will miss their (almost) annual home basketball games with Duke and North Carolina. They don't yet understand what the Big Ten has to offer because they aren't yet in it. Their feeling is one of loss. Never mind the unprecedented excitement that will visit Byrd Stadium when Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan come to College Park on fall Saturday afternoons. Maryland insiders are not thinking about that. As a basketball-oriented school, they also resent that their favorite sport is not nearly as important as football. As a native of basketball-crazy Indiana, I understand.
McMillan is a very smart and accomplished guy. As a Big Ten fan, I would prefer that he stand down. Generally, people tend to challenge process only when they do not like the outcome. If the same lack of documentation had led to Maryland remaining in the ACC and irresponsibly passing up the revenue that the Big Ten had to offer, I doubt that McMillan and others would have said anything. The process would have been every bit as untoward, if not more so, but the Maryland insiders would have liked the outcome. Nothing would have happened.
@Seanbo @JRsec That's a good point, and I certainly won't argue that pro football isn't more popular than college football in the north.
On a slightly different but related note, I find the differences from pro market to pro market very interesting. Of course schools like Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina are the most popular sports properties in their respective states. But that's true of big college teams in all small and sparsely populated states that lack professional teams - Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, etc. It's not a phenomenon that is exclusive to the SEC.
But why is it that George, Florida and Ohio State are all more popular than the professional sports teams in their home states? I suppose the reasons are different from state to state. The Bengals and Browns have combined to win zero Super Bowls. The Falcons have a history of mediocrity. The pro teams in Florida share a state that's really three different states in a cultural sense - Jacksonville Southern, Tampa Midwestern, and Miami Northeastern.
Then again, how do we explain the fact that the Saints get better TV ratings in Louisiana than LSU? The Cowboys are by far the most popular team in Texas. For that matter, they're also the most popular sports team in Arkansas.
Why are these states so different? I really have no idea.
1 year, 11 months ago on FSU A.D. Spetman Talks Openly About Switching Conferences… And The SEC
@BobbyandBear @LifeLongGarnetGold @JRsec @AllTideUp Thanks for the info. That is indeed a less than inspiring schedule. Okay, so maybe a move to the B1G would make more sense than I thought for FSU!
All good answers. There is no doubt that FSU could bring REALLY big money to the Big Ten. But it's almost impossible to overstate the importance that Big Ten presidents place on associating with "peer" institutions. Fair or not, they probably do not view FSU in that way. Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech, yes.
Notre Dame is the biggest national and international brand in college sports. It also is an elite academic institution, although it will never be AAU due to its religious affiliation. It happens to be in Indiana, but the Big Ten's interest has nothing to do with my beloved him state, much as I would like to believe that it does.
I'm not as convinced as some that the Big Ten would be so good for FSU. The Noles are better off sticking with whatever southern teams they can keep together. They might even be better off in a weakened ACC. I could be wrong, of course. The Big Ten dollars are indeed attractive.
@HanselGretel In the broadcast model, yes. In the conference cable network model, no. The cable money is in monthly subscriber fees. SEC broadcast ratings on CBS and tier 2 ratings on ESPN are not going to increase significantly if Florida State and Clemson are added. The reason is that every time those schools appear on CBS or ESPN, they would be replacing LSU, Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, or South Carolina, which would get crammed back down to tier 3 and be on the SEC Network. The per-school payout would actually decrease because no additional cable subs would be added. Even if FSU and Clemson were as popular as the NFL, it would still be impossible to make up the shortfall.
Unfortunately, the best way for Florida State and Clemson to make themselves appealing to the SEC would be to move the campuses to the states of North Carolina and Virginia. Barring that, the economics just don't work.
@Seanbo Why? I'm not trying to be a wise guy here - I really want to know why it's important to stop the Big Ten at Virginia.
Also, I tend to think that if it takes getting Duke to get UNC, then the SEC is not going to get UNC. If, on the other hand, it requires taking NC State, then I think the SEC has more than a puncher's chance.
@Seanbo That's true and that's a lot of money to leave on the table. There are two relevant questions: 1) is the Big Ten willing to take a school that is not, has never been, and likely never will be an AAU member? 2) Does Florida State want to be in the Big Ten. I think the answer to both is maybe. The first question depends on who is making the decision. If it's the academicians, then FSU is not going to get a Big Ten invite. If the ADs and Delany can convince them otherwise, then it might be possible. The second question depends on FSU's other options. Would it rather be in the Big Ten than the current ACC, a watered down ACC, or the Big 12? I can't begin to predict the answer.
@JRsec @HanselGretel @DanHogan I don't know how much ESPN cares about stabilizing the ACC. I don't think it's willing to sacrifice much of its rate of return. Better to just cut bait, continue to televise profitable content, and be content with that.
@LifeLongGarnetGold @JRsec @AllTideUp I agree. Other than Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami, the ACC puts a lid on interest at FSU home games. Are there any numbers available with regards to home attendance for Florida State's games with Florida, Miami, Clemson and Miami? That's more akin to what it would be like as a member of the SEC. The Big Ten wouldn't be as good, but it would probably be better than the ACC.
@HanselGretel @DanHogan It is a massive failure, but it was a reasonably worthy project from ESPN's perspective. You don't grow revenue unless you're willing to take risks. ESPN took a risk with the Longhorn Network, and it got burned. But it's paying out, what, $10 million per year to UT? That isn't much money when you're raking in $7 billion annually in subscriber fees. I'm sure ESPN lost more than $10 million per year on ESPN Mobile, another risky venture that didn't work out. To ESPN's credit, it's had a lot more hits than misses.
Barring a miraculous turnaround, ESPN will simply pull the plug when the current contract expires. Or it might be willing to buy out the rest of the contract and end the experiment right away. Of course that would require an agreement with UT. Perhaps Dodds would be willing to negotiate, given that ESPN soon will likely write it off and quit trying to sell it to cable carriers.
@DanHogan I think you're right. The failure, at least to this point, of the Longhorn Network would seem to bode well for the conference network model. I had feared the day when the heavyweights - Ohio State, Florida, etc. - threaten to drop out of their conference media cartels and sell their digital rights independently. What would the Big Ten and the SEC do at that point? Kick them out? I doubt it. Instead, the other conference members would likely acquiesce, just as the members of the Big 12 have done for Texas.
That's why the thud of of the Longhorn Network is so promising. If the biggest, baddest school on the block continues to demonstrate that it can't make it work, then others will certainly be less tempted to go that route.
@JRsec @AllTideUp Exactly. The fact that Butler - Butler! - was able to reach two consecutive national championship games underscores the difference in basketball and football economics. In addition to low overhead, it also seems as if there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to basketball investment. Butler is a school that I know well because I grew up a few miles from campus. It's a quaint liberal arts school that finances itself largely through undergraduate tuition. Unlike the Catholic schools, Butler can't even count on getting a few dollars from the Jesuits.
Butler will never approach, say, Louisville when it comes to basketball investment. But it's leading Louisville, 2-0, in championship game appearances in this century. One of the best decisions Butler ever made was eliminating football scholarships and dropping down to the FCS non-scholarship Pioneer League. That decision preceded the basketball program's ascent, and I don't think it's mere coincidence.
@JRsec @AllTideUp I think Virginia Tech would find a way to increase capacity AND fill those new seats if it were to have annual dates with the schools of the SEC East. It's tough to get too fired up for home games with Wake, Duke, and Boston College even for passionate fans of the Hokies.
@JRsec @AllTideUp I agree with this, but I also think there is another possibility for Duke, namely whatever is left of the ACC. Wake Forest isn't going anywhere. Boston College probably has nowhere else to go unless it can finagle a spot in the Big Ten on the back of Notre Dame, a prospect that seems unlikely for many reasons. Syracuse has no other landing spot. Connecticut and Cincinnati would likely join the fold. Georgia Tech, sans a Big Ten invite, might prefer a reconfigured ACC to the Big 12. And then there's the unique case that is Miami. Notre Dame might even be willing to stay in all sports except for football. Interestingly, its two guaranteed home-and-home basketball series in the ACC are with Georgia Tech and Boston College. So it seems that those are the schools that it really wants to play.
It wouldn't be a powerful football conference, but it might have enough remaining juice to keep a spot in the Contract bowls. And it would still be a very strong basketball conference with more than solid academic credentials.
I think we need to keep in mind that football money is important only if you're interested in competing at the highest level of football. The number one basketball team in the nation right now is Gonzaga. It doesn't seem to be hurting due to its lack of football dollars. I'm not at all convinced that Duke is interested in competing at an SEC or even a Big Ten level in football. It has plenty of money from multiple sources. Its preference, obviously, is for the current ACC to stick together. But what would be its second choice? The Big Ten, maybe? I don't think even that is a given. It might just stick with the ACC come hell or high water... or both.
@JRsec @AllTideUp I think the SEC gets whomever it wants without much if any interference from the Big Ten. The exception, of course, is North Carolina. If the SEC wants Virginia, then it might have to fight for that one, too. But I'm not convinced that the Cavs would appeal to the SEC. Duke will be a problem not because of the Big Ten, but rather because the pointy-heads in Durham are not excited about the prospect of joining a conference that, in their opinion, has sold its soul for the sake of King Football - again, their opinion, not mine.
If the SEC wants FSU, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and NC State, then I have no doubt that it could have them in short order. The question, really, is what does the SEC want? What does the Big Ten want? And how do those wants match the desires of the intended acquisitions?
@AllTideUp I'm with you on each of these. In the long term, there is no such thing as too much quality content. Florida State brings lots of good stuff to the SEC table. It probably should've been there all along. Clemson belongs there, too, for that matter. Virginia Tech is another.
Heck, if the SEC were to add those three schools and one other - take your pick - then it might be able to split its football programming into FOUR tiers. It could then sell off the 3rd tier to Fox, thus negating the B1G's competitive advantage, and still have plenty left over for the SEC Network.
@tallaman87 I'm sorry, but that's fantasy. The ACC has too many schools in too few small states to create a conference network that can approach the subscriber dollars that the BTN and the SEC Network can generate. Add in the fact that ESPN is reportedly "lukewarm" about the idea, as many credible sources have reported, and the situation is even more dire.
There is a reason that Coach K has stated publicly that the ACC is "vulnerable". There is a reason that Spetman is talking publicly about the possibility of FSU leaving the ACC. There are reasons that you don't hear similar talk from SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 members.
Furthermore, accommodating Notre Dame's football independence is not a sign of strength. It's a sign of weakness. Just take a look at the conference formerly known at the Big East.
The ACC is not going to pull ahead. If it is lucky, it might be able to survive in something resembling its current form.
@AllTideUp @tallaman87 I tend to agree. ESPN has no reason to want to do it.
I agree with all of this and I feel bad for Florida State. It is not a good match for either the Big Ten or the Big 12, but it will likely wind up in one or the other, probably the latter. I'm sure that if it had known 25 years ago what it knows now, then it would have joined the SEC when it had the opportunity.
But again, conference cable networks are game changers. Florida State does not make sense from the SEC perspective. Prior to the BTN, Rutgers and Maryland would not have made sense from the Big Ten perspective. The trick for the top conferences will be to add schools that increase cable subs now AND that will have reason to stick around when the bundled subs model gives way to something new. It will happen. It's just a matter of time.
@JRsec @MoKelly1 Check out this NYT story about the UVa situation. It seems as if moving to the Big Ten might be something about which the president and the Board of Visitors might actually agree. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/magazine/teresa-sullivan-uva-ouster.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Incidentally, in that thesis about the NCAA, I argued that it began as an effort by Theodore Roosevelt to save the game of college football and that it ended up being a means by which northern schools coerced southern schools into limiting player compensation to the price of admission and room and board. Southern schools were already paying players - there was no rule against it - and northern schools were already snobbishly eschewing the practice. Not surprisingly, of the 39 founding members of the NCAA, there were 12 from Pennsylvania, 7 from New York, 6 from Ohio, 3 from Massachusetts, and 2 from New Jersey. No other state had more than one founding NCAA member institution. The "southern" founders were UNC, U of Tennessee, and U of Missouri. The Deep South had no representation at all in the original NCAA.
1 year, 11 months ago on Slive Gets National Writer’s Vote As College Sports Most Powerful Person… We Disagree (Barely)
The ACC would "allow" Notre Dame to enter early? It's more like the ACC would beg.
1 year, 11 months ago on No Surprise: The ACC Would Welcome Notre Dame ASAP
@JRsec @MoKelly1 Actually, I forgot about one complication with regards to Virginia. The school president and the Board of Trustees hate each other. The board tried to fire the president several months ago - she "resigned" due to their differences. But the students and faculty rallied on her behalf. She was subsequently reinstated. Then the governor gave the board president another term. Now stories are beginning to trickle out suggesting that the ladies are again having a difficult time getting along.
The board president apparently gave the university president a litany of "goals" that are to be accomplished in the coming year. The university president responded publicly, saying that she did not appreciate being set up to fail.
Could these two agree on a move to a new conference? Don't know.
@JRsec @MoKelly1 That would be innovative and probably successful. I like the idea of the broadened CIC because it would provide even greater scale to the existing members even as it opens up new opportunities for the new members. The big state schools would be able to compete with the Ivies and MIT, Cal Tech, and Hopkins.
It's a mystery to me why schools like those three and Rochester, Emory and others don't form consortia that have nothing to do with athletics.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The first domino that needs to fall is the ACC. I'm looking at Virginia and Georgia Tech. They're gettable for the Big Ten. If that were to happen, then the possibilities that you've discussed would be more than plausible.
@JRsec @MoKelly1 I'm of the opinion that businesses always prefer to cooperate rather than compete. Conferences aren't businesses, per se, but they really are for all practical purposes. The academic term is "Institutions for Competitiveness" - the best graduate level course of study that I ever took. My thesis was about the NCAA - it seemed powerful then, but that was ten years ago. If I were to do it again, I would write about the B1G or SEC.
Yes, they should cooperate in a covert manner whenever possible. Add the Pac-12 to the mix, too. With three major conferences, it seems to me that anti-trust concerns could be laid low so long as there are quantifiable standards that guarantee entry.
@adarpy @JRsec The best negotiator and/or salesman in the world won't be successful unless he has a willing buyer. I forget where the rumor began - it did seem credible - that the SEC has been trying to land UNC and Duke since 2009.
Slive's problem when it comes to the Big 2 in Carolina is that his most valuable asset is not necessarily the thing that's important to UNC and Duke. Delany has a competitive advantage because he 1) has a profitable conference network, 2) has 13 AAU schools in the fold, and 3) has the CIC to include as part of the package. Still, even that might not be enough. It seems that UNC and Duke would very much prefer to remain in the ACC. That's why I think Delany needs to destroy the ACC - probably with Slive's help - in order to land Carolina. Some believe the Big Ten doesn't really want Duke. Who knows?
Similarly, Slive would have a competitive advantage if he were to try to land FSU and Clemson, namely that he can increase the value of their already very valuable football programs by adding them to the most valuable college sports product in the country.
Of course, the problem is that the SEC doesn't want FSU and Clemson b/c they do nothing to increase the value of the SEC Network. It is possible that we've reached a stalemate. In fact, it might even be likely. The only way I see movement is if Delany goes out and gets Virginia and Georgia Tech. That might set off a chain reaction - Va Tech to the SEC, maybe the Big 12 expands - that could shake loose the one school (UNC) that everybody wants but that is still firmly attached to the tree.
@JRsec @Roggespierre @MoKelly1 I still pay some attention to my Indiana Pacers, likely because they were the only pro team in my home city when I was growing up. But we're constantly reminded here in DC about the one and done phenomenon because this is where John Wall ended up after his year at UK.
@JRsec SEC Baseball in particular could represent a treasure trove of untapped potential for the SEC Network. As dominant as the SEC is in football, a case could be made that it is actually more dominant in baseball. Of course, the problem with college baseball has always been the professional minor league system. The best college players - those who are drafted in the first round - tend to begin their professional careers in high A ball and then disappear for a year or two until they make it to the MLB. That and the fact that top high school players often go straight to the minors will always keep a lid on the potential of college baseball. But I agree that the SEC is perfectly positioned to take advantage of whatever potential is there.
I think the Big Ten has designs on making lacrosse its staple sport in the spring. That makes sense to me. It snowed throughout Big Ten Country this week. Our baseball teams often have to travel to Florida for weeks at a time just to play a few games. Lacrosse works in the cold. And rich people in the Mid-Atlantic really like it.
The key to basketball content is the fans and not so much the product. Purdue, for example, stinks this year. But Mackey Arena is sold out for every game. In the BTN's record breaking January, Purdue has more appearances on the network than any other school. That's because, well, it stinks and CBS and ESPN weren't interested in carrying its lousy games. But Purdue is a huge school that has lots of basketball fans that will watch its games despite how putrid the level of play might be. That's what carries a conference network that is built on 3rd tier rights (a nice way of saying the crummy teams). Chances are that Purdue will be significantly improved next year. Its games will be on CBS and ESPN, and some other putrid Big Ten team that lost most of its best players - Indiana? - will continue to draw lots of eyeballs on the BTN.
I misunderstood your statement about defensive moves, but I would not call the Southern moves defensive, either. They are aggressive insofar as they expand the subscriber base of the BTN. Further, I would argue that all moves thus far by the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12 were aggressive. The ACC has been defenisve. Perhaps that is why it is the one that finds itself in such a precarious position.
@JRsec @MoKelly1 I totally agree with you with regards to the NBA. Even though it no longer signs kids straight out of high school, it didn't really help the situation much by creating the "one and done" phenomenon. Kentucky seems to be able to play that game pretty well, but it's the only one. And the product definitely does suffer. Georgetown, for example, is on television here all the time. It's a Top 5 team that can't score! Many of its games are unwatchable. And its one player that can score, Otto Porter, will probably be off to the NBA after this season.
I also agree that the SEC should rate AAU status at the top of its list of priorities. As I've said many times, I think that institutions should build on their strengths. For the SEC, that means expanding in areas that have lots of good high school football players and college teams with rabid fans. Virginia Tech, therefore, should be a no-brainer. It also happens to be an excellent school. North Carolina State makes sense, too. If the SEC can land UNC, then it should. I don't see either Duke or Virginia as a good fit.
Unfortunately, the conference network will make two natural SEC candidates, FSU and Clemson, not so attractive. That's really too bad, in my view. But I do understand it.
@JRsec @John at MrSEC It's also about capacity and scale economies. The Big Ten has an enormous advantage. Its 14 schools combine to draw more than double the research dollars that the SEC's 14 schools attract. That kind of scale is important even for schools such as UNC, Duke and Virginia. The fact that the Big Ten schools are so large is another advantage because it makes the CIC consortium extremely powerful. The Big Ten schools buy more stuff. That kind of scale is a benefit to any institution that is considering a move.
@JRsec @MoKelly1 Basketball excellence is certainly more transitory. Unlike football, it is not the case that most of the nation's top basketball players reside in a handful of states. The SEC has an inherent advantage in football that the B1G can never hope to match. Plus, if you can find three good players, then you have a reasonably good college basketball team. Kentucky is down this year. Does anybody think that will last? Indiana is up, but it will likely lose five of the top six players on its roster this season, including two that will leave early for the NBA. Southern football schools can lose two players early to the NFL and not feel any real effect. Losing two early to the NBA can cripple a basketball program for a season or two.
The SEC's problem with schools like Virginia, UNC and Duke isn't basketball. It's academic perception and, yes, snobbery. I keep reading that adding those schools and Georgia Tech would give the SEC eight AAU schools. That's true. But it's also true that adding those same schools would give the Big Ten 17 AAU institutions. The gap, such as it is, remains huge at 13-4. That's a lot to overcome when it's the college presidents and trustees that will be making the decisions.
@JRsec I agree that Slive has played his hand most effectively and that he at least deserves consideration for the #1 spot. However, as much as I respect your opinions, I think that you miss the mark just a hair with regards to B1G expansion. These were not defensive moves. The point can be argued given Alvarez's statements about Penn State, but the fact remains that adding Rutgers and Maryland gave the Big Ten inroads into a very important portion of the country. Rutgers, in particular, is primed to own the NY/NJ market. Its games with Ohio State and Penn State will be the biggest college football games of the year in two of the nation's four largest TV markets.
Also, it's important to remember that conference networks are game changers. The BTN had the best ratings in its history in January 2013 due to basketball. As much as football drives the bus, it's important to remember that basketball is very important to conference networks. There are more games that can be spread out over more nights and time slots. If the SEC Network is going to equal the BTN with regards to advertising dollars, then the SEC will need to vastly improve its basketball product. Remember, the big football games featuring the conference heavyweights are still going to be on CBS and ESPN. Don't get me wrong - that's a good thing. However, profitable conference networks depend on depth. Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Arkansas will typically be the featured football programs on the SEC Network. Just as the BTN doesn't get many Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska games, so, too, will the SEC Network not have much access to Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia, and LSU. The middle and lower tier SEC football schools will have to carry the network in the fall.
Basketball offers four times the content of football. Other than Penn State and Nebraska, just about every B1G alumni base is fully engaged in its basketball program. Is that true in the SEC? I admit that I don't know, but it's certainly not part of the conference's reputation outside of Kentucky and, perhaps, Missouri.
The argument in favor of Delany is the BTN. He changed the game. Slive is trying to catch up despite the fact that his football conference is the best and most popular product in all of college sports.
@WarHog38 @BruceMcF That stuff isn't worth your time or mine. In my view, there is nothing better than finding a great message board that serves thoughtful adults whose interests are similar to mine. So much of the stuff out there is of what I like to call the neener-neener variety.
Every university has its strengths. Take, for example, Oklahoma State. It gets beaten up pretty badly by the academic snobs in other conferences. Still, when I began the MBA program at Georgetown - a school that has no shortage of snobs - my financial accounting professor elected to use a text book and online program that had been developed by two accounting profs at Oklahoma State. "It's the best I've found," he would say when asked. For good measure, one of the best marketing students in my Georgetown class earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas.
1 year, 12 months ago on Which Conference Will Win The Realignment War? It Depends On Your Definition Of “Win”
@BruceMcF @WarHog38 You make two very good points here. I can't disagree with either. Notre Dame is the perfect example of academic snobbery at work.
And thanks for mentioning the U.S. News rankings problem. In my experience, academicians think they're a joke. Administrators don't for exactly the reason you cite - HS seniors care about them, so administrators are forced to care about them, too.
@AllTideUp @WarHog38 @BruceMcF I'm all for taking advantage of inherent strengths. The SEC enjoys a significant competitive advantage with regards to football, namely that a disproportionately high percentage of the nation's best players are developed in its back yard. There should be no shame in leveraging that advantage for the benefit of the the universities at large.
Two fantastic AAU schools just joined the SEC due to the opportunity and stability that are afforded by football. How great is that?
@WarHog38 It's more about money than education. The southern schools do a fine job of educating their undergraduate and graduate students. The CIC was about getting money from federal agencies, the National Science Foundation in particular. That agency exists for one reason - to hand out money for scientific research. It has no other purpose.
@AllTideUp @WarHog38 @BruceMcF All of this is definitely true. I have tremendous respect for the SEC institutions. For a variety of reasons- some self-inflicted and others not - they had a late start in the research game. And, when it comes to research, it's very important to take state politics into account.
Being a native Hoosier, I can tell you that the state is very proud to have two public AAU universities. It took a lot of commitment at the state level. Indiana has never been able to match the human, financial, and political resources of states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. Add in Notre Dame, which is still located in Indiana despite its continuous efforts to act as if it's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and we're doing pretty well for a state of 3 million people.
The point is that I can relate to the South in some ways. The sense of community that y'all enjoy every Saturday afternoon is a thing of beauty that is unique in the world of sports.
@DanHogan Okay, but what exactly does that mean? Football, after all, is the most difficult sport to incorporate due to its long lead times for scheduling. But football isn't part of the equation for Notre Dame. How can the ACC not be "ready" for the addition that was supposed to stabilize the conference? I would think Swofford would be bending over backward to accommodate Notre Dame next season.
1 year, 12 months ago on Don’t Like The Idea Of 20-Team Conferences? Don’t Worry, They Won’t Last Long
@WarHog38 @BruceMcF No doubt, the culture is different. I'm a B1G fan, and I care about a lot more than football. I want academic prestige. I want greatness in basketball - haven't had much in recent years. That said, I like the SEC because it plays a brand of college football that is clearly superior and more fun to watch. I don't want my conference to imitate the SEC, but I'm glad the SEC exists.
@WarHog38 @BruceMcF I work in Northern Virginia. It seems as if VT is more Virginia than UVA, if that makes any sense. UVA is a state school that behaves in many ways like an elite private school. Tech is more identifiable as a true state university.
Notre Dame is now open to the idea of joining the Catholic 7 for one season. Why would it do that rather than simply join its stable new conference, the ACC? It makes no sense unless....http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/9003784/notre-dame-athletic-director-jack-swarbrick-open-joining-catholic-7-league-one-season
John - thank you for posting this. I would have missed it otherwise. As the father of a 9-year old aspiring baseball player that just made his community's travel team, I will be sure to dial back the activities in the off season. The temptation to keep up with the Joneses can be powerful. Sometimes it's important to step back and remember that kids should be in it for fun.
1 year, 12 months ago on Surgeon Andrews Says Youth Injuries On The Rise
@SouthernBoiSB The Arkansas example is a good one. What I'm trying to say is that schools with title aspirations will need to schedule up. It isn't going to be good enough to count on conference schedules or a single rivalry game out of conference. If Michigan goes 11-1 and its best non-conference win is over, say, a 7-5 Notre Dame team, then it had better not gripe when it's left out of the 4 team playoff.
Schools will need to decide well in advance whether they're playing for a championship or merely a bowl bid. Those that choose the former will need four good conference games. Those that choose the latter might prefer to schedule down in order to get six wins. What's good for Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, and LSU might not be appropriate for Minnesota, Northwestern, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
I don't expect symmetry, but I also don't want to hear complaints from say, South Carolina, if it goes 11-1, loses the East in its single loss to Florida in Gainesville, and beats a 6-win Clemson team along with schools from the Sun Belt, C-USA, and SoCon in its non-conference slate. The committee will rightly point out that the Gamecocks should have known that Clemson alone was not going to be enough to get it done.
The calculus is going to change. ADs and coaches need to anticipate that and adapt to it. They should look at the basketball tournament selection committee and use its processes as a template.
2 years ago on Big XII Commish Talks Title Games, Playoffs, And Scheduling