March Madness Big Ten Rundown: Hockey Expansion Talk with Arizona State and New TV Contract

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

After a long Chicagoland winter that included coaching my twins (and future hopes and saviors for the Illini men’s and women’s basketball programs) in the Naperville YMCA Kindergarten Basketball League, it’s time to get back to blogging. Fortunately, not much has occurred on the conference realignment scene since December when the Big 12 was coming right off of the sting of being left out of the College Football Playoff. After some expansion rumors that included Cincinnati and Memphis, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and his conference brethren have a long string of denials about any desire or need to expand. Personally, I don’t believe them – I think the Big 12 is fully aware that they need to expand for the long-term. Whether the Big 12 has any consensus on who they should expand with is an entirely different matter, particularly when those additions will need to come from the pool of non-power schools.

Interestingly enough, the latest expansion scuttlebutt is coming from the Big Ten. Granted, it’s only for hockey, but it’s still an intriguing indicator for the Big Ten’s overall plans (as you’ll see further down in this post). The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an in-depth article last week about how Penn State’s successful start to its hockey program is spurring schools across the Big Ten and the rest of the country to consider adding the sport. Arizona State recently announced that it will be starting a Division I hockey program… and according to the Star Tribune, the Sun Devils have been speaking to the Big Ten about its conference home on the ice:

Arizona State and the Big Ten both confirmed they’ve discussed a hockey future together. An outside school competing in one Big Ten sport already occurs in men’s lacrosse with Johns Hopkins.

Two other conferences with a major presence in the Midwest, the WCHA and the NCHC, are also engaged in conversations with the Sun Devils.

“I think being in a conference with like institutions is important,” [Big Ten Associate Commissioner Jennifer] Heppel said. “[Arizona State] is going to have to think about that from an institutional and sport perspective. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have a historic relationship.”

Heppel oversees men’s hockey for the Big Ten, so her on-the-record quotes directly about Arizona State indicate that this isn’t a fly-by-night rumor.

My knee-jerk reaction: Sounds good to me. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has said before that the Phoenix market is actually home to more Big Ten alums than Pac-12 alums. If you’ve ever visited the Phoenix/Scottsdale area (particularly in the winter and spring), you could certainly believe it with the overwhelming number of Midwestern transplants and retirees (even compared to other Sun Belt locations like Florida). Phoenix/Scottsdale is to Chicago snowbirds as Miami/Ft. Lauderdale is to New York City snowbirds. Arizona State isn’t an AAU institution as of now, but it’s one of the largest universities in the country with respected graduate programs (even with the party school and Girls Gone Wild reputations of its undergrad population). Plus, the fact that Arizona State is in the Big Ten’s brother of the Pac-12 makes a bit easier to envision the Sun Devils as a hockey member compared to, say, Notre Dame.

At the same time, the Big Ten has the opportunity to make this into a broader relationship beyond hockey. For example, imagine if Arizona State commits to playing 1 or 2 Big Ten football teams per year, 2 to 3 non-conference basketball games, and several non-conference baseball games (where the Big Ten legitimately needs help from a powerhouse in that sport like ASU). That’s not a huge commitment from either Arizona State (and they may have wanted to schedule those types of non-conference games on their own, anyway) or the Big Ten, yet it starts building a more in-depth presence in the Phoenix area, which is a key market for Big Ten alums.

A related consideration is if other Big Ten schools will start adding hockey to further grow the league organically. If I had $100 million to spare, I’d start up an Illinois hockey program tomorrow. Alas, I don’t have that type of coin laying around and it doesn’t appear to be coming from other possible benefactors (such as the rumored interest of Jimmy John Liautaud, who is the founder of Jimmy John’s). This is unfortunate since the Illini hockey club has performed well for decades along with having a passionate fan base and that could be supercharged if it turned into the only Division I hockey program in the state of Illinois. Alas, Illinois has everything that it needs from a competition and fan base standpoint to support hockey, but none of the financial support right now.

Instead, from what I’ve heard for at least the past year, Nebraska is by far the closest to jumping up to Division I hockey. The Cornhuskers’ new Pinnacle Bank Arena has icemaking capabilities and the school is also opening a new separate ice arena that can easily be used as a practice facility. Since Nebraska has the expensive physical facilities in place already, they’ve already fought the vast majority of the battle in starting a program. Nebraska has a top tier fundraising operation, as well, so they can get the money into place once they’re given the green light. There have been rumblings about Northwestern, Indiana and Iowa looking at hockey, but if you’re a betting person, you should wager heavily on Nebraska as the next existing Big Ten school to add the sport.

What does this mean for Big Ten fans that don’t care about college hockey? Well, one open question is whether the possibility of Arizona State joining the Big Ten hockey league means that it will blow open the door for more affiliate Big Ten members in hockey or other sports. From my vantage point, not necessarily. Just as Johns Hopkins was a special case as a Big Ten affiliate in being an academic and men’s lacrosse powerhouse, Arizona State hits a lot of metrics for the Big Ten in terms of being in the Phoenix market and a friendly Pac-12 for other sports that don’t exist for other members. Big Ten hockey fans might dream of adding the likes of Boston University, Boston College and Notre Dame if the league were to let in Arizona State, but that doesn’t seem likely (not the least of which is the fact that the Hockey East is a tough nut to crack even with dangling the prestige of the Big Ten). Instead, look at some of the more unique outliers that wouldn’t have the same poaching hurdles. For instance, MIT has Division I men’s and women’s rowing (where just as Johns Hopkins is Division III for all sports except lacrosse, MIT is Division III for all sports except rowing). Could that be leveraged into a relationship between MIT (which would be academic dynamite for the Big Ten presidents) and the Big Ten? What about academically prestigious schools in the Sun Belt that could add firepower to Big Ten baseball, such as Rice or University of California system members? The possibilities are endless, but the Big Ten is also likely to be very conservative in its affiliate member picks.

Separately, the Big Ten is on the precipice of negotiating new TV deals that will start after the 2016-17 season. As Ed Sherman pointed out in the Chicago Tribune last week, the Big Ten is in a great position as the only major pro or college sports property to come onto the market for the rest of this decade. It can expect Fox to bid aggressively for tier 1 rights as well as current rights holder ESPN. In my opinion, the Big Ten will likely end up with a setup similar to the Pac-12, where tier 1 rights are split between ABC/ESPN and Fox while the rest go to its conference network of the BTN. I don’t think there’s much chance of the Big Ten taking all of its rights to Fox even if Rupert Murdoch makes a blood money Godfather offer. The ratings for Big East basketball on FS1 have been depressing beyond belief and, contrary to the rantings of some Big East haters out there, it has nothing to do with the Big East conference itself. Any random game on ESPN and, for that matter, ESPN2, is going to have a massive amount of more exposure compared to the exact same game on FS1. That speaks to a problem with the channel itself – it depresses ratings simply by channel location whereas ESPN boosts ratings.

Believe me – exposure matters greatly to the Big Ten. The money obviously matters, but that money is only there because the Big Ten has had the best TV exposure of any conference for decades. As Sherman noted in his column, the Big Ten had ESPN, CBS and BTN (a partial Fox property) all covering portions of the Big Ten Tournament. That’s akin to the setup that the NFL has – they’re essentially getting paid a lot of money by everybody in the media business. I don’t think the Big Ten is going to step away from that approach – they want as many high profile outlets covering their games as possible. So, I don’t see the Big Ten being willing to move games from ABC and ESPN to FS1 and FS2. Regardless of how Big Ten fans might personally feel about ESPN commentators (and IMHO, Big Ten fans complain too much about them as a whole), it’s horrific for conference exposure to move off of the Worldwide Leader. However, I could certainly see the Big Ten being happy with games that are currently on ESPNU and ESPNEWS being moved to over-the-air Fox and FS1. That points to maximum exposure with a ton of checks being cashed from Disney and Fox with some side basketball money from CBS.

With that, it’s time to fill out my bracket and prepare for watching basketball in the middle of the day. (My Final Four picks: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova and Iowa State, with Kentucky over Villanova in the national championship game.) Enjoy the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament!

(Image from SI.com)

Comments
  1. Marc says:

    Go Badgers!

    Like

  2. greg says:

    Seven seeded Hawkeyes.

    Like

  3. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Geaux Tigers!
    #1 in Baseball and Softball this week.

    Like

  4. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Here’s a little Arizona State wrestling news. One of my son’s best friends just signed with Arizona State to wrestle in the heavyweight division. I take great pride in this because three years ago, my son and I worked hard to talk his mom and him into going out for the high school’s fledgling wrestling program that only consisted of my son and two other guys at the time.

    Like

  5. vp19 says:

    Frank? Hey, I remember him.

    Can either evil empire (Kentucky men, Connecticut women) be knocked off? My God, let’s hope so — competitively, this is the most depressing March Madness in years, and while I’d love to be proven wrong, I doubt either Terrapin team has enough to change that sad scenario.

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  6. bullet says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/12503043/ncaa-lawyer-says-pay-play-ruling-not-line-precendent

    Having to try this in the San Francisco appellate court is probably not good for the NCAA. I suspect this will go to the Supreme Court. NCAA’s attorney was making his opening arguments.

    I can’t really see Wilkens’ ruling standing. Either there’s no compensation for TV rights or there’s no cap. Her ruling of a $5,000 cap makes no sense from any perspective. They either have rights to it or don’t. If the NCAA can’t cap it, a judge shouldn’t be able to. A couple of judge’s comments and questions:
    “Judge Jay Bybee said Wilken’s $5,000 cap appeared to have crossed the line restricting college athletes from being paid to play.

    Chief Judge Sidney Thomas — who noted the court was hearing the case as the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament was beginning — questioned how the $5,000 cap differed from the NCAA’s policy of allowing scholarships covering an athlete’s costs of attending school.”

    Like

  7. bullet says:

    Odd that Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana and Northwestern would be first in line for hockey. You would think it based on where hockey in popular and the small size of NW, would be #1 Illinois, #2 Rutgers, #3 Purdue, #4 Maryland. Those other 4 would be the bottom 4. But I guess its facilities and money.

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    • Brian says:

      It’s also about competition. NE and IA fans don’t have lots of other teams pulling their interest away. NYC/NJ and DC have NHL franchises to draw the hockey attention, plus they lack the B10 roots for that brand to be compelling yet.

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  8. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – what about adding Nebraska-Omaha? Its in the Nebraska system.

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    • Nostradamus says:

      And that is where it gets complicated with Lincoln. UNL will typically get their way with whatever they want. Having Eichorst as an AD with extensive time in Wisconsin, and I think hockey in Lincoln likely happens. At the same time though, there is a top 10 team in the same University system in Omaha. Politically it will be interesting to watch as UNO dropped football to go all in on hockey and bring the other sports up to D-1.

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      • Mike says:

        I hear a lot about protecting UNO hockey out of Omaha, but almost never hear of it in Lincoln.
        IMHO:
        – I don’t see a huge overlap between the season ticket bases between a hypothetical UNL team and UNO. Omaha and Lincoln already support Creighton and UNL basketball at high levels. I don’t see a reason to think the hockey communities will be any different. After all, the Lincoln Stars didn’t do much if any harm to the Omaha Lancers at a time when the hockey market was much smaller.
        – For student recruiting, UNO should be looking for any way to appear to be a peer to UNL. If the two schools are meeting on equal terms it will help change the perception among perspective students that UNO is inferior to UNL.

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    • Mike says:

      Probably don’t want to set a precedent for Minnesota system (UM Duluth) schools.

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    • Heisman Dog says:

      I had also wondered about UNO – did not realize that UNL might be considering hockey though. While I doubt that the B1G would be interested, I would guess that making an offer to a program from the old WCHA (e.g., St. Cloud St, UND) would appease UMN and UW, who lost their old rivals. Of course, the same could be said for Michigan and MSU, but I don’t see any of the other MI schools being up to B1G standards. (fwiw, I am an OSU fan)

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  9. Mike says:

    FWIW, I haven’t heard any rumors about Hockey starting (soon) at Nebraska. Maybe the ASU announcement will spur something, maybe not.

    The discussion I’ve heard in the Lincoln hockey community is basically this:

    – The startup money is there if needed (unless the Bo Pelini buyout will cause a delay).

    Former Athletic Director Tom Osborne said in 2010 that about $15 million was deposited in the reserve fund each year from ticket premiums and that the accrued stockpile allowed the athletic department to cover budget shortfalls and buyouts.

    http://www.omaha.com/huskers/nu-athletics-keeps-millions-of-dollars-in-reserve-to-pay/

    – The club team won’t be promoted. The club team is mostly local high kids and over aged Junior B kids who didn’t want or couldn’t get scholarships to NCAA D3 schools.

    – There are enough hockey fans in Lincoln. The USHL (Tier I, Junior A) Lincoln Stars enjoy tremendous support.

    – Speaking of the Stars, they play on campus at a university owned 5,000 seat arena. They also have a sweetheart lease until 2031.

    – The Pinnacle Bank Arena (PBA) is optimized for basketball, not hockey. Apparently there are some lower bowl sections that don’t work well for hockey.

    – The 15,000 seat PBA is probably too big for hockey long term. It has curtaining systems to cut the upper bowl off, but Nebraska-Omaha just played their last game at the (16,000+ seat) Century Link center in favor of a an on campus 7000 seat arena.

    – There is some concern that local leaders are not 100% committed to expanding hockey in Lincoln. The Breslow Ice Center (The practice facility Frank was talking about) took almost ten years start construction.

    Like

    • urbanleftbehind says:

      The PBA is a souped-up UIC Pavilion. Frank, what would be an easier row to hoe – starting a hockey team at Champaign-Urbana or re-starting the program at UIC with the goal of B1G associate membership. Is the remodel at State Farm Center going to provide a hockey-friendly rectangle (as opposed to the present circular orientation)?

      Like

      • @urbanleftbehind – The State Farm Center won’t be able to host hockey, so Illinois would need an entirely separate hockey arena. Granted, part of the potential pitch for the Illini could be that the Champaign-Urbana area needs a new ice arena for the community, anyway (which is true), so that becomes a bit more compelling as a multi-use facility that can be used by people outside of the hockey program (meaning that costs can also be shared by entities other than U of I). UIC hockey is deader than dead – there’s just very weak athletic support at that school overall.

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    • Mike says:

      Another note on finances… I wouldn’t be surprised to see within five years to see Nebraska kick off another capital campaign to renovate the south stadium section of Memorial Stadium. The last capital campaign used 25 million out of the reserve fund. I’m sure that will factor into any start up decision

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      • Nostradamus says:

        You are blowing borrowing from the “reserve fund” a little out of proportion. The entire East Stadium cost $63.5 million. In 2012-2013 the AD’s “reserve fund” at the Foundation took in $34.9 million and they only took $12.5 million of that to “balance” the AD budget. That $22 million in additional money going into the AD account at the foundation would completely pay off the East stadium in 3 years, easily pay off Pelini’s buyout right now, etc. We don’t know how much money is actually in that account but the fact that $20+ million is going into it annually is a pretty good indication the athletic department can do what they please. Add in the factor that they’re 2 seasons away from a significant pay increase with full equity in BTN and the new television contract and finances really aren’t an issue.

        I’m with you on South stadium being next and if recent history is any indicator it would be about 10 years after the last expansion. It will be interesting to see what they can do with South Stadium as you really cannot build on top of it at this point like they did on the North side.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          You are blowing borrowing from the “reserve fund” a little out of proportion

          I probably am, but like you mention we don’t know how much is in the fund or what they have it earmarked for. I didn’t want imply that the surpluses don’t have other purposes as well.

          It will be interesting to see what they can do with South Stadium as you really cannot build on top of it at this point like they did on the North side

          The Schorr Center (old South Stadium Offices) and Avery Hall are going to make building out like what was done on the east and west sides difficult as well. Some architect is going to earn his paycheck on that on design.

          Like

  10. loki_the_bubba says:

    Frank, can I borrow your $100 million? Starting hockey may be the last chance I have to get Rice into the B1G.

    Like

  11. Cliff says:

    I’ve heard it mentioned that because Northwestern has a small student body and limited local alumni support that it simply can’t support season tickets for both hockey and basketball. Men’s varsity Lacrosse seems like a much safer bet at NU than Men’s varsity Hockey.

    Like

  12. vp19 says:

    I wanted to retrofit Cole Field House into a hockey facility — but since Kevin Plank has hundreds of millions of dollars more than me, he beat me to the punch and is making it, among other things, an indoor football practice venue. Oh well.

    Like

  13. Nathan says:

    Add!

    Like

  14. Carl says:

    Sanderson!

    Like

  15. Dave F says:

    It’s so fantastic to see how successful the Penn St program has been. I agree that Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, and even Rutgers could have successful programs some day. Getting ASU, USC and other PAC-12 programs would add another huge dimension to the sport.

    Now we just need Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to be the dominant programs that they should be. Those programs should be perennial Top 10 teams!

    Like

  16. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/dennis-dodd/25112658/notre-dame-ad-has-a-vision-of-two-college-athletic-associations

    Jack Swarbrick thinks the NCAA should split into 2 entities – 1 that pays players and 1 that doesn’t.

    There would be schools banding together because they adhere to a traditional collegiate model. For example, the Ivy League doesn’t offer athletic scholarships or participate in the FCS playoff. Still, it is in Division I.

    “It’s a decision the Ivy League made a long time ago,” Swarbrick said. “Other schools will say, ‘Hey, we’re comfortable with sort of semi-pro model.’ That’s a perfectly valid choice. But for some of us that’s not a choice we’re prepared to make and we won’t.”

    Think, then, of two college sports associations. One that includes the likes of Notre Dame, Duke, Stanford, Wake Forest, Cal, Northwestern and TCU. And another that includes most of the major-college land-grant schools.

    Like

    • Pat says:

      Yeah, I saw this article earlier today on Twitter. Very interesting. Almost seems like he’s floating a trial balloon for a CFB split that may have been discussed by the commissioners in private. SEC merges with the B12 and a few ACC schools, like FSU, Clemson, NCST to form a semi-pro league outside the NCAA. Then, the B1G, PAC and remainder of ACC schools merge within the NCAA to form an “academic focused” conference. Maybe 36 schools with four divisions of 9 teams each for football.

      Swarbrick isn’t a loose cannon and seems to be well respected by the other commissioners and AD’s. There must be a purpose behind his comments and the timing. Especially, since it looks like he gave them to a respected mainstream media person like Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.. Will we see more realignment before June 30th?

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Dennis Dodd seems to get a lot of trial balloons. I guess they know he will publish anything interesting from a solid source, realistic or not.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Pat,

        “SEC merges with the B12 and a few ACC schools, like FSU, Clemson, NCST to form a semi-pro league outside the NCAA. Then, the B1G, PAC and remainder of ACC schools merge within the NCAA to form an “academic focused” conference. Maybe 36 schools with four divisions of 9 teams each for football.”

        It talked about splitting the B10 and P12 up, too. That’s one reason why it seems unlikely to me.

        Like

    • Mike says:

      We can place Swarbrick’s comment right next to Jim Delaney’s “we’ll go DIII” in the not going to happen bin.

      Like

  17. Dave says:

    Can you imagine what a coup that MIT would be for the B1G / CIC!? They are currently ranked #7 in the US News and World Report National University Rankings, just behind the University of Chicago (4) and ahead of Johns Hopkins (12) and Northwestern (13). But is geography no longer a concern? (Massachusetts is not exactly contiguous to B1G country.)

    I still think Johns Hopkins’ invitation in lacrosse was a condition for Maryland’s entry into the Big Ten. That sport is just too big out here to not take care of it properly.

    Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      Ah, but the Big Ten has an Office in New York City, and a team in the “Greater NYC area”, and MA border NY, so … yeah, not ACTUALLY contiguous, but for MIT, I reckon they’d make a “contiguous if you lean your head just right and squint” exception.

      And in any event, AFAIR, contiguity was given to the Big Ten commissioner as an expression of the Presidents’ preference for realignment … if an opportunity were to arise to offer the Presidents something they want, they would be free to decide “how contiguous” it was necessary to be.

      Like

  18. Dave says:

    One more question… Any news on B1G women’s hockey? Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State currently support it, but we would need two more schools for a conference automatic bid (assuming it’s the same as for the men’s side). It is not a varsity sport at either Michigan school (c’mon Spartans!?).

    Like

    • Mike says:

      I don’t know for sure, but I would guess hockey is one of the most expensive sports to sponsor for women.

      Like

    • Cliff says:

      Women’s hockey won’t happen at Michigan until Red Berenson is gone. He doesn’t want to share Yost with another team. However, I suspect Red has about three years left at the most.

      Also, MSU isn’t adding anything until the new TV contract kicks in – Hollis has used that to dodge questions about adding Men’s Lacrosse.

      But, perhaps the planets align in a couple of years, and UM and MSU both add women’s hockey at the same time.

      Like

  19. loki_the_bubba says:

    The biggest realignment conversation going on right now was caused by the UTEP AD openly talking about the MWC.

    http://www.kvia.com/news/utep-and-nmsu-looking-at-future-conference-affiliations/31855908

    This has caused a stir on the CUSA board and on some of the individual school boards in the conferences that would be affected. I think the MWC fits UTEP better than CUSA3. This is not the conference they joined with schools like Houston and SMU. I would go if I were them.

    But as usual, my focus is on how this affects me. Some speculation out there is putting out the idea that NMSU would not be the choice as the 14th for the MWC. Seems like they’
    re not wanted by some (no idea of ‘some’ just means vocal fans). So the next choice on the list for a lot of speculators is Rice. It’s nice to feel wanted, but let’s look at the factors involved.

    Rivalries: In CUSA the team we have the most history with is UTEP. It’s not that long a history, about 20 years dating back to the old WAC16. If they leave we will have LaTech as our oldest rival and new possibilities in UTSA and North Texas. Neither conference is an overwhelming win on this.

    Football: Big edge to MWC with Boise, Nevada, Fresno. The best of the CUSA3 might be Marshall and they couldn’t get ranked at 9-0.

    Basketball: Big edge to MWC. This is a multi-bid conference most years, 3 this year. CUSA3 has been a one-bid league for several years now.

    TV: Edge to MWC. From some charts I’ve seen they may get $1.5m/school more than CUSA3. The basketball final was on CBS while CUSA was buried on CBSSN. The football is on ESPN when CUSA3 is buried on FS1.

    Travel: Moving to the MWC our closest conference mate would be UTEP at 750 miles. In CUSA you can drive to San Antonio, Denton TX, LaTech, and even Southern Miss. No MWC is drivable for fans. But the rest of the conference is just as spread out. F_U is as far away as Boise. I’ll leave Hawaii out. Edge has to be to CUSA3.

    Academics: If Rice leaves CUSA3 the academic cornerstone will be…….LaTech? In the MWC we have Air Force and some flagships in New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming. Another edge to MWC.

    Baseball: CUSA3 values baseball much higher than the MWC. The south will alway have an edge over those at altitude. Since this is the only sport we get noticed in, this is a big edge for CUSA3.

    So, FtT and friends, where do we belong? If invited should we accept? What is the national perception of the MWC v CUSA3?

    As an aside, yes we fit best with the AAC on all of these points, but I don’t think that’s on the table in the near term.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Travel is a big difference. Baseball would probably be ok with the California schools.

      Perception its not even close. FAU, FIU, Charlotte, ODU & UTSA weren’t playing football 15 years ago. UAB wasn’t playing 20 years ago and aren’t now. UNT, MTSU, WKU and Marshall weren’t playing FBS football 20 years ago. La Tech only moved up around 1989. That’s 11 of the 14 schools. FAU, FIU, WKU, UNT and MTSU are recent migrants from the Sun Belt. La Tech was a former Sun Belt football member. UAB, Charlotte and ODU were original Sun Belt members in basketball. That’s 9 of the 14 schools.

      Rice is now in the Sun Belt, a mix of Sun Belt 1.0 and Sun Belt 2.0. If UTEP, Rice and Southern Miss have a chance to go to the MWC or AAC, they should.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Rice’s best bet. Convince Army to join AAC and come in as #14 or convince Houston to join MWC and replace them in AAC.

        Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        “UNT, MTSU, WKU and Marshall weren’t playing FBS football 20 years ago.”
        But Marshall has been playing football for quite a while … they were a MAC member for 53-69, until their misbehavior caught up with them, and I expect a Marshall fan would argue they would have ended up on the I-A side of the I-A / I-AA split if it weren’t for the crash (well, and also the misbehavior just before, but I wouldn’t expect a Marshall fan to bring that side of it up).

        Like

    • Mike says:

      In CUSA the team we have the most history with is UTEP. It’s not that long a history, about 20 years dating back to the old WAC16. If they leave we will have LaTech as our oldest rival and new possibilities in UTSA and North Texas

      Wow. LA Tech could be Rice’s oldest rival. That’s crazy. Who is going to get excited about UTSA and UNT?

      So, FtT and friends, where do we belong? If invited should we accept? What is the national perception of the MWC v CUSA3?

      IMHO, if Rice is serious about climbing the ladder than they’ll take the MW invite if it’s there. MW baseball is a decent conference, but the travel would be awful. However, should Rice be even climbing the ladder? Despite Rice’s very strong academics, their institutional profile just doesn’t match up well with FBS conferences. If I were running Rice, I would put a lot of thought in to petitioning the NCAA to allow the Rice baseball team to stay Division I and move down to DIII and the UAA. The UAA is a conference that Rice fits.

      Like

      • urbanleftbehind says:

        On a related note, Davidson might not be a fit for the BE – it is an all-undergraduate liberal arts institution more in line with a Bates, Macalester, Oberlin, apart from its D1 basketball and FCS-non scholarship football pedigree. Does it have professional schools (Law, Business, Med) in Charlotte, for example? Rice and Davidson might be better off as bookends in a Magnolia League, save some D1 exceptions in certain sports.

        Like

        • Michael in Raleigh says:

          Davidson has no graduate or professional programs. It’s strictly undergraduate, but a very rigorous undergraduate program.

          The only medical schools in NC are UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, East Carolina (which is danger of shutting down due to funding problems), and a new osteopathic medical school at Campbell (a rural school about an hour south of Raleigh.

          I think Davidson is exactly where it belongs, in the A-10. The Big East would be more than it could handle.

          Like

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        To be fair, UTSA has a relatively huge following for a program that’s less than five years old. They averaged over 25k this year despite a losing record.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          I think you will agree, Rice should consider UTSA beneath them.

          Like

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            No one is beneath us at this point in FBS football. We’re in CUSA3/SunBelt2 now and they bring fans to Houston, probably more than someone like Boise, CSU, or Air Force. We understand where we stand today in the pecking order. Now the question is how the hell we get back up where we want to be.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            No one is beneath us at this point in FBS football

            They should be. There is no reason Rice should ever be in the same conference as UTSA.

            they bring fans to Houston, probably more than someone like Boise, CSU, or Air Force.

            Is Rice trying to sell tickets or build their own fan base? If Rice is serious about FBS, then they should be playing the best schools possible to build interest in their program.

            Like

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            We don’t really have a choice between building our fan base and selling tickets. We have to do both unless we want to fall even further behind.

            Like

  20. CraigZ says:

    Go Bucks.

    Like

  21. urbanleftbehind says:

    I dont know if its fair that a more subpar Army team would have more “weight” in SEC scheduling than a usually (in most recent years) better Navy or Air Force team. Though one could argue that Navy and Air Force are not as talented as their respective AAC and MWC peers. I like that BYU reached this status though. Thanks for the tip, FtT.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/12514211/sec-count-games-independents-byu-army-notre-dame-power-5-commitment

    Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Good – that gives my LSU Tigers two P-5 opponents for 2017.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Yeah, counting Army as P5 is weak. They have 2 P5 wins in the past 5 seasons combined.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Sounds like Vandy needed a break.

        Like

      • urbanleftbehind says:

        Much of Army’s subpar performance has been attributed to the demands of the specific physical regimen vs. those of the other 2 academies. I also wonder if Army athletics would improve if the USMA moved from upstate New York to a warmer climate location. There is actually discussion about not having service academies at all due to the fact that an increasingly larger share of the officer corps comes from university ROTC and Officer Candidate School (where enlisted service members can attain credentials for officer rank).

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          My goodness…what some people are smoking! The USMA is not going to leave West Point in order to improve its athletics, and there’s no way that Congress would support abolishing the service academies.

          Like

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      Counting Army but not schools like East Carolina, Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati, and a few others is crazy. They might as well just release an official statement to the AAC, MAC, C-USA, Sun Belt, and MWC that simply says, “Hey, F*** you!”

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        The SEC knows perfectly well that many mid-majors are better at football than Army. They made an exception because service academy games do well on TV—practically as if they were a P5 team. Army’s not gonna play more than one or two SEC games a year, so the rest of the league will have to find a “real” opponent. Also, because Army is independent, they can fill in schedule gaps later in the season, which the other service academies can’t do.

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Mark – we all know that Army won’t be scheduling anyone in the SEC anytime soon, with the possible exception of Vandy. The SEC wanted to count BYU as a P-5, since so many SEC teams are playing them in the near future. At the same time, the SEC didn’t want to disrespect the United States Military Academy as the only Independent that wouldn’t count as a P-5 game.

          Like

        • urbanleftbehind says:

          I guess that would be a great silver lining in itself – few things irk me more than those FCS opponent games that several SEC teams have in mid-November before the intra-state battle games. The only comparable thing in the B1G would be when Northwestern would play a low to mid major in hoops in late February, before Nebraska was added to the league.

          Like

  22. Ross says:

    I hope the SMU-UCLA game serves as an impetus for reviews of goaltending. If you look at the angle of the shot from the side of the shooter, you can see how the shot was going to simply sail by the basket. Per NCAA rules, it had no chance of going in and thus was not goaltending.

    To essentially award UCLA the win without review is insane. Goaltending is often very borderline (that’s not to say there aren’t clear instances of goaltending), and it directly impacts the game by giving a team points for a basket it did not make. It would be very easy to have those reviews occur during TV timeouts much like reviews for 3 pt. shots are done. Possession could simply be awarded to whomever had the possession arrow after the fact.

    Like

    • Phil says:

      Rutgers has needed a new basketball arena for a while. Not only are there no announced plans for a new arena, they aren’t even sinking any real money into the existing one.

      The realist in me knows this is because the focus at RU is on finishing the reintegration of the medical school, and working to reduce the large university subsidy of the athletic department.

      The dreamer in me likes to hope that the delay in dealing with the arena issue is because politically they need to wait until after the new TV contract (and its increased revenue to the schools) and until we get closer to RU getting a full B1G revenue share, for RU to announce they are building a new multipurpose arena that can handle both the BB programs and new men’s and women’s hockey startups.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I hope the SMU-UCLA game serves as an impetus for reviews of goaltending. . . . To essentially award UCLA the win without review is insane.

      I’m sure they will at least consider it. Having said that, I don’t recall many games where a team was essentially “awarded the win” with a late, incorrect goaltending call.

      A lot of people feel that college basketball has too many interruptions already. How many outcomes are you changing by introducing Yet Another Thing that officials must go to the monitor to review?

      It would be very easy to have those reviews occur during TV timeouts much like reviews for 3 pt. shots are done. Possession could simply be awarded to whomever had the possession arrow after the fact.

      In this situation, the review has to happen immediately, because there is so little time left, and both teams’ strategies change depending on whether it’s a goaltend or not.

      The 2/3-point review is different, because possession does not depend on the call. I don’t think there’s any other call where the review can be deferred, because possession could change depending on what they decide.

      The 2/3-point call is also a lot more clear cut: you’re on the line, or you’re not, and it’s usually very clear. Although the SMU-UCLA call seemed obviously wrong, goaltending is a pure judgment call. There will always be a lot of close cases that are arguable either way. I’m sure that’s why it’s not reviewable.

      Like

  23. matt32mc says:

    I don’t know if the big 12 will look to expand unless they get left out of the college football playoff a few more times. Good luck with your bracket! I had Iowa St. In the final four also.

    Like

    • urbanleftbehind says:

      Do B1G teams no longer play conference series as 4 games packed into 2 consectutive double-headers on Saturday and Sunday? That was a common scheduling method in the early 90s.

      Like

  24. Wouldn’t multiple affiliates complicate the voting for CIC membership, not to mention media contracts & revenue sharing?

    Let’s say MIT Rowing and Rice Baseball joined the B1G & CIC. Then let’s also say Duke, UVA, GT and Vandy joined as full B1G/CIC members. A few years later Texas agrees to join the B1G, but only if OU is allowed to join with full CIC membership. I think current B1G members would see the value of OU despite its AAU status and the top 4 or 5 (acedemic-wise) B1G universities could be cajoled into a “yes” vote. However, if there exists a CIC voting block of MIT, Duke, Rice, JHU, Norhwestern, UChicago, Michigan, UVA, and Vandy, are they collectively going to be “cool” with OU in the CIC?

    On a similar note, the Ivy League could eventually form their own hockey conference similar to the B1G. Wouldn’t a long term scheduling arrangement between the B1G & Ivy hockey conferences be sufficient linkage to offer those Ivies CIC membership? An arrangement like this would still bring the same CIC voting complications, but at least media contracts & revenue sharing would be easier.

    Personally, I think the B1G & PAC should revisit their scheduling alliance that was scuttled a few years back when some of the programs complained about scheduling difficulties. This time, however, I wouldn’t be as concerned as much about scheduling as I would combining business operations of the two conferences and bring the PAC schools with AAU status into the CIC. That would be a truly national conference that, with just a few additional members (Texas, OU, et al), could operate with true autonomy and run its own tournaments, network, etc.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Wouldn’t multiple affiliates complicate the voting for CIC membership, not to mention media contracts & revenue sharing?

      The CIC has always been limited to full Big Ten members, or in the case of Chicago, a former member. It has never been open to schools like MIT and Rice, that are academic, but not athletic, peers of the Big ten schools.

      The CIC would be a fundamentally different consortium if it added the whole Ivy League, merely because they agree to play a few hockey games a year with the Big Ten. If the CIC were going to add members based on that tenuous a connection, they might as well just offer MIT, Rice, Vandy and the Ivies now. Why wait for a hockey alliance?

      So far, Johns Hopkins is the B1G’s only affiliate member, and they haven’t joined the CIC. I’m sure that if they do, the league will think hard about the the precedent they’re setting if they add additional affiliate members.

      Personally, I think the B1G & PAC should revisit their scheduling alliance that was scuttled a few years back when some of the programs complained about scheduling difficulties. This time, however, I wouldn’t be as concerned as much about scheduling as I would combining business operations of the two conferences and bring the PAC schools with AAU status into the CIC. That would be a truly national conference that, with just a few additional members (Texas, OU, et al), could operate with true autonomy and run its own tournaments, network, etc.

      Why would the B1G want to merge its operations and scheduling with the PAC? The PAC’s TV deals and network are far less lucrative. And obviously, if you merge with the PAC, you’re not just getting its great schools. You’re getting Washington State and Oregon State, too.

      As far as anyone knows, Texas currently has no desire to detonate the Big XII and join the B1G.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Marc Shepherd,

        “So far, Johns Hopkins is the B1G’s only affiliate member, and they haven’t joined the CIC. I’m sure that if they do, the league will think hard about the the precedent they’re setting if they add additional affiliate members.”

        In case people have forgotten, JHU joined for a five year trial period with a promise to re-evaluate the situation after three years. Then JHU will decide whether to join “permanently” or leave the B10. I believe that if JHU decides to join for good, then CIC membership will be discussed. The CIC doesn’t want to end up with a member that left the B10 for another conference or independence.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      chickenbox,

      “Wouldn’t multiple affiliates complicate the voting for CIC membership, not to mention media contracts & revenue sharing?”

      Not really. Affiliates only have voting rights on issues relevant to them. So JHU has a vote on any future TV deal for men’s lacrosse or any league rules that would impact all male athletes, but they don’t have a vote on any other B10 business. I’m sure the others would listen to JHU’s opinion, but they don’t have a vote. That’s how NE was treated between when they agreed to join and when they officially joined.

      “Let’s say MIT Rowing and Rice Baseball joined the B1G & CIC. Then let’s also say Duke, UVA, GT and Vandy joined as full B1G/CIC members. A few years later Texas agrees to join the B1G, but only if OU is allowed to join with full CIC membership. I think current B1G members would see the value of OU despite its AAU status and the top 4 or 5 (acedemic-wise) B1G universities could be cajoled into a “yes” vote. However, if there exists a CIC voting block of MIT, Duke, Rice, JHU, Norhwestern, UChicago, Michigan, UVA, and Vandy, are they collectively going to be “cool” with OU in the CIC?”

      I highly doubt the presidents get cajoled into votes they don’t support on academic issues. After all, B10 presidents were the deciding votes in NE getting booted from the AAU. B10 presidents vote their conscience on academic issues. I think many would see OU joining the B10 as an academic issue. I think the B10 wouldn’t accept OU at present. Maybe in 10-20 years if OU improves their academic standing, but not now.

      As for the CIC, I think any B10 member would be accepted. It would be a way to improve OU’s academic standing.

      “On a similar note, the Ivy League could eventually form their own hockey conference similar to the B1G.”

      They could, but all their teams play in the ECAC already and the Ivy acknowledges a hockey champ without hosting the sport. This helps the schools keep their regional rivalries and makes scheduling easier. If the IL had a TV network they needed programming for, then they might be more inclined to form their own hockey conference.

      “Wouldn’t a long term scheduling arrangement between the B1G & Ivy hockey conferences be sufficient linkage to offer those Ivies CIC membership?”

      No. At that point, the CIC would just be offering membership to all the top schools and it’d essentially become the AAU. I think the CIC intentionally wants to be smaller than that.

      “Personally, I think the B1G & PAC should revisit their scheduling alliance that was scuttled a few years back when some of the programs complained about scheduling difficulties.”

      What has changed to fix the fundamental problem?

      “This time, however, I wouldn’t be as concerned as much about scheduling as I would combining business operations of the two conferences and bring the PAC schools with AAU status into the CIC.”

      I don’t think the P12 would go for that, and I’m not sure the CIC wants to be spread that wide. If they did, they would’ve expanded long ago since there are no sports complications to what they do.

      Like

  25. Brian says:

    The NCAA Wrestling Championships wrap up tomorrow. The finals will be on ESPN at 8pm. The final match will be 141 pounds with Logan Stieber from OSU trying to become just the fourth man to ever win 4 NCAA titles in wrestling.

    Standings:
    1. OSU 86.5 (3 finalists, 2 in conso semis, 0 in 7th/8th) – max score possible = 121.5
    2. IA 73 (1/4/1), MPP = 116
    3. Cornell 66.5 (2/2/0), MPP = 95.5
    4. Edinboro 64.5 (2/2/0), MPP = 93.5
    5. MO 60 (1/2/2), MPP = 89
    6. PSU 58 (1/3/1), MPP = 92.5
    7. OkSU 55.5
    8. MI 51
    9t. MN 49
    9t. NE 49
    11. IL 42.5

    It will come down to OSU vs IA for the title. IA needs to score big in the early session where they have 5 wrestlers active compared to 2 for OSU. OSU is favored in 2 of their 3 finals and IA is favored in its one final, so IA needs a decent lead coming into the night session.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      BTW, 8 of 10 finals will feature a B10 wrestler. PSU, MI, IL and IN all have 1 in addition to IA’s 1 and OSU’s 3.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      And it’s all over. OSU locked up the team title in the early sessions.

      Scores after 5 sessions:
      1. OSU – 94 (3 finalists)
      2. IA – 84, max possible = 90 (1)
      3. Edinboro – 75.5 (2)
      4. MO – 69.5 (1)
      5. Cornell – 67.5 (2)
      6. PSU (1)
      7. OkSU (1)
      8. MN (0)
      9. NE (0)
      10. VT (0)
      11. MI (1)
      12. IL (1)
      14. NW (0)
      16. WI (0)
      24. IN (1)

      Last. MSU -0.5 * punished for unsportsmanlike behavior by a wrestler

      Tune in tonight to see Logan Stieber try to make history by becoming only the fourth 4-time champion in the final match of the tournament.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        A little context for those who think the bluebloods dominate the revenue sports.

        This is OSU’s first ever team title despite being a hotbed for HS wrestling.

        1. OSU became only the 12th school to ever win a wrestling title:
        OkSU – 34
        IA – 23
        Everyone else – 29

        ISU – 8 (5 from 1965-1973)
        OU – 7 (last in 1974)
        PSU – 5 (includes 2011-2014)
        MN – 3 (all this century)
        OSU – 1
        ASU – 1 (1988)
        MSU – 1 (1967)
        UNI – 1 (1950)
        Cornell College – 1 (1947)
        IN – 1 (1932)

        Basically, there have been 3 periods:
        a. OkSU 1928 – 1968 (26 titles in 41 years)
        b. IA 1975 – 2000 (20 titles in 26 years)
        c. Parity 2001 – 2015 (PSU – 4, OkSU – 4, IA – 3, MN – 3, OSU – 1)

        Like

    • Brian says:

      Final team scores:
      1. Ohio St. 102.0
      2. Iowa 84.0
      3. Edinboro 75.5
      4. Missouri 73.5
      5. Cornell 71.5
      6. Penn St. 67.5
      7. Oklahoma St. 65.0
      8. Minnesota 59.5
      9. Nebraska 59.0
      10. Virginia Tech 56.0
      11. Michigan 54.0
      12. Illinois 51.0
      15. Northwestern 34.5
      17. Wisconsin 32.5

      Logan Stieber won his 4th individual title.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        B10 wrestlers own 4 of the 10 individual titles:
        125 OSU
        141 OSU – Stieber
        157 IL
        174 PSU

        The B10 was also runner up at 4 other weights.

        Like

      • vp19 says:

        Congratulations to the Buckeyes, though I don’t know if OSU’s equivalent of Walmart fans will get too enthused over this title — especially since they really don’t know how to snark Iowa, as opposed to…well, y’know…

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Oh, Buckeye fans enjoy jumping on a bandwagon as much as anyone. Most won’t have watched, but they’ll happily brag about it. Wrestling is big in northern Ohio, so plenty of knowledgeable fans from up there are thrilled.

          We’ll happily remind PSU that we ended their run. The difference is that in wrestling, OSU, PSU and IA play different roles than in football. In wrestling, IA is AL (dominant power since the 70s), PSU is FSU (the new power) and OSU is OR (close but not quite). It was great watching some IA and PSU fans melt down as OSU won. They seemed to have extreme hatred for a school that’s never won a wrestling title before.

          Most IA fans were just upset at their own team for not performing better, to be fair. And PSU fans generally pointed at their coach’s choice to redshirt 2 of their best wrestlers this year (to have a better team in future years) as dooming any team chances they had this year.

          Like

  26. anevilmeme says:

    A while back there were rumors about The Big Ten being interested in The University of Toronto and McGill University as hockey only members. Those rumors seem to have died off, shame it seemed like a good idea.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      That was idle speculation by folks who didn’t know better and was never going to happen. College hockey in Canada is like DivIII here.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        FWIW, a large chunk of university hockey players in Canada are not NCAA eligible due to their time in the Major Junior ranks. A Canadian school would have the recruiting nightmare of finding Americans or Canadians who can’t/won’t play in Major Juniors.

        Like

  27. Mike says:

    I haven’t been following the UAB football story too closely. I know the basics, but does anyone have a good explanation for why people keep blaming the Tuscaloosa campus for killing off UAB?

    Like

  28. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    College Baseball Update, March 23.

    My LSU Fightin’ Tigers are ranked #1 in five of the six polls/rankings. The only oddball is Collegiate Baseball. They have LSU as #2 behind the Aggies.

    The top five is pretty consistent with LSU, A&M, Vandy, and TCU in every top five. Florida is ranked in the top five in four of the six and #6 in CB and the NCBWA. CB and NCBWA have UCLA at #5.

    The B1G has four teams ranked in at least one poll/ranking. Illinois is ranked in them all. Geaux FTT!

    Illinois is as high as #17 (D-1Baseball.com) and as low as #26 (NCBWA). Maryland makes five of the 6 poll/rankings and is as high as #11 (D-1) and unranked by Baseball America. Indiana made four of the 6 poll/rankings and is as high as #19 (D-1) and unranked by USA Today and Perfect Game. Nebraska cracked the rankings of Collegiate Baseball at #30.

    Regarding attendance, LSU was on the road at Arkansas last weekend, so my Tigers are holding steady at an average attendance of 10,604 through 17 home games. Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Mississippi State round out the top five with attendance averaging over 7,000. Texas tops the Big XII and is at #6 overall, averaging 5,361 through 12 games. Clemson tops the ACC and is #7 overall, averaging 4,483 through 8 games. Nebraska tops the B1G and is #10 overall, averaging 4,005 through 10 games. Arizona State tops the Pac-12 and is #17 overall, averaging 3,092 though 18 games. Indiana is #29 in attendance, averaging 2,168 through six games.

    Looking ahead to next weekend, the following teams ranked in at least one poll square off:

    Houston @ UCF
    Miami @ UNC
    Nebraska @ Texas
    Oregon @ Arizona
    GA Tech @ Louisville
    Mizzou @ A&M

    Mid-week bonus: Louisville @ Indiana

    My Tigers are hosting Kentucky.

    Like

  29. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Women’s Gymnastics regionals announced.

    http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5200&ATCLID=209978827

    Top six national seeds and locations.

    #1 Oklahoma (Norman, OK)
    #2 Florida (Morgantown, WV)
    #3 Utah (Berkeley, CA)
    #4 LSU (Ames, IA)
    #5 Bama (Auburn, AL)
    #6 Michigan (Columbus, OH)

    Overall, the SEC, B1G, and Pac-12 split up 15 of the 18 tops seeds, gaining five each.

    SEC: #2 Florida, #4 LSU, #5 Bama, #8 Auburn, #10 Georgia
    Pac-12: #3 Utah, #7 UCLA, #11 Stanford, #12 Oregon State, #18 Arizona
    B1G: #6 Michigan, #9 Nebraska, #13 Penn State, #14 Illinois, #17 Minnesota

    Of the 36 bids, the B1G snagged 9, SEC 8, Pac-12 7, Big XII 3, and ACC 1.

    Like

  30. Brian says:

    http://i.turner.ncaa.com/sites/default/files/images/2015/03/22/2015_fencing_-_final.pdf

    The fencing championship was last weekend.

    Team results:
    1. Columbia
    2. PSU (also had the Men’s Saber champion)
    3. ND
    4. Princeton
    5. OSU
    6. SJ
    7. Harvard
    8. Penn
    9. Duke
    10. Stanford
    11. NW

    2 of those schools are not like the others.

    Like

  31. frug says:

    Hey Frank, I know I’m a little but I’ve been out of town for couple months, I was just wondering, were they celebrating Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day when you were at Illinois?

    Like

    • @frug – Yes, but it was just in its nascent stages. It really took off as a massive event in the couple of years after I had graduated. What’s interesting is that original point of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day was to give students a chance/excuse to celebrate the holiday on campus since the actual St. Patrick’s Day was often during spring break. This year, the students were still in school for the actual St. Patrick’s Day, yet they still hold “Unofficial” on top of that (which, to be sure, I’d be doing the same if I owned a bar down there).

      Like

      • frug says:

        Yeah, I didn’t mind having actual St. Patrick’s Day fall during Spring Break since it gave me a chance to celebrate at home and school.

        Like

  32. Mike says:

    Mike Krzyzewski drives the bus.

    http://ajerseyguy.com/?p=12089


    The Big East held its conference tournament finals on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Prime time, bright lights, big city. Show Time on ESPN.

    But it was also a conference plagued by internal turmoil. It had also taken a major hit when Virginia Tech, Miami and BC had gone to the ACC.

    Watching this in dismay and disappointment were Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and athletic director Kevin White. Somehow, some way, ACC basketball had to regain its mojo.

    The master plan, put together with velvet gloves and a soft touch, was simple. Find a way to strengthen the ACC, while weakening the Big East. And then sell it (publicly at least) as a football driven move.

    [snip]

    But with White and Coach K working the back rooms of the ACC power base, the league announced a new round of additions. Pittsburgh and Syracuse would be coming to the ACC, starting in 2013, along with Notre Dame in all sports but football.

    And just like that the balance of power changed. ACC commissioner John Swofford and other ACC backers said it was a football move. But anyone who had studied the levels of success for football as opposed to basketball at Pitt and Syracuse over the past decade understood that was a false positive.

    Football money still was a major factor, but the expansion targets were basketball driven.

    [snip]

    …Maryland, in a strictly money move and tired of decades long Tobacco Road leadership in the ACC, then jumped to the Big Ten.
    With 11 teams, the ACC had spots for 3 teams Syracuse and Pitt would help the basketball issue, but the final team had to have a higher football profile.

    The two schools discussed were UConn and Louisville. Basketball was a push, but Louisville was the clear leader in football. The Cardinals joined the ACC as a full member as the ACC’s 14th team in football.

    With those moves, Coach K and Kevin White and pulled off their palace coup.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Mike,

      I sense a little revisionist history in his column.

      So it came to pass. The ACC was doing fine in football with the addition of the former Big East teams joining Florida State.

      But in basketball? Not so much. In a four-year stretch from 2008 to 2011, a TOTAL of 4 teams advanced to the Sweet 16 round. Although North Carolina won a national title in 2009 and Duke in 2010, the question of quality depth persisted.

      Doing fine in football?

      The ACC was a laughingstock for much of the BCS era. They went 5-13 in BCS games in 15 seasons with FSU getting 2 of those wins in ’13 and ’14. 8 of those appearances were solely because of the autobid (there were enough higher-ranked teams to fill all the slots). FSU and VT combined for 13 of the 18 BCS appearances. Miami and BC never made the BCS. VT went 1-4 as an ACC member. Only FSU ever made a national title game.

      Only 4 Sweet 16 teams in 4 years? From 2005-2011 they had 6 top 16 teams (final AP) in 7 years and only 4 in the top 10.

      And as for fooling people into thinking it was about football, did the ACC gain a CCG or not? Was FB a deciding factor in taking UL over UConn or not? What other realistic choices were out there for the ACC besides UConn? Once WV was turned down, Pitt and SU were the best choices available.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        I sense a little revisionist history in his column.

        That was my initial reaction.

        Was FB a deciding factor in taking UL over UConn or not?

        I think so. It was Louisville AD Jurich who said UConn’s name was printed in ink on the invite.

        What other realistic choices were out there for the ACC besides UConn or not? What other realistic choices were out there for the ACC besides UConn? Once WV was turned down, Pitt and SU were the best choices available.

        IMHO Louisville is as far of a leap academically as they were willing to go. Nothing lower.

        Like

    • vp19 says:

      …Maryland, in a strictly money move and tired of decades long Tobacco Road leadership in the ACC, then jumped to the Big Ten.

      Unless there’s some specific cultural or geographic reason to remain in your conference (explaining why it will be difficult to pry UVa/UNC/Duke), nine schools out of 10 would jump to the Big Ten if asked. Money helped Maryland, to be sure, but the B1G is a far better institutional fit for College Park (aside from Northwestern, all B1G institutions are large, land-grant schools). The ACC has begun an academic consortium, but it pales next to the CIC, especially since the mix of schools is so motley (Syracuse, Wake Forest and Boston College have substantially different missions than N.C. State and Clemson). The Maryland community may have been skeptical of the move at first, but now has nearly universally embraced it. Other than as a women’s basketball opponent on Saturday (cue “The Shot” and “Overtime Is Our Time” from April 4, 2006), Duke is in Terrapin fans’ rear-view mirror.

      Like

      • bob sykes says:

        The CIC is very overrated. It is a lobbying group and has no (as in no) research dollars of its own. At every university, all (as in all) research dollars are raised by individual facutly members who apply for grants to federal agencies and private foundations. Unversities siphon off overhead charges and fees and use these monies for various purposes. In some schools the monies subsidize sports; in all they support TA’s in the humanities.

        That said, both Rutgers and Maryland are very good fits for the B1G. UVa, UNC and Duke are not, especially considering the very serious administrative scandals at all three schools. There are really no more candidates for B1G expansion other than Gordon Gee’s favorites Kansas and Missouri. The B1G will sit at 14 members for another century.

        Like

        • greg says:

          The CIC is not a lobbying group. It is a consortium that fosters academic and institutional cooperation. It helps create bonds between researchers at CIC institutions, that helps them land research grants. So, while not directly influencing research grants, it helps make them happen.

          In my experience, it has a greater impact on the administrative side of running giant R1 universities.

          The dreams of adding many more schools to it, with looser bonds, would defeat its purpose.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Exactly so, greg.

            The CIC has many small benefits that add up:
            1. Save money through group purchasing (millions per year saved)
            2. Courses offered both in person and online to students at all CIC-member schools (so someone at JHU can take a class from an expert at NE or vice versa)
            3. Shared library resources, effectively making 15 university libraries available to all students and saving those schools from all buying the same books and journals
            4. Group projects like the ultra-high bandwidth fiber optic network directly connecting the CIC members allowing for faster sharing of large amounts of data including HD video
            5. Summer research opportunities across all CIC members, so students and faculty can spend a summer doing research on another campus
            6. Formation of collaborations to chase research grants for larger projects

            It should say something that every president of a new member lauds the CIC and how it’s even more valuable than they thought when they joined the B10.

            Like

        • Brian says:

          bob sykes,

          “The CIC is very overrated.”

          By whom?

          B10 sports fans using it as a reason why everyone they want should join the B10? Probably true.

          Presidents of research universities? I don’t think so. As new members join, their presidents keep saying the CIC is even more valuable than they realized before joining.

          “It is a lobbying group”

          It’s not mostly that.

          http://www.cic.net/about-cic

          Headquartered in the Midwest, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is a consortium of the Big Ten member universities plus the University of Chicago. For more than half a century, these world-class research institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs.

          “and has no (as in no) research dollars of its own.”

          Not quite true. The schools actually pool some money to do group work via the CIC. But the CIC doesn’t get research grants, true. It does help member schools form collaborations that are more successful at receiving those grants than each school independently would be, though.

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  33. Brian says:

    http://bloguin.com/thestudentsection/the-locker/heres-how-every-conference-has-fared-in-the-ncaa-tournament.html

    Conference records in the tourney so far.

    ACC 11-1
    P12 7-1
    MVC 3-1
    WCC 2-1
    B10 7-5
    B12 5-5
    BE 5-5
    SEC 4-4
    several others at 50%

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  34. Nostradamus says:

    However, I could certainly see the Big Ten being happy with games that are currently on ESPNU and ESPNEWS being moved to over-the-air Fox and FS1. That points to maximum exposure with a ton of checks being cashed from Disney and Fox with some side basketball money from CBS.

    It will be interesting to see what happens. Fox is in a position that they could use something to bolster FS1 (I don’t know that ESPNNEWS type games do that); but at the same time ESPN has to be realizing this too. If they retain everything this round FS1 isn’t getting any potential help from additional college football for nearly a decade.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Fox has some NASCAR races on FS1 this year (NBC also is pushing some NASCAR to NBCS). That should help FS1 a little. But FS1 will continue to lag well behind ESPN2 for years.

      My concern is that if the B10 gives some games to Fox, they’ll move big games to FS1 to boost it. I don’t get FS1 or ESPNU or ESPNEWS, so they’re all a wasteland to me. I’d hate to see the B10 throw away good games on unviewed channels unless Fox gave up something substantial in return (shorten the BTN deal or lock 8 Saturday prime time games on Fox or …).

      Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        Yeah I believe this weekend is the first Cup points race on FS1.

        And your concern is valid, I happen to share it as well. Any deal including split deals with Fox involved is going to include FS1 prominently because Fox would be paying out the nose to get content for the network.

        If you are Delany I think the portion of Frank’s blog I quoted above is your optimal scenario. You somehow get FS1 to pay a premium for the stuff ESPN is discarding right now. I too don’t think such a scenario is very realistic without concessions be it access to a portion of better inventory for FS1 as well or something else. FS1 would be a step up for that content versus ESPNEWS and arguably ESPNU. As for the concessions the other way, Fox doesn’t have 8 Saturday primetimes to give…

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    • Mike says:

      Matt Sarz gets into the details of a possible Fox Big Ten offer. His analysis shows that both Fox and FS1 have time slot issues for both Football and Basketball and probably can’t take all Big Ten content.

      http://mattsarzsports.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-2nd-look-at-potential-fox-bid-for-big.html

      Like

  35. […] March Madness Big Ten Rundown: Hockey Expansion Talk with Arizona State and New TV Contract […]

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  36. […] we last reviewed the future of the Big Ten’s television contract, both Frank the Tank and Matt Sarzyniak have chimed in on the topic…specifically Fox’s interest in the […]

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  37. […] conference realignment front is fairly quiet these days for the power leagues with the exception of the prospect of Arizona State joining Big Ten hockey. However, there are some rumblings in the non-FBS Division I conferences that are […]

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  38. […] far more often than anybody else in predicting college realignment threw out his thoughts on who that eighth Big Ten hockey team would […]

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  39. Matt from Cleveland says:

    If the Big Ten can get Maryland from the ACC, the Hockey East is certainly a nut we can crack. The best prize, as far as the Big Ten is concerned, is Boston University, an AAU member. BU as a hockey affiliate would be an instant boost to Big Ten Hockey (they would bring 5 hockey national championships, including one in 2009). Plus, adding BU hockey would open up the New England media market to the Big Ten Network, especially if Big Ten institutions made a point of scheduling games against BU’s hockey and basketball teams. Boston is the only major East Coast city left without a Big Ten presence; adding Boston University for hockey is easily the best way to remedy this and is the best move for the Big Ten.

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  40. […] March Madness Big Ten Rundown: Hockey Expansion Talk with Arizona State and New TV Contract […]

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