Tuesday, May 01, 2012

DU Gets WACked As League Implodes

(above) Three things you may never see together again; Boone, Ruckus and Denver playing in the Western Athletic Conference
A tidal wave of defections from the Western Athletic Conference has left the University of Denver Athletic Department in a precarious position. Departures caused by football playing schools looking for new conference homes as the BCS shakeup continues to implode around college sports. 

WAC and school officials are meeting this week in Scottsdale, Ariz., trying to focus on league business for the 2012-13 season, like the site of the 2013 WAC basketball tournament and its gymnastics membership. Boise State has asked to join the league a year early

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/05/01/2098295/wacs-pending-demise-leaves-idaho.html#storylink=cpy. While discussion will center on league business through the fall, hanging in the balance is the future of DU Athletics in Division I. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Sunday that WAC members Utah State and San Jose State are expected to join the Mountain West in the next seven to ten days. The report also cited that longtime WAC team Louisiana Tech is headed for Conference USA and Texas-San Antonio is set to join Conference USA less than a month after joining the WAC. 

Texas State's stay in the WAC will also be limited to one year, as the school appears headed to the Sun Belt along with Texas-Arlington.

New Mexico State University, a member of the WAC since 2006, appears to be running out of time and options for joining another league, mostly due to a perceived absence of an attractive television market to conferences with a greater level of stability. 

This latest round of realignment has put the WAC's future as a football conference on life support. If reports are proven correct in the next month, NMSU and Idaho would be the lone football schools in the WAC in 2013-14 and the league would feature just five schools — Seattle, Denver, Boise State — in other sports.

Idaho is mulling a move back to the Big Sky Conference.

Possible additions to the WAC could be adding non-football Utah Valley University and Cal State Bakersfield. Yikes.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/05/01/2098295/wacs-pending-demise-leaves-idaho.html#storylink=cpy

2012-13 Western Athletic Conference: New Mexico State — Utah State — San Jose State — Idaho — Louisiana Tech — Texas-San Antonio — Texas State — Denver (Non-football) — Seattle (Non-football) — Texas-Arlington (Non-football) 

Potential WAC in 2013-2014: New Mexico State — Idaho — Seattle (Non-football) — Denver (Non-football) — Boise State (Non-football)

23 comments:

dggoddard said...

The day DU joined the WAC, Hawaii bailed out. That told you all you needed to know about the stability of the league.

Anyone got a $100 million laying about? Perhaps DU uses the money earmarked for the medical school and starts a football program. :-)

Anonymous said...

DU had no choice but to jump to the WAC. The Sun Belt had wanted us out for a long time due to to long travel and DU not sponosring the minimum number of SBC sports.

DU will always be in a precarious position due to our location and unusual sports menu, where we just don't fit in very many solid conference foot prints.

I think the WAC will become a basketball/Olympic sports league and they will pick up some other programs to fill it out.

But long term, DU will never be totally safe in D-I without football.

And I don't see any donor stepping up with $100 million to start a football program, which would be doomed to fail in a poor recruiting state playing sixth fiddle to CU, CSU, WYO, and AFA UNC and playing NMSU in Mile High before 5,000 people.

The best thing long term would be the WCC if they would ever want to expand. Or maybe the MWC will need another school to round out scheduling. Or perhaps someday, some "like-minded" hoops privates could come together for a conference - schools like DU, Bradley, Butler, Marquette, DePaul, Creighton, Tulsa, Tulane, etc.

Until then, we will always have one foot on a trap door.

Anonymous said...

Those schools have real b-ball teams we would get pounded by them

Anonymous said...

I wonder if DU will now reconsider adding a baseball team....

According to super-double-secret rumors going around during the last round of conference realignment, DU's lack of a baseball team and the refusal of the administration to commit to adding one was what was keeping the WCC from seriously considering expanding to include DU; otherwise a natural institutional fit with the league and an obvious regional rival for BYU.

The issue that the DU administration (rightly) saw with baseball is that it's a huge commitment in terms of resources (large team, large coaching staff, new stadium, huge travel budget, etc...etc...etc...) that will ultimately have very little attendant payback in terms of revenue, butts in the seats, or community visibility.

Plus, the weather in Denver will frequently play havoc with a sport that starts outdoor games in mid-February.

However, with the continued marginalization of non-football schools, one wonders if the time is right to reconsider whether those very real concerns are now beginning to be overridden by the need to find a stable conference home.

Interesting times ahead, to be sure...

dggoddard said...

Let me be the first to say that if the baseball offer is on the table...TAKE IT.

The big issue then becomes what has to be cut to get to Title IX compliance. Also D-1 status requires that you have at least 16 sports.

Do you add softball? Title IX might require it, but the WCC doesn't have softball, so likely no.

Does swimming, skiing and/or gymnastics get cut? Swimming doesn't have many scholies, skiing adds a lot of prestige and Directors Cup points & gymnastics is Title IX critical and is nationally ranked.

Adding women's rowing would give enough scholies for Title IX but then you'd be looking at cutting a mens & womens sport.

Anonymous said...

Baseball is very a tough slog in this region with few local opponents, bad spring weather, a poor recruiting base, and the title IX implications mean we'd probably need to add another women's sport to keep proportionality (W Hockey?). DU could dump a few million into the DPS baseball stadium across I-25 but the reality is it would take $20 million or more to add 2 more sports and to make them NCAA competitive.

I think DU would rather spend that money to upgrade the on-campus stadium for lacrosse, which has actual revenue potential.

Without football, we will always be under D-I threat. With football, its is a money-sucking whore that would devastate our success in other sports.

dggoddard said...

Important to add the the Top 60 BCS schools [Pac10, Big10, SEC, Big12, ACC] might break away from the NCAA [in ALL sports] and that would devastate many athletic departments that currently receive TV money.

444 said...

DG,

You are correct in Minnesota we have heard talk of the Big Ten breaking away from the NCAA. The Big Ten doesn't like where athletics is going. If the Big Ten leaves every other BCS conference will likely follow.

Aluuum said...

What a mess!! It makes me hug my two Hockey season tickets that more tightly. To me,that is the one saving grace. Our new dynamite hockey conference starting in a couple of years. However all of this other stuff shakes out we still have our top tier hockey games to attend and root for.

Anonymous said...

I could see some big programs moving in a post-NCAA semi-professional direction, where players represent the school but allowed to major in their sports if they choose, as well as adding a larger living stipend.

I could also see some schools opting to stay more NCAA amateur-focused.

DU has it's feet in both camps. Hockey is all but pro at DU, with 80% of the kids moving on to some level of pro hockey after DU. If DU won't be allowed to structurally compete with BCS schools, our sport program will become irrelevant

dggoddard said...

Schools like Rice & Tulane are "losing" $5-$10 million a year on football. I'm sure they'd like to cut things back if they could, but their alumni won't stand for it.

On the otherhand Texas, Alabama, Florida & Ohio State might be making $100 million "profit" when you add in merchandise sales.

Anonymous said...

@ DG 11:26...

From what I understand, DU was asked by the WCC to commit to adding both baseball and women's cross country before the conference would even consider extending an invitation.

What that does to Title IX compliance, I don't know...not exactly my area of expertise.

Anonymous said...

Know how many schools actually make money with football??? 22.

Yep. Twenty two.

That's a little over 18% of the 120 FBS schools. Or, put differently, more than 80% of the FBS schools LOSE MONEY by fielding a football team.

Football is undoubtedly HUGE business...but it's only a money making business if you're Notre Dame or Texas.

dggoddard said...

22 schools made enough money from football to cover the rest of the costs of the Athletic Department.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/06/22_college_football_programs_m.html

Almost certainly most of the Top 60 schools made money in football alone.

Even if many schools lose money in football, which they do, whats Boise State, Brigham Young, SMU, Colorado, Boston College and others without football?

Anonymous said...

I don't subscribe to the theory that atheltics must be self- supporting. Do we ask college symphony orchestras, operas or theatre departments to support themseleves through ticket sales? Of course not. Yet they, like sports, also sell tickets and provide oppoertuniteis for students to particpate and for the community to enjoy themseleves at performances.

Athletics are a great investment because they are the "front porch" of many universities - generating awareness and emotional bonding across generations.

DU spends $25 million a year (a good chunk of that is soft-dollar schoalrships) on D-I sports. I think they are getting a bargain, even if hockey is the only sport that 'pays' for itself.

Anonymous said...

All the $$ you clowns say that your superior education supplies and you can't find 50 alumns to kick in some $$ to start college football....pathetic!

Put your $$ where your mouth is DG or stfu...fact!

Anonymous said...

DU could find the money to have college football if that's what it wanted to do.

Fact: DU wants no part of it. It's a fools game. DU would spend $100 million be Rice without the Texas recruits.

DU knew 50 years ago that D-I football is a money pit where only about 30 schools have a chance of being nationally relevant.

DU is natioally relevent in almost every sport it plays now. If we had football, it would screw the sports.

Colorado is a bad college football state. None of the teams here sell out.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the idea of DU pursuing football is laughable. It makes about zero sense, and would be an incredible waste of $$$. DU athletics are pretty well off as they are. They just need to keep hoops momentum going, and hopefully the chips will fall in our favor in terms of finding a half-way decent conference.

Seems like the conference doesn't even matter much for most sports, except hoops. Men's soccer plays in the MPSF against better competition than the WAC/Sunbelt would provide. Lacrosse and hockey are in excellent leagues, and skiing doesn't have real conferences. Aside from hoops, is the conference really that important to DU? Just askin'...

Anonymous said...

"Put your $$ where your mouth is DG or stfu...fact!"

That's a request 6:21, not a fact. You're an idiot....fact.

dggoddard said...

Another example that the smaller BCS football schools may be in trouble.

Today DirecTV announced that they are dropping The Mountain Network (616). The network televised Mountain West Conference sports.

Anonymous said...

Conference does matter. A lot.

It plays a huge role in recruiting and in scheduling, and provides potential rivals, as well as a year to year measuring device for how effective programs are.

DU has suffered in a geographically inappropriate conference (SBC) for years. But I hesitate to think of where DU would be without that stability.

The WAC is not ideal either, but at least there are some schools in our own time zone.

Unknown said...

The answer to program profits can be found here:

http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/06/20/which-football-and-basketball-programs-produce-the-largest-profits/

Tim in Los Angeles

Aluuum said...

T.V. momey is the 800 lb. gorilla that is causing all of this inter league disruption across the entire country.. It's corrosive. I don't see it settling down any time soon.
But as long as long as I have my hockey team to root for I can blow this other stuff off ,even though I would like to see D.U. come out of it in some kind of favorable position.