Frank the Tank Summer Mailbag: Power 5 Conference Autonomy, Conference Realignment, Playoffs and More

Posted: August 7, 2014 in Sports

It has been a long summer hiatus here, so it’s great to be back! Let’s get to the piled-up mailbag with questions on power conference autonomy, TV rights, conference realignment, the college football playoff system and more:

After many months of procedural wranglings and committee meetings, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors finally approved the autonomy of the five power conferences (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12) to pass rules in a number of subject areas (such as full cost of attendance coverage for athletes and liberalization of athlete/agent contact rules) today. There’s no real set criteria for another conference to join that group outside of the “Power 5” letting them in. For practical purposes, the free market is really the driver in terms of determining power: if a non-power “Group of 5” conference could obtain TV revenue and bowl tie-ins on par with the Power 5 leagues, then it could argue that it a “high resource” league (as the NCAA has termed it in the past) that ought to have the same type of autonomy. However, even if a Group of 5 conference were able to achieve that (which is virtually impossible considering how much difficulty the post-2006/pre-2011 Big East had in keeping up with the other power conferences in terms of revenue and exposure despite having a better slate of bankable football brands compared to the entire rest of the current Group of 5), there’s no provision to mandate a move-up without the good graces and approval of the Power 5. (Good luck with that!)

As we have seen in conference realignment, individual schools might move up to power status (see TCU and Utah), but leagues as a whole don’t move up at all (and if anything, they are much more likely to get stripped of their most valuable assets by the Power 5 and then get relegated). I’ve pointed out this simple statistic many times before on this blog: in the first year of the BCS system (1998), there were 63 total schools in the power group of the 6 AQ conferences plus Notre Dame, while in the first year of the new CFP system (2014), there will be 65 total schools in the power group in the Power 5 plus Notre Dame. That’s only a net change of 2 total schools added to the power group over the past 16 years with one conference (the old Big East) getting demoted. Simply put, there won’t be any mass addition of an entire conference to the power level. Whoever wants to be a power school going forward is going to need an invite from the Power 5 because none of the Group of 5 conferences will move up on their own.

As of now, the only conference that will be negotiating a new TV deal in the near future is the Big Ten, whose current Tier 1 deal with ABC/ESPN expires in 2016-17. The other four power conferences have deals that stretch out for the next decade. It’s extremely doubtful to me that the Big Ten will act again prior to their new TV deal with the grant of rights agreements that are in place within the Big 12 and ACC, which are where the primary targets for Jim Delany (i.e. Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, maybe Kansas, maybe Oklahoma, maybe Georgia Tech) are located. Hypothetically, schools that aren’t under grant of rights arrangements such as the SEC members (i.e. Missouri, Vanderbilt) and UConn could be targeted by the Big Ten, but I don’t see anyone leaving from the SEC at all with their own gushers of TV money coming in (more on that in a moment) and UConn, for all of its strength as a basketball brand, doesn’t have the football value (either in terms as a program itself or, what a lot of realignment observers have missed, the strong football recruiting territory that Rutgers and Maryland have in their respective home states) that drives expansion or, somewhat less importantly, AAU membership on the academic side. (I do believe that if there’s a legitimate marquee football brand available that doesn’t have AAU membership, such as Oklahoma, then the Big Ten will consider them no matter what else they might say publicly.) The Big Ten has achieved its financial goal of getting into the New York City and Maryland markets for Big Ten Network carriage, so it would literally take a Texas-sized footprint addition to make it worth it for the conference to expand for TV territory alone. National name brands for football for the Tier 1 contract are going to be more important in the near-ish future for the Big Ten, and those types of schools simply aren’t available today.

In response to Question #1, I believe the Big 12 will end up expanding to 12 within the next 5 years and that will be all of the changes that we’ll see to the power conferences. Now, it won’t be because they’ll be “forced” to do so by the other power conferences or that the new College Football Playoff system starts punishing the league for not having a conference championship game (as Dennis Dodd has recently suggested). Instead, we’re simply living a world where each conference needs to diversify its portfolio of markets for long-term strength and the Big 12, by FAR, is the least diversified at all. I suggested last fall in The Big 12 Expansion Index that Cincinnati and BYU were clearly the two best candidates for the league and nothing has changed my view of the landscape since then.

For Question #2, I’d put the odds of the powers-that-be changing the CFP system to an 8-team playoff prior to the 12-year contract being completed at about 60% yes/40% no. No matter what platitudes that the conference commissioners and university presidents might be putting out there, we’re inexorably heading toward a postseason system where all 5 power conference champions will automatically have a shot at the national championship… and the best way to do that is to grant them 5 auto-bids with 3 at-large slots. (How the Group of Five would be represented, if at all, is an open question.) Personally, I favor using the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls as the quarterfinal sites using traditional conference tie-ins and then go on from there. This protects the bowl system (which should never be underestimated as a driving force since its the contractual mechanism that allows the power conferences to maintain their access and control advantages) and, in my opinion, continues to provide a balance of maintaining the importance of the regular season (which wouldn’t be possible at all in a 16-team playoff), rewarding concrete objective on-the-field accomplishments without the use of polls or committees (conference championships), creating massive stakes for all of the conference championship games (as they’ll become de facto playoff games in their own right) and still allowing enough at-large slots to reasonably include all of the teams that have a legitimate case to play for the national championship. This type of system would be such easy money for the powers-that-be just for the playoff portion (not to mention the boost in rights fees that each league would receive for their respective conference championship games) that it makes little financial sense for anyone not to do it. However, the historical glacial pace of the college football world to enact postseason changes is the reason why I only put this at 60/40 within 12 years instead of the 90/10 that it would be in virtually any other business.

Depends on what you mean by “watering down” the conference. In the short-term on-the-field, these aren’t sexy additions for football. Maryland has an excellent men’s basketball history, while Rutgers is non-existent in that sport. However, from a revenue perspective, they’re massive home runs by getting the BTN onto basic (or widely-enough distributed packages that are de facto basic) cable packages in the New York City and Washington, DC markets. Only adding the state of Texas can compete with that market-wise. At the same time, this is a critical move for the long-term for the Big Ten’s recruiting territory for both athletes and regular students. The states of New Jersey and Maryland are specifically the two top non-Sun Belt state producers of FBS football recruits that are not already in the Big Ten. (Meanwhile, New York State and all of the New England states are among the worst producers of FBS football talent in the country whether looking at sheer numbers or on a per capita basis.) At the same time, New Jersey and Maryland are among the best producers of Division I basketball talent regardless of region (with Maryland actually coming out #1 in the country on a per capita basis – that state is to basketball players as Texas and Florida are to football players). Nebraska is the large national football brand name that the Big Ten couldn’t pass up, but bringing in Rutgers and Maryland is what can enable to conference to maintain the necessary demographics to continue to be strong two, three or four decades from now.

I have some more mailbag questions that I’ll get to next week regarding the SEC Network and divisional alignments. If you have any other questions in the meantime, feel free to leave them in the comments section here or contact me on Twitter at @frankthetank111. Enjoy the weekend!

(Image from al.com)

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Comments
  1. greg says:

    Hawks #1 in CFP

    Like

  2. Wainscott says:

    Second

    Like

  3. Nathan says:

    Add add add add add add and add

    Like

  4. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Geaux Tigers!

    Like

  5. Mike says:

    We can now like comments? neat.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cutter says:

    Go Blue!

    I have to agree with your assessments in the post regarding autonomy, etc.

    When CFB adopts the eight-game playoff, I’d like to see those game decoupled from the bowls with the exception of the final game. The quarter and semi-finals should be played at the home stadium of the higher ranked team. That would provide yet another degree of importance to the regular season results, although a committee would still be in charge of picking the three at large clubs and with sorting out the 1 through 8 rankings for the participating teams.

    There would obviously still be a place for the bowls. The major ones (Rose, Sugar, etc.) would feature the second or perhaps third best teams from the Power 5 Conference or perhaps the best programs from the non-Power 5 Conferences. They could still serve as fund raising events or be used for commercial promotion or be the vehicle to bring tourists to the bowl locales. That said, they clearly wouldn’t have the same spotlight on them as they do now or will in the present playoff setup.

    Schools across all the conferences have spent billions of dollars upgrading their stadiums, etc. for the regular season. Why shouldn’t the fans and major donors benefit after providing all this money by having those major playoff games on campus? There are a lot of great, huge, historic stadiums at colleges across the country. It’s a shame they lie essentially dormant until the next spring football game (or outdoor hockey game, in the case of Michigan Stadium).

    Like

    • Brian says:

      cutter,

      “When CFB adopts the eight-game playoff, I’d like to see those game decoupled from the bowls with the exception of the final game. The quarter and semi-finals should be played at the home stadium of the higher ranked team.”

      Starting from scratch in an ideal world, that makes sense. However, I think too many entrenched powers would fight that for it to happen.

      1. Warm weather schools don’t want to play in the north in December or January.
      2. Many/most cold weather schools don’t want to play in the north in December or January either.
      3. Fans don’t want to travel to the north in December or January.
      4. TV would want night games (have to avoid the NFL games), and nobody wants to play night games in the north in December or January.

      I think the better choice is going back to the “traditional” bowl pairings for the quarters. I mostly agree with Frank’s plan, but I’d use the Cotton Bowl instead of the Fiesta Bowl.

      1/1:
      Rose = B10 vs P12
      Sugar = SEC vs at-large
      Cotton = B12 vs at-large
      Orange = ACC vs at-large

      I’m guessing everyone would prefer that the SEC and B12 split up and both face at-larges rather than stay together. If they want to stay together in the Sugar instead, I’m fine with that. The only conference this alignment really hurts is the B10 and they’ve chosen to subject themselves to this road game. The at-larges should probably include an autobid for the top Go5 champion to avoid hassles.

      2+ weeks later (on Monday and Tuesday to avoid the NFL playoffs)
      Semi 1
      Semi 2

      These would be bid out to any dome or warm weather outdoor stadium.

      Weekend before the Super Bowl:
      NCG (on Sunday night)

      Also bid out.

      “That would provide yet another degree of importance to the regular season results,”

      Which would be nice, but that ship has sailed.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        The Fiesta and Rose would be too far west. 2/3 of the schools and roughly 60% of the P5 are east of the Mississippi.

        I don’t see the Big 12 and SEC giving up the Sugar money or the Big 10 and Pac 12 giving up Rose money. So if the bowls stay, they probably sacrifice championships by competing with each other and keep the money. The Orange would have ACC and a wild card and the other bowl would have 2 wildcards. The P5 would directly get their share of those 5 bowl slots.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          bullet,

          “The Fiesta and Rose would be too far west.”

          Too far west for what?

          I have the Rose hosting the Rose Bowl and I used the Cotton instead of the Fiesta. As for semis, a truly neutral site is a good thing.

          “I don’t see the Big 12 and SEC giving up the Sugar money”

          Perhaps not. That’s why I said I’d leave it up to them. I think they could get similar money with a guaranteed quarterfinal slot, though. That could even be part of the playoff deal, that all 5 conferences get the same amount since the bowls are part of it.

          Like

      • cutter says:

        Brian-

        A short reply to your points:

        1. I agree with you that many warm weather schools wouldn’t want to play up north in the December/January time frame. I would fully expect them to object to the idea because it would provide a competitive advantage to those northern host schools. I could also see them wanting to keep the bowl games as part of the playoffs not only because of weather, but also due to the proximity of those sites to the southern schools and their fans.

        2. Conversely, I don’t agree with your second point at all for the very same reasons I outlined above. Besides the weather, the schools hosting the games–north or south–would have a competitive advantage because they’d be in familiar surroundings and most of the fan base would be supporting the home team.

        3. I don’t know if that point is relevant for two reasons. First off, the number of fans from a visiting team traveling northward would be smaller than in a bowl game because the bulk of the tickets would be sold to the home team’s fans. Secondly, this isn’t a multi-day experience like a bowl game–it’s a playoff game where the opposing team would come to the game site a day or two before the game was played.

        4. An eight-team playoff would have a total of six quarter- and semi-final games with at least one representative from each of the five major conferences. If a team were to host a game from a cold weather climate, it’d have to be from the Big Ten, the northern part of the ACC (with Syracuse being the exception because they have an enclosed stadium), the northern part of the Big XII and perhaps half of the Pac 12 teams. Conversely, the games in the rest of the college football region (southern half of ACC, SEC territory, southern half of Big XII, southern part of Pac 12) would be in warmer areas.

        Given that dynamic, I don’t see that being a big problem for the television schedulers. There would perhaps be two or three of these playoff games in cold weather climates at most and those games could kickoff at noon or 3:30 eastern time. The warm weather or West Coast games could then be played in prime time or even have a late start on the East Coast if all four quarter-final games were to take place on a single day.

        I do realize there are no real financial incentives at this point to change the system and I do agree with you that the longstanding relationships between the bowls and the conferences don’t easily lend themselves to change.

        But what I’m proposing doesn’t eliminate the bowls or all the reasons why fan bases for the teams participating in them would opt to travel, spend vacation time in a warm weather climate and watch their teams play in a post-season setting. What it would do is give back to the fans who have bought the tickets and supported their teams by giving them a chance to watch a playoff game in their home stadium (and without all the attendant costs of going to a bowl site).

        Speaking of the fans, look at the cost burdens you’re proposing by having these games at bowl sites versus campus venues. If I’m a Michigan fan living in Ann Arbor, your proposal would have me travel to Pasadena to watch the quarter final game. Two weeks later if the Wolverines won in the Rose Bowl against that Pac 12 program, traveling either to another warm weather site or a domed stadium (Minneapolis, Indianapolis or Detroit with the latter two being relatively easy go to at that point). If Michigan were to then win that game, the same fan would then be headed to a third locale for the championship game.

        At some point, I would hope that the organizers of college football would be less interested in bidding out their playoffs and more interested in having the games in venues where literally billions of dollars have been spent to upgrade them with luxury boxes, etc. Will that happen? My guess is the answer is now, but two decades ago, I didn’t think we’d be talking about an eight-team playoff either.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          cutter,

          “2. Conversely, I don’t agree with your second point at all for the very same reasons I outlined above. Besides the weather, the schools hosting the games–north or south–would have a competitive advantage because they’d be in familiar surroundings and most of the fan base would be supporting the home team.”

          However, we’ve heard ADs come out and say their stadium wasn’t designed to be used in December/January. We’ve seen ADs say they worry about the weather in November, so I assume that worry is even greater in the next two months. That’s why I said they wouldn’t want to play at home, not because I don’t think they want home field advantage.

          “3. I don’t know if that point is relevant for two reasons. First off, the number of fans from a visiting team traveling northward would be smaller than in a bowl game because the bulk of the tickets would be sold to the home team’s fans. Secondly, this isn’t a multi-day experience like a bowl game–it’s a playoff game where the opposing team would come to the game site a day or two before the game was played.”

          a. The NCG right now allocates over 50% of the tickets to the two teams. The semifinals allocate 12,500 to each team. The question is how they would change things for a home game. I’m guessing they’d force the home team to allocate at least 10,000 tickets to the visitors. That’s a lot of people traveling north to me.

          b. It’s not about length of time. People don’t want to go and the trip will be expensive.

          “Given that dynamic, I don’t see that being a big problem for the television schedulers.”

          The first problem is that they would have to schedule the games well before they knew who was playing in them. The second problem is that outside of 1/1, CFB doesn’t own December or January weekends. The games would have to avoid the NFL and that probably mean night games on weekdays.

          “I do realize there are no real financial incentives at this point to change the system and I do agree with you that the longstanding relationships between the bowls and the conferences don’t easily lend themselves to change.”

          Which is why I don’t see the point. Without a major financial incentive, they won’t consider dropping the bowls.

          “But what I’m proposing doesn’t eliminate the bowls or all the reasons why fan bases for the teams participating in them would opt to travel, spend vacation time in a warm weather climate and watch their teams play in a post-season setting.”

          Yes, it does in my opinion. You are crippling the major bowls and making all bowls virtually irrelevant. No fan will be excited about a $5000 trip because they finished 3rd in the conference.

          “Speaking of the fans, look at the cost burdens you’re proposing by having these games at bowl sites versus campus venues.”

          I’m not expecting most fans to travel. It would be all about neutral fans like most major championships are. Also, there are lots of local fans for different schools who wouldn’t have to travel far. Besides, the traveling fans are such a small percentage of all the fans that designing the system around them makes no sense to me. The playoff is a money grab, and neutral sites let them grab more money.

          Like

          • cutter says:

            Brian-

            In reply to my comments, I offer the following:

            2. You’re arguing to the exception of the rule, i.e., there are some ADs who worry about weather or their campus stadium’s capabilities to host a cold weather game. There are clearly also athletic directors who would welcome having such a game on campus.

            For those ADs who have objections to hosting games at their stadiums and/or in cold weather, there are options. Let’s use an example and say #3 seeded Boston College would be hosting #6 seed South Carolina in a future playoff scenario, but the BC AD concludes the game cannot be played at Alumni Stadium. What can he do?

            First off, if he’s been forward looking and has known long in advance that BC couldn’t play a cold weather game on campus, then he could have made arrangements or set up plans to play in alternate sites. The New England Patriots Gillette Stadium could be available or even the Carrier Dome at Syracuse. I would assume that this scenario would have been anticipated years in advance and could be implemented in short order (tickets, team/staff hotels, practice facilities, etc).

            The second alternative is not nearly as attractive–go play the game in Columbia, SC. Frankly, if I’m BC’s AD and I find myself agreeing to this plan, I would need to find myself prepared to answer a lot of questions (some very heated) from major donors, alumni, students and the press about why Boston College isn’t hosting a college football playoff game at Alumni Field, in the New England area or even in the northeast.

            3. I’m surprised by your assertion that 10,000 people traveling north to watch a college football game seems like a difficult proposition. As an Ohio State fan, I’m sure you’ve witnessed thousands of fans from opposing non-conference schools coming to Columbus to watch their teams play the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe during the regular season. Having that many come for a playoff game doesn’t seem to be a particularly difficult proposition, especially as you just pointed out that perhaps four times that many would go to a bowl game.

            Also, if the solitary trip is expensive as you say, then why do you think it’s advisable for the two fanbases of the teams in the national championship to potentially make three trips of varying distances and in such short time spans that buying airplane tickets, lodging, etc. is going to be even more expensive?

            4. The NFL and all the other divisions of college football manage to get their games scheduled and on television in short order, so there’s readily available examples right there showing it can be easily done.

            If an eight-game playoff is implemented with the quarter finals played in December, then there are only three college playoff games competing with the NFL in the January time frame. Also, the college bowl season this season starts on December 20, 2014 and ends with the national championship game on January 12, 2015. This includes a cluster of bowl games on 31 December & 1/2 January, which is a possible time frame for the semi-final games in an eight-team playoff. I don’t see this situation as the same problem you describe.

            5. My entire point was to argue against financial incentives and to essentially giving this portion of the post-season back to the fans. But to go back to financial incentives, ESPN is paying $5.6B over 12 years to broadcast the 4-team playoff. To quote one college football writer, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that seven playoff games in an eight-team field would generate more TV revenue than three playoff games in a four-team field.”

            At some point, I hope college football steps back and realizes that by monetizing every aspect of the game, they’re turning fans more and more into mere consumers.

            6. In my assessment, the major bowls started to become irrelevant when the BCS was introduced, but they still remain wildly popular. Now that we have a four-team playoff with the two semi-final games at the Rose and Sugar Bowls this year, what does that say about the relevance of the other major bowls in the larger scope of the post-season?

            Even if the bowl games do get further pushed into the background, what does it matter? As you point out, most of the people who go to these games aren’t fans of either team. Frank also states that the corporate interests who buy luxury boxes, etc., really don’t care about the two teams on the field anyway. So if the second best Pac 12 team plays the third best Big Ten team in some future Rose Bowl while three better teams from those two conferences are in the playoffs, where is the drop off? Tickets will still be sold, the Rose parade will still be held, the game will still be on television and college football will still make a lot of money on the entire deal.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Cutter
            The difficulty with the NFL is that they are taking the Saturday time slots the colleges want for TV. For example this year, the NFL had 2 games on Saturday January 4th and 2 on Saturday January 11th. That Saturday the 11th is when the NCAA would like to have their semi-finals. To maximize revenue, the NCAA would want prime time slots and the NFL is going to take the best slots. The NCAA would have to settle for Friday or Monday and maybe seeing if they can squeeze one in on Saturday in whatever time slot the NFL didn’t take and trying to beat the NFL pre-game and post-game shows.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            “2. You’re arguing to the exception of the rule, i.e., there are some ADs who worry about weather or their campus stadium’s capabilities to host a cold weather game. There are clearly also athletic directors who would welcome having such a game on campus.”

            Do you have numbers to support that I’m talking about the exception to the rule for northern schools? There aren’t a ton of northern schools to begin with, granted, but how many have said they do want December/January semifinal home games? And how many of those have a realistic shot of ever making the top 4 so it’s not just an academic question for them?

            “First off, if he’s been forward looking and has known long in advance that BC couldn’t play a cold weather game on campus, then he could have made arrangements or set up plans to play in alternate sites.”

            So he should make a stadium available months in advance (that requires paying money, usually) just in case he happens to end up hosting a semi? So he pays a deposit every year for 50 years on the off chance he’ll host 1 game?

            “The second alternative is not nearly as attractive–go play the game in Columbia, SC.”

            I notice you skipped the obvious alternative of never having home playoff games and thus avoiding the problem altogether.

            “3. I’m surprised by your assertion that 10,000 people traveling north to watch a college football game seems like a difficult proposition. As an Ohio State fan, I’m sure you’ve witnessed thousands of fans from opposing non-conference schools coming to Columbus to watch their teams play the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe during the regular season.”

            In September with months to plan, sure. On short notice in winter is a whole different thing.

            “Also, if the solitary trip is expensive as you say, then why do you think it’s advisable for the two fanbases of the teams in the national championship to potentially make three trips of varying distances and in such short time spans that buying airplane tickets, lodging, etc. is going to be even more expensive?”

            I don’t think there should be a playoff. I certainly don’t think the fan bases should travel to watch it. I really don’t care about people being able to afford the trips. If you don’t have the money, don’t go. It’s all just a money grab. Local fans and corporations will buy the tickets if traveling fans don’t.

            “4. The NFL and all the other divisions of college football manage to get their games scheduled and on television in short order, so there’s readily available examples right there showing it can be easily done.”

            The NFL is a completely different animal. The lower divisions have many fewer concerns (fewer people, less TV , etc).

            “Also, the college bowl season this season starts on December 20, 2014 and ends with the national championship game on January 12, 2015. This includes a cluster of bowl games on 31 December & 1/2 January, which is a possible time frame for the semi-final games in an eight-team playoff.”

            That cluster is also a possible time frame for the quarters with the semis a week later and the NCG not much later than it is now.

            “5. My entire point was to argue against financial incentives and to essentially giving this portion of the post-season back to the fans.”

            The only point of the playoff is money. CFB has steadily proved they don’t really care about the fans except for their bank accounts.

            “But to go back to financial incentives, ESPN is paying $5.6B over 12 years to broadcast the 4-team playoff. To quote one college football writer, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that seven playoff games in an eight-team field would generate more TV revenue than three playoff games in a four-team field.””

            But each round is worth less per game, and you are displacing major bowls to have more playoff games. Richard has posted the math on this point multiple times. Perhaps he will again here.

            “At some point, I hope college football steps back and realizes that by monetizing every aspect of the game, they’re turning fans more and more into mere consumers.”

            They do realize that, and that for every old school fan they lose they gain at least 2 new consumers.

            “In my assessment, the major bowls started to become irrelevant when the BCS was introduced, but they still remain wildly popular.”

            They lost some relevance, but didn’t become irrelevant. USC won a split national title without being in the BCS NCG. Bragging rights were still strongly tied to BCS bowls. It was another blow when they added the NCG as an extra game. The playoff is the next step in that process.

            “So if the second best Pac 12 team plays the third best Big Ten team in some future Rose Bowl while three better teams from those two conferences are in the playoffs, where is the drop off?”

            The stadium is designed to hold almost 100,000 people. It’ll start having a lot of empty seats if it gets pushed that far down the pecking order. That’s a shame for a once proud institution.

            Like

          • cutter says:

            For Bullet:

            The NFL will take the time slots it wants regardless of the format of the college football playoff or the post season, so why is this an issue?

            The four semi-final games could take place one or two weeks after the regular season, so for this season, that date would be 20 December, i.e., the same date that the bowl games are starting. There is no reason why the NFL would put the two games it has on the schedule this year on that Saturday date if those four high college games are taking place that day. It wouldn’t be hard–in fact, on the next weekend, all the NFL games are played on Sunday, December 28th.

            The exact same goes for the NFL and college football playoffs. There’s no reason why the two college football semi-finals couldn’t be played on Friday, 2 January (where there are major college bowl games already in place) or on Monday, 4 January if the NFL has to play on Saturday or Sunday. College football doesn’t get those slots for the bowl games now, so why would they expect them with the playoff?

            The Super Bowl this year is scheduled for 1 February 2015. The college football final game could reasonably be played one or two weeks prior to that game. Saturday, 17 January would be the date immediately before the NFC and AFC championship games–that would certainly be a reasonable option.

            See the complete playoff schedule here–http://www.fbschedules.com/nfl/nfl-playoffs-schedule.php.

            To me, the points you make are largely a non-issue because there are already bowl games on the dates that any perspective eight-team playoff game would be played anyway.

            For Brian:

            You made the assertion about the northern schools objecting, so the burden on you is to provide the numbers. To be frank, I thought you were pulling your original statement out of your butt about the ADs having problems with the games because of cold weather or stadium configuration just to be argumentative. Any AD confronted with such a scenario would have years to plan what to do in case his or her team was going to host a playoff game, so I imagine they’d know (1) if such a game could be played on campus and (2) what other alternatives are in place.

            How may northern schools are likely to host a game in an eight-team playoff? I imagine the number is very few–maybe two from the Pac 12 (Oregon, Washington) and a handful from the Big Ten (Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State). That’s why I asserted in my original post that here may be two or three games out of the seven quarter- and semi-final games every post-season that may be in a northern climate zone.

            You claimed that an AD would have to pay an annual deposit to have an alternative stadium site handy. Please cite a precedent for that, otherwise your comment deserves no further response. Also explain why the school’s conference wouldn’t pay such a fee if this was even a possibility.

            The only problem I seem to be avoiding is one of your own creation based on assertions you haven’t really supported at this point.

            Again, it’s interesting to me that you cite travel with a short planning horizon being a problem in an eight-team playoff with home sites hosting the games, but seem rather unconcerned with the same playoff being played at bowl sites. Of course, in your assessment of the matter, fans don’t travel to see their teams bowl sites in the first place, so perhaps that explains the apparent disconnect.

            All that, of course, is a shame. My original premise is that I’d like to get the eight-team playoffs back to the fans of the teams and to have the bowl games assume their traditional role as post-season exhibitions. You seem to want to support the bowl system even if the fans who support the team during the regular season by purchasing tickets, attending the games, etc., are largely left out of the live experience. As I’ve written before, I think college football needs to seriously look at treating the fans as fans and not as customers–or to use your term, consumer. Please cite the statistics that support the idea that every fan lost equals two more consumers.

            You say the NFL is a different animal, but give no real reasons why that’s true. The consensus opinion by a lot of CFB experts in the press and within the ranks of college coaches and officials is there will be an eight-team playoff. Will the participants be selected differently than the NFL? Absolutely. But the end result with the teams deciding it on the field–as happens in the other divisions in college football–is the same.

            I addressed the time frame problem you mention in my reply to Bullet. This is actually a non-problem.

            We differ on the relevance of the bowl games, and as your example points out, the BCS system was highly unsatisfactory on the whole for deciding a true national champion. The four-team playoff is an improvement, but for the reasons cited many times earlier that do not bear repeating, many experts inside and outside of the game believe we’ll have an eight-game playoff before long–much to your dissatisfaction.

            Please cite any studies that support the assertion that the Rose Bowl would not be sold out if it was not included in an eight-game playoff, but instead, hosted the top-rated Big Ten and Pac 12 teams that are not in the game. Why would a crowd of what you say are largely neutral fans with no rooting interest in either team not attend such a game? Why would the corporate ticket buyers and lease holders care when they’re primarily concerned with the tax write offs and the entertainment options that surround the game and not the game itself.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Re: AD’s planning for deep winter FB.

            “Any AD confronted with such a scenario would have years to plan what to do in case his or her team was going to host a playoff game…”

            Planning is not arranging and executing. Those would be on very short notice (or at a high cost, with very rare return).

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The NFL’s slots are an issue because if you do quarterfinals January 1, you don’t have your preferred time slots available.

            If you do quarters in December, you can do semi-finals on NYD and they will do the championship game on a Monday. Then the NFL is not an issue. The NFL can’t play on Saturdays during the college football season by law.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            “You made the assertion about the northern schools objecting, so the burden on you is to provide the numbers.”

            You made a counter assertion of it being an exception to the rule, so the burden is on you to prove that.

            http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-football/big-ten-ads-favor-4-team-playoff-model-that-includes-bowl-structure/

            The B10 internally rejected the notion of home semis in favor of playing in the bowls. That’s most of the northern P5 ADs right there. No other conference even gave it serious consideration.

            So where would these games be played? The Big Ten seemed to be considering college campuses as semifinal hosts, but Hollis said that no longer is on the table.

            Instead, the Big Ten has shifted its focus to including the bowls in the playoff structure. That also would preserve the importance of the Rose Bowl, which has been a priority of the league.

            “For me, it’s critical to keep the Rose Bowl in the equation,” Hollis said. “There’s a lot of historical value and there’s a lot of future value to having the Rose Bowl connected with Michigan State, with Michigan, with the Big Ten Conference, and the home (game idea) takes that out.”

            Smith said he also has concerns of playing playoff games in cold weather, which seemingly would offer the Big Ten an advantage against Southern teams.

            “Let’s say Ohio State is hosting, and it’s whatever the date may be — January or December. Let’s say it’s 5 degrees. Is that right for the game? We’re not pro,” Smith said. “I think a fast surface, good weather is important for the game. It’s important for the kids.

            “To be frank, I thought you were pulling your original statement out of your butt about the ADs having problems with the games because of cold weather or stadium configuration just to be argumentative.”

            I can’t help that you’ve paid no attention to what ADs have said in the past few years. Stadiums in the north have to be winterized, and it’s done in December. Failure to winterized can lead to burst pipes in a hard freeze.

            http://blog.pennlive.com/bobflounders/2010/12/a_cold_hard_fact_winterizing_a.html

            In addition, the Monday night game is expected to be played in sub-freezing temperatures with a low of three degrees.

            “The bottom line is these stadiums weren’t built to be open all year,” Combs said.

            And that ignores the player safety concerns (frozen field = concussions) and the fans concerns (exposure, driving in winter weather for hours, traffic, plowing, etc.

            The B10 has resisted November night games for a long time, and now you’re talking games several weeks later that TV will want at night.

            “You claimed that an AD would have to pay an annual deposit to have an alternative stadium site handy.”

            Stadiums are run as businesses. They want to host as many events as they can. If you require one to be available on certain days, you are precluding them from scheduling anything else. Only an idiot wouldn’t charge you for that.

            I don’t know how there’d be a precedent since I’m not aware of a circumstance where a team kept an alternate stadium on standby. The Vikings are paying $300k per game plus costs to use TCF Bank Stadium while their new stadium is built (and they paid for all the needed upgrades to be open later in winter).

            http://www.vikings.com/news/article-1/Vikings-University-of-Minnesota-Reach-Agreement-On-Use-Of-TCF-Bank-Stadium/89844254-c9ed-4dab-97b6-abd34dcde9ca

            “Also explain why the school’s conference wouldn’t pay such a fee if this was even a possibility.”

            Why should they? Are they getting a split of the game day revenues?

            “Again, it’s interesting to me that you cite travel with a short planning horizon being a problem in an eight-team playoff with home sites hosting the games, but seem rather unconcerned with the same playoff being played at bowl sites.”

            Driving to small college towns in the north in December is a little different than flying to LA/Miami/Orlando/New Orleans/etc.

            “Of course, in your assessment of the matter, fans don’t travel to see their teams bowl sites in the first place, so perhaps that explains the apparent disconnect.”

            No, I said I don’t care if they travel or not. B10 schools have alumni all over, so many don’t need to travel far to reach a bowl. Others are rich and don’t mind the cost.

            “My original premise is that I’d like to get the eight-team playoffs back to the fans of the teams”

            Which is a pollyanna notion that we all know will never happen. The fans are always the last to be considered. If they switched to home games, it would be for something much more important to them than fans. It would take money. Lots and lots of money.

            “You say the NFL is a different animal, but give no real reasons why that’s true.”

            If you actually need that explained to you, any discussion is pointless.

            “The four-team playoff is an improvement,”

            No, it isn’t.

            “Please cite any studies that support the assertion that the Rose Bowl would not be sold out if it was not included in an eight-game playoff, but instead, hosted the top-rated Big Ten and Pac 12 teams that are not in the game.”

            Right, because people would make a study like that public.

            http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/dennis-dodd/24395084/another-beautiful-compelling-rose-bowl-faces-uncertainty-in-playoff-era

            I’m far from the only one speculating on it. Bowl attendance fluctuates a lot based on the teams involved. Going from B10 #1/P12 #1 to #3/#3 would hurt. The Cap1 Bowl (lately B10 #3/SEC #3) averages 63k in attendance and has seen as few as 57k in the past decade (nominal capacity of 65k with an option to hit 70k with bleachers), not the 93k (94k capacity) of the Rose.

            “Why would a crowd of what you say are largely neutral fans with no rooting interest in either team not attend such a game?”

            They only attend because it’s a big game. When you strip its value by putting outside the 8 team playoff, it loses that value.

            Like

      • Andy says:

        The Sugar already has a deal in place for SEC vs Big 12 champs, so it would have to be:

        Rose = B1G champ vs PAC champ
        Sugar = SEC champ vs Big 12 champ
        Orange = ACC champ vs At Large
        Fiesta = At Large vs At Large

        Like

  7. Mike says:

    …creating massive stakes for all of the conference championship games (as they’ll become de facto playoff games in their own right) and still allowing enough at-large slots to reasonably include all of the teams that have a legitimate case to play for the national championship

    I’m having trouble seeing this happening. The only teams that are going to care about conference title games are teams that are on the outside looking in. For example, take last years Big Ten, what motivation would #2 Ohio St have to play in that game? They’re in the play off win or lose (they ended up #7) and another game against a good opponent represents a whole lot of risk (injuries, etc) for a team who’s success in the playoffs will go much farther in determining how successful their season will be than a conference title.

    IMHO – the only way we get to eight games is the defacto eight game playoff. The four conference title game winners are in with a special clause that #1 or #2 team outside of those conferences can replace the lowest ranked title game winner. Its messy, its subjective, its exactly what college football tends to end up with.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Mike,

      “I’m having trouble seeing this happening. The only teams that are going to care about conference title games are teams that are on the outside looking in. For example, take last years Big Ten, what motivation would #2 Ohio St have to play in that game? They’re in the play off win or lose (they ended up #7) and another game against a good opponent represents a whole lot of risk (injuries, etc) for a team who’s success in the playoffs will go much farther in determining how successful their season will be than a conference title.”

      I get your point, but I don’t think teams will not show up. Winning gets them a much higher seed, which is very helpful. Losing runs the huge risk of dropping out of the committee’s top 8, too. Especially if 1 or more champ is not a top 5 team and the Go5 gets an autobid.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        Brian – The greater the expansion of the playoff the less meaningful the games get. Top teams can only be hurt in the game and teams that are outside of a playoff spot can only help themselves. For a game that already isn’t popular with coaches and some ADs I can’t see them cheapening it even more.

        In addition, my defacto playoff means four conferences effectively control all of the first round money. Nothing to share with the G5 (or even the Big 12).

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Mike,

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a proponent of going to 8 teams. I fully agree the games would be devalued. I just think the teams would still give 100%.

          As for the money, they have to share it with the Go5 anyway. They already give them $75M (versus $250M for the P5) plus a guaranteed major bowl slot. They won’t give them less in any future deal.

          Like

  8. Wainscott says:

    @Frank-

    Nice post, but your playoff answer again mentions your preference for quarterfinal bowl games. I do think that is one thing that is a red line non-starter for presidents–second semester football. It messes with the academic calendar and it potentially exposes schools to ineligibility issues (many legit draft prospects drop out of school for the spring to focus solely on training for the combine/workouts).

    I personally believe presdients will sooner schedule games closer to Christmas then kick the CFB schedule deep into January.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/dennis-dodd/24399700/eightteam-playoff-makes-more-sense-but-is-it-worth-the-complications

    “2. Scheduling. It’s a real concern because the college presidents aren’t going to allow any more second-semester football.

    The playoff will produce the longest seasons (in terms of days) in history. The 2020 and 2025 seasons will end Jan. 13 — the latest end ever to a season.

    If the season can’t be lengthened on the back end, then that means the quarterfinals are going to be backed up on the front end — to around Christmas time.

    In the current structure, teams already are going to be arriving in town for the semifinals shortly after Christmas.

    They told us never on a playoff. Would they dare schedule games around Christmas?”

    Also: http://www.cleveland.com/sports/college/index.ssf/2012/06/mid-american_conference_commis.html

    “Steinbrecher would love to see an eight- or 16-team playoff system.

    Surely, the MAC would have its best opportunity at participating in a system expanded to that level. Unquestionably, the MAC would receive a large chunk of money through revenue sharing in that model.

    “But I don’t think that would be right for the student-athletes,” Steinbrecher said. “It doesn’t fit within the academic calendar we have, it doesn’t fit within the current number of games we play in the regular season. You’ve got to match the fantasy with the reality.””

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Wainscott,

      “Nice post, but your playoff answer again mentions your preference for quarterfinal bowl games.”

      I’m not sure it’s his preference as much as his belief of what is plausible given the current situation. The P5 want the bowls involved.

      “I do think that is one thing that is a red line non-starter for presidents–second semester football. It messes with the academic calendar and it potentially exposes schools to ineligibility issues (many legit draft prospects drop out of school for the spring to focus solely on training for the combine/workouts).

      I personally believe presdients will sooner schedule games closer to Christmas then kick the CFB schedule deep into January.”

      December games are a worse academic threat than January games. They don’t want students not focused on finals. That only leaves late December, and nobody wants important games then. ESPN would tell them that’s a black hole for ratings and not offer much money. Besides, they already agreed to move the NCG to the second week of January. The only real change would be adding a second game at the same basic time and then 1 more game a week or two later.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        FCS plays on December 14th. Think Division III played its championship on December 21 last year.

        I could see quarters either the 2nd week of December or the first week of December with the season pushed a week forward.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I-AA, D-II and D-III are completely different things in terms of size and scope.

          I really don’t see the I-A schools moving playoff games to the next weekend which is graduation weekend at many schools. As for moving things up, they won’t eliminate the bye week. They won’t drop a game because they need the money. I highly doubt they want to start the week before Labor Day, either. They could do any or all of those things, but they really don’t seem likely to me.

          Bowl games have been a round a long time and they’ve always waited until 12/20 or so to start. Not enough people can travel before then. That’s another problem.

          The third problem is that the NFL starts Saturday games in December about when bowl season begins.

          It’s not that starting the playoffs sooner doesn’t make sense in isolation, I just don’t see it working in practice.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            The NFL is an issue with semi-finals with January 1 quarterfinals. The final game will be played on a Monday, but semis on a Monday followed by a Monday final would be challenging for the fans.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            That lesser division playoffs are different in size and scope don’t have bearing on the fact that those games occur smack-dab in the middle of finals, and in the aggregate, impact many more student-athletes with far smaller odds of playing in the NFL–ie, the type of kids who would be taking finals more seriously because of the stakes involved.

            There is simply no way that any basis for opposing December playoff games will be the December graduation weekend, which is the stepchild of graduation ceremonies. Indeed, many schools allow December graduates to walk in May/June for the reason.

            Bowls do start around 12/20, but that is even closer to finals that Christmas day/Dec26 games.

            NFL does not like doing Saturday afternoon games in December, but you do correctly note that CFB will not want to go head to head with the NFL, especially with marquee playoff games. NFL wins, always.

            It could work if the quarterfinals are a Dec 25 tripleheader with the semifinal bowl games on January 1st, and the CCG the first Monday thereafter so long as there is a week minimum in between. Plus, it would piss off Marc Cuban (not a justification mind you, just a good way to get him worked up with all his playoff advocacy–be careful what you wish for)

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “The NFL is an issue with semi-finals with January 1 quarterfinals.”

            Yes, it is.

            “The final game will be played on a Monday, but semis on a Monday followed by a Monday final would be challenging for the fans.”

            I don’t think they would care about that. They would be planning for corporate/neutral fans for the most most part. There will be a few thousand rich fans that can afford it and get the time off, and that’s all they need. TV is where the money is, and they aren’t bowls that need to drive tourism. I think they’ll want the smaller stadiums that are the trend in the NFL for the semis and NCG to make it easier to fill.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There’s no doubt they plan for corporate in the finals. But the semi-finals will be the ones hurt if they have to play on Monday. They aren’t going to be that corporate two rounds in a row (and the January 1 bowls have a bit of that already).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Wainscott,

            “That lesser division playoffs are different in size and scope don’t have bearing on the fact that those games occur smack-dab in the middle of finals,”

            Of course it does. It’s much easier to accommodate a smaller event than a larger one.

            “There is simply no way that any basis for opposing December playoff games will be the December graduation weekend, which is the stepchild of graduation ceremonies.”

            I named the weekend because that means the end of finals week. The presidents have zero intentions of messing with finals week.

            “Bowls do start around 12/20, but that is even closer to finals that Christmas day/Dec26 games.”

            Yes, but late December games aren’t rejected for academic reasons. TV doesn’t want them on or near Christmas and fans don’t want to travel then.

            “It could work if the quarterfinals are a Dec 25 tripleheader with the semifinal bowl games on January 1st, and the CCG the first Monday thereafter so long as there is a week minimum in between.”

            TV would pay a lot less if you forced that on them. Maybe in the 12/20-12/23 time frame, but not on 12/25. The question is if you can guarantee a window that doesn’t impact finals and is far enough from Christmas. I think the presidents object to a full blown week of game prep during finals week, which is why bowls start when they do. I’m just not convinced that window would satisfy all the people that matter.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “There’s no doubt they plan for corporate in the finals. But the semi-finals will be the ones hurt if they have to play on Monday.”

            Why do they care? They aren’t bowls that need to drive tourism, nor is ticket revenue a major revenue stream. It’s all about the TV money.

            “They aren’t going to be that corporate two rounds in a row (and the January 1 bowls have a bit of that already).”

            Why not? The semis will be a big enough deal that they can go corporate, especially in a smaller stadium (60-70k).

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “Of course it does. It’s much easier to accommodate a smaller event than a larger one.”

            No it does not. its a big event for the schools playing in it.

            “I named the weekend because that means the end of finals week. The presidents have zero intentions of messing with finals week.”

            Never claimed they were. But you did mention “graduation weekend” as an event, which does not imply anything about finals week.

            “Yes, but late December games aren’t rejected for academic reasons. TV doesn’t want them on or near Christmas and fans don’t want to travel then.”

            The Hawaii Bowl is Xmas eve, and several games on Dec 26, which would require travel either on Xmas Day or Xmas Eve. Also, the new Bahamas Bowl will be Noon on Dec 24th, likely resulting in Christmas in the Bahamas for all fans, players, families, etc.

            “TV would pay a lot less if you forced that on them. Maybe in the 12/20-12/23 time frame, but not on 12/25. The question is if you can guarantee a window that doesn’t impact finals and is far enough from Christmas. I think the presidents object to a full blown week of game prep during finals week, which is why bowls start when they do.”

            Its not being forced on TV–I would imagine Fox would bid through the nose to broadcast those games and steal them out from ESPN, who might use this lull as a pretext to avoid competition with its NBA on Dec 25th package.

            Presidents might object to a week of prep during finals, and that’s a significant complication, except that finals are over by 12/20, so there would be 5 days minimum post finals for preparation. That’s assuming finals ends that late, and that classes with athletes do not have finals earlier, as a finals period traditionally runs 10-14 days, so classes with athletes could have finals schedule at the beginning of the finals period.

            “I’m just not convinced that window would satisfy all the people that matter.””

            Not everyone that matters will be satisfied. For example, coaches matter, and they swear up and down that a longer season into January hurts recruiting. Presidents matter, and they would probably just as soon prefer the BCS or the prior bowl system so they can focus on other issues. TV networks would prefer all prime time games, but the new playoff has an afternoon game on NYE every year.

            I don’t pretend my opinion on this matter is not without its issues. I just think its might be more realistic that quarterfinals would be in December, closer to Xmas (if not on Xmas Day itself) than we think, and that the presidents might actually have a firm line against second semester football stretched out deep into January. Could an insane monetary offer get presidents to set aside those concerns? Certainly. But any monetary increase generated by an 8 team playoff gets split by what, 65 teams, not factoring in if conferences get a cut, or the non-P5 schools get some? Per school, the number we’re potentially talking about could be much smaller than we perceive it to be.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Wainscott,

            “its a big event for the schools playing in it.”

            So what? That doesn’t make it literally big, just emotionally big.

            “The Hawaii Bowl is Xmas eve, and several games on Dec 26, which would require travel either on Xmas Day or Xmas Eve. Also, the new Bahamas Bowl will be Noon on Dec 24th, likely resulting in Christmas in the Bahamas for all fans, players, families, etc.”

            And you think a playoff would settle for the sort of rights fee those games get from ESPN? The Hawaii Bowl averages a 2.1 rating and pays $650k per team.

            Like

          • Kevin says:

            Are we confident that quarterfinal games would generate incrementally more money compared to the aggregate number of non-playoff bowls currently in existence? The true value of the playoff is likely in the semifinal and championship games versus quarterfinals. I think 4 teams provides a good enough balance with trying to crown a true champion and generating fan interest for all the other bowls that create a significant amount of intrigue and post season access to a wide number of fan bases.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I don’t think we are sure of that. I know one Texas guy who works in media who doesn’t believe it adds a lot of value.

            On the other hand, you can look at the dramatically different ratings of various bowl games and speculate that a bowl game that matters would get a lot better ratings.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “So what? That doesn’t make it literally big, just emotionally big.”

            And literally big for schools not used to hosting larger events, relative to their size.

            “And you think a playoff would settle for the sort of rights fee those games get from ESPN?

            Certainly not.

            “The Hawaii Bowl averages a 2.1 rating and pays $650k per team.”

            It would generate much more and pay much more and cost ESPn much more if it had 1 vs 8.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            @Kevin:

            “Are we confident that quarterfinal games would generate incrementally more money compared to the aggregate number of non-playoff bowls currently in existence? The true value of the playoff is likely in the semifinal and championship games versus quarterfinals. I think 4 teams provides a good enough balance with trying to crown a true champion and generating fan interest for all the other bowls that create a significant amount of intrigue and post season access to a wide number of fan bases.”

            I am not at all confident that adding 4 teams would pay out that much more to make it worth while. I think the PTB will find that 4 is the best balance of preserving the regular season while providing enough certainty as to a “true” national champion. I think the media will seize on 4 vs 5 because its conflict they can sell and market, and that might create the perception that the public is clamoring for 8. But I, and others on this board like Brian believe that the playoff, since it is a reality, is best at 4, and that 8 will kill what is unique, fun, and special about CFB in order to satisfy the vague concept of determining the “best” while relegating the regular season to a mere seeding exercise.

            Like

      • Wainscott says:

        “I’m not sure it’s his preference as much as his belief of what is plausible given the current situation. The P5 want the bowls involved.”

        He’s entitled to his belief, certainly, and it is plausible, I just dont think its likely. I think presidents and AD’s will sooner do on campus quarterfinals to ease the expense on fans travelling to potentially three different neutral sites in a short amount of time, with the semifinals being at pre-designated bowl games.

        “December games are a worse academic threat than January games. They don’t want students not focused on finals.”

        Christmas games are not a worse academic threat. Finals end at least a week earlier, and coaches need not worry about second semester eligibility.

        “That only leaves late December, and nobody wants important games then. ESPN would tell them that’s a black hole for ratings and not offer much money.”

        Have they outright stated this? I never heard that ESPN would actually tell them that. I think its a chicken vs the egg problem–are tv sporting events poorly rated because of the weak quality of the games or the time period? The NBA on ABC does well, and CFB could easily match those ratings.

        “Besides, they already agreed to move the NCG to the second week of January. The only real change would be adding a second game at the same basic time and then 1 more game a week or two later.”

        The CCG will range from January 8 to the 13th, and was designed to be on the first Monday after the semifinals with a minimum of a week in between. The real change with more semifinals later would be the clash with the NFL playoffs, which are king. the second weekend in January is Wild Card Weekend, and there is no room for CFB playoffs on TV, especially if the NFL expands its own playoff. Having semifinals off the weekend (Monday) risks asking fans to travel on workdays. Conflicting with the last week of the NFL season would likewise not work out so well for CFB. So it seems easy to say that all thats being done is adding 2 more games, when in fact, its the scheduling those games that is the issue.

        Like

        • @Wainscott – Your heart is in the right place regarding the fans, but just look at the history of how these things go. The ticket buyers that the powers-that-be really care about are the corporate sponsors and high-dollar ticket buyers that will sellout games regardless of which teams are playing. The big dollars aren’t coming from the plebeians like us – they’re coming from large corporations, investment banks and law firms buying up Jerry World or Rose Bowl suites for several years in a row without caring whatsoever about the teams involved. That has always been the advantage of neutral sites – you can sell those suites for years in advance along with hotel packages, tie-ins with surrounding attractions (i.e. theme parks in California and Florida) and long-term sponsorships in large markets as opposed to having a couple of weeks to sell tickets to an on-campus location that are disproportionately in college towns that don’t have the requisite hotel rooms and amenities.

          I totally understand the *fan* desire to have on-campus football games for the playoffs. It makes perfect sense from the die-hard on-the-street fan perspective. However, it just doesn’t make sense from the large dollar industrial complex that, whether we like it or not, surrounds college football today. I also agree with Brian that, when faced with the choice, the presidents would decide in an 8-team playoff that having 4 semifinal teams playing later into January is better from an academic perspective than attempting to cram 8 teams into a Christmas Day schedule… not to mention that TV ratings are better on New Year’s Day, the peak vacation period is *after* Christmas Day heading into New Year’s (which is why the top bowls all want to be on New Year’s Eve or Day), and the top bowls are completely incorporated into the playoff to maximize their value instead of being appendage consolations.

          Now, I’ll throw this suggestion out there even though I don’t think it would ever happen: if you’re pushing for on-campus sites, the better argument is to flip the order. That is, keep the quarterfinals using the top bowls on New Year’s Eve/Day. That’s when everyone likes to travel, people still have the month of December to plan their vacation, the players and fans are rewarded with a great experience in a nice destination (maybe it’s just me, but I’m bothered by the prospect that Power 5 teams that finished 3rd or 4th in their conferences get to go to places like Orlando and San Diego for New Year’s while the champs spend the holidays in Tuscaloosa), and the bowl system is preserved (and, IMHO, strengthened compared to what it is now). Then, the *semifinals*, with the short one week turnaround, are played at the on-campus sites of the 2 highest seeded teams remaining.

          That provides an incentive for fans to still travel to the quarterfinal bowl games (as less people will put off the bowl game trip that’s guaranteed to be in a place like Pasadena or Miami if the semifinals are at on-campus sites). This also puts some extra incentive back into the regular season for teams to be ranked in the top 2 (as opposed to “merely” the top 4 or 8) so that you can get those semifinal home games (assuming that you advance from the quarterfinals). The national championship game would then be played at a neutral site thereafter with ticket sales more akin to the Super Bowl (i.e. that game is going to be sold out regardless of who is playing and there’s a higher percentage of corporate sponsor ticketholders compared to fans from the respective participating teams).

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Unfortunately, Mother nature disagrees with the January home games.

            Some of the northern schools winterize their stadiums. And January is often really nasty weather. In December you’ve got a better chance of passable weather and you don’t have your stadium status pending for 6 weeks.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            @Frank-

            Thanks for your reply. You frame this as taking the fan’s side, but its actually thinking like a President. As I linked to above, reporters, AD’s, and presidents have repeatedly states on record that they do not want second semester football, which would be the case with mid January games. One of the reasons would be academic eligibility issues, as if a football player plays in a CCG during the second semester and is then academically ineligible, a championship (and related money) would likely be forfeited.

            Also, the January weekend calendar is occupied by the NFL, which would win any head to head matchup. Monday night games might appeal to TV, but if Monday night were truly the best night for TV sports, the NFL would not have switched its emphasis from MNF to NBC’s Sunday Night Football (which gets better ratings than MNF did in the final 8 years or so of MNF on ABC).

            Further, FBS is the only subset of CFB that does not have a playoff–and all other subsets have a playoff that occurs in December, wrapping up before Christmas. Most presidents have at one point worked at one of those lesser schools and are familiar with the playoff. They may resist implementing it for the FBS level for a whole host of reasons (tradition, alumni resistance, bowl money, etc…), but if they decide to implement one, Presidents (who do not spend as much time thinking about sports as we think) will sooner opt for the familiar and the easy vs second semester football potentially creating an isolated, spread out, NCG in late January–when hype for a NCG would take a back seat to Super Bowl buildup anyways..

            Its not just the fans I am thinking of, its also the ultimate decision makers.

            Like

          • @Wainscott – Yes, I understand what the presidents have said… and what they have said makes no sense. The aversion to, at the very most, two teams playing for the national championship in the second semester under the scheduling that I’ve outlined has long been puzzling to me. It sounds much more like a post-hoc justification for the timing of the current system than indicating any desire to push the playoff/bowl calendar to earlier in December if there were an 8-team playoff. 2 national championship participants playing in the maybe the first week of the second semester is supposedly so sacrilegious (considering that the basketball season stretches from Midnight Madness in October to the first Monday in April) that the powers-that-be would straight up destroy all of their built-up equity in the New Year’s Day bowls that they went out of their way to include in the current 4-team playoff system? I don’t buy that for a second.

            Plus, I think you are overestimating both the TV audiences and ticket-buying audiences for games on and around Christmas Day. The week leading up to Christmas (or at least the period leading up to when the typical school holiday vacation period starts) is both (a) one of the worst TV audience periods of the year and (b) one of the worst times for people to travel or take time off (as they’re right about to go on a week or two holiday break). That’s why the Big Ten and SEC have very purposely avoided signing any bowl tie-in with a game date prior to December 26th for at least the past decade. The proof is in the pudding: the two most powerful conferences explicitly avoid Christmas Day games or earlier. They want NOTHING to do with them. Once you see December 26th as the very earliest date that you’d ever get the Big Ten or SEC to consider games, then what’s the point of pushing the playoff up for a few days when you can instead preserve the exact same bowl system with the very elite games being played on December 31st and January 1st?

            Plus, even taking the “fan’s side” when considering costs, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the WORST (ABSOLUTE WORST) time of the entire year to need to plan a trip on short notice. No one is going to be able to watch a game on Christmas and then procure playoff game tickets, plane tickets and hotel rooms to places like Pasadena and Miami without paying EXORBITANT costs compared to if they had even a few weeks to plan it out.

            Taking any potential quarterfinals outside of the bowl system is much more of radical change than I think you’re giving it credit for. The powers-that-be want to structure a playoff as an appendage to the bowl system as opposed to a replacement. Taking the top 8 teams completely out of the bowl system will effectively kill it. Now, there are plenty of people that are more than willing to watch the bowl system die because of its inefficiencies, which is all well and good. I completely understand the argument about scrapping the bowl system altogether (even though I don’t personally agree with it). However, I don’t buy that the university presidents have any desire to do that, and if push comes to shove, they’ll live with 2 teams playing during the second semester as opposed to crushing the equity that they’ve built up with the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, etc.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            @Frank-

            Thanks for the reply. You make some good points and some weaker ones.

            1) Comparison of CFB and MBB is not useful, as the football powers that be has explicitly cites the excesses of the MBB season/tournament as something they want to avoid, the complete devaluation of the regular season.

            2) Any 8 team configuration will destroy the bowl system as it presently exists. By simple definition, having 3 weeks of games will weaken the value of any one particular weak that is not the championship round. Whether the bowls are semifinals or quarterfinals is immaterial because of their lesser value regardless.

            However, historically the bowls have had value for fans and TV, serving as a warm weather destination for cold weather schools. The Rose Bowl was started as a promotional tool by midwestern transplants living in Pasadena to advertise the weather and beauty of So Cal. Bowls historically had no value, as until the 1960’s, the final poll rankings were released in early December (the Heisman being in early December is a vesting of that). So value on the field will surely decrease with 8 teams, regardless of how configured, but there would still be some value for non-CFB playoff schools and fans if the bowl games are in great locales.

            3) I did not actually advocate, as you insinuated, for taking 8 teams out of the playoff altogether. I rather propose the semi’s be two bowl games–like they will be starting this year. You do however correctly note the flaws of my proposal, namely the short turn around increased costs, and so forth. However, that will also exist in any 8 team configuration, as the first two rounds will be approximately 7 days apart and potentially at two different neutral sites. At least, as you note, that fans will have the time off between Xmas and NYD to travel to games, unlike in early/mid/late January.

            4) The B1G was affiliated with the Little Ceasars Bowl, which had Dec 26 games. B1G and SEC bowls are clustered closer to NYD as a recognition that fans need an incentive to travel to bowl games, one in addition to having a team play in a game. The B1G overhauled its bowl game roster as a reaction to declining fan interest and desire to travel to repeat destinations at inconvenient times. Your 8 team playoff will not serve as a counterweight to rising costs, but rather emphasize them. Under either of our plans, the Kraft Hunger Bowl will have no value but for an excuse for some to visit No Cal. Then again, thats the only value of the Kraft Hunger Bowl as it is.

            5) II would argue that Xmas Day games presents a chicken vs egg problem, in that lesser events are broadcast, leading to lower ratings, leading to even worse events, leading to ever worse ratings. However, NBA on ABC/ESPN has had record ratings each of the past few years (http://www.nba.com/2012/news/12/26/christmas-tv-ratings/ , http://deadline.com/2013/12/ratings-rat-race-nba-games-up-on-espn-down-on-abc/ ) such that another network like Fox might bid to get a foothold on that day and broadcast some games. The NFL has had tremendous success on Christmas Day, so there is an audience out there potentially for games (http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/12/26/bears-packers-christmas-night-game-on-sunday-night-football-earns-12-6-overnight-household-rating/114683/)

            6) Ultimately, we personally agree that the bowl system should survive. We disagree on the implementation of a 8 team playoff on the bowl system. I simply do not believe the bowl system will have any real value in an 8 team playoff, regardless of how configured. Your proposal relegates 3 bowls to quarterfinals, then tacks on potentially 2 more neutral site games. Not many fans consider quarterfinals to be anything to write home about, let alone must visit destinations. Bowls as semifinals give more value to those hosting the games. Besides, three semifinals bowl games would do nothing more than emphasize the lack of value and use for any nonquarterfinal bowl game.

            Both your and my proposal would significantly devalue the bowls, and render non-playoff bowls even less useful. The only difference is the degree. Every single criticism of my proposal (of which there are many legit ones) applies with equal force to yours. Both have logistical issues, both put added stress and costs on fans. But at least mine keeps games in its traditional time period while being mindful of the academic calendar, which, until further notice, seems to be of real value to presidents.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Don’t think XMas is a chicken or egg problem. Its just not a good time to do it for TV, players or fans. The quarters would need to be the 1st or 2nd week in December if January 1 was used for semis.

            An 8 game playoff definitely weakens the bowls. Having the quarters in December further weakens the bowls. I’m one who’s fine with that. The bowl system makes the NCAA look pristine. And do we really need 6-6 teams in bowls? I remember a time when bowls were rewards. Go back to the 60s and there were just Rose, Cotton, Sugar, Orange, Gator, Sun, Liberty, Bluebonnet and Tangerine. Peach started in 68. Then the flood started in the 70s.

            Like

        • Brian says:

          Wainscott,

          “I think presidents and AD’s will sooner do on campus quarterfinals to ease the expense on fans travelling to potentially three different neutral sites in a short amount of time, with the semifinals being at pre-designated bowl games.”

          I don’t think anyone that matters cares about a fan that wants to go to all 3 games. Either be rich or don’t do it. Three times as many fans can go if they all go to just 1 of the games.

          “Christmas games are not a worse academic threat.”

          No, I was referring to just the early and mid-December dates. Post 12/20 or so, academics is not an issue.

          “Have they outright stated this? I never heard that ESPN would actually tell them that.”

          No. There are lots of things they’ve never outright stated. They didn’t outright state which schools conferences should add in expansion, either.

          “I think its a chicken vs the egg problem–are tv sporting events poorly rated because of the weak quality of the games or the time period?”

          It’s possible, but they know a lot of people are busy Christmas eve and Christmas with non-sports activities. ESPN has all the bowls but 1 and none of them are on Christmas. Considering how low a rating they need to make money from a bowl, why don’t they have any on a national holiday? They play on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Are they really that respectful of religion?

          “The real change with more semifinals later would be the clash with the NFL playoffs, which are king.”

          The clash would only be on the weekend and I specifically said not to play then.

          “Having semifinals off the weekend (Monday) risks asking fans to travel on workdays.”

          So? The idea is to get locals to buy tickets and let rich fans travel if they want. The TV money is much more important than ticket sales, and the game isn’t designed to drive tourism like a bowl game.

          As for the NCG, there’s a dead weekend before the Super Bowl.

          Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “I don’t think anyone that matters cares about a fan that wants to go to all 3 games. Either be rich or don’t do it. Three times as many fans can go if they all go to just 1 of the games.”

            They could, or games could be half-filled, look bad on TV, and do poorly in the ratings. Also, the bidding cities do actually care about fans coming. They arent bidding for a 5k Amway convention.

            “No, I was referring to just the early and mid-December dates. Post 12/20 or so, academics is not an issue.”

            Lots of presidents come from FCS or the lower divisions where there are December playoffs–and that’s in conference where getting an education is more important, as the odds of a pro career for lesser division athletes are far smaller than FBS student athletes.

            “No. There are lots of things they’ve never outright stated. They didn’t outright state which schools conferences should add in expansion, either.”

            So, we don’t actually know that ESPN has told schools Xmas would be bad from a TV perspective, or resists because it would compete with their 5 game NBA package? What would Fox say, looking to make a splash and being historically the least traditional of the major networks, and the one I could see overbidding on airing football on a national holiday?

            “It’s possible, but they know a lot of people are busy Christmas eve and Christmas with non-sports activities. ESPN has all the bowls but 1 and none of them are on Christmas. Considering how low a rating they need to make money from a bowl, why don’t they have any on a national holiday? They play on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Are they really that respectful of religion?”

            Part of it is tradition and respect for religion and risking a backlash. That’s a big reason the NFL avoids Xmas eve and Day (but not Xmas night). But ESPN proudly hypes and airs I believe 5 or 6 NBA games on Xmas, starting around Noon, and stretching to almost 11pm. Not to mention, Xmas is a very popular movie day, especially in the afternoon and evening. So its not like the day is nearly as sacrosanct now as it has been in the past, and certainly not nearly the same as Xmas eve (which would be a terrible night for games).

            “The clash would only be on the weekend and I specifically said not to play then.”

            All weekends have games. Be it Week 17, the WC, of the Divisional rounds. CFB will not go head to head with any NFL games. Its why we have Jan 2nd bowls when NYD is on Sunday.

            “So? The idea is to get locals to buy tickets and let rich fans travel if they want. The TV money is much more important than ticket sales, and the game isn’t designed to drive tourism like a bowl game.”

            The idea is not to get locals to buy tickets–its to get fans and alumni and students to buy tickets. Its why thousands of tickets are allotted to schools in the first place. TV money is more important, but TV folks will also say they prefer to broadcast a sold out game that has a great atmosphere. They arent spending these sums of money to broadcast lesser looking events. The same applies to weather events (especially snow–TV loves televising snowy football games–heightens the drama and look on TV).

            “As for the NCG, there’s a dead weekend before the Super Bowl.”

            There’s also a dead weekend after the Super Bowl. And its in February, sweeps month for the networks,

            Like

  9. Carl says:

    Frank O’Harris

    Like

  10. Transic_nyc says:

    Unless the academic eggheads are willing to put into place motions to separate CFB and MCBB from the school activities, there will be further moves to compromise with the NCAA model. It’s a Catch-22. Go the Ivy League route and risk potential losses of exposure (since Ivy League schools aren’t hurting for exposure) and donations. Heck, in a time when even a Big Ten school is going to China, of all places, to ask for donations, I don’t know how another major Division I school would want to make a principled stand on college athletics.

    Like

  11. kylepeter says:

    Question:
    Mentioning Vanderbilt and Missouri……. I agree it’s not likely, but what would need to happen for them to consider moving to the B1G?

    Like

    • Logan says:

      Speaking as a Missouri fan, I think last year’s football success makes it far less likely.

      I always thought there was a sweet spot where MU to the B1G was still a possibility. Not less than 5 years, as that would be admitting the SEC move was a mistake. Not more than 10 years, as by that time we’d have built up some rivalries and inertia would work to keep us in the SEC. But maybe in the 7-9 year range, if the football program had fallen apart without Texas recruiting and it looked like we would be Kentucky without elite hoops, then maybe the door to the B1G would be open as the place we were always meant to be, assuming the B1G was still interested. But last year’s success, I think, gives the fanbase hope that we can compete in arguably the best football conference in the nation, and there would be a lot of resistance from the powers that be to a move to a conference that so recently snubbed us.

      So maybe, maybe, maybe, if the money was there, the CIC is there, and the football program struggles badly for the next 5-7 years, there is a chance. But it’s like a Dumb & Dumber, one in a million chance.

      Like

      • Norm says:

        A lot of Missouri fans, students, and alumni are not exactly thrilled with the $EC. It’s not just about football “success.” The once proud basketball program is dying a slow death. They can’t fill the student section. Sometimes they don’t even come close. Other sports are having issues. At a recent function, the baseball and softball coaches complained about the travel. They fly commercial, and it’s difficult to get to some road games. Multiple flights , bus rides, and the time involved are brutal. They feel that all of the focus is on football. Go figure….

        Like

        • urbanleftbehind says:

          For those other sports, do there tend to be “pods” or preferential scheduling based on proximity, or does Missouri tend to have more games (e.g. home and homes) with its SEC East football peers in those non-revenue sports as well? If the latter is true, it brings back questions about Missouri being content with a grouping of Arkansas, TAM, LSU and other schools not further than Oxford, Lexington and Nashville.

          Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            urbanleftbehind – I think the only SEC sports that utilize divisions are football and baseball.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “…preferential scheduling based on proximity, or does Missouri tend to have more games (e.g. home and homes) with its SEC East football peers in those non-revenue sports…”

            They don’t do either in wrestling…

            Like

          • m(Ag) says:

            In basketball, the SEC gave each school one permanent rival with who you had a home/home with every year, and you rotated home/homes with everyone else. They recently voted to change that, and we will have 3 permanent rivals. I don’t think they’ve stated when that would start (probably 2015-2016), and I know they haven’t announced who the new rivals will be.

            It’s particularly odd in softball. There aren’t divisions or any permanent rivals, so there are years Ole Miss won’t play Mississippi State as a conference game, though I think they set up mid-week non-conference competitions.

            Getting back to Mizzou, I’ve heard some blame part of the attendance on the new arena, which has a whole lot of seats close to the floor which were bought by big-time donors who don’t show up often, killing the atmosphere.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            The arena itself is fine, but the fact that the lower bowl is expensive and sold out to wealthy donors and corporations who fail to show up to 60% of the games is a pretty big problem.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            The arena itself is fine, but the fact that the lower bowl is expensive and sold out to wealthy donors and corporations who fail to show up to 60% of the games is a pretty big problem.

            Seeing this at venues across the nation in multiple sports. With all that TV money you would think they would freeze or lower prices at the live event but folks in charge seem too driven by more money. Makes me wonder if the sports bubble is in the near future. Folks that attend some live games seem more loyal than TV only fans.

            Like

      • Wainscott says:

        Wait, there are sane and rational Mizzou fans?

        Like

      • urbanleftbehind says:

        I never thought the football would die out w/out Texas recruiting – MU simply had to dominate the “state of St.Louis+Metro East” instead of having the B1G West schools carve away at its talent. It appears to be making strides in that direction and milking its H/H aided access to Florida and Georgia.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Greater StL has the population of Kansas (and that’s being generous). They’re not going to be a football power by relying on StL talent.

          Like

    • @kylepeter – It would have to be some type of unforeseen nuclear collapse of the SEC that we couldn’t even imagine the circumstances of (i.e. SMU-type death penalty to half of the league). Barring that, the money is so large that we’re reasonably assured that both the SEC and Big Ten are going to be protected.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Well if one of those schools finds themselves recruiting rapists and armed robbers to compete, a president may decide a change of address could be a good thing. Vandy can’t be happy about the recent situation with their football players, although that hasn’t been a recurring problem.

        Like

  12. bullet says:

    Any words on O’Bannon? The judge was supposed to issue her decision this week.

    Like

  13. BuckeyeBeau says:

    @FtT: Thanks for the new post. Love out to you, as usual.

    Like

  14. vp19 says:

    Go Terps! Go Nats (Bryce Harper hit a 13th-inning walk-off to beat the Mets and boost their NL East lead to 4 1/2 games)!

    Like

    • @vp19 – Enjoyable rant from Matt Williams yesterday about suggestions that Bryce Harper get sent to the minors. Haven’t seen speeches like that to the media from MLB managers much since Ozzie Guillen left the scene.

      Like

  15. WisconsinRob says:

    A better comparison might be that Maryland is to basketball recruiting as Louisiana is to football recruiting based on the per capita take.

    Enjoyed the read overall.

    Like

  16. Transic_nyc says:

    This is very interesting:

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Atlanta Journal Constitution article makes reference to a couple of new tweaks I hadn’t heard before, but they don’t really explain. Says before any autonomy proposal can pass, 12 of 20 members of the “new” board of directors must approve. Current board had the 11 FBS conferences and 7 others. Not sure who is on the new board. And the board of directors can veto the legislation (although that is supposed to be rare). Sounds like we could be back in the same situation in a year over some issue. Kind of like the Big East and its bb/fb split or the Israelis and Palestinians.

      Like

    • bob sykes says:

      He looks very nervous and unhappy.

      Has anyone thought about what is going to happen to the weaker schools, like Purdue, in the P5? Purdue has deemphasized sports over the last few decades in favor of promoting academic excellence. They might baulk at the increased outlays required under the autonomy rule. Could they even afford them? Would Purdue and similarly situated schools consider dropping out of the P5? The Ivy model is pretty good for schools that promote academics.

      PS. Conflict of interest disclaimer: I am an alumnus of Purdue.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        “They might baulk at the increased outlays required under the autonomy rule. Could they even afford them? Would Purdue and similarly situated schools consider dropping out of the P5?”

        No. P5 schools make enough that cost won’t be a back breaker.

        The potential classification of some college student/athletes as employees, and treating them different than other student/athletes, has a greater disruptive potential.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        bob sykes,

        “Has anyone thought about what is going to happen to the weaker schools, like Purdue, in the P5?”

        Yes. I’ve seen articles about it. The short answer is that they’ll find a way to keep up. OSU is only looking at $1.65M per year for FCOA and they have more teams than anyone else. Meanwhile, the B10 is expecting a huge revenue bump in 2017 and everyone is expecting big playoff money.

        “Purdue has deemphasized sports over the last few decades in favor of promoting academic excellence.”

        They’ve been stealing money from the rest of the B10 by doing that, too.

        “They might baulk at the increased outlays required under the autonomy rule. Could they even afford them?”

        Yes. They may have to trim some other costs, but they’ll be fine.

        “Would Purdue and similarly situated schools consider dropping out of the P5?”

        Not if they listen to their accountants.

        “The Ivy model is pretty good for schools that promote academics.”

        It’s great if you have lots of rich alumni that will build a giant endowment for you and you don’t need any publicity from your sports teams.

        Like

        • bob sykes says:

          Good points.

          I was at Purdue when Griese was quarterback, and people still remembered Lenny Dawson. It is painful to watch them now.

          Like

        • @Brian – Agreed. No one should be fooled by the faux consternation being put up by “weaker” P5 schools about any costs involved here. The Purdues and Wake Forests of the world have PLENTY of money to adjust to whatever the new NCAA landscape looks like. They might have to shift some money from paying bloated administrative and coaching staffs and building new weight room palaces, but make no mistake about it: THEY HAVE THE MONEY.

          Big Ten schools will be making more TV money than many MLB, NBA and NHL teams when their new TV deals are signed and that’s without having to pay millions of dollars in player salaries. So, even if universities start having to pay athletes, they’re still working with a vast pool of revenue with relatively low (or no) costs for top talent. I hope fans don’t fall for any whining about money that we might hear from P5 university presidents – they’re the ones that wanted to maximize revenue in the athletic sphere. Personally, I have no issue at all with colleges wanting to make as much money as possible. However, that also means that they can’t pretend that they’re not running a business just like the NFL, MLB or NBA with different type of branding.

          Like

          • Kevin says:

            The pro team vs. college comparison is somewhat apples and oranges. While the pros pay about half their revenue to the players they typically (in most cases) do not pay for their stadiums and any significant capital expenditures. Plus they do not have to fund 15-20 or so other sports teams as College AD’s are required. I have valued NFL franchises for ownership gifting/estate planning purposes and have seen the unique stadium deals with local sports authorities and who is responsible for what etc…

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “However, that also means that they can’t pretend that they’re not running a business just like the NFL, MLB or NBA with different type of branding.”

            I beg to differ. They are running a part of a non profit business – completely different. It is their failure to promote and fund the overall athletic departments they are running as well as they might that gives the impression they are running pro FB/BB franchises. They are still running athletic departments of educational non profit entities. It just so happens the public has an appetite for some of their offerings, and media has seen an opportunity to profit by purchasing the rights to feed that appetite.

            Like

  17. stangm says:

    Frank you say in the article “…I don’t see anyone leaving from the SEC at all with their own gushers of TV money coming in (more on that in a moment) ” However, I don’t see where you wrote anymore about that. Can you elaborate?

    Like

    • @stangm – Ah, yes. That’s a holdover from my original draft – I thought that I’d get to addressing the SEC Network in this post, but it was already getting long. I’ll be talking about it in my next post.

      Like

  18. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/11320309/majority-power-five-coaches-want-power-five-only-schedules

    A plurality of P5 coaches want a P5-only schedule.

    Poll results:
    30 (64%) for P5-only
    23 (35%) opposed
    12 (19%) undecided

    P12 – 7 for / 1 opposed / 4 undecided
    SEC – 7 / 5 / 2
    B12 – 6 / 4 / 0
    B10 – 6 / 6 / 2
    ACC – 4 / 6 / 4
    ND – opposed (not playing Navy was a “deal-breaker”)

    * Note that the hypothetical included lowering the bowl eligibility standard

    Like

  19. Brian says:

    Most hated CFB team by state in another inaccurate Reddit map. Still interesting, though.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Looks like Michigan wins.

      Like

    • Transic_nyc says:

      Hmmm…I would have thought for sure that State Penn would “win” in NJ. Maybe its residents need a reminder. 😉

      And Ohio State and not UF in Georgia?

      Like

    • Logan says:

      Apparently, that map is based on Michigan and Ohio State fans voting too many times. Here is the updated map, with Kansas and Missouri hating each other, as God intended.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        seems like they didn’t get rid of the Louisville spam votes. UK the most hated team in Kentucky?

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Its not like Texas where you have nearly a dozen schools in FBS.

          Like

        • Logan says:

          Who do Kentucky fans truly hate? They may have split their votes among several schools (Louisville, Bama, Florida, Tennessee, Duke/UNC?) while the rest of the state, including Louisville and non-Kentucky fans, were more united in their hatred of UK.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            No, its Tennessee and maybe UNC or Duke. And other than Louisville fans, they don’t hate UK.

            Like

          • Ross says:

            IU, especially for older fans. I can see the argument that there would have been a split from the UK side between IU and UofL, but the UK numbers still dwarf UofL’s total numbers.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            Who do Kentucky fans truly hate?

            In football by age
            Indiana / Tennessee = Old School
            Louisville = Younger generation

            In basketball by age
            Indiana = Old School
            Duke = Middle Age
            Louisville = Kids

            Like

      • GreatLakeState says:

        MgoBlue!
        With that said, I call B.S on Michigan being the most hated in the state of Michigan. Michigan fans are almost ubiquitous throughout the state (Ask Walmart). I guarantee you OSU is the most hated football team in Michigan. An MSU banner will never get messed with in Michigan, but an OSU …anything….is going to be short lived. This ‘survey’ sounds like it was the victim of a few zealous MSU fans.

        Like

  20. Brian says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/university-seeks-to-eliminate-use-of-redskins-name-at-game-in-minneapolis/2014/08/06/89da18e2-1db6-11e4-ae54-0cfe1f974f8a_story.html?wpmm=AG0003386

    The U of MN is trying to bar the Redskins from using their name when they play the Vikings @ MN this year.

    he University of Minnesota is working with the Minnesota Vikings in an effort to keep the Washington Redskins’ name from being used in “promotional and game date materials” during the NFL teams’ Nov. 2 game at the school’s stadium in Minneapolis, according to an Aug. 1 letter from university President Eric W. Kaler to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).

    McCollum alleged that the Redskins’ presence at the university’s stadium would violate the institution’s Board of Regents’ policy on affirmative action, diversity and equal opportunity. She also noted that the stadium was built with funding from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux.

    Like

    • Fabian says:

      This isn’t unprecedented — for years, the U of M declined to name the North Dakota team when they came in for a hockey game, and when the Big Ten Hockey Conference started, said they were unwilling to schedule a non-conference game with them until they changed their name.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      I so hope Minnesota looses this fight.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        I hope they win. I’m not a fan of celebrating derogatory racist epithets.

        Mind you, I don’t have a problem with “Fighting Sioux” (or “Fighting Illini”; what’s Michigan’s problem? The logo?)

        Like

    • mnfanstc says:

      It’s one thing if you believe in a cause, and fight for that cause, using your own time and money…

      It is a whole different deal when PUBLIC money (i.e. taxpayer dollars, state government official(s) time, public university employee(s) time) is used to fund someone’s cause——Regardless of how worthy that cause may or may not be…

      Like

  21. texmex says:

    @Frank The Tank – Frank, What do you believe is Delaney’s end goal as far as expansion? Does he envision a 20 team conference one day? One of the issues with getting Oklahoma may be the politics of involving Oklahoma State. If in fact there was an opportunity for Delaney in the future (late 2010’s or so) to snag Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas from the Big 12, but only if Oklahoma St could tag-a-long to OU, would he bite the bullet on OSU?

    Like

    • Brian says:

      texmex,

      Obviously I’m not Frank, but …

      “What do you believe is Delaney’s end goal as far as expansion?”

      I don’t think he really has one. The presidents guide him on this. I’d guess he’s torn on the idea of getting UNC from the ACC (he’d love to have them in, but as an alumnus he’d hate to pull them from the ACC). Without the SEC expanding, I don’t think he sees a pressing need to expand any more.

      “Does he envision a 20 team conference one day?”

      I doubt it. He knows how unwieldy that would be and how much it would hurt the rivalries and relationships between the members to be spread so thin.

      “One of the issues with getting Oklahoma may be the politics of involving Oklahoma State. If in fact there was an opportunity for Delaney in the future (late 2010’s or so) to snag Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas from the Big 12, but only if Oklahoma St could tag-a-long to OU, would he bite the bullet on OSU?”

      His opinion wouldn’t matter because the presidents would refuse OkSU. It’d be tough to get them to even accept OU.

      The other thing to remember is that Delany is 66. I’m not sure he has many plans beyond signing the new TV deal that will start in 2017. The GoRs don’t expire until 2025 (B12) and 2027 (ACC), and I think the B10 will have a new commissioner by then.

      Like

    • Andy says:

      The 20 school conference idea was always a completely wacko notion. It gained some popularity on here but it was always extremely unlikely. It’s far too impractical.

      Like

  22. Eric says:

    Good posts. My thoughts:

    1. I think you way over-value the chances of an 8 team playoff. The school/conference leaders are very concerned with the regular season importance and I think an 8 team playoff starts to very much put that at risk. I understand that the CCG are basically playoff games at that point, but at the same time a lot fewer games before late November feel due or die for top teams. You also start to risk the regionalization you have in basketball (not to the same extent, but still there) if every major conference is in automatically.

    Beyond that, if use the 4 major bowls, I do not think at this point we get Big Ten vs. PAC-12 in the Rose automatically. They’ve too emphasized seeded playoff for me to think they’ll go back now.

    2. I think the Big 12 may actually make it at 10 teams (although expansion is possible). They don’t have the markets everyone else does, but they won’t with expansion either. Their niche is going to be the “one true champion.” They are just different enough right now to get attention and that might be more valuable than 2 extra schools they can realistically get.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Markets aren’t important unless you have a conference network. Compelling matchups are important. Expanding with lesser programs can work with a BTN. It hurts in other models.

      Like

    • cutter says:

      I’m afraid I don’t understand the reasoning behind your first point, i.e., school/conference leaders are very concerned with regular season importance and that an eight-team playoff would put that at risk.

      First off, the mantra that “every game counted” during the BCS era IRT the national championship was false. Nearly half of the teams in Division 1-A/FBS didn’t have a realistic chance to get into that game in the first place because of their conference affiliations.

      A perfect example of that was the Mountain West Champion 2008 Utah Utes football team. The Utes went 12-0 during the regular season, but ended up #6 in the BCS Rankings before beating #4 Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. In sum, they did everything right, but were penalized because they were a member of a non-Power 5 Conference and didn’t have the strongest strength-of-schedule

      In an eight-game playoff and using the BCS rankings as a guide, the 2008 Utes games would count in terms of getting to that national championship game (the 2009 BCS playoff had Florida beating Oklahoma 24-14). As the #6 seed, they would have played #3 Texas in the quarter final.

      Secondly, even if a program was in a Power 5 conference, once a team had gotten to two losses, their chances for getting into that BCS game were very unlikely. If a program had three losses, then they were essentially out of it and the rest of their games really didn’t matter to them vis-a-vis the national championship.

      But in an eight-game playoff, a team can drop a couple of games but still have an opportunity to win that conference championship (either through a CCG as the division winner or not in the case of the Big XII). That gives more teams the opportunity to be viable in the post-season later in the season. They might end up a lower seed in the end, but it wouldn’t mean they were going to be shut out early from a chance at the NC.

      This situation is roughly akin to baseball. In my lifetme, the game has gone from just the two league winner going to the World Series to a playoff that involves division champions and wildcard teams. The regular season still matters in baseball, but the number of teams isn’t limited to just two or four anymore.

      I strongly suspect college football will go to that eight-team playoff because all the Power 5 conferences will want at least one of their teams in the postseason competing for the national championship. Beyond that, I have to imagine the money will just be too great for the schools and conference leaders to say no. Finally, using baseball as an example, they’ll realize that the accepted truth that “every game counted” just doesn’t hold up to any sort of scrutiny.

      Like

      • @cutter – That has always been my view. As I’ve said before on this blog, it’s a different shift of how the regular season “matters”. What I believe Eric is referring to is those epic do-or-die games that we might see a handful of times per season (i.e. Auburn-Alabama last year) at the very top level. In that respect, he’s correct that the 8-team playoff could conceivably lessen the impact of those games. However, an 8-team playoff also makes a significantly larger number of other games matter much more nationally. Every single divisional race in the power conferences, for example, becomes extremely important with national championship implications (as getting to your conference championship game is effectively getting to a de facto playoff game). This is what the NFL does very well with its divisional races and is a large part of why fans still feel (a) every game matters from week 1 despite having more games and a larger playoff field (out of a pool of only 32 total teams) compared to college football and (b) all but the very worst teams still have *some* hope very late into each season. An at-large field of only 3 teams (or even only 2 teams if you also include a spot for the best Group of 5 champ) is also still so small that even the #1-ranked team can’t afford to take a conference championship game off.

        Up until now, college football has been eliminating about 95% of the field from the national championship race within the first couple of weeks of the season. The 4-team playoff nudges it up a little bit, but there’s still a completely subjective component to determining the playoff participants. There needs to be a balance where there is an objective way to get into the playoff without the use of polls or committees (i.e. winning your power conference), some leeway to include some elite teams that didn’t win their conference (at-larges) and keeping the field limited enough that it doesn’t impede the regular season. I could understand the argument that a 16-team playoff would destroy the regular season, but have a very hard time seeing that as the case with an 8-team playoff. We’re talking about whittling down a pool of 120-plus FBS teams or even practically a pool of 65 Power 5 teams to 8. This is far from the open nature of the NCAA Tournament where the regular season is rendered irrelevant outside of seeding purposes.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        cutter,

        “I’m afraid I don’t understand the reasoning behind your first point, i.e., school/conference leaders are very concerned with regular season importance and that an eight-team playoff would put that at risk.”

        They are concerned with it. Look at the attendance problems they have already. If the games start to matter less, will even fewer fans attend?

        “First off, the mantra that “every game counted” during the BCS era IRT the national championship was false.”

        Of course it was. Essentially all absolute statements like that are.

        “Nearly half of the teams in Division 1-A/FBS didn’t have a realistic chance to get into that game in the first place because of their conference affiliations.”

        I disagree. They had to go undefeated and have at most 1 other undefeated or elite team to have a shot. It was always a long shot, but it was a realistic chance. Moreover, I’d argue that their SOS didn’t deserve a better chance. If you only play 1 good team per year, you should have good odds of going undefeated. That doesn’t mean you deserve a NCG slot.

        “A perfect example of that was the Mountain West Champion 2008 Utah Utes football team. The Utes went 12-0 during the regular season, but ended up #6 in the BCS Rankings before beating #4 Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. In sum, they did everything right, but were penalized because they were a member of a non-Power 5 Conference and didn’t have the strongest strength-of-schedule”

        They had the bad luck of being undefeated in a year when the AQs were loaded with elite teams. Those AQs ahead of them were all 1 loss steams against much, much tougher schedules. Three of them played a CCG, too (AL’s only loss was in the CCG to then #4 UF, UF got upset by MS but beat AL in the CCG, USC had their usual dumb loss @ OrSU but breezed through the rest, and the B12 had their triangle of 11-1 teams).

        Just because Utah didn’t make the NCG despite going 12-0 doesn’t mean their games didn’t count.

        “Secondly, even if a program was in a Power 5 conference, once a team had gotten to two losses, their chances for getting into that BCS game were very unlikely. If a program had three losses, then they were essentially out of it and the rest of their games really didn’t matter to them vis-a-vis the national championship.

        But in an eight-game playoff, a team can drop a couple of games but still have an opportunity to win that conference championship (either through a CCG as the division winner or not in the case of the Big XII). That gives more teams the opportunity to be viable in the post-season later in the season. They might end up a lower seed in the end, but it wouldn’t mean they were going to be shut out early from a chance at the NC.”

        I think you guys are talking past each other because you view “games that matter” differently. I’d say the 8-team playoff would mean more games matter somewhat, but all games would matter less than they used to. A first loss would have almost no meaning, so games with undefeated teams would not matter. A second loss wouldn’t be crippling, so games for 1-loss teams still wouldn’t be do or die. In other words, September and October games would mean a lot less to most good teams. That is the path to where MBB is today.

        Like

      • Eric says:

        To explain my point better, I guess let’s put it this way. In the BCS era, in any week of the season, if a #1 or #2 team lost, they were probably out of the national title picture. Meanwhile there were several fanbases watching, hoping those teams would lose and knowing that every chance for them to lose was precious.

        As an OHio State fan, I can tell, I watched a lot of the top teams play throughout the season knowing we probably needed those loses to get into the championship or just hoping to improve doubt. If we’re in just because we are Big Ten champs, suddenly, I will care a lot less about whether Alabama or USC or Texas or whomever wins or loses games throughout a season.

        Even when the Buckeyes weren’t competing the limited championship field, makes the games involving the top teams just seem really big even if they aren’t always playing the toughest competition. It will feel much less like that with an 8 team playoff.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          And the fan base of the lesser teams use to be able to hope for a huge upset that was of national consequence. Even the lowest had the opportunity to influence directly and imediately the championship. A large playoff field makes that a “well they can’t let that happen again” consequence that will be shrugged off. “It’s how you do in the playoffs” mantra that has infested the pro game comming to a school near you.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            Agreed. I remember quite a few upsets of #1 or #2 teams in college football for precisely that reason. The sheer magnitude of taking out a team that is otherwise on course for being of 2 teams in the championship made those events a lot bigger than I think they could possibly be with 8 teams (honestly I think even four will diminish them, but at least not to the same extent).

            Frank, I guess those are the two types of games I was talking about.
            1. The monster type games you talked about between top teams throughout the season.
            2. The other games involving top teams that still hold a lot of extra intrigue because of the potential to completely shake up the national title race.

            I just think that the number of games that are naturally appealing to a national audience (as opposed to regional ones) in college football is a lot less than in the NFL. It’s been the system in place that puts such emphasis on the top teams that’s really let the sport get so many national games throughout the season.

            Like

  23. Psuhockey says:

    I wonder if there will ever be an 8 team playoff system. Only one of the 5 conferences has to die in the next 12 years to have a simple 4 team system of conference champions. The CCG would be playoff games. The SEC might complain but I don’t think the BIG, PAC, or however survives out of the ACC/Big 12 will care about getting two teams into a playoff system.

    I think there is more consolidation on the horizon. The question will be if it comes before an 8 team playoff system.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      TV doesn’t want an Alabama 2011 left out or a Texas 2008. The power schools don’t want a champ only playoff. Repeat after me 100 times, “A champion only playoff will never happen.” It doesn’t happen in any other sport the NCAA plays.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        TV doesn’t want an Alabama 2011 left out or a Texas 2008. The power schools don’t want a champ only playoff

        If conferences were allowed to get rid of divisions, then there wouldn’t be an 2011 Alabama and 2008 Texas problem. Conferences would love two guaranteed spots in the eight team play off that used CCGs for the first round.

        It doesn’t happen in any other sport the NCAA plays.

        Football (BCS anyway) is the only sport the NCAA doesn’t crown a champion. Football as a special case isn’t unheard of.

        Like

      • Psuhockey says:

        Television also doesn’t want a meaningless regular season and meaningless championship games. Throw in the fact that if the playoffs expand to 8, non p5 schools will get in and I can assure you the p5 doesn’t want to share the money with anybody in the p5.

        Also, not expanding the schedule by another week will make the eggheads happy. That is why the only conference to cop a fit would be the SEC IMO. Delaney would gladly sacrifice a 2nd team, which history shows the BIG usually gets, to keep it at a conference champion only affair.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Psuhockey,

          “Throw in the fact that if the playoffs expand to 8, non p5 schools will get in and I can assure you the p5 doesn’t want to share the money with anybody in the p5.”

          The Go5 already gets a guaranteed major bowl slot plus a bigger share of the playoff money than they got from the BCS (P5 get $50M each, Go5 get $75M combined). Teams the make the semis only get an extra $6M. Why would the P5 care if that system expanded to 8 teams and the Go5 got $6M for being in it?

          Like

      • Psuhockey says:

        Also, TV looking back probably would want Alabama out in 2011 since the rating were such a disaster that the whole 4 team playoff came out because of it.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          The ratings were a disaster because the first game was b-o-r-I-n-g and the second game was more b-o-r-I-n-g and more ugly and there was only one conference involved. Having a 2nd conference team is different when they are more than 2 teams.

          They wouldn’t change their position a bit.

          Like

    • JS says:

      If further consolidation is in the offing (and even it it isn’t/) why couldn’t UT and FSU just decide to partner up and form a new conference with the 5/6/7/8/9 other most valuable football programs from the ACC/Big XII (+ND and/or BYU?) if such a conference were guaranteed an automatic bid to the 4 team play-off and bowl tie-ins?

      Like

      • Mike says:

        why couldn’t UT and FSU just decide to partner up and form a new conference with the 5/6/7/8/9 other most valuable football programs from the ACC/Big XII

        The Big 12 and ACC GORs expire at different times. Tough for Texas to not commit to the Big 12 any longer than the few years between the two. If Texas wants to create a new conference with the best of the ACC, it can’t have the Big 12 dissolve before the ACC teams are ready to move.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          There might be a conference with the best of the Big 12, ACC, Big 10, SEC and Pac 12. That’s the nightmare scenario for the bottom half of the P5.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Huh? I’m not sure what you’re suggesting.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @bullet – It is, but with the various GORs in place, there isn’t a much of a chance this can even happen for 20 years.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            I assume he’s talking about a 36 team (give or take) superleague. It’s basically the CFB version of the NFL.

            It’ll never happen because the conferences don’t want to drop anybody.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            No it would be something like:
            USC
            UCLA
            Texas
            Oklahoma
            Ohio St.
            Michigan
            Penn St.
            Nebraska
            Alabama
            Florida
            Florida St.
            Notre Dame

            Maybe a 16 team conference, but most likely around 10-12. They could play only around 6 conference games so they don’t beat up on each other too much. It would essentially be a joint independent group of many of the highest value programs. The $ would be enormous.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Yeah, right. The UC system is going to allow the Bears to drop while their Cub (UCLA’s original mascot) gets promoted?
            With a whole bunch of national kings already in what market value do would UNL or OU provide?
            Duplicates in Fla? And in LA (but no LSU)? And only PSU from Ga north through the entire rest of the eastern seaboard?

            Too much Texas thinking…

            Like

          • bullet says:

            You aren’t going to have USC all alone. Most likely teams will come with a friend.

            I have little doubt this sort of thing has been discussed on some scale. Whether it will actually happen is a different matter.

            You over-rate LSU based on recency. They are in the 2nd tier. The teams I listed other than UCLA are the 1st tier.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            No one in the PAC or B1G (or the SEC for that matter) is going to consider this. I realize as a UT guy you just don’t get the strength, power, and benefit of strengthening and supporting similar associated institutions that don’t happen to be kings. There is a reason the number of power schools has not diminished during consolidation. And schools have been joining larger conferences, not getting booted. The benefit of the SuperSuper conference can be achieved, through inventory, with scheduling agreements, and keeping post season matchups between them rarer and desirable. It also wouldn’t risk diminishing some of the kings through conference losses and render currently important OOC matchups to just one of many conference games.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “No it would be something like:
            USC
            UCLA
            Texas
            Oklahoma
            Ohio St.
            Michigan
            Penn St.
            Nebraska
            Alabama
            Florida
            Florida St.
            Notre Dame

            Maybe a 16 team conference, but most likely around 10-12. They could play only around 6 conference games so they don’t beat up on each other too much. It would essentially be a joint independent group of many of the highest value programs. The $ would be enormous.”

            The money would be a lot bigger at 36 teams since they could have an 8 team playoff (4 at least). It would also provide a lot more inventory. Also, would the other schools agree to fill out their schedules without a big chunk of the money?

            I think the next 20 teams add more by bringing fans/eyeballs than they dilute things. It certainly would make it easier to sell their “conference” network everywhere. Besides, having some lesser brands that can lose some games would help build up the top teams.

            Or maybe they split the difference and take the top 24 or so.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @cc The Pac already split once. USC and UCLA got guarantees when the new TV contract was signed.

            I’m not saying this is likely to happen, but it is a whole lot more probable than the scenarios of B1G and SEC going to 20.

            There was a link on here a while back of something along the same general lines being proposed 40-50 years ago.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            The PAC dissolved, not split. ” Following “pay-for-play” scandals at California, USC, UCLA and Washington, the PCC disbanded in 1959.” Now we’re institutionalizing what was anathema to the point of in effect kicking out USC, UCLA, Cal, and UW at a time when being independent was common and very viable.

            The airplane conference was the proposal following the PCC breakup. “those four and Stanford started talking about forming a new conference, retired Admiral Thomas J. Hamilton interceded and suggested the schools consider creating a “power conference.” Nicknamed the “Airplane Conference”, the five PCC schools would have played with other major academically oriented schools, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Notre Dame, Penn, Penn State, Duke, and Georgia Tech among others. The effort fell through when a Pentagon official vetoed the idea and the service academies backed out.”

            Quotes from wiki, for what it’s worth.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            USC and UCLA guarantees were for two years only, and for 2M extra those two years in order to transition to a different budget under completely equal sharing of all media revenue, and transferring those media rights to the conference, if the new media deal was under a threshold number. The guarantee was not necessary, in hind sight (or Larry Scott’s foresight).

            Like

          • FrankTheAg says:

            LSU is a better program than half of your top 12, bullet. Including Texas, btw. Huge fan support, great facilities, maybe the best blue-chip talent available in their primary recruiting area (Houston to Mobile).

            Auburn would easily qualify as well. This concept that success in the 70’s, 60’s or earlier means something to this era of football is flawed thinking.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            No, the concept that only the past 5 years matters is flawed thinking. Actually Notre Dame has really only had 1 good season since Holtz, but they are still very valuable and can still get top players.

            Look at LSU 1980-1995. They can have extended droughts, worse than anyone on that list. The SEC 4-LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn are right at the top of the next tier.

            Now opinions can differ on LSU, but I don’t think the past dozen years means they are ahead of Notre Dame and many others on that list.

            As for Texas, even with the last 4 years, if you look at the whole BCS era, Texas is still top 4 or 5 in wins, final AP ratings and number of times ranked. Alabama is 2nd ten on almost all those categories. Saban is probably the best coach in the game, but he will eventually retire and Alabama won’t always be #1 or #2.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        JS,

        Nothing prevents it.

        However, they’d have to get those schools to agree and figure out how to deal with the 2 year gap between the B12 (2025) and ACC (2027) GoRs expiring. There are also all the travel issues. And don’t forget that ND doesn’t want a full conference schedule.

        Like

        • JS says:

          Couldn’t Texas and Oklahoma simply refuse to sign a gor extension and wait for the ACC schools to be free in 2028? For ND, wouldn’t a 6 game conference schedule consisting of Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Pitt be preferable to their 5 game ACC slate? If ND wasn’t interested perhaps add BYU or GT and Clemson. As for travel concerns, every school (except BYU and perhaps ND) would have a travel partner (sort of) and wouldn’t the money from such a conference be enough that travel expenses wouldn’t matter anyway?

          Like

          • Brian says:

            JS,

            “Couldn’t Texas and Oklahoma simply refuse to sign a gor extension and wait for the ACC schools to be free in 2028?”

            Sure. But then they have to hope they can sign a solid temporary TV deal and that the others will stick around until 2028. Also, the ACC could jack up it’s exit fee again in 2025 in an attempt to keep teams from leaving.

            “For ND, wouldn’t a 6 game conference schedule consisting of Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Pitt be preferable to their 5 game ACC slate?”

            A 7 team conference? How does that work for all their other sports? Or are you saying ND gets something like their ACC deal but has to play 6 instead of 5?

            “As for travel concerns, every school (except BYU and perhaps ND) would have a travel partner (sort of) and wouldn’t the money from such a conference be enough that travel expenses wouldn’t matter anyway?”

            Money can’t slow time. All those non-revenue teams will have to travel a lot and that means many very late nights. Presidents, ADs and coaches all hate that.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @JS – they could but there would be problems. The Big 12 conference has a responsibility to negotiate the best deal it can for its members. That deal isn’t three years. So the Big 12 will negotiate for a deal longer than those three years. Even with out a GOR, when Texas or OU announced their move, Baylor (or KSU, ISU, etc) would sue the new conference (or FSU) for tortious interference like Baylor threatened to do when A&M left.

            Like

          • FrankTheAg says:

            Baylor’s threat was an idle one. It delayed the process but it was never going to prevent it from happening. Texas and Oklahoma won’t factor in a Baylor lawsuit if they decide to change conferences.

            Like

          • FrankTheAg says:

            @mike

            Baylor’s threat was an idle one that didn’t stop the process. It slowed things down for a week or so but was never a risk to stop it. OU and Texas won’t be threatened by a Baylor lawsuit if or when they decide to exit the B12.

            Like

    • Brian says:

      Psuhockey,

      “I wonder if there will ever be an 8 team playoff system.”

      Unfortunately, yes. Too many fans want it, which means there is too much money available to leave on the table.

      “Only one of the 5 conferences has to die in the next 12 years to have a simple 4 team system of conference champions.”

      Except they refused to make being a champ a condition already. If they didn’t want that with 5 major conferences, why would they want it with 4? Who wants to see 2012 WI in the semis?

      “I think there is more consolidation on the horizon. The question will be if it comes before an 8 team playoff system.”

      The GoRs start to expire in 2025. The 12 years playoff contract ends after the 2025 season. I personally think the 4 team playoff lasts all 12 years, so both may happen at about the same time.

      Like

  24. drwillini says:

    Frank:
    Do you think the success of BTN in the Northeast media markets makes it more or less likely that the Big Ten will expand?

    Like

  25. Mike says:

    Maryland and the ACC settle. ACC keeps $31,361,788.

    http://www.theacc.com/#!/news-detail/agreement_08-08-14_lryjmo

    Like

    • Ross says:

      Surprising. Did not expect Maryland’s fee to be that high in the end. 31M seems like way too much for a fee they didn’t agree to and immediately left behind (especially considering ACC was in the wrong to be withholding those profits in the first place, yes?).

      Like

      • acaffrey says:

        Anyone without B1G- or Terp-colored glasses could see that it would be this high–roughly in the middle of the amount Maryland agreed it owed and the amount that the ACC thought Maryland owed. A good settlement is equally disappointing to both sides, as this one likely is.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Says the SU fan who suddenly loved the ACC once SU joined it. No chance you are anti-UMD. It must be everyone else that is biased.

          Predictions were all over the place. ACC fanboys routinely said the ACC would get the full $52M. UMD/B10 fanboys said UMD would pay only the old fee. Lots of reasonable people had varying guesses in between the two, generally in the $25-35M range. I don’t think it’s fanboyish for someone to think $25M was reasonable and that $31M is too high.

          I thought there was a decent chance they won in court and paid only $20M, but then they’d have all their dirty laundry aired and huge legal fees. I thought $30M was about the cutoff for where they would settle (I’d heard rumors that UMD’s goal was about $25M), so I do think this fee is a little high. It was probably easier to have nobody write a check than to get either side to agree to pay anything.

          Like

          • Ross says:

            I was in the camp thinking they would likely pay the old exit fee, possibly 25M. I didn’t expect to see it go over that. Though based on what bullet said below, the settled upon amount makes some sense.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            And I think you might have been right if they wanted to play hard ball. My sense is that they’d rather get it over with than fight over it and risking losing a lot more or having a lot of bad press.

            Like

          • acaffrey says:

            I don’t recall anyone saying that the ACC would get the full $52M. I certainly did not.

            Instead, it was pro B1G folks who were saying that it would be $20M or less…. with enthusiasm… in the hopes of prying UNC and/or Virginia from the ACC.

            My thought–as a litigator–was that once it got into litigation, the number would be 2 x revenue, plus/minus some amount, depending on how the evidence developed. Apparently, Maryland was able to marshal (no, not the Marshall that defeated them in the Military Bowl) enough evidence to get this slightly below 2X. Either way, it is a classic lose-lose for all sides.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            acaffrey,

            “I don’t recall anyone saying that the ACC would get the full $52M.”

            You didn’t read many ACC blogs or message boards then. I’m not saying they were informed or were the majority, but it was said a decent amount.

            “Instead, it was pro B1G folks who were saying that it would be $20M or less”

            The lowest number I recall ever seeing was $17M because that was reported as the old exit fee. I think those fans thought that UMD could win outright in court so they wouldn’t settle for more. Most people don’t really understand how legal battles and settlements of this scale go.

            “in the hopes of prying UNC and/or Virginia from the ACC.”

            That wasn’t why they were saying $17M. They thought that if the fee was “only” that that UNC and UVA might become available.

            “Either way, it is a classic lose-lose for all sides.”

            Nobody ever wins once the lawyers get involved.

            Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        Wasn’t the former fee around 20M? 11+M more rather than 30M more seems a low/mid range compromise.

        Like

        • acaffrey says:

          If the TV payout was X, Maryland expressly agreed to 1X, while the ACC voted (with Maryland voting against it) to increase it to 3X. The settlement is pretty close to 2X. For the ACC, avoiding any more attorney fees likely justified going below 2X. For Maryland, keeping it at 2X with legal fees is a pretty good deal too. Both sides win. Or, more accurately, both sides lose. Time to move on to the on-field stuff.

          Like

        • bullet says:

          They settled for exactly the amount the ACC had withheld. Just as a lot of people predicted. And only about 6 weeks after the last amount was withheld. Neither side writes a check and they both walk away.

          It was a pretty obvious compromise (not that I thought of it-I saw others suggest it back in the first part of the year).

          Like

          • Nemo says:

            Baltimore Sun article

            Dead on, bullet. The ACC withheld all revenue and Maryland was not about to write a check no matter what. As many predicted, the settlement was for the amount withheld.

            Like

          • Pablo says:

            It’s more important to both entities to be able to move forward, than continue a nasty fight with an uncertain ending. Completely agree with the statement that it is the obvious compromise. UMD can now fully focus on life in the B1G. The ACC really needs to close the revenue-potential gap (start a channel, integrate ND, improve the brand)

            As an ACC fan, the lure of poetic justice prevailing over the money grubbing / tradition destroying Terps with a full $52m payout…was compelling.

            As a business guy, I would have been shocked if this dispute was not settled. Originally wrote that $37m was the best compromise (the mathematical split). Once the ACC truly stabilized as viable long-term P5 conference, the total withhold amount of $31m became the better end-game. The ACC’s ability to enforce a self-help remedy (recouping monies due to UMD) seems to have helped stabilize the ACC.

            Like

    • Andy says:

      This settlement would seem to further bolster the stability of the ACC and make it even less likely that the SEC or B1G will expand again.

      Like

      • FrankTheAg says:

        I think it just means if you are going to leave, do it in one year. The established exit fee is “TV revenues collected but not yet distributed”. That is exactly what NU, CU, MU, A&M and UMd all lost in the transition to new conferences.

        Of course GORs change all of that anyway.

        Like

  26. Mike says:

    Judge rules for O’Bannon.

    Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        Nike/Reebok/Adidas/rich boosters are rejoicing.

        Did the rest of scholarship awarding NCAA schools just get told their costs are going to be what the Go5 was being denied?
        “Wilken said the injunction will not prevent the NCAA from implementing rules capping the amount of money that may be paid to college athletes while they are enrolled in school, but the NCAA will not be allowed to set the cap below the cost of attendance.”

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          No, I think it means the schools can cap income, perhaps even figured when added to scholarship amount, at full cost of attendance. Hope she provides a formula for figuring cost of attendance.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I think she was saying they can cap it at FCOA while they’re in school, but any residual money would have to be paid after they left school (like money for using their likeness or something).

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Money from jersey sales would be a few hundreds of dollars.

            Even so it opens the door to boosters, marketeers, etc. Professionalization, that the Courts have said was a legitimate and beneficial thing for the NCAA to prohibit.

            Like

        • rich2 says:

          No one will ever know how many athletes will ultimately receive more compensation for playing sports as a result of this ruling. The ruling simply allows athletes to be paid from one more pocket.
          Receiving compensation from a state institution will come with many restrictions. As ccrider55 notes, the most important outcome is that boosters will have another outlet to funnel funds for athletes.

          In a footnote, Judge Wilken mentioned that that individual players might be able to receive payment for individual jersey sales. If so, once the path around all legal restrictions is identified, jersey sales can incorporated into booster networks to funnel dollars to current and future recruits. Still, until this ruling can provide $175,000 to junior college transfers, this ruling is simply an extra source of cash for boosters to provide recruits — truly “chump change.”

          Do the bottom P5, excluding the SEC and Big 12, really have boosters pay tens of thousands to prospective recruits — I don’t know. So maybe this ruling helps recruits who might attend Washington State, IU and Wake Forest. I don’t think the ruling affects the current market or market process for paying athletes for many years for those who are actively paying their players today.

          Reading this and other blogs, it appears that the thrust of the response is that this is a first step
          towards addressing the hypocrisy of universities and the NCAA. It is such a modest start that I actually think it will do more harm than good — it inoculates the NCAA for a tiny fee. Look at the rest of this thread — 8 game playoff, season from August to the end of January, bottom P5 convincing state legislatures that the taxpayer must pay for endless facility upgrades to compete with Oregon and Alabama — happily playing the role of the Washington Generals with other people’s money – and so on.

          $5000 feels like a parking ticket. When the fine is much greater, then maybe it will be viewed as more than a nuisance fee.

          Like

          • Mack says:

            $5000 per athlete is more than a parking ticket for most schools, especially since Title IX is likely to expand it to all athletes, not just men’s football and basketball. A lot of Go5 and lower level P5 schools may just provide a cut of license fees which will turn out to be far below the $5K per year limit the NCAA can impose. It is clear that individual schools do not need to participate, but it will take more litigation to determine if conferences can set rules on participation.

            The statement on the value of scholarship opens the NCAA to all types of litigation on both the value and quantity limits on scholarships. Why should AL, MI, OSU, TX, USC etc. be limited on the number of football scholarships offered? Why can’t Go5 or even Div II schools offer full cost of attendance scholarships; or Div. III offer any scholarships? Looks a lot like a restraint imposed by a monopoly.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Mack,

            “$5000 per athlete is more than a parking ticket for most schools, especially since Title IX is likely to expand it to all athletes, not just men’s football and basketball.”

            I linked this article earlier:
            http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/24654805/qa-what-the-obannon-ruling-means-for-the-ncaa-schools-and-athletes

            What exactly did the judge rule?

            Wilken’s injunction has two components: A) The NCAA can’t cap the amount of a scholarship below the actual cost of attendance; and B) The NCAA can’t ban schools from creating a trust fund to pay players equal shares for use of their NILs.

            For the trust fund, the NCAA and schools are allowed to cap the amount, but it can’t be lower than $5,000 for every year an athlete remains academically eligible. The schools can’t conspire to fix these amounts at a set price, thus creating competition.

            Wilken’s injunction, although a win for the O’Bannon plaintiffs, could have been worse for the NCAA. The $5,000 number could have been higher. The injunction doesn’t allow athletes to receive money for endorsements, citing efforts by the NCAA and its schools to protect against “commercial exploitation.” And the injunction doesn’t prevent the NCAA from creating rules that prohibit athletes from selling their NIL rights individually.

            The explanatory articles I’ve seen indicate that the $5000 applies to NIL (name, image, likeness) revenue and can be split equally over the team. Individuals don’t have the rights to endorsements or selling their NIL rights separately. I don’t think Title IX can demand that the money go to athletes who aren’t selling their NIL rights (non-revenue sports). Title IX is about offering equal opportunities to the athletes, not guaranteeing an equal outcome. The law doesn’t force outside businesses to spend as much on each sport.

            To me, that means the Tier 1 money should be safe. The bigger issue will be conference network money. While they can probably use ad timing to indicate how much of the ad value is due to which sports, and use ratings to also break it down, the number of hours spent showing various sports is also relevant since people pay for the network. Right now multiple schools don’t break conference network money down by sport. They may have to in order to avoid a huge Title IX bill.

            “A lot of Go5 and lower level P5 schools may just provide a cut of license fees which will turn out to be far below the $5K per year limit the NCAA can impose. It is clear that individual schools do not need to participate, but it will take more litigation to determine if conferences can set rules on participation.”

            Conferences can always set rules like that. If you don’t like it, move to another conference or go independent.

            “The statement on the value of scholarship opens the NCAA to all types of litigation on both the value and quantity limits on scholarships. Why should AL, MI, OSU, TX, USC etc. be limited on the number of football scholarships offered?”

            Because the benefit of a level playing field outweighs the downside. Besides, there are a lot more I-A schools now and the smaller schools still offer scholarships except for D-III.

            “Why can’t Go5 or even Div II schools offer full cost of attendance scholarships;”

            The Go5 can. The FCOA would be permissive legislation for D-I, meaning any school could do it. A D-II school would have to move up to do it, I believe. Since there is no TV money available at that level, there is no restraint in not offering FCOA.

            “or Div. III offer any scholarships?”

            Those are the D-III rules. There are methods for moving up if you want to offer scholarships.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “…that the $5000 applies to NIL (name, image, likeness) revenue and can be split equally over the team.”

            So it’s the team/school’s, not the individual’s image/likeness?

            “Individuals don’t have the rights to endorsements or selling their NIL rights separately.”

            If not, why wasn’t this dismissed outright? Why should the next Manzel’s likeness benefit the senior fourth string walkon who graduates and only is on the team with him two years any more than a swimmer that is a potential Olympian?

            “I don’t think Title IX can demand that the money go to athletes who aren’t selling their NIL rights (non-revenue sports).”

            T9 demands equal treatment, and the only prong that’s been accepted is proportional participation and spending. The source of the money is irrelevant, only that it is distributed equally.

            This attempt to distinguish between varsity athletic sports is ludicrous. You separate them and I know I’ll not be donating to FB or BB. It’s been bad enough to see sports dropped for “lack of funds” while incomes and FB expenditures have exploded, but to be relegating the rest to IM and club stature…

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “So it’s the team/school’s, not the individual’s image/likeness?”

            Basically. I think that’s in part because they are team sports, so a network can’t broadcast (or a game show) just 1 player. She also said the NCAA could still prevent individuals from selling their NIL rights (no endorsement deals).

            “If not, why wasn’t this dismissed outright? Why should the next Manzel’s likeness benefit the senior fourth string walkon who graduates and only is on the team with him two years any more than a swimmer that is a potential Olympian?”

            Because it’s a team game. You win as a team, you lose as a team, and now you earn as a team. Besides, I don’t think walk-ons are covered by her decision.

            “T9 demands equal treatment,”

            No, it doesn’t. It demands equal opportunities/treatment from the school. The school isn’t paying for the NIL rights, businesses are. Businesses aren’t subject to T9. The FCOA will apply across the board, but the trust fund won’t unless ESPN starts paying a lot more for WBB and other sports.

            “and the only prong that’s been accepted is proportional participation and spending. The source of the money is irrelevant, only that it is distributed equally.”

            That’s when it was all viewed as the school’s money. This decision says that a chunk of it is the players’ money.

            “This attempt to distinguish between varsity athletic sports is ludicrous.”

            Why? Many schools already do.

            “You separate them and I know I’ll not be donating to FB or BB.”

            Which is great, since most donors direct their money specifically to those two sports.

            “It’s been bad enough to see sports dropped for “lack of funds” while incomes and FB expenditures have exploded, but to be relegating the rest to IM and club stature… ”

            They always should have been IM and club sports to match the interest level in them. Why waste money on travel and recruiting? Just play locally with local students.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Agree on how T9 should be applied. 30+ years fighting the “misapplication” suggests other interpretations hold sway.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “They always should have been IM and club sports to match the interest level in them.”

            Hundreds of teams in multiple top ten or more most participated in sports have been axed. Go buy tickets to Bengals or Browns games. They sink all their money into the sport you care about. Become a LeBraun groupie in the winter spring. No need to worry about the educational component to athletics in college, and who it would be limited to…

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “Hundreds of teams in multiple top ten or more most participated in sports have been axed.”

            They probably have. Many were probably demoted to club sports. One reason is that the sports lacked fan interest and lost a lot of money as a varsity sport. They lose a lot less as club sports. Schools felt the money was better spent on CFB and MBB (it’s not a T9 problem).

            The thing people forget is that the number of men on scholarship has increased continuously, keeping pace with enrollment. Are wrestling programs constantly being cut (and gymnastics and tennis, etc)? Yes. But other teams are being added (lacrosse, etc).

            I’d be happy to see many non-revenue sports demoted to club status but with scholarships. There just is no need for national travel and expensive NCAA tournaments for these sports. Play the local schools regardless of size and move on.

            “No need to worry about the educational component to athletics in college, and who it would be limited to… ”

            Hey, a court just told us that doesn’t matter.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            If there are more men on scholarship, its because there are more schools, not because individual schools are adding men’s scholarships. That is simply not happening. PSU’s hockey addition is very rare.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The $5000 is a floor, not a cap. And I can’t imagine a cap of $5000 won’t be challenged and defeated if her ruling holds. I can’t see how antitrust won’t defeat an effort by the NCAA to force players to agree to a joint trust fund unless a NCAA-wide student-athlete union agrees to it.

            Has anyone seen a definition of what her NILs covers? I have read she let the NCAA rule out endorsements.

            There’s video games, but I don’t see how that gets done unless the NCAA gets involved again and I’m sure they won’t.

            There’s autographs.
            There’s posters (but would that apply to a team poster?).
            There’s jerseys with your name. But jerseys with your number wouldn’t seem to be NIL (so you just don’t sell jerseys with a name). But could they license the sale of some sort of jersey on their own?
            There’s TV, live and replays.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Speaking of posters, do they get a share of game program sales? Those have pictures and names.
            Even some tickets have pictures.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “If there are more men on scholarship, its because there are more schools, not because individual schools are adding men’s scholarships.”

            So? Schools are swapping sports, dropping sports to spend more on football, or moving up and adding sports. The end result is more teams. And it’s not just men’s sports that are suffering.

            http://www.nwcaonline.com/nwcawebsite/docs/saving-wrestling-files/pdf-.pdf?sfvrsn=0

            Here’s the relevant quotes on both sides:

            The number of NCAA championship sport teams in 2011-12 exceeded the previous all-time high from 2010-11, with increases coming from both men’s and women’s championship sports.

            Compared to the 1981-82 academic year, the average NCAA school now sponsors approximately two more women’s teams and one less men’s team.

            As is the case with women’s sports, there have been more men’s basketball teams sponsored than any other men’s sport. The next most highly sponsored sports for men are, in order, cross country, baseball, golf, soccer, tennis, outdorr track and field, football and indoor track and field.

            In 2011-12, there were 68 men’s teams and 46 women’s teams dropped at NCAA member institutions. Since 1988-89, there have been 2,816 men’s teams dropped and 1,989 women’s teams dropped with each specific academic year having more men’s teams dropped than women’s teams except the 2010-11 year when 10 more women’s teams than men’s teams
            dropped sports. … The sport with the highest number of men’s teams dropped in 2011-12 was golf with 12 teams eliminated, followed by wrestling and cross country. The men’s sport that has been dropped the most since 1988-89 is indoor track and field with 299 teams discontinued in the NCAA. Some of the other sports with large numbers of men’s teams dropped are tennis, golf, cross country, and outdoor track and field.

            The result of NCAA schools simultaneously adding and dropping teams in 2011-12 was an increase of 119 men’s teams and an increase of 185 women’s teams. Since 1988-89, there has been a net gain of 629 men’s teams and 2,888 women’s teams in the NCAA.

            Most of the net losses in men’s sports have come in Division I. Since 1988-89, there has been a net loss of 317 men’s teams in Division I. By comparison, since 1988-89 there has been a net gain of 740 women’s teams in Division I.

            Conversely, the only women’s sports with a net loss of teams in 2011-12 were ice hockey (-1), and skiing (-1). Since 1988-89, the women’s sport with the greatest net loss of teams is gymnastics (-40). The only other women’s sports with double digit net losses of teams since 1988-89 are fencing (-22) and skiing (-21).

            In 2011-12, the men’s sport with the greatest net gain was basketball with an increase of 16 teams. Historically, the men’s sports with the greatest net gains since 1988-89 are indoor track and field (143), lacrosse (130) and cross country (123). Other men’s sports with notable net gains
            since 1988-89 are outdoor track, soccer, baseball, golf and basketball. On the other hand, the men’s sport with the greatest net loss of teams in 2011-12 was wrestling with a net loss of four teams. Since 1988-89, the men’s sport with the greatest net loss of teams is wrestling (-108). Other men’s sports with notable net losses of teams since 1988-89 are tennis (-61), rifle (-46), gymnastics (-37), skiing (-26), fencing (-25) and water polo (-20).

            “That is simply not happening. PSU’s hockey addition is very rare.”

            The sports are shifting, mainly to allow the I-A schools to spend more on their revenue sports while keeping the same number of teams.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “The $5000 is a floor, not a cap.”

            It’s the floor for where the cap can be set by the NCAA. Does anybody think they’ll set it higher than that?

            “And I can’t imagine a cap of $5000 won’t be challenged and defeated if her ruling holds.”

            I can. The law is a fickle thing.

            “I can’t see how antitrust won’t defeat an effort by the NCAA to force players to agree to a joint trust fund unless a NCAA-wide student-athlete union agrees to it.”

            It’s only joint within your team.

            “Has anyone seen a definition of what her NILs covers?”

            It may be in the full decision, but from context I’m guessing she means TV money and anything else the school has been making off of it.

            “I have read she let the NCAA rule out endorsements.”

            Yes, as well as saying they can stop a player from individually selling his NIL rights.

            “There’s autographs.
            There’s posters (but would that apply to a team poster?).

            “There’s jerseys with your name. But jerseys with your number wouldn’t seem to be NIL (so you just don’t sell jerseys with a name). But could they license the sale of some sort of jersey on their own?”

            No. They don’t have rights to the jersey. Jersey sales are really quite small in terms of profit for the school, though. Nike makes most of that money. Still, I’m guessing at least part of the jersey money will go into the pot.

            “Speaking of posters, do they get a share of game program sales? Those have pictures and names.”

            I don’t think news (like a roster) counts. Even short bios with head shots probably are OK. And again, this is a small source of money anyway. Revenue is basically ticket sales, TV money and donations with 15% other.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “The result of NCAA schools simultaneously adding and dropping teams in 2011-12 was an increase of 119 men’s teams and an increase of 185 women’s teams. Since 1988-89, there has been a net gain of 629 men’s teams and 2,888 women’s teams in the NCAA.”

            Any accounting for the shifting from NAIA to NCAA? Near 600 schools in the 70’s now down to around 250. Did those schools average less than one sport/gender and feel compelled to move to the stronger more financially NCAA? That would be an extraordinary decision.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Sorry, really bad math. 2 men’s and 6 women’s in 350ish migrating schools. Point is there has been an occasional add hear and there, but nothing like the admitting of new members with existing programs, and requiring some adds in order to qualify. If you really believe losses are not and haven’t occurred I’ve got a bridge to sell. In just wrestling 170 D1 and about 250 programs overall have been dropped since the ’70s. Gymnastics? T&F? Swimming? Etc.

            Like

          • rich2 says:

            In the short term, all this ruling means is that schools and their booster networks will have to tacitly cooperate more closely depending on the needs of the school. Again, at schools — I don’t know how many — football players already receive more than $5000 in “illegal” cash and perks from boosters — do you think Cam Newton’s dad simply pulled out of a hat his bid of $175,000? If the sports dept wants to pay $5000, and can’t afford it, then boosters can allocate some of their funds to the the university’s budget. The big loophole will be when individual players can keep money from t-shirts, and so on. Then boosters at certain university’s can ensure that any promised amount of money is delivered to players to purchase their signature on a NLI and their continued participation.

            Think about historically “aggressive” football programs who view NCAA sanctions as a “parking ticket” — for example USC, Oklahoma, Alabama and Auburn. What will be fascinating for me would be if one could learn about the marketing presentations made to premier recruits on the licensing fees that they are guaranteed if they sign with one or the other — and of course, Oregon will be a player.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Good find Brian.

            But as cc says, there has been a huge increase in NCAA membership from the NAIA. There also have been a number of commuter schools add sports programs-for example, just in the Atlanta metro there are Clayton St. and Kennesaw St. There are several others in Georgia who are new to sports or the NCAA with at least 3 private schools joining in recent years.

            In that article of yours it mentions: “Compared to the 1981-82 academic year, the average NCAA school now sponsors approximately two more women’s teams and one less men’s team.”

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I couldn’t readily find NCAA membership history, but I did find football.
            1981 Division I 187, Division II 121, Division III 189-497 total
            1995 Division I 227, Division II 138, Division III 200-565 total
            2010 Division I 237, Division II 152, Division III 238-627 total

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “Point is there has been an occasional add hear and there, but nothing like the admitting of new members with existing programs, and requiring some adds in order to qualify.”

            Your math just doesn’t fit the NCAA’s report.

            2011-12:
            68 men’s teams dropped
            119 net increase in men’s teams
            Therefore 187 men’s teams were added

            16 MBB teams were added, which basically means 16 schools were added. Did the NCAA add 16 schools with almost 12 men’s team per school? I don’t think so. Multiple schools moved up to a higher division or found more money and added more sports in addition to 16 new additions. At the same time, many schools dropped some men’s teams.

            The point is, there was a substantial increase in teams. That’s a good thing, even if the teams aren’t in the sports you happen to prefer. D-I has lost men’s teams as the money devoted to the revenue sports has climbed. But other divisions are adding men’s teams.

            “If you really believe losses are not and haven’t occurred I’ve got a bridge to sell. In just wrestling 170 D1 and about 250 programs overall have been dropped since the ’70s.”

            So what? Just because you like a sport doesn’t mean the rest of the country agrees. Schools are moving towards other sports (soccer, lacrosse, etc). Wrestling has lost more teams than any other sport. That doesn’t mean men’s sports in general are suffering.

            “Gymnastics?”

            Maybe the USOC should help fund the sport rather than using colleges to do all the work.

            “T&F?”

            Both indoor and outdoor T&F have gained men’s teams over the years. In fact, indoor T&F has gained more men’s teams than any other sport since 1988.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “In that article of yours it mentions: “Compared to the 1981-82 academic year, the average NCAA school now sponsors approximately two more women’s teams and one less men’s team.” ”

            Yes, they have shifted things due to T9 and the rising costs of revenue sports. But as you noted, there are a lot more members now so the total number of men’s teams has increased. Why should I care which school the team is at? Certain sports have suffered, but other have gained. Boxing, horse racing and baseball used to be by far the biggest sports in the US. Times change.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There are a lot more people in the US and in colleges than 33 years ago. The US population was 226 million in 1980. Now its 318 million. Opportunities for male athletes have decreased.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            And as cc pointed out, the NAIA lost about 350 schools. So many of the NCAA “adds” were really just transfers.

            The study shows 273 I, 190 II and 278 III men’s basketball teams, which is virtually every school with men’s athletic programs, in 1981-2 for a total of 741. In 2012-3, those numbers were 346, 311 and 414 for a total of 1,071. Many of those 330 schools merely moved from the NAIA.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “There are a lot more people in the US and in colleges than 33 years ago. The US population was 226 million in 1980. Now its 318 million. Opportunities for male athletes have decreased.”

            According to the NCAA, the number of male participants has tracked with population growth for them.

            Besides, you start with the huge assumption that the old state was the correct one. Who decided that the number of opportunities for male athletes in the 60s and 70s was the correct ratio? The FB teams used to be much bigger back then. Do we need to go back to unlimited rosters for them?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Well I disagree with your assumption that only revenue sports matter.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “Well I disagree with your assumption that only revenue sports matter.”

            It’s not my assumption, it’s my interpretation of the decisions of ADs. I don’t want any sport cut, but I don’t see the need for national travel and championship tournaments in all of them. Give the athletes scholarships but play the local schools.

            Let pro sports leagues or the USOC pay if they want a minor league system. That isn’t the role of universities. I think club and IM sports can fill the educational role of athletics just fine in most sports.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Apparently the dollars involved in NCAA is enough to siphon the majority of NAIA schools, who are closer to what you seem to favor. Follow many, or donate any to an NAIA school/program?

            There is no need, only a desire for championships in any sport. FB can play regionally and locally just as well. And the travel cost savings for a FB team could sponsor another sport or two. The sole justification (for me) to the obscene amounts of dollars in FB/BB is that it helps fund the whole department. If not, then it really becomes a pseudo pro sport in disguise.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Club teams play for national championships as well. Many schools have club teams in addition to varsity teams. For example, Texas has baseball, women’s soccer, men’s & women’s tennis and women’s volleyball as club sports, all of which are also varsity sports. And there are about 30 others, including M&W gymnastics, M&W crew, M&W lacrosse, men’s soccer, men’s volleyball & wrestling.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            And lest I forget, the international champion club Quidditch team (yes, people really do run around with brooms between their legs).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “Apparently the dollars involved in NCAA is enough to siphon the majority of NAIA schools, who are closer to what you seem to favor. Follow many, or donate any to an NAIA school/program?”

            Almost as many as I do NCAA schools.

            “FB can play regionally and locally just as well.”

            And they used to. Back when conferences were smaller and in one region, and OOC play was against other local schools. The exceptions were bowl games.

            “The sole justification (for me) to the obscene amounts of dollars in FB/BB is that it helps fund the whole department. If not, then it really becomes a pseudo pro sport in disguise.”

            To me it’s because the money comes from fan interest, and you have to spend money to make money that way. I like that some of the profit is applied to other sports.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Brian:

            “And they used to. Back when conferences were smaller and in one region, and OOC play was against other local schools. The exceptions were bowl games.”

            FB has traveled, and quite a bit considering the fewer number of games. You might check tOSU results history. From the start of the forties on they had games with PAC schools, B8, SWC as well as some independents.
            http://www.jhowell.net/cf/scores/OhioState.htm

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “FB has traveled, and quite a bit considering the fewer number of games. You might check tOSU results history.”

            I know OSU’s history much better than you do.

            “From the start of the forties on”

            So that’s a bunch of decades ignored.

            “they had games with PAC schools, B8, SWC as well as some independents.”

            Some, yes. But most of those games were at OSU, so we weren’t traveling. Pitt is the school we’ve played the most OOC not counting bowls. We’ve also played MO a lot. And MAC teams in the past 25 years or so.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “But most of those games were at OSU, so we weren’t traveling.”

            I assumed we were talking about conferences and teams – plural. Traveling occurred even if the game was at OSU.

            The thirties had OSU H&H’s with USC, Penn. and NYU, and games with TCU, Vandy and (redacted) at home. Eight game seasons. Played Auburn at Montgomery, Al in ’17 in seven game season. (The first model T’s weren’t a decade old yet. Paved highways were few, and developing in haphazard unorganized fashion) Air travel today (and really since the late fifties/early sixties) makes most any game on the continent as easy as a conference game back then.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            And you think OSU is representative of all CFB?

            Let’s look at a different example: Ole Miss

            I picked them since they are a non-king SEC school, but I had no knowledge of their OOC history.

            http://football.stassen.com/cgi-bin/records/all-opp.pl?start=1940&end=1969&team=Mississippi&sort=g&mingames=0

            1940-1969:
            They only played a few schools much at all (more than several SEC teams, actually), and all are fairly close.

            Memphis – 20
            AR – 19
            UH – 17
            TN-Chattanooga – 12

            Everyone else was 4 games or less. There are a handful of northern schools, but most are in TX or the southeast.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            So you pick the least traveling school from the least traveling conference?

            “And you think OSU is representative of all CFB?”

            You said travel didn’t happen except for bowls. I said it did. I didn’t say everyone did.

            Try looking at GT, OrSU, SMU, Iowa, Minn, Cal. I’m pretty sure they were involved in significant travel games at a time cross country trips were a week long train ride.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “So you pick the least traveling school from the least traveling conference?”

            Are they? As I said, I just picked a mediocre SEC school with no advance knowledge of their scheduling.

            I just looked at Syracuse (random northeast school), and they largely stayed in their region, too.

            It seems like areas with plenty of schools mainly stayed regional except the B10. The P8/10 traveled because they had to. The SWC did so to a lesser extent.

            Like

      • Ross says:

        I am a little confused by the ruling. It says schools can now offer compensation in addition to tuition aid (which would presumably mean compensation in addition to the scholarship). However, it says the NCAA can set a limit which may not fall under the full cost of attendance. Does this mean schools can only offer compensation alongside the scholarship to reach the full cost of attendance, or can schools offer the full cost of attendance in compensation on top of the scholarship?

        This would introduce some discrepancies between schools with higher tuition and for out of state vs. in-state students.

        Like

    • Transic_nyc says:

      Boom goes the dynamite?

      I am baffled by this ruling.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        It doesn’t really matter until the appeals are exhausted. Even then Congress could potentially step in and give an exemption.

        Like

        • texmex says:

          I’m not clear on how the judge can arbitrarily come up with a max of licensing revenue of $5000 per year? Isn’t the point of the lawsuit to remove any restraint of trade? How is this within the judge’s scope of setting the dollar limit? Now, the funds players receive while they’re in school as it pertains to cost of attendance is more clear as that can be calculated on a per school basis. But the funds going to a trust from licensing is very unclear to me

          Like

          • Brian says:

            The EA Sports settlement initially had $5000 as a cap, IIRC. Maybe that number got introduced into the O’Bannon trial somehow.

            Like

  27. Transic_nyc says:

    Brit Kirwan sees UMD’s move from the ACC to the Big Ten as a step forward

    http://m.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2014/08/08/brit-kirwan-sees-marylands-move-from-the-acc-to.html?r=full

    Kirwan understands the nostalgia of Terps fans who will miss the ACC rivalries and the tradition that the university helped build during the last 60 years; the University of Maryland was a founding member of the ACC.

    “We had this long tradition in the ACC, and there was this sense of tradition and traditional rivalries within the ACC, and for some people giving those up was not an easy pill to swallow,” he said. “As people have thought about it and come to understand the benefits of the Big Ten those feelings have dissipated.”

    Like

  28. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    ESPN’s legal analyst Lester Munson’s take on the O’Bannon ruling.

    http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/11329099/why-ed-obannon-ruling-haunt-ncaa

    Like

    • bullet says:

      I usually see anti-trust as competition for business. This isn’t described that way, but it is saying the NCAA violated anti-trust laws for labor. Rather than price-fixing, its wage-fixing. Of course, the NCAA argues that its not wages.

      I don’t see how her $5,000 limit stands. Even if it stays all the way through appeals, that will be overturned in time. Its an extreme example of a judge legislating.

      Like

  29. Kevin says:

    I don’t like the NCAA’s chances on appeal. I ultimately think congress will have to weigh in. Not sure this makes it all the way to the Supremes.

    Also unsure how this 5k will work. Does every D1 school have to abide? Would the NIL revenues be pooled at the NCAA level and be distributed evenly? Or is it the duty of each school or conference? Could a school like Texas use it as a recruiting advantage by offering more than the 5k? Too many questions left open with this ruling.

    I am of the belief that there is not much value in NIL except for a few players. The school brands create the value for the most part. It was evident to me when at the B1G luncheon last week. Very little desire for former player autographs versus the head coaches. College is a coaching game and less a players game. For a player on the 3 deep to get paid for NIL seems ridiculous but for me preferable over just the QB’s etc.

    Overall a slippery slope but could be much worse and I don’t think the ruling will have a significant affect on fan interest.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      “Could a school like Texas use it as a recruiting advantage by offering more than the 5k?”

      No, she said the amount could be NCAA capped at 5k…right after she said the NCAA couldn’t set the cap a zero. There must be something magic about 5k.

      I find the question unanswered. Can the NCAA and the schools set their own rules, or not? The current answer is yes…

      Like

      • Brian says:

        http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/24654805/qa-what-the-obannon-ruling-means-for-the-ncaa-schools-and-athletes

        A Q&A on the decision.

        Where did the $5,000 number come from?

        From the NCAA’s own witnesses and current rules. Wilken pointed out that witnesses at trial — namely former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson and Stanford AD Bernard Muir — testified they would have fewer concerns about paying players if the compensation was capped at a few thousand dollars per year. Wilken noted this range is also comparable to how much money the NCAA currently permits athletes to receive if they qualify for a Pell Grant and the amount that tennis players may receive prior to enrolling.

        Wilken’s ruling reflected caution and, perhaps, an incremental step for what the future may bring. (More on that later with the Jeffrey Kessler lawsuit.) Wilken responded to concerns about college players getting hundreds of thousands of dollars. So instead of sending a signal either way on how she feels, she’s letting the market do it for now.

        No one has debated the legality of the cap. Wilken seemed hesitant to do too much too soon. Interestingly, Wilken is not saying the cap would be legal under antitrust law. Instead, Wilken made clear her injunction would prohibit any cap if it’s below $5,000 or below the cost of attendance (a figure that will vary by school). For now, it’s basically up to the schools and the NCAA to create a cap at their own peril. That antitrust question got delayed for another day.

        Like

  30. Brian says:

    http://cfn.scout.com/2/1432037.html

    Some pitfalls the committee has to watch out for.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      One pitfall I haven’t seen mentioned is the small group effect. Basically, you frequently have 2 or 3 people in a group steamroller the rest. This is probably a strong enough group of personalities that won’t happen, but it is a possibility.

      I think the discussion is important. That makes for a better decision when you opinions can be challenged. Juries usually do a pretty good job for that reason. They sometimes have the opposite problem of the 2 or 3 steamrolling. You have to watch for getting 2 or 3 ignored and they just keep voting no and you get deadlocked.

      The emphasis on “best” bothers me. That’s just another way of saying the “eyeball test.” Which means you think someone looked good when you watched them last week.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        And as the article points out with strength of schedule, there is such a small sample size and so few top teams playing each other, its really hard to judge “best.” Its easier to determine who is “most deserving” although there can be differences of opinion on that.

        Like

  31. Craig Z says:

    Go Bucks.

    Like

  32. Brian says:

    http://www.si.com/college-football/2014/08/05/college-football-television-media-roundtable

    A roundtable discussion about CFB in 2014 and its media coverage with SI.com writers.

    Like

  33. djbuck says:

    Look for other ACC schools to take a look at leaving now that the case is over.
    This conference is a regional conference with half of the teams in the Carolinas and
    Atlanta being one of the few major markets. NO major network to come in the future.
    ND only went to the ACC because Swofford bent over and gave them what they wanted
    in order to get a football brand. That’s why FSU and Clemson are not happy.
    It’s funny. The ACC raided the East twice, killed the conference, and now has become like
    the conference they help destroy.
    Look for the SEC and BIG to pick the bones off this conference in the near future.
    Also, Oklahoma doesn’t need to attached with OSU should they choose to move.
    The GOR means nothing for teams who choose to leave. Especially if the grass in greener
    in the SEC, BIG, and Pac12.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      A bit early to be that deep in the bottle, isn’t it?

      Like

    • Brian says:

      djbuck,

      “Look for other ACC schools to take a look at leaving now that the case is over.”

      Why do you think the settlement would impact other schools? They’ve always known they’d have to pay the full new exit fee. The GoR is still in place, too, so nobody can afford to leave unless they believe they can break the GoR.

      “This conference is a regional conference”

      Stretching from MA to FL is a large and populous region.

      “with half of the teams in the Carolinas”

      5 of 15 is not half.

      “and Atlanta being one of the few major markets.”

      Top 50 media markets – 1. NYC (SU and Duke), 7. Boston (BC), 8. Atlanta (GT), 9. DC (UVA and VT), 13. Tampa (FSU), 16. Miami (Miami), 19. Orlando (FSU), 23. Pittsburgh (Pitt), 24. Charlotte (UNC), 27. Raleigh-Durham (UNC), 36 Greenville (Clemson). 38. West Palm Beach, 41. Harrisburg (Pitt), 43. Norfolk (VT), 46. Greensboro (UNC), 47. Jacksonville (FSU) and 50. Louisville (UL)

      “NO major network to come in the future.”

      We’ll have to see. There’s been rumors they may get some extra money instead, or ESPN may decide to do it.

      “ND only went to the ACC because Swofford bent over and gave them what they wanted
      in order to get a football brand.”

      Yes, but they got them. That’s better than anyone else managed.

      “That’s why FSU and Clemson are not happy.”

      They aren’t happy because UF and SC have a big financial edge.

      “Look for the SEC and BIG to pick the bones off this conference in the near future.”

      The GoR holds until 2027.

      “Also, Oklahoma doesn’t need to attached with OSU should they choose to move.”

      We will never know unless they actually do it. Politicians can do weird things.

      “The GOR means nothing for teams who choose to leave.”

      You’re going to have to explain that. They lose all rights to their home games. That means they don’t bring much value to their new home, so the other schools would lose money if the pie is split in more ways. Otherwise, the school will get essentially zero TV money until the GoR expires. There’s a point where the cost may become worth it (2 or 3 years early maybe), but nobody is leaving 10+ years of TV money on the table.

      Like

    • Pablo says:

      djbuck,
      That ship sailed 16 months ago when the ACC signed its GOR. UVA, VT, FSU, Clemson and all the other ACC schools voluntarily signed-on. If the schools were waiting for the UMD-ACC settlement, they would not have signed a GOR. Need to wait a decade to legitimately restart that rumor.

      Like

  34. Andy says:

    If the Big 12 were to add BYU and CInci as Frank suggested, how do you split the divisions?

    East/West?

    Cinci
    WVU
    Iowa State
    Kansas
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma State

    BYU
    Texas
    Texas Tech
    TCU
    Baylor
    KSU

    Like

    • bullet says:

      You’ve just hit on the other reason besides money that the Big 12 won’t expand. Finding divisions that make everyone happy.

      Like

      • Eric says:

        For the most part agreed. The one big cavet to that is that we have yet to see a conference deal with the difficult question of divisions before expanding (which you’d think they’d all do, but they leave the tough questions for later). That said, all the teams in the conference know that expansion means the end of annual games vs. Texas and/or Oklahoma for many/all. I don’t think they’ll agree to that unless the TV money is there (which I don’t think it will be).

        Like

      • Transic_nyc says:

        What if they’re allowed to have a championship without divisions, as the deregulation proposal would allow?

        Like

    • @Andy – It’s an interesting question. If I were running the Big 12, I’d split it the way that you have it here and then assign every school a protected cross-division rival (most importantly Texas-Oklahoma). However, I constantly hear that UT and OU want to be in the same division.

      Like

      • Wainscott says:

        The other complication is that all other schools would want more games in the state of Texas, which would make a North/South split untenable. Its why those schools pushed for TCU’s addition in the first place.

        Like

  35. David Brown says:

    The reality of the matter is College Football Expansion is over until the 2020’s. The two Big Conferences (The SEC & Big 10), can essentially wait until Schools become available that will bring in additional revenue. An obvious example would be Oklahoma for football and say a Virginia or Virginia Tech to add to the SEC “Footprint” (meaning more SEC Network $$$$$$$), or OU and Kansas for the Big 10 (football and hoops). If the day comes that OU, gets AAU Status, I could see the Sooners, leaving the Big XII for the Big 10, but that is years off.

    Like

    • Andy says:

      OU isn’t even remotely close to AAU status. Odds are it will never happen.

      Like

    • Wainscott says:

      I’m not familiar with OU’s efforts to improve its academics and research, but as this article notes, there are a bunch of better schools with better reputations and good research that are not in the AAU.

      The best OU’s own facts page can claim is that “OU has achieved the Carnegie Foundation’s highest tier of research activity classification, the first time a public institution in Oklahoma has received this outstanding recognition.” (http://www.ou.edu/publicaffairs/oufacts.html). Problem is that highest tier is populated by better schools that are not yet in the AAU.

      http://chronicle.com/article/As-AAU-Admits-Georgia-Tech-to/65200/

      Bottom line: OU is not getting an invite to join the AAU anytime in the near or medium term, certainly not within the next 20 years (after that, its folly to even guess, due to the many variables at play).

      The B1G’s actions would speak louder than words. If Oklahoma is ripe for the taking and the B1G passes for AAU schools, it will demonstrate that AAU membership is as important as B1G leaders have claimed over the years. If the B1G would take OU, then we’ll know that the academic portion of expansion has significantly decreased in importance relative to success and brand name in athletics.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        If Oklahoma is ripe for the taking and the B1G passes for AAU schools, it will demonstrate that AAU membership is as important as B1G leaders have claimed over the years. If the B1G would take OU, then we’ll know that the academic portion of expansion has significantly decreased in importance relative to success and brand name in athletics.

        Remember that the Big Ten would accept (non AAU) Notre Dame as a full member if they were willing to join. The AAU requirement can be waived for the right school, and the COP/C knows which schools they’re willing to accept.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          “The AAU requirement can be waived for the right school, and the COP/C knows which school they’re willing to accept.”

          There. Fixed that for you.

          Like

          • Mike says:

            Thanks! it may very well be just Notre Dame on the non AAU list, but I would be surprised if it is just ND. I haven’t heard many on here object to Miami (FL) because of academics.

            Like

        • Wainscott says:

          Yes, but Notre Dame is also widely acclaimed academic institution that’s less focused on academic research (until recently, anyways).

          Using US News as shorthand, UND is #18.
          Forbes has UND as #17.
          ARWU has UND in the 201-300 level; OU is in the 301-400 level.
          Times Higher Ed ranks UND at #90 worldwide (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2013-14/world-ranking/institution/university-of-notre-dame)

          Bottom line, Notre Dame is an exception partly because of its unmatched brand power in CFB, but also because its a top level academic institution overall, despite its weaker academic research rankings. In UND’s case, not being an AAU member does not tell the full story (Dartmouth is also not an AAU member, as it historically has deemphasized the type of academic research that the AAU values. But Dartmouth is undoubtedly one of the top schools in the country).

          Like

          • Mike says:

            I don’t know if OU is acceptable or not to the COP/C. They may very well not be. However the same argument about ND could be made for OU:

            Bottom line, Oklahoma is an exception partly because of its unmatched brand power in CFB, but also because its a large land grant university, despite its weaker academic research rankings. In OU’s case, not being an AAU member does not tell the full story.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            It can be made, just not well.

            OU is not in any way unique. Its not anywhere near the brand UND is, and its not an academic peer. There are other, better land grant schools out there.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            OU is not in any way unique

            OU is unique in that they might be available three or four years before any other candidate. There’s a lot for them to figure out with Oklahoma St and the Red River Rivalry but they are (and Texas) the next big brand that will conceivably be available.

            Its not anywhere near the brand UND is, and its not an academic peer. There are other, better land grant schools out there.

            Although I agree ND is a bigger football brand, Oklahoma is about as close as you can get to ND. I agree they’re not on the same level academically, but are they close enough to make the cut for the COP/C? Take a look at their US News and World Report rankings (>90, <109):

            Auburn
            Colorado School of Mines
            Florida St
            U Denver
            UMass Amherst
            U San Diego
            Binghamton U (SUNY)
            Drexel
            [redacted]
            New Hampshire
            Iowa St
            Loyola U (Chicago)
            NC St.
            St Louis U
            Kansas
            Nebraska
            Oklahoma
            Tennessee

            Its a current Big Ten member and a few AAU schools. IMHO, Oklahoma's academic profile* probably just over the line of acceptable.

            *If only they knew the N on Nebraska's helmet didn't stand for "nowlege"

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “OU is unique in that they might be available three or four years before any other candidate”

            Based on what? B12 GoR expires in 2027, same as ACC GoR.

            “Oklahoma is about as close as you can get to ND”

            Not for the B1G’s purposes of combining brand power with TV market presence. Many have linked to Nate Silver’s old analysis that demonstrated UND’s strength in urban areas around the country, as week, as having the brand power to get its own national broadcast TV deal. OU is a great brand, in a top tier with Alabama, OSU, Michigan, Texas, etc…, and among the best brands that may be available one day. But UND is on a singular tier by itself.

            “are they close enough to make the cut for the COP/C? Take a look at their US News and World Report rankings (>90, <109)"

            B1G leaders have repeatedly referenced AAU membership as a requirement, both as a shorthand for academic quality and for internal AAU reasons (strong voting bloc). A non-AAU school would truly have to be both special on the field and have an academic reputation off of it, even if there is no AAU membership. UND is considered by many to be a top school, even if not the research powerhouse like most B1G schools. The B1G would be able to claim with a straight face that UND is a true fit on and off the field. If Dartmouth were an elite national football power looking for a home, the B1G would likely not hesitate to add the Big Green, notwithstanding the school's absence from the AAU–assuming it wanted to expand so far east. Because its Dartmouth.

            I also think academically, Nebraska was a tough sell for presidents, and I would not be surprised if any future addition would have to appease academic as well as athletic interests. Presidents want to make money and associate with top academic schools, and I suspect Delany might have had to twist arms, call in favors, and cajole to get all presidents on board.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            Based on what? B12 GoR expires in 2027, same as ACC GoR.

            The Big 12’s expires sooner. Search for “GOR” in this thread for references.

            But UND is on a singular tier by itself.

            Which is why I said about as close as you can get. ND isn’t going to be a Big Ten member any time soon (if ever). You can either wait, or get the next best thing.

            B1G leaders have repeatedly referenced AAU membership as a requirement, both as a shorthand for academic quality and for internal AAU reasons (strong voting bloc). A non-AAU school would truly have to be both special on the field and have an academic reputation off of it, even if there is no AAU membership.

            I’m not disputing any of this, I just see the line for acceptability a little higher than you do. It is very tough to say the legacy AAU schools of Kansas, Nebraska, and [redacted] are acceptable but a school with very similar academic reputation isn’t because they didn’t join the AAU 100 years ago.

            I also think academically, Nebraska was a tough sell for presidents, and I would not be surprised if any future addition would have to appease academic as well as athletic interests. Presidents want to make money and associate with top academic schools, and I suspect Delany might have had to twist arms, call in favors, and cajole to get all presidents on board.

            Maybe, maybe not. It doesn’t matter. There are not any perfect candidates for the Big Ten. Every school out there (ND included) is going to be a tough sell to somebody.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            I stand corrected on the B12 GoR, it expires in 2025.

            “Which is why I said about as close as you can get. ND isn’t going to be a Big Ten member any time soon (if ever). You can either wait, or get the next best thing.”

            True that UND is not joining the B1G anytime soon, if ever. Dispute if OU is the next best thing. If the strategy is a BTN market focus, OU is not the next best thing. If the strategy is overall football brand, then OU is certainly in the top tier of potentially available schools. Whether OU is the “next best thing” to UND I don’t know if I agree.

            ” I just see the line for acceptability a little higher than you do.”

            That’s fair. Reasonable minds and persons can disagree on this issue. I do set the bar higher based on what I’ve read, heard, and observed from the B1G during the expansion period.

            “There are not any perfect candidates for the Big Ten. Every school out there (ND included) is going to be a tough sell to somebody.”

            Yes and no. Yes that there are no perfect candidates and that some schools may be a tough sell to some. No in that the comments I read from presidents after UNL was added seemed to indicate that UNL was invited because it was (then) an AAU member with great football, even if it would become the “worst” of the COP/C schools (and soon thereafter lose AAU status), The AAU label allowed presidents to plausible (if not honestly) claim that UNL was an academic peer. No such claim could be made about OU using the stated preferred metric of B1G leaders. As such, absent other, equally demonstrative proof of academic quality, I don’t think presidents will go below UNL for any future schools.

            But I will freely admit that its possible that B1G presidents could overlook that for OU. I just discount the likelihood that they actually would.

            I do think UND would be an easier sell assuming there was genuine interest from UND at joining. That just does not exist.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Mike,

            “Which is why I said about as close as you can get. ND isn’t going to be a Big Ten member any time soon (if ever). You can either wait, or get the next best thing. ”

            I think this is a tough discussion to have because the presidents don’t like to speak publicly about what would be acceptable to them. There are rumors that feelers from OU were rebuffed. There are rumors that the COP/C told Delany never to bring a school like NE (academically) to them again. On the other hand, the football at OU is a huge temptation for a league that has lacked CFB power lately. We really don’t know where the COP/C would draw the line between money and academics. We do know they put money and academics ahead of football this last time (UMD and RU).

            If I had to guess the COP/C most wanted list, it’s got to be something like this:
            1. ND (king with fans all over, especially in the northeast)
            2. UT (king in a huge state)
            3. UNC (king in a large and growing state)

            In other words, I think UT is the next best thing.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            If the strategy is overall football brand, then OU is certainly in the top tier of potentially available schools. Whether OU is the “next best thing” to UND I don’t know if I agree.

            Outside of the B1G, SEC, and PAC schools the best (IMHO) brands are:
            1. ND
            2. Texas
            3. OU

            For any conference, any attempted addition of these schools would be problematic with OU probably the least problematic of the three. IMHO, OU is a longshot to get a Big Ten invite, but is the best brand the Big Ten could conceivably get. I just don’t see ND or Texas ever becoming Big Ten members.

            No in that the comments I read from presidents after UNL was added seemed to indicate that UNL was invited because it was (then) an AAU member with great football, even if it would become the “worst” of the COP/C schools (and soon thereafter lose AAU status), The AAU label allowed presidents to plausible (if not honestly) claim that UNL was an academic peer. No such claim could be made about OU using the stated preferred metric of B1G leaders. As such, absent other, equally demonstrative proof of academic quality, I don’t think presidents will go below UNL for any future schools.

            I’m wary of reading too much into comments after the fact. For the Big Ten the simplest way to justify UNL’s academics (since they’re not a top 50 school) was to point to the AAU status. If Notre Dame was added, they would point to their high ratings. If Oklahoma was added, they would point to its fit as a large land grant university. I do agree with you, it is highly unlikely that any school outside of the top ~100 will ever be added.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            I think this is a tough discussion to have because the presidents don’t like to speak publicly about what would be acceptable to them.

            I agree. Unfortunately, it will be over ten years before we find out any of the answers.

            There are rumors that feelers from OU were rebuffed.

            I saw a report back during the A&M departure saga that Oklahoma approached the Big Ten with Oklahoma St. That was rebuffed. I haven’t seen anything about OU solo. My thinking is OU will do everything it can to find a home with OSU. Without OSU, it will be tough to maintain both Bedlam and RRR and have any variety (i.e. Nebraska, ND, FSU) to their OOC schedule. IMHO, OU will think about going solo only if it is in danger of being left behind.

            Also, we’ve also seen the report that Big Ten did its homework on OU, so we know there is some interest.

            There are rumors that the COP/C told Delany never to bring a school like NE (academically) to them again.

            Those rumors may be right, but we also know that [redacted], Kansas, and OU was considered after the Nebraska add. If they had said that, that analysis would have been a waste of time. Nebraska isn’t MIT, but it is still a top ~100 school that won’t ever be confused for the Lincoln school of Lug Nuts. I expect the COP/C to be snobbish about who they admit, but the top 100 or so, is still pretty selective. Any farther and your options get very limited.

            We do know they put money and academics ahead of football this last time (UMD and RU).

            That’s one way to put it, but you can also argue that they were also the best two schools* that met academic requirements available at the time. They also just happened to be highly rated.

            *The Big 12 had a GOR, ND just joined the ACC and UVA/UNC/Duke weren’t coming.


            If I had to guess the COP/C most wanted list, it’s got to be something like this:
            1. ND (king with fans all over, especially in the northeast)
            2. UT (king in a huge state)
            3. UNC (king in a large and growing state)

            In other words, I think UT is the next best thing.

            I don’t disagree with you at all. I just don’t see any of those three in the Big Ten. The next best thing to ND that I think has an (outside) chance of actually joining the Big Ten is OU. I should have been more clear with my earlier “next best thing” comment.

            Like

          • @Mike – I agree. Of course the Big Ten would love Notre Dame, Texas and UNC, but they might be impossible to obtain. As a result, I’m a firm believer that the Big Ten would add Oklahoma in a heartbeat (regardless of AAU status) IF they could come without Oklahoma State. Similarly, the Big Ten would add Kansas IF they could come without Kansas State. So would the Pac-12, for that matter. The issue is that OU and KU can’t really leave their little brothers behind and, as long as the Big 12 is still considered stable, they can’t necessarily upset the proverbial apple cart. An OU/KU expansion for the Big Ten would have a TON of juice nationally for both football and basketball, and short of adding the entire state of Texas as a market via UT, that may be a larger revenue driver for the B1G compared to simply adding more markets on paper for the BTN when it comes to going to 16 schools. That type of football/basketball combo could turn the BTN into a legit national network beyond what it is today. I salivate at the thought of adding OU to the Big Ten West division for football and then having KU play everyone in the conference for hoops every year.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Mike,

            “Also, we’ve also seen the report that Big Ten did its homework on OU, so we know there is some interest.”

            Due diligence does not equal interest in my mind.

            “I don’t disagree with you at all. I just don’t see any of those three in the Big Ten. The next best thing to ND that I think has an (outside) chance of actually joining the Big Ten is OU. I should have been more clear with my earlier “next best thing” comment.”

            I don’t see OU as any more likely than UT, probably less because of their academics.

            Possible B12 pairs for the B10:
            1. UT/KU – 2 kings with great/solid academics
            2. UT/OU – 2 kings but only 1 has great academics
            3. OU/KU – 2 kings but with smaller states and weaker academics

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            @Mike:

            Btw, the [redacted] references kill me every time.

            Like

  36. Zach S. says:

    A question for Frank,

    You say that another conference can not rise to “power conference” status and join the Big 5, which I agree with, but if there is a real effort to only schedule power conference schools could a new conference be created that could have enough clout to be included? Say the AAC and MWC with BYU merge, or the schools that are willing and able to provide for full cost of tuition from the bottom 5 conferences (which would mostly be made up of AAC and MWC) merged could that be enough? As it is between the AAC and MWC there are 18 states represented (including Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Ohio), thats a lot of potential political clout which would probably be their only life line since the conference wouldn’t exactly be sexy by any means, though they still have some decent teams.

    There are 128 BCS teams this coming season, that is probably way too much, but diversity and range is something I love about college football. Teams like Northern Illinois, Boise State can have a shot at rising up. This is a reason I love soccer in Europe, every year a couple of nobodies move up to the top league and have shot at at least staying around for awhile and building some sort of legacy. I would love to see that in the NFL, it would be great if San Antonio, Salt Lake City, or Omaha could start professional football teams and have a shot at moving up to the NFL… now that will never happen as dropping down a division can ruin your franchise, but in college football nobodies can become somebodies and I’m worried that may disappear.

    Like

    • @Zach S. – The history of the old Big East basically says that it’s extremely unlikely to happen. The Big East when it had Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville, Rutgers and West Virginia was already a “tweener” league compared to the other 5 BCS leagues when it came to revenue and power, and you’d be hardpressed to find five schools in all of the G5 with the collective value of those Big East defectors. That’s why it would still be a tough sell for a “best of AAC/MWC” hybrid to gain much more traction. By the time any schools within the AAC or MWC could rise up to that value, they’d likely get picked off by a P5 league (such as the Big 12). Now, I do think that there are individual schools within the Group of 5 that have power conference credentials. Independent BYU is a power team without a power home. UConn’s basketball program is so dominant that it ought to have power status a la football-challenged Indiana, Kansas and Duke, but it is stuck with the Big Ten and ACC not looking to expand. Cincinnati has great history in a large market and top football recruiting territory, but is at the whims of what the Big 12 wants to do. UNLV is sitting on a potential goldmine in a large market with zero pro sports or P5 competition, yet has been completely inept at football. However, the problem is that none of those schools are headliners that can drive a conference – if blue bloods Pitt and Syracuse couldn’t do that with massive revenue Louisville in the old Big East, it’s hard to see it occurring with a “best of the rest” league.

      Like

      • The other part of the problem is that the “best of the rest” is never really static. You could theoretically make a league of lets say BYU, Boise, Fresno, SD St, Cincy, UConn, USF, UCF, ECU and three others, but there’s no special reason to think that this 12 would be the same 12 that’d be the strongest non-AQ types in five, much less 10, 15 etc. years. Now, maybe if the non-AQ’s totally combined and did some sort of weird promotion/relegation thing where every year it was the best 12 teams in one league, then maybe you could make a case that it might at least be slightly credible on a comparative basis.

        But even then you’d have problems:
        – you’ll miss the random non-AQ team that catches major fire in a given season;
        – the non-AQ’s don’t especially want to join up in one super organization;
        – say goodbye to most long term geographically based rivalries,
        – if you’re sorting groups of 12 or so every year just by power, you’re doing to get some nasty geographic arrangements with ugly travel situations;
        etc.

        Like

  37. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/11338781/ncaa-seeks-clarification-ed-obannon-ruling

    The NCAA asks the judge to clarify a few points in her decision.

    Attorneys wrote that they want the clarifications to ensure that there are no violations of the permanent injunction Wilken imposed, which allows players at big schools to have money generated by television contracts put into a trust fund to pay them when they leave. Wilken said the body that governs college athletics could set a cap on the money paid to athletes, as long as it allows at least $5,000 per athlete per year of competition. Individual schools could offer less money, she said, but only if they don’t unlawfully conspire among themselves to set those amounts.

    Like

  38. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    ESPN’s CFB pre-season power rankings.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/11292760/2014-espn-college-football-top-25-power-rankings

    By conference.

    SEC (7): #2 Bama, #5 Auburn, #9 South Carolina, #12 Georgia, #13 LSU, #18 A&M, and #19 Ole Miss

    Pac-12 (5): #4 Oregon, #8 UCLA, #10 Stanford, #14 USC, and #20 Washington

    Big XII (4): #3 Oklahoma, #11 Baylor, #24 Texas, and #25 TCU

    B1G (4): #6 Ohio State, #7 Michigan State, #17 Wisconsin, and #22 Nebraska

    ACC (3): #1 Florida State, #16 Clemson, and #21 North Carolina

    Ind: #15 Notre Dame

    American: #23 UCF

    Like

  39. Brian says:

    http://cfn.scout.com/2/1432580.html

    Some B10 thoughts and predictions.

    Like

  40. GreatLakeState says:

    The SECn is definitely on the right track with the ‘warts-and-all’ approach (if they carry through).
    BTN is like watching an infomercial. I’m afraid the SECn is going to leave BTN in the dust, not only in its visual presentation but on the entertainment side as well. I see an extreme make-over in BTN’s future after the SECn’s inaugural season.

    Like

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      I had not thought about it, but, this does not surprise me. As much as I loath ESpin, they are very very good at producing quality, visually interesting TV. That will spill over to the SECn. Sadly, FOX is terrible at those things and the BTN shows it.

      As for a BTN revamp: don’t know. the BTN and SECn aren’t really competing against each other. most everyone will have both.

      Like

      • Kevin says:

        BTN’s Mark Silverman always said that their benchmark was ESPNU. I personally don’t see much difference in production quality between BTN and ESPNU including studio sets etc.. I think BTN does a good job with the live game production (although I understand that is outsourced).

        If BTN spent millions on great studio sets I don’t think that is going to affect viewership. If BTN ever decides to grab more Tier 2 content then I think they need to improve their quality. But with their current line up I think they are fine. SECN will have more Tier 2 content.

        Like

      • bullet says:

        Overall, ESPN does a much better job than Fox.

        Like

        • Kevin says:

          Do you feel the same way about the NFL product as well? I can see for college football that being the case although I think the National Fox broadcast is good with Gus Johnson.

          The NFL production appears to be fairly similar for all broadcasters. Although I might give a slight edge to CBS. I think FOX has the top ratings for the pre-game show still.(not that I watch)

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Haven’t watched that much NFL lately. But there is a noticeable difference in the quality of college broadcasts. Fox doesn’t have a Musberger, but it doesn’t have too many really good people either. And the cameras and replays just aren’t nearly as good.

            Like

          • @Kevin – For the most part, the Fox productions of NFL and over-the-air MLB games have been good and stand up well compared to the other networks. However, I do believe they are noticeably worse at college football coverage compared to CBS and ABC/ESPN. (NBC is “meh” for college football, although that might be the tint of them being Notre Dame-centered broadcasts.) I’m also a little concerned about how Fox will cover some of the new high profile events that they’ll be covering in the near future, such as the US Open starting next year and the 2018 World Cup. Say what you will about ESPN, but their World Cup coverage was spectacular this year. Fox certainly has the money to plow into high production values, so it’s completely their choice.

            Like

  41. Transic_nyc says:

    Well, since we aren’t able to have a lot of Big Ten football teams polled at this time at least we have a lot of women’s volleyball teams polled.

    http://www.avca.org/divisions/division-one-women/poll-8-11-14di/

    1. Penn State
    6. Wisconsin
    7, Nebraska
    8. Purdue
    11. Illinois
    12. Minnesota
    16. Michigan State

    Michigan also received points.

    Like

  42. duffman says:

    @ Frank

    I think it is too late for the Big 12 to expand. Louisville and Cincinnati were probably the best adds after the Big 12 had added West Virginia but the Big 12 chiefs waited too long and they went to the ACC. The problem now for the Big 12 is Twofold.

    #1 Added schools do not bring added value. No 10 + 2 = 16 type math is available from teams possible

    #2 Current schools carry too little value outside of the Big 3 of Texas and Oklahoma football and Kansas basketball.

    As example, the B1G can build hockey value while the PAC and SEC can build baseball value based on quality as well as quantity. What secondary sports does the Big 12 dominate to fill the non football programing? When you run 24 / 7 / 365 you get a voracious appetite for live programming.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      The B12 has no conference network to leverage whatever secondary sport(s) have value. It needs multiple schools inventory to reach a critical mass.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        The Big 12 schools sell it separately.

        Duffman doesn’t seem to realize the Big 12 had 3 schools in the College World Series and Texas has more appearances than anyone.

        Oklahoma St. leads the Big 12 in national titles as they have numerous wrestling and golf titles to go along with cross-country, basketball, equestrian and baseball.

        The Big 12 isn’t hurting in the non-revs. 5 different current members have titles in 15 different team sports over the last 10 years (you would add a couple more sports with CU and A&M). Their website shows 552 individual champions, which I could quickly find champs from every school but WVU in the last 3 years. Fox Sports SW has bought that inventory from 6 of the 10 schools.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          That’s not leveraging. That’s being divided and picked over for some content. It is decent in the absence of the ability to have a conference network, but not as good for the conference as a whole.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Bullet:

            I think we are talking about different things. Nobody denies (and I absolutely admire) the success of B12 members in a number of sports. Point is that other than at UT/OU and maybe KU there is likely little marketable value to them except individual fan base for their own. There is no community value that would benefit the rest of the conference, and would drive demand. Can wrestling, soccer, T&F, etc achieve this individually? Not currently. But the accumulation of sports over the whole conference would make a B12N exponentially more in demand than the limited and differing offerings of individual schools. For me it’d be must have. Im looking foreword to the ESecPN even though I think it increases the motherships influence over college athletics. I’m not going to look for Sooner Network, and I have avoided the LHN so far.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you are describing the conference network model. The Big 12 decided not to do that. It chose schools with strong football programs instead of schools with big populations in their states. The Big 12 is simply not set up for a model that depends on a bunch of people who have no interest in you paying a subscriber fee. West Virginia is pretty strong in WV and gets eyeballs everywhere, but its not going to get you on basic cable in Ohio, Virginia or Maryland and probably not Pennsylvania. It gets you on in WV. The Big 12 works better with individual schools working their deals and putting more on Tiers I and II.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “…sounds like you are describing the conference network model. The Big 12 decided not to do that.”

            UT decided, and the B12 acquiesced. Those with networks aren’t at any disadvantage in primary contract value.
            Nobody expects to get on basic out of footprint immediately, but with OU, UT, KU, and the rest pooled Texas through the lower Midwest would be a lock. I’d think the big ego’s would feel they could easily expand those boundaries with the increased inventory available.

            Like

          • At this point, the basic problem with doing a Big 12 Network is similar to the problem the ACC Network idea had: the relevant/valuable properties have already been sold. The league would have to buy back content from ESPN/Fox in order to start a self-owned network, or ESPN/Fox would have to buy back content from the other (or majorly sacrifice the content they already had) in order to do a joint venture type network. I suppose a third path would be for ESPN and Fox to own a Big 12 network together, but that’d basically be dysfunction junction.

            Like

        • duffman says:

          bullet, I think ccrider has a better observation below than yours. Nobody is arguing the value in Austin, Norman, and Lawrence but after that it is not so rosy. You referenced the CWS and not every school in the Big 12 even has a team. You referenced wrestling and golf but that is not where the media will go. If I were to create a pyramid, those sports would be at or near the bottom. Team sports play best on TV and take away 3 teams and most of the value is gone. Sure they added TCU but even then I doubted the football values. How valuable are the Frogs in M or W basketball? How many teams in the B12 have a hockey team? How many have a lacrosse team?

          Here is the B12 – current members – in the CWS, Big 3 in BOLD :
          Texas (35,6) : 1949 – 2014 // clearly the lead dog in the Big 12
          Oklahoma State (19,1) : 1954 – 1999, 1959 was CWS year. 15 years since last appearance
          Oklahoma (10,2) : 1951 – 2010, CWS in 51′ and 94′
          Baylor (3,0) : 1977, 1978, and 2005
          TCU (2,0) : 2010 and 2014
          Iowa State (2,0) : 1950 and 1970 (no longer has a baseball team, folded 2001)
          Texas Tech (1,0) : 2014
          Kansas (1,0) : 1993
          Kansas State (0,0) : never been to CWS
          West Virginia (0,0) : never been to CWS

          The other 4 conferences can leverage up multiple teams across multiple sports. Not the B1g 12, and to get maximum media value you are going to have to reach critical mass. Too many schools are boat anchors and not stars.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Lacrosse? Are you serious? Giant TV sport.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            No. A smaller, more regional sport that will be able to create some value through multiple teams (even not so good ones). Individually they would have almost no value until a playoff/championship run, and then only for that period.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            And Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. have as many appearances in the CWS as the entire Big 10 (and that’s only if you include Nebraska’s Big 12 time as Big 10). Texas has more. Big 10 has 1 appearance from a current member since 1984. IU’s trip was the first since Michigan in 1984. 4 of the Big 10 members have never been, 5 have been only once, IU in 2013, Iowa in 1972, MSU in 1954 and Wisconsin and Rutgers in 1950.

            The Big 10 has only 4 sports with more than one team winning a championship in the BCS era-all giant TV spectacles-fencing, women’s hockey, men’s gymnastics and wrestling (which at least gets a little TV time). The Big 12 also has 4 with 4 fewer teams-football and 3 other TV ratings champs-equestrian, women’s outdoor track and golf. Although volleyball and men’s cross country make it 6 if you count former members.

            Your comment about boat anchors just isn’t based on reality. Its based on your personal prejudice.

            Don’t think there is really a lot of difference in the sports other than football and basketball in TV value. NHL doesn’t even have a major network TV contract. It had no national coverage for a period of about 15 years. So if the pros are limited in TV value, its hard to see colleges being much more than filling air time.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            …Put in proper place…

            Bullet:

            I think we are talking about different things. Nobody denies (and I absolutely admire) the success of B12 members in a number of sports. Point is that other than at UT/OU and maybe KU there is likely little marketable value to them except individual fan base for their own. There is no community value that would benefit the rest of the conference, and would drive demand. Can wrestling, soccer, T&F, etc achieve this individually? Not currently. But the accumulation of sports over the whole conference would make a B12N exponentially more in demand than the limited and differing offerings of individual schools. For me it’d be must have. Im looking foreword to the ESecPN even though I think it increases the motherships influence over college athletics. I’m not going to look for Sooner Network, and I have avoided the LHN so far.

            Like

          • vp19 says:

            No one has brought up women’s basketball, which you could argue now trails only football and men’s basketball in fan interest. It’s bigger (both in attendance and in number of Division I schools participating) than men’s soccer, men’s lacrosse, women’s volleyball, wrestling or baseball.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            bullet,

            My comment about boat anchors was not about prejudice but about actual numbers. Golf and wrestling will not over time build up the audience numbers of baseball and softball. Look at Alan’s post about LSU selling 400K tickets at home. It is not prejudice as you imply but I think an affinity of the american viewing public to prefer team sports over individual sports. I never said football would be replaced by lacrosse but said lacrosse had the capacity to grow their sport and provide content. If it helps lets pick 10 college sports and rank them by overall demand.

            1 Football
            2 Basketball (Men)
            3 Basketball (Women)
            4 Baseball
            5 Ice Hockey (Men)
            6 Volleyball (Women)
            7 Soccer (Women)
            8 Golf (men)
            9 Tennis (Men)
            10 Wrestling (Men)

            Not saying this is the exact rankings but based on observation and experience it feels like it is at least on the right track. The problem is not that the Big 12 has 3 baseball teams folks might want to see (30%) but that they have 70% of the conference with no real appeal. This is not rocket science and explains why the BTN and now the SECTV will work while the LHN continues to struggle. if it helps, my thoughts on the matter boil down to 2 simple observations :

            #1 Can a conference get to critical mass – say 50% interest level – to lift the programing interest as whole at the national level.

            #2 Can a conference succeed overall – not just 2 or 3 teams – in a specific team sport to create viewing demand. This should be obvious as folks seem to tune in to watch top level winners for the greatest demand. Folks will tune in across the country to watch Kansas basketball but folks inside the state of Kansas may not tune in to watch Kansas football. Nobody in Kansas may tune into watch Kansas golf or Kansas tennis.

            You can argue all day long but it still does not change that fact that most of the rest of the nation will not watch teams in the Big 12 not named Kansas, Texas, or Oklahoma. If they did it seems fair to take the next logical step that the media deal for the Big 12 would not lag behind as it currently does.

            ccrider correctly got the point
            A smaller, more regional sport that will be able to create some value through multiple teams (even not so good ones).

            In the B1G it may be Ice Hockey, in the ACC it may be Lacrosse, in the PAC and SEC it may be Baseball. What can the Big 12 call their own regional sport?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Your assumptions are wrong. Big 12 fans feel the same way about 70% teams of the Pac 12, Big 10 and ACC not really worth being watched. And TV ratings in football show the 4 conferences not named SEC pretty close with the Big 10 only slightly ahead. All 4 way behind the SEC.

            As for baseball, the Big 12 is very strong and has lots of interest. Most recent attendance figures I found were through March 25th:
            SEC 1-5, 8, 11, 15, 21, 25
            Big 12 6, 10, 17, 22
            ACC 7,9,16,18
            CUSA 13, 14, 23
            Pac 12 19, 20
            BW 12
            MVC 24

            Like

          • duffman says:

            bullet, you are still internalizing the discussion. Most of the folks in the USA live on / near the east or west coast. It is not about what folks in the Big 12 footprint watch, it is what the majority outside that footprint watch. Folks outside that footprint will watch Nebraska as they are a brand. The Big Red Thrashing Machine is not rejoining the Big 12 anytime soon. The same applies to the other big state schools that have departed the conferences Texas and Oklahoma were in.

            Private schools not named Notre Dame or Stanford are not solid replacements for the departed state schools. Like it or not most of the american viewing public are sheep and familiarity + winning affects their viewing choices.

            If baseball becomes a viable sport in the Big 12 (all 10 schools play it and the conference can get more teams in the CWS each and every post season) then content is being generated that will be watched on the east and west coast. That is how you get your media values up. Here are the Big 12 states ranked by population.

            #2 TX – now must be shared with TAMU and the SEC
            (big drop to rest of conference states)
            #28 OK
            #30 IA – shared with B1G member Iowa
            #34 KS
            #38 WV

            When the vast majority of your conference footprint sits OUTSIDE the Top 25 it is a problem. This is not me saying the Big 12 has long term issues in keeping up, it is the US population as a whole. Adding BYU and Cincinnati will not fix this problem and staying at 10 will not fix it either. When the Big 12 added TCU and WVU while the ACC added Notre Dame, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse it is not difficult to see how the ACC went up and the Big 12 went down. Before realignment the Big 12 was a strong contender with the SEC for the top of the pecking order. Now they have fallen to the bottom. You can be angry with me for pointing this out but your anger should be directed at the leaders who let it happen.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Duffman;
            9 of the 14 Big 10 schools are pretty much nobodies outside the Midwest as far as football. 10 of the 14 ACC schools. With the decline in CU and WU, its 10 of 12 Pac 12 schools.

            Iowa has been pretty decent, but they aren’t a brand in football, except in the Midwest. You may feel the same way about Kansas St. and Oklahoma St. but they matter in Big 12 territory.

            Again, you have your opinions, but the reality is that ratings for the P2-5 are pretty similar no matter how little you think of the rest of the Big 12. And the competitiveness across many sports is unquestioned. I concede there’s not much lacrosse or hockey, but there’s plenty of strength in spring sports.

            Show some facts, not just your opinions.

            Like

          • @bullet – College football TV ratings actually consistently show that the SEC is a clear #1, the Big Ten is a clear #2, and then the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 are next with smaller gaps between them (but in that order). Recall the Nielsen data I posted here a couple of years ago:

            https://frankthetank.me/2012/02/27/sports-data-from-nielsen-tv-viewership-for-college-conferences-and-pro-sports-social-media-buzz/

            The most recent report for 2013 (which you can download at Nielsen) had the exact same football TV ratings rankings (with the ACC having a wider lead over the Big 12 and Pac-12, but still substantially far behind both the SEC and Big Ten). College basketball ratings also consistently have the Big Ten as a clear #1, the ACC as a clear #2, the SEC and Big 12 have a small gap between them (but in that order), and the Pac-12 a clear #5. There is simply much more depth for the SEC in football, the ACC in basketball, and the Big Ten in both football and basketball compared to the other P5 leagues. You might be correct that Iowa isn’t necessarily the biggest national brand name, but you’re talking about maybe the #6 or #7 football brand in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Michigan State is about on par with Iowa football-wise, and either of those schools would be the clear #3 brand in the Big 12 if you were to move them there (much less the 4 kings in Big Ten plus more noveau riche Wisconsin). More importantly, even the football dregs of the Big Ten bring *something* in the form of large markets and/or solid basketball fan bases. That’s the main advantage that the Big Ten has – there really isn’t any institutional fat. The only states with multiple schools are in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, each of which dwarf the second highest population state in the Big 12 of Oklahoma. In contrast, the Big 12’s media value is almost entirely summed up by Texas (all sports), Oklahoma in football and Kansas in basketball. Everyone else in the league is either duplicating those flagships’ markets, competing with another more popular in-state flagship (Iowa State vs. Iowa) or bringing in a tiny market (West Virginia) with none of them bringing much national cache. That dichotomy reflects in the objective ratings data that we have seen for many years.

            I’m not going to argue about whether the quality of Big Ten football on-the-field has been subpar to the Big 12 over the past several years. That’s certainly a reasonable conclusion from Big 12 partisans. However, the TV ratings, revenue, bowl tie-ins and virtually every other off-the-field metric show that the Big Ten’s only real competition in business and media power is the SEC.

            Like

          • Note that the SEC also doesn’t really have any institutional fat with the exception of Mississippi State. Among the other shared states in the SEC, Auburn has enough national brand name history to bring value despite sharing its home state with Alabama, while Vanderbilt has the academic credentials and a direct physical presence in a major market (Nashville). It’s like a properly diverse stock portfolio – the SEC and Big Ten have such a diverse mix of national brands and top markets that they have multiple ways of being successful even when their biggest names are in down periods. That’s the difference between those two conferences and the rest of the P5 (and why it’s no accident that they continue to make the most TV money, sign the best bowl deals, have commissioners that effectively run college sports, etc.).

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            What’s truly amazing is how badly the Pac 12 under-performs relative to its potential. Presence in all major west coast markets (and all major markets west of the Rockies except for Las Vegas), some top shelf brands, recent on field success, and yet, its ratings in both football and (especially) basketball are so far below the SEC and B1G. Only WSU and Ore State could be considered institutional fat.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Wainscott,

            “What’s truly amazing is how badly the Pac 12 under-performs relative to its potential. Presence in all major west coast markets (and all major markets west of the Rockies except for Las Vegas), some top shelf brands, recent on field success, and yet, its ratings in both football and (especially) basketball are so far below the SEC and B1G. Only WSU and Ore State could be considered institutional fat.”

            I think there are easy explanations for a lot of it.

            1. Colleges in major cities (USC, UCLA, UW, Cal, Stanford, ASU) always suffer do to the large number of alternatives. There are pro teams and other things to steal fans.

            2. The west coast culture isn’t as focused on college sports. You don’t have all those non-alumni fans providing fervent support like you do in the SEC or B10.

            3. Poor business decisions by the conference left the P12 will minimal TV exposure for decades compared to their success. That makes it hard to get fans nationally.

            4. The time zone separation from most of the population in the US means many of the games out west weren’t seen by most fans. Out of sight, out of mind.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            To expand on Franks two posts above, I like the fat and lean way he expressed it.

            I might go a step farther to use a compliment system and depth at multiple sports.

            Using Mississippi State as the example Frank outlined. They are not a football power but the SEC already has several football powers. They are not a basketball power – but they have been good enough to reach the Final Four – so they can at least be a competitor. They do however have a solid baseball program and just announced a new 40 million dollar park they will be the envy of semi pro teams. Now translate that to iowa State in the Big 12.

            Cyclones look similar to Mississippi State in football
            Cyclones look similar to Mississippi State in basketball
            Cyclones do not have a baseball team but Mississippi State has a top level one

            Looking at the Big 12 without drinking the Big 12 Kool Aid I just do not see enough balance across enough team sports to get to that compliment critical mass you see in the B1G, SEC, and ACC. The PAC seems to at least have it and may be able to capitalize on it as they develop their network.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            @Brian:

            Those are the main reasons, yes. But its still striking the extent to which they under-perform. Scott has a lot of work ahead of him to try and undo decades of bad decisions.

            Like

          • vp19 says:

            Using Mississippi State as the example Frank outlined. They are not a football power but the SEC already has several football powers. They are not a basketball power – but they have been good enough to reach the Final Four – so they can at least be a competitor. They do however have a solid baseball program and just announced a new 40 million dollar park they will be the envy of semi pro teams. Now translate that to iowa State in the Big 12.

            Cyclones look similar to Mississippi State in football
            Cyclones look similar to Mississippi State in basketball
            Cyclones do not have a baseball team but Mississippi State has a top level one

            Like many here, you’re ignoring women’s basketball, where ISU is among the nation’s attendance leaders, has won several Big 12 titles and is a regular NCAA participant. Miss State is usually an SEC also-ran.

            I should also note ISU finished 38th in the 2013-14 Directors’ Cup, MSU 52nd.

            Like

  43. Transic_nyc says:

    TV times for the B1G-ACC Challenge games

    http://btn.com/2014/08/12/times-networks-set-for-accbig-ten-challenge/

    Monday, Dec. 1
    Nebraska at Florida State, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
    Rutgers at Clemson, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)

    Tuesday, Dec. 2
    Pittsburgh at Indiana (6 p.m., ESPN2)
    Minnesota at Wake Forest (6 p.m., ESPNU)
    Syracuse at Michigan (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
    NC State at Purdue (8 p.m., ESPN2 or ESPNU)
    Illinois at Miami (8 p.m., ESPN2 or ESPNU)
    Ohio State at Louisville (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

    Wednesday, Dec. 3
    Michigan State at Notre Dame (6:15 p.m., ESPN2)
    Virginia Tech at Penn State (6:15 p.m., ESPNU)
    Iowa at North Carolina (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
    Virginia at Maryland (8:15 p.m., ESPN2)
    Georgia Tech at Northwestern (8:15 p.m., ESPNU)
    Duke at Wisconsin (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

    Like

  44. frug says:

    Random aside, but it was 20 years ago today that the MLB players’ strike began.

    Like

    • @frug – In the alternate universe in my dreams, the White Sox take down a monster Expos team in a 7-game World Series in 1994. I’ll never quite get over that lost season.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        How many homer would Griffey have had that year…?

        Like

        • frug says:

          Matt Williams actually lead the majors and was ahead of Maris’ pace when the strike occurred.

          Like

          • frug says:

            http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11313564/mlb-1994-baseball-strike-effect-tony-gwynn-matt-williams-montreal-expos

            This article actually discusses Williams chase of the home run record, Gwynn’s run at .400 and the Expos’ miracle season.

            What’s really amazing though is that I think the real story was Greg Maddux. When the strike hit had a 1.56 ERA and had already thrown 202 IP and 10 complete games. Projected out to a full year, that is probably the greatest pitching season in MLB history. And while he might have slowed down given another 10 starts, the fact he was basically just as good (if not a little better) in 1995 means there is no guarantee he would have.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I’ll show my age.

            How can you not know about Bob Gibson?

            1968 22-9 1.12 ERA, 34 starts, 28 CG, 13 shutouts, 268 strikeouts

            He (and a few others) were a reason the mound got lowered.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Nolan Ryan also had a great strike season in 1981. Didn’t get any run support, so he was only 11-5 in 21 starts. 1.69 ERA in 149 IP with 140 SO. Had 5 CG and 3 shutouts.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Gibson 1968 ERA+: 258
            Maddux 1994 ERA+: 271
            Maddux 1995 ERA+: 260

            Gibson did have 11.2 war, while Maddux’s was 8.5 when the season was halted. Maddux may have caught him, maybe not.

            Like

      • frug says:

        As a Braves’ fan I always assumed the Braves would have gone 38-10 down the stretch, beat out the Expos for the NL East title and then one the first of back to back World Series.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          TNT helped create Braves fans country wide.

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            I fear in that alternate universe Washington still would be deprived of baseball, waiting for Cuban Pete to kick the bucket.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The Reds got the shaft in both the 81 and 94 strikes. They lead their division in 1994 and had the best record in baseball in 1981 but didn’t even make the playoffs. 1981 was the year where they had split seasons and had not only unbalanced schedules, the teams didn’t even play the same number of games.

            Like

      • frug says:

        And how about that?

        http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11354603/rob-manfred-voted-next-mlb-commissioner

        20 years later the man who single most responsible for the strike is elected the new commissioner.

        Like

        • frug says:

          Whoops.

          Meant to say

          “20 years later the man who was single most responsible for the strike is not elected the new commissioner.”

          Tom Werner, who had the backing of Jerry Reinsdorf and a few others, was the primary engineer of the strike.

          Like

          • @frug – As a White Sox and Bulls fan, it really irks me that Jerry Reinsdorf has openly been out to “break the union”. I’m actually someone that thinks Reinsdorf has been a good owner overall, but he’s totally off base on thinking that MLB should go anywhere near the days of labor fights every couple of years. What’s even more perplexing is that Reinsdorf is personally closer to Bud Selig than any other owner, yet Jerry publicly led the charge against Bud’s preferred successor.

            I noted on Twitter that I long for the day when there will be a Chicago owner that actually treats his/her team like it’s located in the nation’s third largest market as opposed to a low cost mom-and-pop operation. Ironically, Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who is the son of the late Bill Wirtz that was named the very worst owner in all of pro sports by ESPN a few years ago, has turned out to be the one guy that actually attempts to treat his team as if it’s in a big market. (That being said, it’s a little easier to do with the hard NHL salary cap level.)

            Regardless, I’ve got a whole laundry list of MLB issues for Rob Manfred to tackle! He has quite a bit of work to do.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            As an owner, I think Reinsdorf is right to want to break the union. The MLBPA is by far the strongest union in pro sports and they do their very best to destroy the game. If MLB broke the union, Reinsdorf would make more money.

            Like

          • @Brian – It’s not so much that taking on the union in of itself is bad if it’s necessary (as it may very well be necessary for a lot of businesses). There are unions out there that are demanding that their workers get higher salaries than what they would otherwise receive in the free market. That’s unsustainable for a business in the long-term and they are more than economically justified to fight them. However, the MLBPA (and, for that matter, the other pro sports unions) isn’t in that camp. They’re pushing back against owner measures to suppress salaries compared to what they would otherwise receive in the free market (i.e. salary caps, revenue sharing between large market and small market franchises, luxury tax payments, etc.). Mike’s example of LeBron James is a great one – $21 million is a great deal of money in a vacuum, but the fact of the matter is that he’s VASTLY underpaid compared to what he would have otherwise received in a true free market structure. If my mere presence adds several hundred million dollars to the franchise value of the Cavaliers, Indians or Browns (which we have seen with LeBron in particular in both Cleveland and Miami), it’s completely in line with free market principles for me to receive a significantly large cut of that money. MLB players see how even the very best superstars in the NFL and NBA (all of whom have vastly higher Q ratings with the American public than anyone in MLB) have artificially low salaries and rightfully don’t want anything to do with salary caps. I have a lot of issues with how MLB is run these days (and I could do an entire series of posts these days), but I won’t ever complain about player salaries. The owners are making hundreds of millions of dollars off of players with very unique irreplaceable skillsets (which should be contrasted with unions in other industries that might be taking inefficient market measures to protect people with very replaceable skillsets at high costs) – there shouldn’t be any limit to how much those players make.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Frank – Its not too late to join the north side of the force.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Brian –

            The MLBPA is by far the strongest union in pro sports and they do their very best to destroy the game.

            The MLBPA may be the strongest union period. I know there isn’t much love for unions in this country anymore, but I can’t see how they’re doing their best to destroy the game. The MLBPA has a vested interest in baseball’s success.

            If MLB broke the union, Reinsdorf would make more money.

            The costs of breaking the union may be so high, that in the end he may make less money. The reason the MLBPA is so strong is that their middle and upper tier players have played or expect to play so long that they’re not willing to accept (unlike the NBA and NFL players) league friendly deals. They know they can hold out for a fair (or at least fairer) deal. I have no problem with players getting the best deal that they can. It is an absolute crime that LeBron James only makes 21 million (IIRC) and the NBA and Cavs get to pocket everything up what his salary should be.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            ” It is an absolute crime that LeBron James only makes 21 million (IIRC) and the NBA and Cavs get to pocket everything up what his salary should be.”

            I dunno if LeBron is the best example. His salary might be lower than what it could be in uncapped free agency, but he gets 2x his salary in endorsement deals (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2014/01/22/lebron-james-endorsements-breakdown-by-the-numbers/).

            Not to mention the CBA was agreed to by the players and the owners. Nobody forced the players to agree to a CBA with salary/contract length limits.

            The weakest union has to me be the NFLPA. Highest grossing league in the most popular sport in the nation and the players cannot unite to fight for guaranteed contracts?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Mike,

            “The MLBPA has a vested interest in baseball’s success.”

            No, they have an interest in the current players’ success. They don’t care about the future of the game.

            “The costs of breaking the union may be so high, that in the end he may make less money.”

            I didn’t say he went about it the right ways, just that he’d benefit if it was broken. I don’t think there’s a practical way to break it now based on how strong it is.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            Speaking of Reinsdorf, Murray Chass takes him on:

            http://www.murraychass.com/?p=7831

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            “It’s not so much that taking on the union in of itself is bad if it’s necessary (as it may very well be necessary for a lot of businesses).”

            All unions need to be fought tooth and nail at all times. They’ll do their best to bleed the industry dry like a parasite. See the UAW for a wonderful example.

            “However, the MLBPA (and, for that matter, the other pro sports unions) isn’t in that camp. They’re pushing back against owner measures to suppress salaries compared to what they would otherwise receive in the free market (i.e. salary caps, revenue sharing between large market and small market franchises, luxury tax payments, etc.).”

            I think that’s an unfair characterization. Revenue sharing helps more teams be able to pay their players big money as well as provide more competition which should increase ratings and therefore salaries across the board. Salary caps are similarly aimed at improving competition. The NYY can only employ so many players at once.

            “Mike’s example of LeBron James is a great one”

            The unique thing about the NBA is their max contract system. The stars get less money so that the rest can get more. Their union agreed to it, presumably because more players benefit from that method than by letting the stars eat up the whole cap. It’s the other players holding down LeBron’s salary, not the owners.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The major league owners deserve everything the MLBPA dishes out to them for there 95+ years of collusion on the reserve clause.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Brian’s various posts

            The MLBPA is by far the strongest union in pro sports and they do their very best to destroy the game.

            The first have is unquestionably true, the second is debatable. Yes the MLBPA has done some shortsighted things, but that is just as true (and probably truer) of the owners (more on that in a moment)

            If MLB broke the union, Reinsdorf would make more money..

            Possibly, but it depends on the cost to break them. The last time the owners tried to break the union (1994) the owners lost $800 million and got no significant concessions from the players.

            “The MLBPA has a vested interest in baseball’s success.”

            No, they have an interest in the current players’ success. They don’t care about the future of the game.

            How is that any different than the owners? Jeff Loria completely obliterated the Montreal Expos, strip mining it for cent he could get in the short term no matter how damaging to the franchise. Then after he sold the team to MLB (at a massive mark up) the league (for reasons that boggle the imagination) let him buy the Marlins where he has done the exact same thing.

            Meanwhile, Time Warner cut itself a sweetheart deal on the Braves’ local broadcasting rights just before selling the team completely screwing over the franchise. And just like with Jeff Loria, the other owners (who could have blocked the deal) did nothing because they didn’t want to set a precedent for league interference.

            All unions need to be fought tooth and nail at all times. They’ll do their best to bleed the industry dry like a parasite.

            Yeah, I miss the good old days when workers didn’t have any rights at all. The Jungle really was a paradise.

            See the UAW for a wonderful example.

            The UAW made some mistakes no question, but management deserves a huge amount of the blame as well. It was management that insisted cranking out SVU’s and other gas guzzlers and scoffed at foreign car companies that pumped R&D money into hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles because every knows that Americans don’t care about fuel efficiency. Except gas prices suddenly skyrocketed and the Big Three were stuck with a bunch of vehicles that no one wanted to buy.

            Really, the US automakers have behaved a lot like the Raiders in their last decade under Al Davis. A small insulated group of industry lifers who are hell bent on running things the same way they did 30 years ago not because it is the best way to do things but because if it worked once it will work again even though the world has changed.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            frug,

            “The first have is unquestionably true, the second is debatable. Yes the MLBPA has done some shortsighted things, but that is just as true (and probably truer) of the owners (more on that in a moment)”

            The idiocy of the owners wasn’t part of the discussion.

            “Possibly, but it depends on the cost to break them. The last time the owners tried to break the union (1994) the owners lost $800 million and got no significant concessions from the players.”

            Trying to break it and breaking it are 2 different things.

            “How is that any different than the owners?”

            Where did I say it was different for the owners?

            “Yeah, I miss the good old days when workers didn’t have any rights at all.”

            Yes, because that’s the exact equivalent of fighting the unions. There is absolutely no middle ground, right?

            “The UAW made some mistakes no question, but management deserves a huge amount of the blame as well.”

            Yes, like agreeing with the UAW.

            “It was management that insisted cranking out SVU’s and other gas guzzlers and scoffed at foreign car companies that pumped R&D money into hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles because every knows that Americans don’t care about fuel efficiency.”

            http://www.nada.org/NR/rdonlyres/856E4FC3-DDC7-48AF-8688-79E6E1E5FA2C/0/NADA_Market_Beat_2014_07.pdf

            Top selling auto segment now – CUVs by far
            2&3. Small and medium size cars
            4. Pickups
            5&6. SUVs and luxury cars

            As a comparison (7/2014 sales numbers):
            Gasoline – 1,330,926
            SUVs – 106,811
            Non-gas/diesel – 55,945
            Diesel – 41,237

            The auto companies made what consumers were buying, then the recession hit and auto sales died. Seven light trucks are in the top 15 for current model sales, with 3 of the top 4 being American pickups.

            Like

    • urbanleftbehind says:

      The Texas Rangers were something like 10 games (52-62) under .500 but leading the AL West at the time. I think we would have seen the NY Yankees “pushed” into the World Series over the Sox or Cleveland (’94 was the true beginning of the new dynasty) as a way to balance the effect on TV ratings of another Canadian team.

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        The Rangers had a worse record than all 10 of the AL East and Central teams.

        Like

        • unproductive says:

          And if we want to talk about great pitching seasons, try Steve Carlton in 1972. He won 27 games for a team that won only 59, meaning that he won almost 1/2 of the Phillies’ games that season, He had a 1.97 ERA, pitched 346 innings with 30 complete games and 8 shut-outs, and had 310 strike-outs with only 87 walks. One of the greatest pitching seasons that I can remember.

          Like

          • frug says:

            According to Baseball-Reference, that year Carlton was worth 12.5 WAR while the rest of the team combined was worth 5.9, meaning he was more than twice as valuable than the entire rest of the team’s roster.

            Probably the best individual season by a player on crappy team in any major sport ever.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Nolan Ryan’s 1987 was an odd year. It was his 3rd lowest ERA of his 27 year career at 2.76, easily leading the NL. Also easily led in strikeouts with 270. He went 8-16. The Astros scored 14 runs in his 16 losses.

            This article talks about his stats and goes through the crazy stretch of 22 starts where he went 3-12 and where the Astros kept finding ways to deprive Ryan of a win.

            http://charesapril.com/2009/08/closer-look-nolan-ryans-perplexing-1987.html

            Like

  45. greg says:

    I don’t know if any of this is new news or not.

    http://www.thegazette.com/subject/sports/b1g-additions-lead-to-richer-iowa-coffers-20140811

    Iowa forecasts a boost of nearly $4.44 million in conference revenue to more than $30.7 million for fiscal year 2015, according to documents filed with the state’s Board of Regents. The jump coincides with the Big Ten’s additions of Rutgers and Maryland, which begin play this month.

    In a Sept. 22, 2013 meeting of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors, the group voted to approve amendments boosting increased television rights fees. The changes, which were spurred by the expansion, affect three years of agreements with ESPN (2014-2016) and 14 years with BTN (2014-2027), according to information obtained by The Gazette.

    Iowa budgeted $25.455 million from league sources in fiscal year 2014 and received about $26.3 million.

    Like

    • @greg – Interesting find. The jump in conference revenue may not be solely tied to TV rights and the BTN. Remember that the new CFP money will be coming in for the first time this year, too.

      Like

      • Kevin says:

        I believe Michigan was using over $32 million in their 2015 budget

        Like

      • cutter says:

        Frank-

        Michigan’s FY 2015 Athletic Department budget released two months ago project conference distributions at $31.982M for that fiscal year. The sources of funds are as follows:

        Television: $22.256M
        NCAA Basketball Distribution: $3.982M
        Football Bowl Games: $4.716M
        Other: $728K

        The reported FY 2014 conference distribution was $27.045M. The sources of funds for that fiscal year are as follows:

        Television: $19.902
        NCAA Basketball Distribution: $4.079M
        Football Bowl Games: $2.337M
        Other: $727K

        The deltas between the two fiscal years are as follows:

        Television: +$2.354M
        NCAA Basketball Distribution: -$0.097M
        Football Bowl Games: +$2.379M
        Other: +1K

        See http://www.regents.umich.edu/meetings/06-14/2014-06-X-14.pdf

        The total conference distributions between the FY 2015 budget and FY 2014 actuals increased by $4.637M.

        Like

  46. duffman says:

    @ Alan,

    I love Box, but the pictures coming out of Starkville look unreal!

    http://www.msubulldogclub.com/

    Click on the video in the link

    Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      duff – if the cow bells pull off that deal, Dudy Noble will not only rank ahead of my beloved Alex Box Stadium/Skip Bertman Field, but also just about every minor league stadium and about six major league stadiums. For their sake, I hope the Bulldawgs make those renovations. That would make for a great road trip every other year.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        I heard the budget was 40 million. What was the budget for the new Box? Much of this goes back to the observation of the growth of non football revenue streams. If a media runs 24 / 7 / 365 and continually consumes live / original programming then that has to grow from somewhere. If the SEC schools are generating 20 – 30 million in extra revenue per year they seem to be spending it on more than just football budgets.

        Tying back to a long running observation and the future of college baseball and softball as growth areas this seems to indicate at least somebody is heading that way in their long term planning. In short if a school like Mississippi State is doing this, what will the bigger schools be doing next?

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          duff – LSU’s new Alex Box cost over $40 million. Remember that until Skip Bertman began the LSU baseball program dynasty, Miss State under Ron Polk was the top program in the SEC.

          Baseball at LSU makes more money on ticket sales than the men’s basketball team, and sold more than 400,000 tickets last season. That’s more tickets sold than most FBS football teams. The SEC, the Big XII schools in Texas, Florida State and Clemson have shown that baseball doesn’t have to be a money loser.

          Baseball and softball can fill up Spring programming on a conference network. The SECN will show 75 baseball games next Spring. The only fans that will get less baseball are LSU fans, as Cox televised the vast majority of my Tigers’ games.

          Miss State is also expanding their football stadium to 61,000 with lots of premium seats. The Bulldogs have done a great job with what they have and where they are located.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Can’t they pick up the games not on SECN or elsewhere ESPN chooses?

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            cc – as of now, the answer is no. Cox is hopeful but not optimistic. They may be available on ESPN3. If so, Smart TV sales will go through the roof next Spring in Baton Rouge.

            Like

          • Tim Horton says:

            It sounds like virtually all games not picked up for broadcast on the ESPN family or SECN will be available on the internet through the SEC or WatchESPN apps.

            Like

          • m(Ag) says:

            In addition to the broadcast games, every school is supposed to produce a certain number of games to air through the WatchESPN app (SEC Network Plus, I think it’s called). For the fall, SECN officials have said that the schools have already planned to air a good deal more than is required of them. I think this will be a competitive thing, as all schools want as many of their games available in each sport so they can tell recruits how much their family & friends will be able to see them compete.

            I would be surprised if LSU doesn’t decide to make producing their baseball games a priority for the digital side. Regardless, LSU fans with computers should see far more conference road games than previously.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Chromecast and other such devices would be hot items if they were to have a special offer next month.

            Like

          • m(Ag) says:

            Following up on this:

            Check out Texas A&M’s women’s soccer schedule this year: http://www.12thman.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27300&SPID=93233&SPSID=632676&DB_OEM_ID=27300

            The only games in the entire regular season that aren’t currently scheduled to be available to someone with a computer are: 1 game vs. Arizona (in Tempe), 1 game at Ole Miss, and 1 game at Arkansas.

            If you navigate from that web page to the volleyball schedule, there’s more non-conference away games that won’t be available, but there’s still only 4 conference games fans aren’t schedule to be able to see with a computer (all of them also away).

            I’d be surprised if there are many conference baseball games fans won’t be able to see come spring.

            Like

    • Tim Horton says:

      That looks like a pro stadium. Miss State fans should be ecstatic.

      Like

  47. Wainscott says:

    @Frank: What is your alma mater doing in its endzones?

    Like

    • Those end zones are courtesy of the Nike Swoosh and their rebranding. I like it. The old script was just an orange copy of the 1980s New York Giants helmets (which have long since been tossed for the superior old school “NY” logo).

      Like

  48. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Awful Announcing’s multi-part series on Year One at FS1.

    Part 1.
    http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/fox-sports-1-lost-the-expectations-game.html

    Like

  49. Josh says:

    @FrankTheTank – Question for your SEC Network post. Which network do you expect to pay better on a per-school basis – BTN or SEC Network?

    According to this article, by the SEC not owning the network they can include advertisers (such as beer and liquor) that BTN cannot:

    http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2013/5/3/4295242/sec-network-big-ten-network-comparison

    This article states cable companies will be paying $1.30 per SEC subscriber compared to under $1 for BTN.

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2014/01/13/Media/SEC-net.aspx

    Like

    • vp19 says:

      I’m guessing the BTN will be stronger than the SECN…outside of football season.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        Fall = football, edge to SEC but strong 2nd place to B1G by population centers
        Winter = basketball + hockey, B1G in 1st, ACC in 2nd, SEC somewhere after that
        Spring = baseball, edge to SEC with ACC and PAC after that
        Summer = dead space

        Looking at it by quarters

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Fall-Football
          Based on last few years its BIG edge to SEC. Competitiveness 2nd are Big 12 and Pac 12. Big drop to BIG and ACC. Markets and numbers make it a 4 way tie for 2nd.
          Winter
          Women’s basketball-Big 12, SEC and ACC. Then Pac and B1G.
          men’s basketball & hockey-B1G, ACC 2nd, BE and Big 12, Pac and SEC behind
          Spring baseball-edge to SEC with Big 12, ACC and Pac all 3 close behind. Then CUSA, Big West, Sun Belt not too far back. Then Atlantic Sun, Southland and a few other conferences. B1G does field teams.
          Other spring-Pac with SEC, ACC and Big 12 tied for a distant 2nd. B1G distant 5th.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Winter: B1G walks away with wrestling, the third or fourth biggest income producer for the NCAA because of the finals. B12 second with EIWA and ACC challenging through sheer numbers.

            If NCAA wrestling tournament wasn’t held first weekend of march madness it’s strength would be magnified. ESPN has gone from tape delayed excerpt format of finals only a decade age to live coverage the whole tournament. With espn3 every individual match (aprox 640) was available live this year.

            Like

          • urbanleftbehind says:

            Spring does have a cheesecake factor (I’m thinking softball) in which the Pac- and SEC- are clearly miles above the other conferences.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Softball is closer to beefcake than cheesecake.

            Like

          • m(Ag) says:

            In addition to softball (which others have mentioned), the SEC also does extremely well in women’s gymnastics. Though it’s only offered by about 7 schools, there have been times when every school in the conference was ranked in the top 25. Schools like Alabama get fairly big crowds for it, and ESPN has televised some regular season matches on ESPN/ESPN2 in the past several years.

            The SEC Network will have no shortage of events to choose from in the spring, and that’s ignoring the more niche sports in which the SEC has multiple good teams, like track, tennis, equestrian, and swimming.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            m(Ag) says:
            August 14, 2014 at 10:55 am
            In addition to softball (which others have mentioned), the SEC also does extremely well in women’s gymnastics. Though it’s only offered by about 7 schools, there have been times when every school in the conference was ranked in the top 25. Schools like Alabama get fairly big crowds for it, and ESPN has televised some regular season matches on ESPN/ESPN2 in the past several years.

            The SEC Network will have no shortage of events to choose from in the spring, and that’s ignoring the more niche sports in which the SEC has multiple good teams, like track, tennis, equestrian, and swimming.

            Not sure if you meant to imply women’s gymnastics is a spring sport? While I think some SEC schools average 10K – 15K attendance averages, pretty sure it is a winter sport.

            greg says:
            August 14, 2014 at 9:55 am
            Softball is closer to beefcake than cheesecake.

            I take it you have not watched Michigan softball? Some are big but some are not, and quite attractive.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Check out the CA and AZ schools, too. I doubt there are many beefy gals at BYU, Utah, etc.

            Like

    • Brian says:

      Josh,

      I’ll hedge my comment. Assuming we’re talking down the road (once both have reached a plateau – SECN from being new and BTN from growing the footprint) and ignoring the different business models:

      SECN will do better in footprint, but they’ll be about the same in non-footprint regions (B10 has more alumni spread out everywhere, SEC has more FB success). Much of the country will receive both out of footprint in the same sports tier.

      The details of the ESPN/SEC deal haven’t been leaked so it’s hard to judge too well (50/50 is the rumor). Really long term the B10 has the advantage of getting full ownership if they want it while the SEC doesn’t.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        “The details of the ESPN/SEC deal haven’t been leaked so it’s hard to judge too well (50/50 is the rumor).”

        Then there is this from a recent interview of Larry Scott:

        “But the commissioner points to a critical difference between his networks and the others.

        The SEC handed its channel over to ESPN in exchange for a massive rights fee and the Big Ten entered into a roughly 50-50 joint venture with Fox Cable Networks.

        The Pac-12 has maintained full ownership, creating and operating its networks.”

        Like

        • Andy says:

          That assumes ownership is worth something. I’m of the opinion that revenue is what is worthwhile, considering odds are you’d never sell your stake in a network anyway.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I was addressing the rumor of the SECN’s 50/50 financial arrangement. My point was a conference comish, who probably has access to better info than any of us is categorizing the SECN as a purchase of rights, just like a T1 contract, but with a dedicated channel to distribute the large volume of inventory. He did describe it as a “massive” rights fee.

            To your misguided assumption, they only need half the revenue (above costs) to realize the same income as a 50/50 partnership.
            I certainly would hope they won’t be selling the network. That would mean live sports had ended. Or even less likely, sports broadcast (through whatever incarnation) had lost almost all value. T1’s will have lost their value, too. Having your own one means you can decide how you want to use it, without outside commercial owner’s input/insistence. You keep 100% after production costs. You can use it is a way some may feel is not the most immediately profitable manner (they don’t have a stake or a say unless they are a PAC prez). And you can leverage a potentially future 1B entity without selling it.

            Will it work out? Who knows. It’s the only example. They chose the tougher path after considering the “safer” options. They judged the rewards greater than the risks. Direction, control, and independence are factors not monetary measured in the short term. It’s the method I favor, but that certainly doesn’t mean other methods may be what others prefer, for whatever reasons.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            On the other hand, partnering with a successful, for-profit company like ESPN means they’re probably better at what they do, meaning they’ll probably make more money. Right now, hours before the SEC Network has even started, I turn on my TV and see that on Comcast Bay Area out in California on the mid-tier package I get the SEC Network but I do not get the Big Ten Network. To me that’s a pretty big sign that ESPN knows what they’re doing. ccrider, I know you’re one of the biggest apologists on the planet for all things Big Ten, and that’s fine. I’m a bit of a homer myself, so I understand. But personally I’d bet good money that over the long haul the SEC Network makes quite a bit more money for the SEC than the BTN makes for the Big Ten. Part of that is because of SEC football, but most of it is because of ESPN.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            How is my muted criticism of BTN being a partnership and support of an actual conference network (the conference owns and controls it) being a B1G homer? I’m as much a PAC guy as a B1G fan, having been west for over forty years.

            As to which method makes more, that depends on what you are looking to gain. I’m not convinced tha wholy owned won’t be able to generate comparable returns (100% of 10 > 50% of 19). But, as I’ve repeatedly said, the benefit of having a strong partner is also the potential detriment of having a differently motivated co-owner. And if Scott is right ESPN is the sole owner of the SECN, which brings us back to what this was about originally. Not which method was better, but what exactly is the nature of the SECN’s financial arrangement.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            I suppose the goals I have in mind would be having a successful network with high viewership that provides a lot of exposure for the league and its member institutions, as well as generating the maximum amount of revenue for those institutions.

            But maybe to you purity of content is more important than all of those things.

            Or maybe you’re just a homer and you’ll defend whatever your favored institutions do regardless.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “I have in mind would be having a successful network with high viewership that provides a lot of exposure for the league and its member institutions, as well as generating the maximum amount of revenue for those institutions.”

            Exactly right. But what happens when generating revenue conflicts with wanting to provid exposure in areas corporate for profit partners don’t find as profitable? In one model there is no conflict, only a decision. In another there will need to be negotiations, unless the schools there simply turn decisions over to the partner…adopt ESPN’s goals as their own.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “I suppose the goals I have in mind would be having a successful network with high viewership that provides a lot of exposure for the league and its member institutions, as well as generating the maximum amount of revenue for those institutions.”

            That’s the goal of each conference network. The issue is more which business strategy/form is the best way to achieve that goal–a wholly owned conference network (Pac12), a 50/50 split ownership (BTN/Fox), or a partnership on a conference wholly-owned by another network (SECN).

            In both of the latter two cases, the non-network partner (Fox & ESPN) will always have a conflict of interest, as the returns from a conference network will always pale to those of a wholly-owned channel (FS1, Fox Broadcast, ESPN, ESPN2). There are legitimate questions, as Alan and others have touched on in the past as to the level of game the SECN will get on a week in, week out bases, as ESPN will very, very rarely prioritize SECN over ESPN/ESPN2 in assigning games to networks.

            Further, unlike the Pac Network, both BTN and SECN splits profits between two different entities. If the Pac can get its network to get the same carriage fees in a similar number of homes, it will make about 2x as much as the B1G and the SEC will get from their own networks.

            So yes, everyone has the same goal, but there are different means of pursuing and achieving that goal. Yes, the SECN is in approx. 90m homes at launch, and has a reported top carriage fee of $1.40. But does that guarantee the conference will make more than the B1G or the Pac from their own networks? Without firm details on all three networks, such as which cable providers are paying what in the footprint and outside the footprint, we’re simply not in a position to say.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            At some point you’re letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. By compromising up front, the SEC has positioned itself for much more overall success. Maybe on some of the details it won’t be perfect, but the overall picture is what matters most.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “By compromising up front, the SEC has positioned itself…”
            Undeniably.
            “… for much more overall success.”
            To be determined.

            Would would it be called a compromise?

            Like

          • Andy says:

            As in, sharing power with ESPN allowed them access to the considerable power of ESPN and Disney Corp. Yes, the results are to be determined, but so far so good.

            Like

          • There’s no right or wrong. A conference can make money by owning 100% of the network (like the Pac-12). A conference can make money by owning 49% of the network (like the Big Ten). A conference can make money by owning 0% of the network (like the SEC). When it comes to the annual conference revenue number that we see every year, the ownership structure isn’t as relevant as the success of the execution.

            However, ownership DOES have a lot of tangible asset value, so it would be a gross misnomer to say that whoever gets the higher rights fee annually must automatically have the best model. Someone asked earlier whether ownership was relevant outside of being able to sell the network. Of course it’s relevant! The valuations of these sports networks are actually extremely high. The Yankees, for instance, recently sold their most of their stake in the YES Network to Fox with the network valued in the neighborhood of $4 billion… which is more than the value of the New York Yankees baseball team itself. So, with ownership stakes, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have equity in billion dollar-plus assets. Think of it as having each Big Ten and Pac-12 school getting around $100 million added to their endowments with the value increasing over time. That (outside of control) is a very direct incentive to have equity ownership. In contrast, the SEC is the equivalent of a very high salary employee of ESPN with a generous profit-sharing bonus, but the SEC Network has an asset value of $0 on their balance sheet. This might not be reflected in the annual conference revenue figures, but having equity in a sports network can bring in some eye-popping asset valuations these days.

            Like

          • And look, the SEC got a great deal if it’s true they’re receiving 50/50 of the profit from the SEC Network. However, there is no question in my mind that the SEC would have wanted a substantial equity stake in the network on top of that. That option simply wasn’t there for the SEC because their TV rights were already committed to ESPN for the next decade. The SEC is effectively getting a large bump in the rights fees that they had already sold off. If the SEC were on the open market, they absolutely would have demanded an equity stake.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Frank, it’s not at all like getting $100M added to the endowment of all of these schools. Those “assets” are tied down and the schools don’t see a penny from them. Unless they actually sell the network, the University of Illinois will not have one penny added to their endowment from their stake in the Big Ten Network.

            Would the SEC trade places with the Big Ten as far as media rights? I really don’t think so. I think the SEC sees the value in partnering with the biggest brand in sports. They’re already seeing what that brings with it.

            Let’s not forget that the entire reason the Big Ten created the BTN was because ABC/ESPN/Disney didn’t want to pay what the Big Ten was asking. So we already know for a fact that they couldn’t get the deal the SEC just got. Seems like the SEC likes it just fine.

            It’s looking very likely that the SEC Network will make considerably mroe than the Big Ten Network. And unless the Big Ten member schools sell of their stake in that network for some reason (which would presumably reduce their annual profit shares going forward), I don’t see any monetary benefit in ownership. Perhaps there’s some content-control benefit, for whatever that’s worth. In that case the SEC just has to trust that ESPN will do the right thing as far as content and advertising.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “Let’s not forget that the entire reason the Big Ten created the BTN was because ABC/ESPN/Disney didn’t want to pay what the Big Ten was asking. So we already know for a fact that they couldn’t get the deal the SEC just got. Seems like the SEC likes it just fine.”

            LOL. That was 9 years ago, and the success of BTN is the only reason there even is a SECN. So we don’t actually know as a fact that the B1G could not get the deal the SC just got, because the B1G created the space in the first place that made the SEC’s deal possible.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Alright. Well, just as Frank asserts that the SEC would want the B1G’s deal if they could get it, I would assert the opposite. I think if the Big Ten could get this sweet of a deal with ESPN they would have taken it. They started the BTN because they couldn’t get a sweet deal from ESPN/ABC.

            Like

          • Kevin says:

            @Andy. What makes you think the SEC deal is so sweet? The Big Ten’s deal is supposedly similar in profit sharing but the Big Ten has a rights fee on top. I would suspect in 10 years the Big Ten’s payout from it’s conference network will be similar or more than the SEC’s payout.

            Like

          • @Andy – Your timeline is backwards. The “sweet deal” that the SEC received back in 2008 from ESPN was specifically because Disney was mortified that the SEC would start its own network like the Big Ten. John Skipper of ESPN has said that it was a bad mistake that his predecessor didn’t offer enough and allowed the BTN to be created. Regardless, ESPN will be paying plenty for the Big Ten first tier rights in a couple of years. ESPN actually has the non-CBS SEC rights at a relative bargain basement price for the next decade. The SEC Network is only allowing the SEC to catch up to the TV revenue that the Big Ten has been enjoying for several years already (until the Big Ten blows those numbers out of the water again with new first tier TV deals in a couple of years).

            Like

          • Also, it’s absolutely ridiculous to think that an equity stake worth tens of millions of dollars or upwards of $100 million is meaningless just because you can’t realize the gains until you sell it. What?! Does that mean $100 million worth of stock is meaningless to a school because they can’t convert it to cash until they sell it? $100 million worth of real estate? A patent owned by the school worth $100 million? I hope that you’re not in finance.

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          • Andy says:

            The SEC Network is in more homes at a substantially higher dollar amount per home, and is getting much, much higher promotion than the BTN ever has. Time will tell but it sure looks like the SEC Network will make considerably more money than the BTN. Big Ten schools can hang their hat on “ownership” if they choose to do so, but I don’t see any way they see one dime from that “ownership”, so for all purposes it may as well not exist.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank – as I wrote several months ago, the SEC’s priorities have never been ownership. The conference owns nothing, not even the building in which its offices are housed. The conference is certainly interested in money, but its more interested in exposure. All the schools make up for whatever money they may have left on the TV table by required seat donations.

            Unless I’m missing something, the main value of any regional or conference sports network is programming. At the end of the SEC/ESPN deal to carry/operate the SECN, the SEC will still own the programming rights. All the SEC schools have either installed of upgraded their media facilities as part of the SECN at their expense. ESPN does own the main studios in Charlotte.

            I’m not trying to be argumentative and maybe I’m missing something, but when the B1G/Fox deal expires what will the B1G’s “equity share” include besides future programming?

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Alan:

            Obviously not Frank, and am guessing as to facilities that fox may have that would possibly revert to the B1G. However your point about media rights is primary. The SECN is a media rights deal that requires p purchaser (ESPN in this case) who then, at a not insignificant profit, resells to a distributor. For the BTN upon expiration a middle man is not required. The network is owned by the same as own the content. Does having a partner like Fox make the network more than twice as valuable? Not that it would happen, but what if ESPN decides to not renew? I did note in another post a couple months ago that the SEC schools were in fact investing in infrastructure that one day could be the foundation of a conference owned network. The possibility (and the reality in other conferences) certainly is an incentive to not lowball bids, or pay enough to prevent another conference network competing in the college sports broadcast arena. (or influence the makeup of that arena. LHN?)

            This whole discussion spun off of a mention of the rumored 50/50 split. I noted that the PAC commish had differentiated the SECN from the BTN describing it as a “massive media rights fee” as opposed to a “roughly 50/50 joint venture.”

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            Alan:

            When the Fox-BTN deal ends in 2032, the B1G will become 100% owners of the network.

            Should the ESPN/SEC deal end, I’m not sure who owns the copyrights to the old broadcasts or past programming . The SEC would be a free agent though, and assuming it maintains it’s present strength, could realize a substantial price increase from another network (Fox?) who would want to partner in a new SECN.

            This assumes cable tv operates as it does now on 20 years. Not a guarantee by any means.

            Andy: Look up the Mets and SNY for a lesson in the value of an ownership stake in a network. The Mets have borrowed hundreds of millions against SNY for operating expenses. That’s one way ownership equity is realized-by borrowing against it.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            “Not that it would happen, but what if…” LOL @ ccrider. That’s your argument in a nutshell right there.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Wainscott if you honestly believe that the Big Ten is ever going to sell its network to somebody and make billions of dollars then I’ve got a conference network to sell you…

            This example with the Mets is 100% irrelevant.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “Wainscott if you honestly believe that the Big Ten is ever going to sell its network to somebody and make billions of dollars then I’ve got a conference network to sell you…”

            Apparently your reading comprehension skills are rusty. I was giving an example of how one could monetize an asset without selling it. Stated nothing about my belief of how much the BTN would fetch if sold.

            “This example with the Mets is 100% irrelevant.”

            Except that its an example of a team monetizing its own channel without selling it.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            So you’re excited about Big Ten schools theoretically having a little bit more to borrow against, eh? How much do these schools need to borrow, anyway? They’re already multi-billion dollar institutions with multi-billion dollar budgets overall, and $85-120M in annual athletics revenue and hundreds of millions in athletics assets. Not to mention state governments backing them. You really think they can’t already borrow as much as they would need to without this? How often does a school need to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for athletics? Because that’s the only scenario where what you’re saying would matter one iota. So again, the argument comes down to “Not that it would happen, but what if…”

            Like

          • Kevin says:

            Ownership has mattered when adding schools. It has allowed the legacy conference members to get increased distribution payouts during the “buy-in” phase. We don’t know what the terms are for the SECN relative to the SEC. If they truly have a profit split or profits interest they effectively have implicit ownership.

            It is more likely that their agreement is set up as a “media rights” deal that pays distributions to the SEC based on profit hurdles of the SECN.

            If it was truly a profits interest it would essentially have similar economic rights as ownership. Other than of course buying or selling a present value of their economic interest.

            Like

          • @Andy – I actually think you make some good points here at times and are certainly passionate, but on this particular issue, you’re dead wrong and completely losing any semblance of objectivity. If the SEC were truly on the open market today like the Big Ten was in 2006 (when it made the decision to create the BTN), they would absolutely, 100% have demanded a large equity ownership stake in the SEC Network. That’s what the Big Ten wanted from Fox. That’s what the NFL wanted when it created the NFL Network. That’s what the Yankees wanted when it created YES. That’s what the Lakers wanted when it created the new Time Warner network in LA. That’s what effectively every large market MLB team that has had a new regional sports network deal come up over the past several years has wanted (including the Dodgers, Mets, Giants, Phillies, Red Sox, Cubs and White Sox) and many of them want even MORE equity when their current deals expire (see the Cubs) or are itching for the moment when they have the ability to obtain such equity (see the Braves). A very large rights fee wasn’t good enough for any of those entities – if they were truly on the open market, they all demanded and received equity stakes as a central part of their TV deals.

            The issue for the SEC was that their TV rights were already sold off to ESPN, so they weren’t ever on the open market. As a result, they had no leverage at all to demand any equity like every single sports entity that I listed above. You’re acting like the SEC had some type of choice to ask for equity from ESPN and made to the decision to pass on it, which is simply NOT true. They never had the choice at all.

            Now, if the SEC truly has a 50/50 profit sharing deal with ESPN, then that’s absolutely a great financial deal for the SEC and kudos for Mike Slive for negotiating that outcome. I’m not disputing that. The SEC will get paid and it’s possible that they may actually make more TV revenue than the Big Ten. However, that still doesn’t mean that they preferred that to having equity, considering that the most valuable sports league (NFL), the most valuable MLB team (the Yankees), the most valuable NBA team (the Lakers) and the SEC’s biggest financial competitor in college sports (the Big Ten) ALL explicitly obtained significantly valuable equity stakes in their respective networks ON TOP of massive annual rights fees when they were on the open market. This wasn’t some type of either/or proposition – all of those entities are getting the massive rights PLUS equity in assets worth billions of dollars. It continues to blow my mind that you consider large equity stakes in networks that are literally worth billions of dollars to be insignificant. This is one issue where your SEC-colored glasses are legitimately getting the best of you. The SEC might have made the best of the options *available* to them, but the point is that the equity option didn’t exist to them in the first place.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            ” So again, the argument comes down to “Not that it would happen, but what if…””

            Its not an argument, its a demonstration of one potential benefit of ownership. Whether or not schools would do it is separate from a mere example.

            Only time will tell if full ownership (Pac12), half ownership (B1G) or no ownership and 50% of profits (SEC) will be the most lucrative. Jury is out and will be out for a while.

            “So you’re excited about Big Ten schools theoretically having a little bit more to borrow against, eh? ”

            Would love to see how listing a potential ownership benefit translates into “excitement”

            “How much do these schools need to borrow, anyway?”

            I have no idea. I don’t work in university finance.

            “They’re already multi-billion dollar institutions with multi-billion dollar budgets overall, and $85-120M in annual athletics revenue and hundreds of millions in athletics assets.”

            Billion dollar corporations routinely borrow, especially now with interest rates so low. Apple has $160 billion (NOT A TYPO) in cash on hand. and did two bond sales in the last 2 years totaling almost $30 billion (not a typo).

            GE uses short term debt to fund regular expenses because money is so cheap. GE!

            So yes, multi-billion dollar institutions with multi-billion dollar budgets are always looking to monetize assets.

            “Not to mention state governments backing them.”

            Such support is only decreasing. Hence the rise in tuition.

            “You really think they can’t already borrow as much as they would need to without this?”

            Maybe they could, but this is just another potential asset.

            “How often does a school need to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for athletics?”

            Considering numerous schools return some profits back to the university, it would be a means for the school, of which the athletics department is a part, could potentially generate additional returns without raising tuition or begging for state aid that likely isn’t coming.

            “Because that’s the only scenario where what you’re saying would matter one iota.”

            Not quite.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            So in other words, “we know it won’t happen, but what if…”

            If you have to stretch your imaginiation into extremely unlikely scenarios to find a benefit then it’s not much of a benefit.

            Like

          • @Andy – It’s not a stretch. The Yankees, for example, sold off their stake in YES to Fox earlier this year for at least a couple of billion dollars. Previous to that, it had the exact same 51/49 ownership structure that Fox has with the BTN. Once again, the Yankees, who are the most valuable sports franchise in the US outside of the Dallas Cowboys, are actually worth LESS than the YES Network. That should tell you how much sports network valuations are these days. Fox and others may very well offer a lot of money to buy out their partners. That doesn’t mean that the Big Ten will accept those offers, but just like real estate, if the offer is so high that you can’t pass it up, then it could happen. The New York Yankees were willing to give up control of their network to Fox for a massive wad of cash, so who knows. At least the Big Ten has that option in its pocket (which, once again, are ON TOP of rights fees as opposed to in lieu of them as you have suggested).

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            “If you have to stretch your imaginiation into extremely unlikely scenarios to find a benefit then it’s not much of a benefit.”

            Just because you cannot comprehend it does not make it “extremely unlikely”.

            And I’m not discussing scenarios, just one potential benefit of owning a conference network. There are others.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            We don’t know quite what the deal is. I’m pretty sure its not a fixed rights fee. I’ve seen on more than one occasion an AD or president make the comment that they don’t know quite what to budget for the SECN this year. Its obviously some sort of profit deal.

            And Texas didn’t get true “equity.” Of course, they do have a 70% interest in profits if and when they reach a certain amount of cumulative profits ($295 million I believe was the figure.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I think you are imagining a difference that isn’t really there.

            How much is the SEC Network worth to ESPN in 2035 if the SEC decides they don’t want to renew with ESPN? There’s virtually no value without the conference rights. If you “sell” your share of the network, you are really agreeing to stay on the network for an extended period and simply selling some of your future cash flow.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Frank, it’s one thing for one pro franchise and one owner to sell of his tv rights, it’s another for a collection of 14 state universities to do the same and split the process fourteen ways. Just way more complicated. Its extremely unlikely. And even if it did happen, that would mean the end of the BTN revenue stream for the Big Ten, and it would presumably tie the Big Ten down to the BTN with no option of leaving and zero revenue coming in, otherwise why would Fox buy out the Big Ten’s share? What would be in it for them? And I’m not saying that this ownership stake is in lieu of rights fees. I’m saying that the Big Ten’s partnership with Fox is likely worth a lot less than the SEC’s partnership with ESPN, but because the Big Ten is tied down with this 51% ownership of the BTN with Fox, they aren’t able to shop themselves around and join up with a better partner in ESPN, so they will likely lose out on annual revenue compared to the SEC.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            bullet gets it exactly right with his last post. explained it better than I did.

            Like

      • Kevin says:

        Just a FYI, here in Milwaukee (I have Time Warner Cable) and I am now getting the SECN. It is only available in Standard Definition and not in HD. It is buried near the BTN overflow channels and the PAC12 which its only available via sports tiers.

        Like

        • Wainscott says:

          When someone living in Milwaukee says BTN, is it the Beer Television Network, the Bratwurst Television Network, or the Big Ten Network?

          Like

        • SEC Network is on channel 611 on DirecTV. (BTN is on channel 610.) I have the Choice Package. In my very limited viewing so far, I’ll give credit that it does look like ESPN put some legit production value investment into the network. Studio hosts seem fairly good, although that’s one area where the BTN has been very strong with Dave Revsine and Gerry DiNardo. It would be impressive if the SEC Network actually has a permanent reporter at every school, but I’m not sure if that will be the case or if it’s just a showcase for the first night (as they’ve used some national ESPN and SportsCenter guys for reporting that I can’t see them doing very much).

          One thing that I’ve noticed is that the SEC Network will be broadcasting the Kentucky basketball overseas games in the Bahamas this week, which is something that I’ve long wanted the BTN to do with its basketball teams when they take foreign trips. It’s solid summer programming during an otherwise completely dead time of year for a college network that would draw some interest considering the strength of our basketball fan bases.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            It would be impressive if the SEC Network actually has a permanent reporter at every school, but I’m not sure if that will be the case or if it’s just a showcase for the first night (as they’ve used some national ESPN and SportsCenter guys for reporting that I can’t see them doing very much).

            Seems I read somewhere each school had to make financial commitments to on site as part of the SECN deal so it would appear each school may indeed have a full time local reporter. The more interesting thing is they appeared to be mostly young females so ESPN can cater to the young male audience demographics. If so it was a pretty smart marketing move.

            One thing that I’ve noticed is that the SEC Network will be broadcasting the Kentucky basketball overseas games in the Bahamas this week, which is something that I’ve long wanted the BTN to do with its basketball teams when they take foreign trips. It’s solid summer programming during an otherwise completely dead time of year for a college network that would draw some interest considering the strength of our basketball fan bases.

            Smart move indeed as it seemed they had some exhibition soccer games pre football as well. With the B1G’s dominance of volleyball last year in the NCAA’s maybe a good move by the BTN would be several exhibition volleyball games in the dead parts of summer to provide some live programming.

            Like

  50. ccrider55 says:

    …this morning Dan Patrick asked Finebaum who the playoff #5 team will be…

    I’m so glad we expanded. It solved any controversy…

    Like

    • Wainscott says:

      Did anyone ever argue a 4 team playoff would be devoid of any controversy?

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        It was said anyone with legitimate claim to #1 would be included. Now, before the season even begins, a well respected national sports show is already setting the narrative as who will be left out (4 vs 5). The media push to eight hasn’t even waited for the first four selections to promote a speculative problem.

        Like

        • Wainscott says:

          It was created with everyone aware that 4 vs 5 would be the hot debate.

          Like

        • @ccrider55 – I do think there are natural reasons why the debate is already occurring:

          (1) By simple math, at least one of the power conference champs is guaranteed to be left out of the 4-team playoff. A lot of people (including me) have a problem with this because winning your conference is pretty much the only thing in college football that can be solely determined on the field without the use of opinion polls or committees. Teams only have so much control over who they schedule as non-conference opponents, their strength of schedule (as a great opponent one season can turn into a terrible opponent the next season) or where they’re ranked in the preseason, but conference championships are objectively verified on the field. I don’t think there’s a wide desire to give auto-bids to the Group of 5 conferences, but there’s definitely going to be a continual push for expansion of the playoffs to at least include all 5 power conference champs (which naturally leads to an 8-team setup).

          (2) There’s also a recency argument since a lot of people recognize that last season would have been a hellish scenario for the selection committee for the 4-team playoff. It was one of those years where determining #1 vs. #2 was actually much easier than determining a top 4. Should Alabama have been let into the 4-team playoff over the Big Ten, Pac-12 and/or Big 12 champs? Was 1-loss Big Ten champ Michigan State more worthy of a spot than 1-loss Big 12 champ Baylor? If you’re talking about choosing the “best” team, should 2-loss Pac-12 champ Stanford have taken the #4 spot since they could have very well been favored in hypothetical matchups against both MSU and Baylor? Ohio State had their one loss in the Big Ten championship game – why did they get docked much more in the rankings compared to Alabama, who didn’t even win their division?

          For many years, college football fans were comfortable with the notion of subjectivity determining championships, but that’s simply going to be less and less popular of a position. Fans are generally much more bothered when a worthy team is shut out of a chance for the championship on a subjective basis than letting in an “unworthy” team in once in awhile on an objective basis. As long as the “unworthy” team got into the playoff by some type of objective standard (i.e. winning a conference championship), then that’s a lot more justified in people’s minds.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Completely understand and agree. I guess my complaint is we seem to have drama discussion for the most part rather than sports commentary. They couldn’t even wait for the new system to start, let alone yield results (which very well may have 4/5 issues).

            On the subject of broadcast platforms, I’m less and less concerned with the perceived differences in network broadcasts. I am entertained by the sport. The presentation is window dressing. The entertainment wing has coopted sports. Remember when you could watch a play develope in a single camera angle? Now we have personal portrait shots all the time. I understood tha need for some close ups when 19″ TV’s were the norm. But on 48″+ screens? show the play (hint: in involves most of the team). And if I automatically change stations (radio or TV) with first mention of Manziel that’s anything more than describing actual play (again: drama and entertainment promotion).

            Sorry to rant. I just want content and competent announcers. I do have a mute button, but then the croud noise is gone.

            Like

          • @ccrider55 – Personally, I don’t really care about the announcers one way or the other on broadcasts. I roll my eyes whenever I see suggestions that “Getting rid of Announcer X!” is the key to drawing more viewers. If I’m interested in the game, then I’m going to watch that game regardless of who is calling it. However, I very much care about the overall production values – big games should *look* like big events and that takes a lot of capital investment (just like big movies shouldn’t be recorded using iPhone cameras). CBS and ABC/ESPN do a great job on that front with college football, but Fox doesn’t seem to hold up with them. It’s not that Fox is incapable because I think they do a fine job with both the NFL and MLB. This probably matters even more for the second tier games. I feel like the 11 am Central Time Big Ten game on ESPN still looks like a major event because the network provides great production values, whereas I don’t think the same feeling would be there if that same game was on at the same time on FS1. It’s important to sports leagues (whether pro or college) because that absolutely reflects on the perception of their product by general viewers.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            “For many years, college football fans were comfortable with the notion of subjectivity determining championships, but that’s simply going to be less and less popular of a position.”

            How is this new system less subjective? It’s a group of people in a room picking 4 teams for any reason they want. The end result is just a weakly determined champ of a 4 team tournament (play the games 10 times – how many times does the same team win the title?).

            For all its flaws, at least the BCS added a measure of objectivity with the computer polls.

            “Fans are generally much more bothered when a worthy team is shut out of a chance for the championship on a subjective basis than letting in an “unworthy” team in once in awhile on an objective basis.”

            No, fans are bothered when their team is left out. If it was objective, then they bemoan the lack of subjectivity that humans could bring to make the obviously correct decision. If it was subjective, then they bemoan the lack of objectivity that would have made the obviously correct decision. Fans don’t agree on who is worthy, and plenty of them complain about unworthy teams being given a chance.

            “As long as the “unworthy” team got into the playoff by some type of objective standard (i.e. winning a conference championship), then that’s a lot more justified in people’s minds.”

            That’s not the reaction I recall to some bad BE champs making the BCS, and that wasn’t a playoff spot.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            “@ccrider55 – Personally, I don’t really care about the announcers one way or the other on broadcasts. I roll my eyes whenever I see suggestions that “Getting rid of Announcer X!” is the key to drawing more viewers. If I’m interested in the game, then I’m going to watch that game regardless of who is calling it.”

            That’s you. Not everyone feels the same way. I will most definitely not watch a game if I hate the announcers. At best I’ll watch on mute, but then your attention tends to wander so I’ll generally just check the score every so often. Musburger drove me away from prime time games and Gus Johnson makes the B10 CCG unwatchable. There is literally nothing I would watch with Berman covering it (luckily he sticks to the NFL mostly).

            “CBS and ABC/ESPN do a great job on that front with college football, but Fox doesn’t seem to hold up with them. It’s not that Fox is incapable because I think they do a fine job with both the NFL and MLB.”

            I think Fox lacks people in touch with CFB. CFB fans expect something different than fans of other sports and I’m not sure their producers have that feel yet.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Unless it was a Texas or Georgia game or a bowl game, I would not watch with Musberger. And I would really have to want to see the bowl game.

            Like

          • m(Ag) says:

            “winning your conference is pretty much the only thing in college football that can be solely determined on the field without the use of opinion polls or committees”

            There will still be times we have 2 or 3 teams tied for a division championship (or overall championship, in the case of the Big 12). The tiebreakers don’t necessarily pick the best team.

            In fact, I’m wondering what the new tiebreakers are. Oftentimes a 3-way tie was only broken by BCS standings. I remember talk last year that new tiebreakers needed to be added by some conferences, but I haven’t read anything about that during the offseason.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        Wainscott,

        “Did anyone ever argue a 4 team playoff would be devoid of any controversy?”

        Probably. Lots of people argued that the controversy would be much less.

        Like

        • Wainscott says:

          I don’t recall any arguments that there would be less controversy, only that the nature of the controversy would shift from #1 vs #2 to #4 vs #5.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Wainscott,

            “I don’t recall any arguments that there would be less controversy, only that the nature of the controversy would shift from #1 vs #2 to #4 vs #5.”

            The implication (when it wasn’t stated outright) was that the controversy is less important because it’s for 4th place and not 2nd (as with the frequent comparisons to the NCAA tourney and #36 at-large vs #37). That’s less controversy to me.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            Are using less in quantity of the controversy or the degree or the controversy? Because you seem to be referencing the degree (4 vs. 5 not the same as 1 vs 2), where I was referencing the quantity (the same amount of debate between 1/2 vs 4/5.

            A 4 team playoff was always going to have controversy. Whether you consider 4/5 a lesser debate vs 1/2 is a different issue.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I don’t see how you can realistically separate the two. The amount of controversy increases with the degree of the controversy. If there’s a lesser degree, then fewer people care, people argue less vehemently and there’s less controversy.

            Like

        • Wainscott says:

          But that’s not actually true, as people will fixate on a different aspect just as vehemently. Indeed, the playoff was never designed to eliminate controversy, only to shift it’s focus. That you may not personally think the stakes are as high does not as a result end all debate on 4/5.

          Like

  51. Penn State Danny says:

    Frank: question for your next blog:

    IF college football does expand to 8 teams, which is more likely:

    a) the quarterfinals being played on the first Saturday of bowl season (either on campus or at 2nd tier bowl sites) , followed by the semis on NYD or NYE and the finals a week to ten days after.

    b) the quarterfinals being played on BOTH NYE and NYD, the semis a week or so after that and the finals a week or so after the semis.

    My gut reaction is choice “a”. However, I think the public is going to fall in love with the New Year’s binge and want 4 meaningful games over the holiday..not just two.

    Like

  52. urbanleftbehind says:

    “I roll my eyes whenever I see suggestions that “Getting rid of Announcer X!” is the key to drawing more viewers.”

    Does that sentiment apply to the Hawkeroo?

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Tom Osborne was in Bob Devaney’s shadow for decades. Frank Leahy I don’t consider an unknown either. Not sure I would put Fielding Yost in their either.

      Dana Bible is well known in the Southwest, but may fit in this list. He was very important to Nebraska, Texas A&M and Texas.

      Like

  53. Brian says:

    http://www.fbschedules.com/2014/08/ohio-state-north-carolina-cancel-2017-18-football-series/

    OSU and UNC cancelled their home and home in 2017-8. The shift to a 9 game schedule was blamed. UNC replaced OSU with Cal already. The rumor is OSU has a team lined up as well and it will be announced soon.

    OSU still has OU in 2017 and TCU in 2018.

    Like

  54. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/college-football/story/_/id/11350227/venric-mark-northwestern-set-transfer

    Venric Mark is transferring from NW. This after he just said he’d accept his 2 game suspension for breaking team rules.

    A news release stated Mark, an All-America punt returner and second-team All-Big Ten running back in 2012, is transferring because of personal reasons to play closer to his home in Houston. Mark learned of his university-issued suspension in June and appealed, but told reporters Tuesday, “There’s no point in pouting. I’m going to embrace it.”

    New developments that surfaced earlier this week prompted Mark’s decision to transfer, a source told ESPN.com. He missed most of the 2013 season with leg injuries but received an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA.

    Coach Pat Fitzgerald added: “We love him, and there is no doubt that we’re going to miss him as both a person and player. But this is unquestionably what is best for Venric and those closest to him.”

    How much does this hurt NW this year?

    Like

  55. Wainscott says:

    FS1 to air a pregame show at midnight on Saturday morning. I’d post a link to the announcement but wordpress does not like Fox links for some reason.

    Like

  56. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/11347961/how-cfb-playoff-committee-learn-past

    Objective (based on an ESPN stat) versus subjective (eye test) playoff brackets for the past 10 seasons, and discussions of the issues the committee would have faced.

    Like

    • Wainscott says:

      Of all of those, 2005 stands out at what would have been an absolute dream for the playoff: USC, Texas, OSU, & PSU. The brands, the geographical location and power of each school. The then-beloved Paterno back in the spotlight after a few seasons rough patch, a stacked USC, VY lighting up CFB, and OSU as well. That would have been something.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Issues:
      2004 – Undefeated Utah (beat no ranked teams) or 1-loss UT that only lost to #2 OU
      2005 – none
      2006 – Humans and computers only agree on 2 of 4.
      2007 – Humans and computers only agree on 2 of 4.
      2008 – 3 undefeated teams left out
      2009 – 2 undefeated non-AQs (with impressive wins) versus 1-loss SEC champ
      2010 – 1 undefeated, multiple 1-loss champs/co-champs and a 2-loss champ for 2 spots
      2011 – none because USC had a post-season ban
      2012 – 3 P5 1-loss teams for the last spot
      2013 – none

      Like

      • bullet says:

        2012-one person’s “eye” test. The mock committee CNNSI put together didn’t even include Kansas St. in its top 8 because of its “bad” loss to Baylor. “Bad” losses seemed to be pretty important to that group.

        Like

  57. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/11353432/college-football-playoff-selection-committee-announces-recusal-policy

    The full recusal list is out, plus the committee went through mock exercises of doing the whole process of seeding teams (presumably from previous years).

    Like

  58. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Mediacom to carry the SECN.

    http://secsports.go.com/article/11354530/mediacom-carry-sec-network

    “Mediacom Communications Corporation is the nation’s eighth largest cable television company and one of the leading cable operators focused on serving the smaller cities in the United States, with a significant customer concentration in the Midwestern and Southeastern regions.”

    Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      From the link above.

      “Mike Slive, Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference said, “We are pleased to have Mediacom join the SEC Network in advance of our launch on Thursday. Mediacom customers, which include viewers in seven SEC states, join more than 90 million homes with access to the Network.””

      Like

      • Andy says:

        That just leaves Verizon. I’ve heard Verizon should come on board soon.

        Like

        • duffman says:

          Now that everybody has a network does anybody have an updated penetration and revenue composite? Say total homes / footprint revenue / non footprint revenue / ad revenue. From observation it seems like the B1G and the SECN will be putting some real distance from the ACC. B12, and PAC.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            There are three networks. One a day old that we have no certainty as to its financial arrangement (other than it will make money). One that turns two today. And the one that blazed the trail.

            Until the B1G new T1 and payouts from SECN arrive the PAC should be include with, or just behind those two.

            http://www.jconline.com/story/mike-carmin/2014/05/17/big-ten-remains-no-1-revenue/9207957/

            Like

          • Tim Horton says:

            If you go by the Sport Business Journal’s reported rate cards, the SEC is making $1.40 per household within the footprint and $0.25 outside of it. Of course they might not be getting the full rates with every provider, but I would bet that they are getting full rate or very close to full rate within the footprint given the rabid SEC following.

            The SEC has ~27 million cable/satellite households within their footprint, which implies annual cable rate revenue of ~$455 million from SEC country.

            Out of footprint revenue is harder to predict since SECN will be on a premium cable package, but of the ~63 million cable/satellite households (~90 million households with SECN availability less the ~27 million inside the SEC footprint), maybe we assume that half will have a premium package and therefore pay the SECN rate of $0.25 (again, could be less than that, but out of footprint is small potatoes anyways), implying an additional ~$95 million of cable rate revenue, with total cable rate revenue of ~$550 million.

            Add in some advertising revenue (1/3 – 1/2 of cable rate revenue?) and you get maybe an additional $180-280 million. So you are at roughly $750 million in total annual revenue.

            Now of course that is just revenue and there will be costs to operate the channel. The LHN contract assumed $15 million in production costs and $11 million in overhead. SECN would obviously be higher than that, but it probably wouldn’t be that much x 14 schools.

            It has been assumed that ESPN and SEC will split the profits 50/50, but that is just an estimate.

            Like

          • Wainscott says:

            @Tim-

            Nice analysis.

            Overhead costs are a real wildcard, as I read that ESPN and SEC will each get 50% of the net profits. Take the $750 mil figure, I simply cannot guess how much the net would be. A few years back, the BTN had $242m in revenue and $79 mil in profits (http://www.stltoday.com/sports/college/illini/big-ten-network-had-record-revenue-in/article_e05a998c-a390-11e1-99b2-001a4bcf6878.html ). Would a similar ratio be fair to apply here? Factor in not only the hard costs (studios, wiring, school facilities) but also the on-air talent, production costs, and the like. Any accountants on here know of a standard ration for calculating profits?

            Also, advertising rates also is a wildcard, as the advertising money pales to that of carriage fees. Especially outside of football.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            It’s going to be closer to 100M than 90M within a week or so once Verizon comes on board.

            Let’s say pessimistically ad revenue is only 15%, so $690M total. Let’s say, very conservatively, that operational costs are about 40%. So then we’re down to $414M. Split that 50/50 it’s $207M. Divided by 14 is $14.8M, added to the $21M that SEC schools make now gets you to about $36M. The new playoffs should mean at least another $2M per school for the SEC. So $38M is probably on the low end of what SEC skills should get once the SEC Network gets going. High end is probably more like $48M.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Tim Horton
            If you want to do some calculations, the BTN is available in 90 million households but actually subscribed in around 57 million.

            Note that not everyone in the footprint will have the channel. These channels aren’t on the very basic package and often aren’t on the 2nd level package. You don’t have to get the sportspak, but you often have to get the 3rd level package.

            Like

          • @bullet – Yes, I think that “available households” figure that, to be fair, both the BTN and SEC Network have used quite a bit in its press releases and media interviews is quite misleading. Contrary to the bloviations from both conferences, neither the BTN nor SEC Network are actually subscribed in 90 million households (unlike ESPN, TNT, CNN, etc.). It appears to be generally the same setup of a very high subscriber fee within their respective geographic footprints and then a very low subscriber fee and/or relegation to the sports pack outside of those footprints.

            Ultimately, all the arguments between the Big Ten people here and the SEC guys like Andy are probably irrelevant in the large scheme of things. The BTN and SEC Network look like they’re getting high fee subscriptions in similarly-sized geographic footprints with similar low fee availability outside of those footprints and, in turn, will likely churn out about the same amount of annual revenue. I do think the equity ownership matters quite a bit, though – there’s a reason why every single sports entity that has had the power to demand it since the creation of YES and the BTN has done so.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            That’s right, Frank, wave your hand away dismissively at $1.40 per household vs $1.00 per household in footpring and $0.25 per household vs. $0.10 per household outside of footprint. Basically the same, right? 40% higher and 250% higher, basically the same? Looks like thanks to partnering with Disney/ESPN, the SEC Network will be in more households as well. Like I said, I’m using Comcast Bay Area mid tier and I get the SEC Network, but would have to subscribe to a higher tier and pay another $20 per month to get the BTN.

            No, it’s not the same.

            Like

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            Ban the Andytroll, FtT. He can’t be polite even to you.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            yep, buckeye, you can’t handle the truth so just go ahead and ban me instead.

            Like

  59. urbanleftbehind says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Could this man’s former employer be the first “dropped school” of the P5 Autonomy era?

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/24656518/jim-grobe-regrets-not-taking-nebraska-job-staying-at-wake-forest

    Lots of sour grape in that article by Mr. Grobe.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      I thought he sounded more upset with himself than anyone else.

      Like

    • vp19 says:

      I can’t imagine any school in the P5 will be dropped — but if one does, it will be a small private institution such as Wake that traditionally doesn’t draw well for football, not a public university.