Posted on: September 14, 2010 2:20 pm
It's still not clear, though, where Boise State stands on this.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday that Boise is not a party to the lawsuit that is trying to force Fresno and Nevada to stay through the 2011 season. But since it will not officially join the Mountain West until July 1, is it not a defendant in the suit either. At least that's the way Benson sees it. That's called legal limbo, folks. It's also good for Boise unless you consider that some of their monies contributed to the WAC conference coffers (i.e. bowl money, dues, basketball tournament revenue, TV revenue) will be used to fund the legal challenge.
Obviously, the WAC needs until 2012 to attract other members to remain a viable conference. Benson said that by 2012, the WAC could have as many as 12 teams. It currently has six. In 2012, the NCAA is increasing the minimum number, from six to seven, of conference teams needed to retain an automatic berth in the NCAA basketball tournament, Benson said.
There isn't much doubt that the WAC can lure teams to replace Fresno and Nevada, but it needs time. There are scores of I-AA programs out there that would kill to join the WAC. But a current NCAA moratorium on I-AA teams jumping up to I-A expires in June. That means the soonest a current I-AA program could join the WAC as a full I-A member would be 2013.
If the WAC doesn't win this suit, it will be OK in terms of BCS and NCAA Tournament automatic qualifying status, Benson said. At least in the short term.
"We are not expecting that any of this will jeopardize any of our automatic qualifying status," Benson said.
He also said the WAC will remain part of the BCS through the current four-year deal that began this year. The BCS is compromised of all of Division I-A. The WAC does not have an automatic bid to a BCS bowl for its champion. That's part of the reason Boise is moving to the Mountain West next season.
Benson added that he doesn't believe that Fresno and Nevada have begun scheduling Mountain West contests for 2011.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 5:44 pm
O'Leary was suspended for two games after a middle-finger salute to the stands following a 26-22 nationally-televised loss to Cleveland Glenville at Ohio Stadium. Nicklaus was in the stands watching O'Leary and Dwyer become a victim of the officials and the camera. The only reason the kid was penalized by the Florida state high school association is that his actions were televised.
Actions that were completely understandable.
I've never seen a team jobbed by the officials as much as Dwyer was in the closing moments of that game. Replays cleared showed that O'Leary's teammate caught a 25-yard touchdown pass inbounds. When Dwyer got near the goal line for the potential game-winning touchdown, there were clock issues. Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett was ruled to have to been stopped on two quarterback sneaks. Folks, at least one of those was a touchdown.
O'Leary issued this statement apologizing, then adding, "We scored three times in the last two minutes and were never awarded a touchdown."
So, yeah, O'Leary deserves to be upset. What's this got to do with Showdown Saturday? Miami, take heart. Five days after that game, the Canes come to that same Ohio Stadium Saturday trying to right a seven-year wrong. In keeping with the spirit of the weekend we refer any other comment to the Dwyer coach.
It would be interesting to have research done on the top schools, or all FBS schools, on how many alumni live outside of their own state. For example, I am a BYU fan and I live in California, not Utah. There are many BYU fans like me not in Utah. It would be interesting to also see how many Texas Longhorn alumni live outside of Texas, how many Florida Gator alumni live outside of Florida, or how many Ohio State Buckeye alumni live outside of Ohio.
These schools can all get by with having local TV to reach its fan base. BYU needs national TV to reach its fan base. The only teams I think would parallel BYU's out-of-state alumni numbers are Notre Dame,
It is not uncommon for large schools to have hundreds of thousands of living alumni. I recall doing a story once where a school had 450,000 living alumni. (Timeout: I have no idea I always write 'living alumni'. It's assumed that all alumni are living, right? OK, maybe not some of those at Notre Dame judging from a walk through the tailgaters last week in South Bend.)
The alumni figure is basically in proportion to enrollment. I would suspect that BYU has a similar number of alumni as, say, UCLA which would have a lot more than USC. While having a large alumni base helps, it also helps to have winning teams. Donors are more likely to give when a team is winning.
It is easy to conclude that Notre Dame, then, has a lot of rich alumni. In its case, a lot of rich subway alumni too.
In-state or out-state really doesn't matter. BYU has always benefitted from its worldwide fan base. One of my favorite places to visit in the islands is BYU-Hawaii on Oahu. Independence makes sense for BYU because someone is will pay for it, notably ESPN. The school has partnered up with the Worldwide Leader. There is an executive there named Dave Brown who is known as a matchmaker, arranging attractive non-conference games for the network.
BYU has a scheduling agreement with Notre Dame and the WAC. What I'm wondering is how it will get games in October and November when everyone else is playing conference games. ESPN sees value in it because BYU enhances their image, little more. I can't imagine BYU bringing huge bucks to ESPN. Having BYU just means the next time the network goes to do a deal having the Cougars gives credibility to that Worldwide Leader label.
In short, if you're on ESPN you matter.
As for BYU TV, the school's network likely will only show one or two football games and a handful of basketball games each season. You lose me in your argument when you say " ... these schools can all get by with having local TV to reach its fan base." Every major conference, including the Mountain West, has a rightsholder that broadcasts its games nationwide.
It's not until you get down to the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt level that local television is involved. In short, BYU will succeed as an independent because ESPN believes it can sell enough advertising for its games to make the ratings work.
Dennis, I understand you enjoy seeing Miami being down. To say that that the (2003 Fiesta Bowl) call was correct is ridiculous and to also to say that there were three other offenses on the same play is even more ridiculous.
Nothing like opening up seven-year-old wounds. I'll say it again: The play in question was a judgment call. I reasonable person can disagree. The problem was with field judge Terry Porter waiting so long to throw the flag. It indicated indecisiveness.
Also, you misread the story. I didn't say there were three "other" infractions on the play. I said, there could have been two or three infractions total. If you look at the film, Miami's Glenn Sharpe can be called for illegal contact and defensive holding on Ohio State's Chris Gamble before the pass interference call.
If you really want to argue that Miami got screwed, I think another official in the end zone signaled incomplete pass. I think he has gone into hiding in Tibet.
You assume that every reader follows sports like it matters, say, as much as the economy or world peace. When you write an opinion piece consider leading the story with the simple facts. What exactly did Reggie Bush do? Aside from your references that he may have took money and that he was to be competing as a non-compensated student-athlete... was he a good running back or a great running back? Did the money make him faster ala steroids?
I understand the hypocrisy of kids getting nothing while the NCAA makes billions. But you've got to start somewhere with the rules. Bush's "crimes" were so heinous that they could not be ignored. Wonder if Oklahoma cares about being beaten that night by a kid who was competing essentially as a pro? You already know Auburn's feelings from '04. It thinks it should be champion.
Steroids? Call what Reggie Bush took financial steroids.
Nice going on the political cheap shot at (George) Bush. Everyone, from the U.S. Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, to the UN believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Mission accomplished, big boy. You just made my argument for me. Why did everyone from Congress to the Senate to the U.N. believe there were WMD? Because they were fed a pack of lies by the Bush administration which sold us the second Iraq war like it was a breakfast cereal.
New, improved Baseless War Granola!
In the aftermath of 9/11, we needed to take out our frustration on somebody. Why did that frustration contained inside the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan. I seem to recall there were some Egyptians and Saudi Arabians involved in 9/11. Oh, but wait. They're our allies.
Ask yourself, where are we eight years later with Iraq. Withdrawn, having left a shell of a country that is going to descend into chaos now that we have left. Congratulations Mr. Bush.
Dennis, Why did you pick Air Force over BYU, and Army over Hawaii?
Don't tell Charles, but I'm patriotic.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:55 pm
Maybe it started in 1996. That year BYU went 13-1 in the regular season and was ranked fifth in both polls. In the old Bowl Alliance, there was no room for the Cougars even then in the four big bowls that would become the foundation of the BCS -- Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Rose.
That year No. 7 Penn State, No. 20 Texas (both Fiesta) and No. 10 Virginia Tech (Sugar) all got into big-time bowls before BYU.
The Cougars settled for the Cotton bowl, beat Kansas State and became the first team in major-college history to win 14 games in a season. That year, BYU finished No. 5. Florida, 12-1, won Steve Spurrier's only national championship.
That perceived injustice would lead WAC commissioner Karl Benson to lobby Congress for his schools' inclusion in the major-bowl postseason. Out of that trip to Washington D.C. eventually evolved the BCS two years later.
Or maybe it was what happened in 1999. That's when the Mountain West formed with BYU as its lead dog.
It certainly had to hit home in the last four seasons when BYU won 11 games three times, 10 games in the other season. And went to the Las Vegas Bowl each time.
It was clear that the last non-BCS school to win a national championship had to try something revolutionary to win another one. That's why it made sense for BYU to go independent in football. Everything else, the shifting of most other sports to the West Coast Conference, is an afterthought.
This was about the long-term viability of BYU football. Why did it take this radical step? Because it could. It had leverage. Utah has been good since 2004. Boise State has had one of the country's best records since 2000. TCU just played in it first BCS bowl.
BYU has been a national power for decades. It is a true football factory. Used to be Quarterback U. Lavell Edwards, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, all that. It did win that national championship in '84.
It finally became time to separate itself. ESPN bought in with an eight-year agreement to televise BYU's home games. BYU already has its own network (BYU TV). Now it has its matchmaker. ESPN executive Dave Brown is one of the sport's power brokers when it comes arranging made-for-TV matchups. That will help a lot when it comes to scheduling games. If that sounds a lot like Notre Dame and NBC, you're right.
"We're going forward with an opportunity to extend our reach, not to play it safe," AD Tom Holmoe said.
The final straw might have been the Mountain West "attacking" BYU last week. In an effort to keep the school in the conference (and wreck the WAC), Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson invited Fresno State and Nevada.
Before that, Benson had devised a plan to lure BYU back into the WAC by luring San Diego State, UNLV and Texas El-Paso.
The only "winner" was BYU. Alone. It had a problem with the MWC's relative anonymity. The conference isn't fully affiliated with ESPN. MWC games are shown on Versus and CBS College Sports. The MWC's conference network, The mtn., hasn't turned a profit yet. That BYU signed off on this strategy years ago to keep from having to play mid-week games hardly matters.
The WAC wasn't an option because of questions about its long-term viability after Thompson's Fresno-Nevada raid. If we've learned anything from this Summer of Sleaze it's that the only accountability is to yourself. In addition to the ESPN agreement, BYU also announced a six-game series with Notre Dame.
"We'll do all we can to assist them in scheduling," ND AD Jack Swarbrick said. :We look forward to playing them."
The way it played out, the MWC and WAC were assured of mutual "destruction." Things broke down when Utah bolted for the Pac-10. That seriously wounded the MWC's chances of getting a temporary automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. BYU knew it.
When the WAC lost Boise State, it tried an end-run to get UNLV and San Diego State, in a bold attempt to lure back BYU. When Thompson got wind of that, he tried to collapse the WAC. Fresno State and Nevada came but the result was a net loss. The MWC lost Utah and BYU. It gained Boise, Nevada and Fresno. That's hardly an even trade in the BCS' eyes. A net loss in BYU's eyes.
So where are we? The MWC is now closer to the WAC than it is the BCS. The WAC's best program is Hawaii -- if the Warriors don't go independent -- maybe Louisiana Tech. The glory days of Boise may be in jeopardy playing a tougher MWC schedule in the future. Even with the addition of Boise and the retention of TCU, the MWC lost most of its traction for that BCS bid.
Halfway through a four-year evaluation process for that bid, the MWC is not certain to meet evaluation threshholds needed for an automatic BCS bid. (1. Average ranking of highest-ranked team in a conference; 2. Average conference rank in BCS; 3. Number of teams in top 25 of final BCS).
It's as if the Cuban Missile Crisis actually became a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Both conferences are diminished. There are no winners. The WAC will fill in with I-AA programs, probably from the West Coast if Hawaii stays in the league. The MWC's schedule strength goes down.
BYU determined that it could make more money and perhaps get easier access to the BCS controlling the schedule. Spreading the Mormon faith via these stand-alone games had to be a factor too. Its BCS access point will suffer (automatic only if BYU finishes No. 1 or No. 2, "eligible" in top 14). But as I reported earlier, the BCS and BYU have at least had conversations. Don't be surprised if football gets some kind of relief on that issue. As it stands, BYU is in the same BCS boat with Army and Navy.
"Right now the BCS is not the reason we made this move," Holmoe said.
Posted on: August 25, 2010 3:44 pm
Here's a copy of the WAC's resolution dealing with BYU obtained by the Salt Lake City Tribune.
Posted on: August 23, 2010 2:44 pm
You have to assume that BYU's schedule as an independent is not a problem. At least not as big a one as I believed in the beginning.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reported last week that it was a "done deal" that BYU's football program was going indy. You don't get that far down the road without having a reasonable idea that there will be enough teams to schedule. Whether the WAC lives or dies, there's still a chance to play four to six of the remaining teams. Notre Dame could be sprinkled in every now and then. Throw in the two service academies, Army and Navy. That still leaves, at least, four games remaining.
But, again, I'm going to assume BYU has that figured out.
The real reason that BYU is in Purgatory West, rather than the Mountain West at this point is TV revenue. It's no secret the administration is not satisfied with The Mtn., the league's four-year old network which has yet to turn a profit. BYU may be talking to ESPN for both carriage of some of its games and as a partner to line up opponents as an independent.
Another huge reason for BYU's waffling, it is becoming clear, is its BCS access. It can line up a schedule. It can get more games on ESPN. But the only way it gets closer to a BCS bowl without having to go back to the MWC hat in hand, is to get easier access to the BCS. I have reason to believe BYU and BCS parties have talked. Could it be about improved access? As an independent BYU, along with Army and Navy, would have worst access to a BCS bowl. Those three teams would have same access point: Ranked No. 1 or No. 2, automatic. Other than, no automatic access point. Those three teams would be eligible if they finished in the top 14 of the BCS. BYU finished No. 14, its highest BCS finish, in 2009 and still was trumped by Florida, Iowa and Boise State as at-large teams.
Remember, there are only four available at-large spots (out of 10) for independents. The other six spots (seven if Notre Dame qualifies) are taken up by the BCS conference champions.
The feeling is that BYU would have gone independent and placed its minor sports in the WAC had Craig Thompson not plucked Fresno State and Nevada. Now BYU has to determine if it wants to put its minor sports in the WAC (what WAC?), the West Coast Conference or the MWC. In the case of the last option, it's doubtful the MWC would allow BYU to put its minor sports in its league if football was independent.
Right now, no one has full leverage. BYU can't find enough games, improved access or more television money at the moment. The MWC doesn't want to lose BYU because it might lose The Mtn. Thompson wouldn't confirm there is language in the contract that allows The Mtn. to dissolve if Utah and/or BYU leave. That, however, is the assumption.
For entertainment purposes only here are BYU's games already scheduled through 2014 (source: San Jose Mercury News).
Posted on: August 20, 2010 3:41 pm
Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson just told me there is nothing to the Houston speculation.
"I haven't had any communication with Houston," he said.
There had been increasing speculation that Houston was headed to the MWC from Conference USA. Thompson did meet with CUSA commissioner Britton Banowsky on Thursday. He called it a "think tank" session. Out of the brainstorming came an idea to perhaps stage a BCS play-in game between the two conferences.
There was also the discussion that 22 or 23-team partnership, short of a merger, where the two conferences could market themselves together. He also said that there is language in the The Mtn. network contract with CBS College Sports and Comcast regarding BYU and Utah. He would not be specific about the viability of The Mtn. going forward without one or both in the Mountain West.
Posted on: August 20, 2010 11:48 am
Edited on: August 20, 2010 5:01 pm
The commissioners of Conference USA and the Mountain West have had preliminary discussions regarding a BCS bowl play-in game between the two conferences' champions that would lead to an automatic BCS bowl berth, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Friday after CBSSports.com's initial report.
Thompson and his Conference USA counterpart Britton Banowsky spoke Thursday in the midst of upheaval below the BCS conference level according to the source. There are few specifics at this point but the idea is to make both conferences more relevant and perhaps coax BYU into staying in the Mountain West. Thompson stressed the preliminary nature of the talks. Here is how the MWC couched things on its website.
"The conferences have agreed to this format for the next four years," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said.
Conference USA and the Mountain West were among those conferences.
"We talked [with CUSA] about marketing 24 instead of 12, 10, whatever," Thompson added. "The bottom line is this is the first of four years. We haven't played this year's BCS games. This is like kindergarten in formal education. We're just talking."
CUSA and the MWC are among the conferences that are halfway through a four-year evaluation process to determine a possible temporary BCS automatic-qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. The Mountain West was close to achieving that status until it lost Utah in the offseason and invited Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada into the league.
This would not be a merger between Conference USA and the MWC, but a play-in game to advance to the BCS after both leagues decided their conference champions. Conference USA already stages a conference championship game. The Mountain West is in a state of flux as BYU decides if it wants to leave the league and play as an independent in football. Fresno State and Nevada accepted invitations to join the MWC this week, supposedly beginning in 2012. Since it's not certain how many members the MWC will have going forward, it's not certain if it will attempt to stage a conference championship game of its own.
A play-in game could mean at least one of the leagues would be playing 15 games in a season, counting a conference title game, BCS play-in game and bowl game.
Posted on: August 19, 2010 2:19 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2010 2:30 pm
The WAC commissioner spent 80 minutes on a conference call Thursday explaining why his conference would survive.
He mentioned several schools by name that would be interested in joining -- Cal-Poly, Cal-Davis, Sacramento State (already a member in baseball), Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, Montana. The WAC staff was checking what the minimum number of teams it takes to have a I-A conference. I checked the NCAA Manual a while ago and it's confusing. Not sure by the by-law if it meant six teams for a division, or six teams for a league.
However, the WAC wants to bulk up to at least eight.
Benson called the defection of Fresno State and Nevada "disappointing" and "selfish." On Wednesday, the commissioner thought he had secured BYU as a non-football member. On Thursday, his league was fighting for its life. The Mountain West raided the WAC for Fresno and Nevada as a preemptive strike to keep BYU from leaving. As of Thursday, BYU was considering its options. The school's move to independence is, in fact, not a done deal.
For a guy who has given blood in trying to keep his conference together, it was a bitter day for Benson. There are only two teams left from the last year of the old 16-team WAC in the late 1990s (San Jose State, Hawaii). From that he built a league that sent its champion to a BCS bowl three times in four years.
"We will be successful, Benson said.
"I fully expect Utah State or New Mexico State to jump from the pack and go to a bowl [in 2010]. I won't be surprised at either of those teams," he added.
What the WAC might look like in a couple of years:
San Jose State -- almost dropped football a few years ago.
Hawaii --pondering independent status itself?
Idaho -- Robb Akey led Vandals to 2009 bowl
Louisiana Tech -- Let's just say Derek Dooley got out at a good time
New Mexico State -- Named by me the worst I-A program in the country a couple of years ago
Montana -- could be the next Boise State
Texas State -- see above
Utah State -- the state of Utah could have a Pac-10 team (Utah) an independent (BYU) and this WAC member