Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Good News-Bad News Comes With WAC Additions

The Good News: The WAC looks like its going to survive thanks to the two new members that will bring the membership up to six members and keep the conference NCAA eligible.

The Bad News: Its California State University-Bakersfield and Utah Valley University. The WAC is now officially the worst conference in America. 

In case you are interested: The new teams are the Roadrunners & the Wolverines.

55 comments:

Brett said...

I did not think it was possible, but we actually downgraded from the Sun Belt. I never thought I would say this but.......I'd rather be back in the Sun Belt than this zombie conference.

Anyone have any insight into why the WCC doesn't want us? Is it that we wont create a baseball team?

dggoddard said...

The Sunbelt is a good "little conference" that is on the rise.

Sunbelt football teams pulled off some major nonconference upsets this season and Western Kentucky made some noise in recent NCAA Tourneys.

Leaving the Sunbelt was either DU's choice or the Pioneers would have been kicked out at some point, but either way, DU is now lost with this current group of bums.

Aluuum said...

I agree! This is now even worse than the Sun Belt. All of this conference fluidity is going to continue into the forseeable future.What Peg has to do (are you listening Peg?)is focus on our individual skill centers sans conference consideration. We have top tier division one representation in: Hockey,Womens Gymnastics,Coed Skiing,Mens Lacrosse to name our "major leaguers". They will succeed on the national stage sans all of this conference nonsense. What conference they belong to is almost immaterial,with the exception of the NCHC.

timt89 said...

This is brutal...we can do better. We need to either lead a move to create a new conference or take a knee and extend our arm with a big bag of money to the WCC. This will hurt bball (and soccer) recruiting big-time and we will likely lose our coaches over time.
--no better geography than the Sunbelt
--second tier universities/ academics
--no natural rivalries or teams to drive visibility/attendance
--Next, WAC to add Metro State (Denver University in Colorado at Metro State?/new name) -they are on a par with Bakersfield.

Let's hope the outbound phone lines are burning at DU...the situation is desperate. Also, it is sure to kill recruiting until this is sorted out.

Anonymous said...

Utah Valley?? Good lord. The WAC has sunk lower than a whale's turd.

dggoddard said...

Not sure DU can do better. The WAC is the result of spending all year looking for programs.

Chicago said...

If we don't win the WAC in Basketball this year then goodbye Scott and Audience

Anonymous said...

On the bright side, might it be easier to qualify for hoops tournament now with an autobid?

The Hail Mary pass here is making a run to the sweet 16 and then getting picked up by a better conference.

Anonymous said...

What an unmitigated disaster.

Anonymous said...

Aluum:

All sports Conference does matter - you need to sponsor 16 teams to stay in D-I. Without an auto bid, you can't recruit decent players. There are not enough niche conferences to support all of DU's teams, so you need to park the majority of teams somewhere with an auto bid.

Anonymous said...

Actually, CSUB has good basketball and soccer.

Anonymous said...

WCC does not want us for 1 big reason:

Geography.

We've offered travel money and they still say no.

Anonymous said...

Utah Valley has 33,000 students and played in the post season in men's hoops late year (CIT). It's a fast growing school.

The downside is open admissions and shitty academics.

Anonymous said...

DU has little choice, folks.

Without football and a weird sports menu and distant location from most othre D-I schools, our options are very limited.

Maybe Summitt or MVC if there is more shakeout.

Too bad there aren't many other schools similar to us.

Anonymous said...

night night DU athletics....

timt89 said...

Time to add the Johnson & Wales fighting chefs, Phoenix University (save on travel-we can do everything on-line), Lincoln College of Technology (their graduates certainly do better than Bakersfield), and Wartburg College (good reason to go downtown for a brew and visit the most obscure college on the planet--other than Utah Valley) so we can beef up our WAC schedule.

Actually, this is no kidding matter. This is a total mess. We have got to ditch the WAC SOON. A very sad day...especially wth all the good things happening at DU.

Anonymous said...

Well the upside is that at least it's not he Roadrunners and the Coyotes. Jus' sayin'

Depressed Dunker said...


The WAC Conference: Home of 29 D1 NCAA Championship Banners. DU 28 and BYU 1.
The Wac has asked that we add Rodeo and coed Rifle teams.

Anonymous said...

There are really only 2 options here:

1. We rock out the WAC and absolutely dominate.

2. Change the NCHC to National Collegiate Honorary Conference and add some more sports.

Anonymous said...

Peg, please save us from this hell.

Anonymous said...

I can assure that Peg, her Dept, the Board of Trustees and chancellor have been working hard on this issue for YEARS, using every back and front channel we have. DU is one very small fringe piece on the edge of a giant game being played out by bigger football schools who don't give a crap where we end up. As a D-I school without football and in a location without a lot of other D-I schools, we are very vulnerable to conference shifts in ways that other schools are not.

Unless there is more shakeout above us (MVC, MWC or WCC) or we cna convince other like minded school to start over, we are stuck in bottom-feeder conferences like the WAC, Summit or Horizon.

If DU can make the NCAA hoops tourney, we would get a little more leverage, but not as much as having a football program would give us. Problem is that football is a minimum $30 million endeavor, and would be much more if it were to played to actually win at a D-I level. Right now, the big donor money is much more aligned to a potential medical school than a football program.

dggoddard said...

DU has spent hundreds of millions of dollars for athletics in the past decade and as far as conference affiliation is concerned, is back to square one. Events far beyond DU's control led to these seismic shifts.

In hockey, Sconnie & Minnesota pulled a runner and thankfully DU was able to jump into action and pull the NCHC out of the fire.

In lax we're lucky to have Air Force, Michigan and Ohio State in the ECAC, but just after Loyola wins the NC they run to the Patriot League.

Now the WAC fiasco.

DU is not alone in this. Every university in the country is grappling with the spiraling costs of athletics and the uncertainty of musical chairs version of conference realignment.

What I would like to see from DU is a more proactive approach going forward. Football has to be considered as an option or else DU is going to always be a bowling pin

Anonymous said...

Let's define proactive...

Does it mean starting football? We would need $20-30 million just to get that off the ground and that's about what DU spends on all other sports combined each year. We might get a few million and Stadium rights from Trustee Pat Bowlen, but who else is going to write that kind of big check? Coors? Joy Burns? Dan Ritchie? Doubtful. I just don't see the money for that coming from DU's current funnding sources.

DU's costs are always going to be higher than many others, given where we are on the map.

There are only 6 or 8 D-I schools within 400 miles of us, meaning we have to fly non-revenue teams around just the country to compete at a D-I level. It's dumb, but that's reality of maintaining the D-I minimum number of teams in an isolated part of the coutnry. The thing is it probably takes just as long (and cost's as much) to fly and bus to a place like South Dakota State than it does to fly and bus to Baltimore. Perhaps we need to look at playing in the Patriot League or something like that if this shitty WAC is all we can get in the west. Or, perhaps we need to bring $10 million to the WCC and say we want in now. Problem there is that Pepperdine, Santa Clara and Loyola-Marymount aren't going to draw more fans here than Seattle, New Mexico State or Utah Valley.

The best hope for D-I success in this region is hoping that the MVC or MWC has a spot for us in the next round of shakeouts.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps DU needs to spend some money on enticing other privates to form a breakway, more regional private school league, as they did with the NCHC.

DePaul, St. Louis, Bradley, Creighton, Seattle, and DU are six private schools that aren't happy where they are now. DU would thrilled to play in that kind of league, but I am not sure about how the others would feel about it...

dggoddard said...

DU needs to consider football, if they want to control their own destiny in the conference realignment game.

If DU started football program five years down the road, it would be relatively easy to set $5 million aside each year.

Secondly, playing in Mile High once a year and Dicks Sporting Goods Park for other home games is similar to what Texas Southern University is doing in Houston.

Thirdly, DU could phase in the scholarships. Its possible that an influx of new students could offset many of the costs associated with starting the program.

Anonymous said...

DG, it's not like DU has a ton of room for an influx of new students to pay for a football program that would at the very best break even. It's a 5,000 student or so undergrad school. That's not what tuition dollars are supposed to be for anyway. Supporting the basketball teams isn't worth THAT much, and the savings for the non-revenue teams won't offset the costs and logistics of a football program. Football doesn't give any amount of certainty that it will make the current conference situation any better or more stable.

Dunker said...

Mountain West Conference. They have 9 teams for hoops this year.(luckily Hawaii moved to the Big West?) Next year they add San Jose State and Utah State. 11 Teams does not balance.
If above math is correct, we have to be hitting them hard. We can bus in less then 3 hours to 3 opponents. The city if Denver will be the largest city in the League. (or Vegas)

Dunker said...

Mountain West- Pretty top heavy with 4-6 teams. That is good. Coaches and AD's like to add weak sisters to their own leagues every once in a while. Wins keep them employed. I have been told this by division 1 hoop coaches.
Conn and Cuse did not want to play a heavy weight in every league game. They are happy to have RU, Hall, and the Friers in the league.

Anonymous said...

And DU ranks higher in academic rankings than every MWC school but AFA, is in the top third for research funding, and would be the #1 MSA if SJSU hadn't just joined. DU also has more NCAA Championships than any MWC school.

People keep saying that they've said "no". I don't buy it. DU fits perfectly and even brings the caliber of schools in the conference up. Finally, they have established that they are open to non FB memberships.

Anonymous said...

I think adding football would be a disaster--I would rather have our basketball and some other teams play in a crappy conference than go down that road. I love what DU has done with athletics, but DU needs to focus on improving academics, too. Embarking on a football program and all of the resulting controversy and cost would distract from that mission. Plus, are there any other nationally relevant football teams with 5,000 undergrads? I can't think of any. And..oh yeah...we don't have room for a football stadium. Minor detail? Drawing 10,000 fans to a rented out stadium like Mile High would also be a joke. I think the best options are to wait this out, or to get proactive and form a new conference of similarly situated schools like someone above mentioned.

dggoddard said...

Syracuse is moving to the ACC & UConn wants out of the Big East so badly it hurts, so that argument is out the window.

Conferences now want eyeballs glued to TV screens to lure big revenue contracts.

Clearly DU does not bring that to the table. Nor is DU able to "deliver" Denver TV viewers.

DU needs to be looking around for peer institutions; Rice, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU and many other private metro schools.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather see us get our basketball programs to an NCAA tourney level program before trying to add football.

I'd rather DU be a winner in sports where DU can actually compete vs being a body bag program in football.

D-I College football sucks in Colorado, as does high school football.

Anonymous said...

We do have room for football stadium if we build a 20-30,000 seater across I-25 at South HS and share it with Denver Public Schools. DU would play there on Staurdays and DPS teams could play there on Fridays. We can renovate the DPS HS stadium that is there now or build whole a new one (I am sure DPS would love to share it with DU. Big DU lax and soccer games, commencements and concerts could also be held there. And they should also build a coverered and lighted DU-branded pedestrian bridge over I-25 to connect the football stadium to the DU campus and to the University of Denver light rail station.

All whe need is about $60 million on the low end, and $150 million on the high end. Done.

Brett said...

Whoever you are above me, you just stole the idea right from my head that I've wanted to pitch to Coombe for YEARS! Share with South and pedestrian bridge and ALL (so we can have a march to the stadium akin to the USC march to the Colosseum). Great call man.

I think everyone also underestimates that we wouldn't have to rely strictly on Bowlen, Coors, Burns, or Ricthie for donations. I think that are THOUSANDS of alumni that would jump on the chance to donate and bring DU football (and real school spirit) to their alma matter. This is one area where I feel donations would could from people who have never donated before.

Last problem for football. The transition from FCS to FBS. http://utsa.edu/ucomm/athletics/iv.htm is pretty good quick guide.

Anonymous said...

Brett:

DU is very well aware of the DPS stadium possibilities for both Football and Baseball as well as the bridge to link them. The idea dates back to the 1980s.

The current administration is much more interested in building a medical school vs bulding a bigger sports porgram.

Brett said...

Shiiiet, the idea was born before I even was......

I realize we are focusing on a medical school, which will benefit DU more than a football team, I agree.

I just jumped on the chance to talk DU football since its been a dream of mine back since my freshmen year.

Anonymous said...

I really see us going to pac 10 it really makes the most sense for us. You gotta think Elway would love to coach football. Give us 5 years and we will be in Pasadena for the rose bowl.

old pio said...

Utah Valley? Are you shittin' me herm? What a cluster-bleep. And no prospect for it to get any better. I'm hearing for the first time about a medical school. Great for branding but at what cost? Is there a need? Or is it just a grab for some prestige?

As to football, in the abstract, I'd like to see it. But the problems would be enormous, not the least of which would be the venue. Playing off campus (as opposed to South high) would guarantee they'd draw flies. DG can verify that the University of Houston under Bill Yeoman only did well in the Astrodome when A & M and Texas came to town. And in those days they were very good. Same with those nationally rated (but corrupt) SMU teams. A top 5 program whose only sellouts came against UT and A&M. Who is it, exactly, who would fill up our stadium? Either on or off campus. And we'd need lots more infrastructure than "just" a stadium. If there are some big cigars out there who would put up tens of millions to get it started, I'd be all for it.

Old Pio Annecdote alert: Hugh Campbell (who had success coaching in the CFL but less success coaching the Oilers) once told me he was certain he'd caught the last touchdown pass ever at DU. He played for a middling Pac 10 team.

If I had to guess, I'd put a DU return to football as about as likely as a CC national hockey championship.

Anonymous said...

Big West?

Anonymous said...

There is a serious shortage of primary care doctors in Colorado as there is only one medical school here. If DU did start a medical school, it would be about a $100-150 million effort, and there are some serious donors that would step up for that kind of effort. DU has strong professional graduate schools, so I am sure the school would do well.

All the D-I football teams in Colorado can't fill their stadiums now, and the market here is totally saturated with other activities. High school football in Colorado is poor, realtive to other places, and DU would likely draw crowds of 10,000 at home playing low level directional schools, and playing body-bag games away. DU football would likely become a joke and sap money from other successful sports.

dggoddard said...

"All the D-I football teams in Colorado can't fill their stadiums now, and the market here is totally saturated with other activities. High school football in Colorado is poor, realtive to other places, and DU would likely draw crowds of 10,000 at home playing low level directional schools, and playing body-bag games away. DU football would likely become a joke and sap money from other successful sports.

I agree with this 100%, but that statement applies to lots of other schools as well [Duke, Rice, Tulane and until recently Northwestern & Vanderbilt]. And yet all these schools continue to field football programs.

What can't be argued is that DU is in the worst conference in America. The questions is what does DU have to do to fix this?

timt89 said...

The point is well made that we have moved from a very weak conference to the absolute worst D-1 conference in the country. Fielding a football team is even a bigger risk because of the program costs and probability that we will be horrible as well. Football does not fit well with the DU culture and the cost of D-1 Football competitiveness is astronomical. In fact, only 10 programs or less make money. Also, it is likely to take money away from our good programs.

There are a few options of conferences that are possibilities without breaking their football requirement by-laws. Still, this has the real possibility of hurting our athletic programs over the short haul at minimum and possibly the long haul as well. It's a shame that the commissioner for the WAC fled to the Sunbelt after taking us into the WAC family. Western Kentucky and Louisiana Lafayette never looked so good!

Anonymous said...

Well, we could have had the WAC name to work with had SUB-C and Useless Valley not been admitted....

If Idaho and NMSU had gone off to the Big Sky, we could have offered a WAC AQ to the Creighton, Bradley, DePaul, St. Louis, Loyola, Marquette types (Schools in our orbit)...

Now all we can do is bolt or start fresh. Way to waste what little we had to work with...

Here's the real kicker. With 4 member schools left,I'm assuming that either Seattle and/or DU had to vote for this in order to get a majority vote. Talk about STUPID.

Anonymous said...

DU'c conference affilition struggles are not new.

When DU went all D-I in the late 1990s, the expectation from all the consultants was that we'd be welcome in the WCC. That never happened, despite the travel money we offered them. They said we were too far away and didn't have good enough basketball.

The only conference that wanted us back then was the Sun Belt. No one at DU thought we'd be there for 12 years, either. Certainly, someone else would want a school like DU? Well, they didn't. And we played in a conference where we had nothing in common with the members.

Then, wonder of wonders, DU's work to get out paid off wehn the WAC welcomed us in 2010, only to see the bottom fall out soon after we joined, as WAC conference members split for Greener pastures in the football-realignment.

So here we are, pushing 15 years in full D-I, back to a another poor conference afflliation scenario.

There are only a few ways out:

1) Make a go of the WAC with an unstable membership, and wait for another open slot above us. This is the cheap way, but there are no certainties and recruiting is going to be affected.

2) Buy our way into another conference. This is likely to cost $10-20 million minimum. Might be our best shot. Need funding for this. College sports runs on money, and if we wan't to dance, we need to pay the fiddler.

3) Change our sports menu - add sports that make us more attractive to others. This could cost up to $100 million depending on what sports DU were to add. Football is elephant in the room, and I don't see an appetite.

4) Form our own conference - We did this in hockey last year, and there are privates out there that are unhappy. Whether or not they want to join a new conference would be crapshoot.

dggoddard said...

If DU makes a go of it in the WAC the silver lining might be that there would only be 10 conference games.

If, and that's a big IF, DU could schedule attractive non-conference games things might work out OK.

Can DU get Wyoming, CU, CSU, Air Force, New Mexico and some big name opponents to visit regularly? It might take some cash, begging or burning up the phone lines to make it happen.

Certainly DU has no track record of being able to bring in more than one or two decent opponents each season.

Anonymous said...

CU and AFA won't play us.

CSU and Wyoming are both on the schedule, alternating home one year and away the next.

We lucked out on the home and home series with Cal coming this year after going there last year.

The ACC/SEC/Big 10/Big 12/Big East teams won't play in Denver.

DU might have some success going after bottom half PAC-10 teams for home and homes.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion here. Nice to have the historical perspective on things. I guess things can't be perfect all the time. Just have to have faith that Peg and DU are doing their best. I'm sure that they are. It will be interesting to see where we are in five years with this conference stuff.

dggoddard said...

If Air Force won't play us in men's hoops, we cut them loose in hockey.

With CU, we refuse to play them in non-revenue sports.

There's lots of creative ways to apply pressure in these situations.

Brett said...

Why wont CU play us in bball? That seems like a natural rivalry we aren't exploiting (or I guess, aren't able to exploit)

Or for that matter, why wont Air Force play us in ball? Because we got Joe Scott? I figured we have those relationships to set a game up BECAUSE he is their former coach.

Anonymous said...

CU won't play us because they see us as a pesky little brother - they get very little love/honro for beating us, and they lose substantial respect if they lose to us. CSU doesn't have that complex.

AFA hasn't played us in a long time. Not sure why...

Anonymous said...

True I think more schools should add DU to their schedule. You really cant have enough cupcakes. You wont play N. Dakota in hoops so we should drop you from our hockey schedule. Now the only sell outs you have wont happen. Good thinking Lamian

Anonymous said...

I'm all for applying creative pressure, but I wouldn't risk the AFA hockey relationship. That's a rivalry both sides enjoy and means a lot for hockey on the front range.

7:07, your "logic" makes no sense. Stop trolling.

dggoddard said...

It might be in DU's interest to try and build a tournament in the Pepsi Center featuring the five DI schools in Colorado. Use the format that the five Minnesota hockey schools are going to use in the Xcel Center.

University of Colorado - Boulder
Colorado State University
University of Denver
University of Norther Colorado
U.S. Air Force Academy

Garrett said...

I think a Front Range Invitational would be a great way to draw regional interest from schools who would otherwise be less than enthused. CU, CSU, AFA, DU, that should be doable. Regardless, maintaining our ties with CSU and Wyoming is of the essence here. We need to cultivate those rivalries. UNC should be on our schedule too. Ideally, we can convince New Mexico, Vegas, SDSU, and some Pac-12 teams to get us on their schedule every now and then, which is huge for a program like us.

For conference affiliation, we simply have to maintain as high a quality basketball team as possible and get lucky. Winning the conference this year and getting into the Dance might be our only shot. I feel like WCC, MWC, and Big Sky are viable options, we just need to demonstrate viability on our end. If money's an issue, we should make it rain. If the WCC demands baseball, that's a much smaller investment than football with a greater likelihood of viability. Given the security the WCC would offer, I would be willing to start a baseball program if it meant joining.

Creating a conference sounds great, but I find the prospect unlikely. Other regional private schools should be our first call, and the ones mentioned (DePaul, St. Louis, Bradley, Creighton, Seattle, Rice, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU) are attractive candidates for a conference. I think it's a stretch, but it's a tire well worth kicking.

I am not in favor of adding a football team. If conference realignment has taught us anything, it's that schools with bad football teams are damn near as vulnerable as those without teams at all. A football program would be such a massive investment that all the other ideas going around pale in comparison from a financial standpoint. It would require a substantial investment with a negligible return. As an undergrad who thinks our academics are something of a joke, I'd rather see that money put back into the school so we can make our university, and not just our brand, top notch.

Conference realignment has showed us that few schools have a grasp on their athletic destiny, and fewer still have the ability to control it. The best, most efficient use of our funds is to ensure we have high quality hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics and soccer programs, along with a thriving mid-major basketball program. If we keep Joe here and can manage to get to the Dance or win a few NIT games, we should be able to find a better home.

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