Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Where Big Ten Graduates Live and Conference Realignment

Over the past several years analyzing conference realignment, observers have had access to some overarching data, such as TV ratings, athletic department revenue, population and demographic trends of states and metro areas, and the home states of current college students. However, up to this point, there has been only largely anecdotal and/or unreliable data on a critical piece of the conference realignment puzzle: the specific places where the graduates from each college actually live. As an Illinois graduate, I’ve long known anecdotally that my alma mater sends a critical mass of graduates to San Francisco and Seattle (generally for tech jobs due to the school’s strong engineering and computer science programs) while very few Illini move to Indianapolis despite it actually being geographically closer to campus than Chicago and St. Louis, but it has been difficult to find quantitative data to actually back that up.

This is where a new database from the Wall Street Journal fills the gap.* The Journal worked with a labor market research firm to identify the metro areas where the graduates of 445 colleges now live. It breaks down the most popular locations for the alumni for each school to move to in the United States. What’s also interesting is to see how certain locations are conspicuously devoid of particular schools’ alums, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

(* h/t to Aaron Renn for his original post on this Wall Street Journal database. If you’re interested in urban development and demographic issues, he is one of the best writers out there.)

For someone that’s interested in conference realignment and the college sports business in general, this database is a legitimate treasure trove. As soon as I was made aware of this Journal site, I went through each of the Big Ten schools to identify the top metro areas for each of their respective graduates. Here is the chart I put together with each of the Big Ten schools on top, applicable metropolitan areas listed on the side, and a tier number assigned whenever a market comes up as a top destination for a school’s graduates:

Big Ten Graduate Cities Image 20180517

Tier 1 = 10% or more of a school’s graduates live in that market
Tier 2 = 5% – 9.99% of a school’s graduates live in that market
Tier 3 = 1% – 4.99% of a school’s graduates live in that market
Dash = Not a measurable destination for a school’s graduates

After creating this chart in my full dorkdom, there are some key takeaways:


There are only four markets in the entire country that drew more than 1% of the graduates from every single Big Ten school: New York, Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco. None of these metro areas are located in the Midwest. Not even Chicago, the heart of the Big Ten, covered every single conference school, albeit the two sub-1% exceptions are the latest East Coast additions of Maryland and Rutgers.

To be sure, the Wall Street Journal notes that those four particular markets draw from a much wider range of colleges across the country. The sheer sizes of the New York and Los Angeles markets swallow up a lot of college grads and all four of the cities have strengths in industries that attract a national talent pool: finance in New York, entertainment in Los Angeles**, tech in San Francisco, and government and politics in Washington.

(** My favorite Big Ten-to-Hollywood story at the moment: former Penn State basketball player Joonas Suotamo is taking over the role of Chewbacca. Also, while this isn’t reflected in the domestic data, the Big Ten will have a monopoly on Americans in the British royal family after this weekend when Hollywood actress and Northwestern alum Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry.)

Still, the Big Ten’s top-to-bottom presence in those four markets is noteworthy because the only other Division I conference that has every member in those same markets is the Ivy League… and all of the Ivy League schools are in relatively close proximity to New York and Washington. Interestingly enough, all of the Ivy League schools have at least a Tier 3 presence in Chicago, too.


Putting aside Maryland and Rutgers, Chicago is still the market with the deepest ties to the Big Ten by a large margin. It is a Tier 1 market for 6 schools, Tier 2 market for 2 schools and Tier 3 market for 4 schools. No other metro area has more than 2 Tier 1 Big Ten school connections. This isn’t exactly surprising with the annual migratory pattern of new Big Ten grads taking over apartments in Lincoln Park and Lakeview every summer (while the older Big Ten grads like me move on to places like Naperville).

Big Ten schools also send a lot of grads to the largest metro areas within their own home states. Every Big Ten school has a Tier 1 connection to at least one market located in its home state. Note that there are many metro areas where the principal city is located in one state but parts of its market are located in another state. New Jersey is a classic example where it’s largely split between the New York and Philadelphia metro areas. There are several other border areas in the Big Ten footprint such as the St. Louis metro area being partially in Illinois, the Louisville and Cincinnati metro areas crossing into Indiana, and the Omaha market including portions of Iowa. Ultimately, a state keeping a large number of grads from its flagship or other large schools isn’t exactly surprising, either. Going home will always be a strong draw.

What’s stunning to me, though, is the utter lack of Big Ten grads going anywhere else in the Midwest other than Chicago or a metro area that has a presence in their school’s state. Detroit is the 2nd largest metro area in the Midwest, relatively easy driving distance from most of the Big Ten schools, and larger than both the Seattle and Denver markets. Yet, the only 2 Big Ten schools outside of Michigan and Michigan State that have even a Tier 3 connection to Detroit are Northwestern and Purdue. Meanwhile, 10 Big Ten schools have a Tier 3 connection with Denver and 8 of the league’s colleges have a Tier 3 connection with Seattle.

In fact, the only instances where a Big Ten school has a Tier 3 connection (much less stronger ones) with a Midwestern market that isn’t either Chicago or wholly or partially located in its own state are (i) the aforementioned example of Northwestern and Purdue with Detroit, (ii) Iowa and Wisconsin with Minneapolis, (iii) Minnesota with Milwaukee and (iv) Nebraska and Iowa with Kansas City (which is a market that isn’t even in the current Big Ten footprint). That’s it… and it’s actually even worse when digging deeper because the trading of Badgers and Gophers between Milwaukee and Minneapolis comes with the caveat that there is tuition reciprocity for Wisconsin and Minnesota state residents for their respective flagship universities. In essence, a Milwaukee resident effectively treats Minnesota as an “in-state” school and it would be the same for Minneapolis residents with respect to Wisconsin. As a result, a lot of those Badgers and Gophers are just heading back to their home markets.

If Midwestern metros want to have any chance of changing their slow growth compared to the rest of the country, it’s clear that they need to do a better job of attracting the college grads that are just beyond their own home state universities. There really isn’t a great reason why Indianapolis isn’t drawing at least 1% of grads from neighboring state Big Ten schools like Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State… and Indy is one of the healthier Midwestern economies. Essentially, the Midwest metros with the exception of Chicago have completely ceded their “home field advantage” for Big Ten grads to the coasts and other high growth locations (e.g. Dallas, Atlanta and Denver).


Paradoxically, the horrific inability of Midwestern markets other than Chicago to capitalize on the pipeline of Big Ten grads that are often within short driving distance is largely a good thing for the conference. The Wall Street Journal database shows that the Big Ten has the most nationalized alumni base of the Power Five conferences from top-to-bottom. As noted previously, the only other conference where every school has at least a Tier 3 connection with New York, Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco is the Ivy League. More than half of the Big Ten has at least a Tier 3 connection with Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver and Seattle. There are 4 or more Big Ten schools with a Tier 3 connection with Houston, Miami and Phoenix, too.

This helps explain why the Big Ten has consistently received larger media revenue compared to its biggest football rival of the SEC. While the SEC might often receive superficially higher TV ratings compared to the Big Ten, the SEC has much more concentrated intense interest from alums that still live in its home footprint of the South. In contrast, the Big Ten might have a little bit less intense interest in its home footprint of the Midwest/Northeast (outside of places like Ohio), but that’s compensated by its very broad presence of alums in large and wealthy markets from coast-to-coast (AKA valuable viewers).

At the same time, to the extent that cable subscriber fees that have been largely based on home market interest are at risk for the Big Ten Network, the Big Ten is still in the best position of any Power Five league to take advantage of any new media rights paradigm due to its more national footprint. The New York Yankees have a combination of national and regional advantages that made them the wealthiest team in the radio era, over-the-air TV era, and cable TV era… and they’ll be the wealthiest team in the over-the-top streaming era or whatever else might come down the pike. I believe that the Big Ten will continue in that same type of position in the college sports space – they’re the conference that still has the strongest combination of home state passion with a national fan base.


Let’s get back to the four cities that have a connection with every single Big Ten school: New York, Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco. If anyone wants to wonder why the Big Ten added Maryland and Rutgers, just look at this data. The additions of those schools were not so much about Maryland and Rutgers actually delivering their respective home markets of DC and NYC, but rather bringing the Big Ten product directly to where the league’s alums now live. It’s no different than why pro sports leagues are so insistent on having franchises in places like Florida and Arizona: it’s not that they are delusional to believe that those markets will have great homegrown fan bases, but rather that they are places where transplants from New York, Chicago and Boston can directly watch their favorite teams.

The underpinnings of the bond between the Big Ten and Pac-12 beyond the Rose Bowl becomes clearer here, too. Not only are Los Angeles and San Francisco uniformly popular for Big Ten grads, but Denver, Phoenix and Seattle also have strong Big Ten connections. The proposed Big Ten-Pac-12 partnership from earlier this decade that ultimately fell apart would have fit right in line with the demographic data.

To be very clear, I don’t believe that the Big Ten is anywhere near expansion mode. We likely won’t see any real discussion of Power Five conference realignment until the current Big 12 grant of rights contract expires in 2025. That being said, the Wall Street Journal database provides a lot of fodder for which markets make the most for the Big Ten in the event that it wants to expand its footprint further along with some explanation for demonstrated interest in certain schools during recent rounds of conference realignment. The following is simply my blue-sky thinking as opposed to any evidence that there will be realignment moves in the near future.

Texas was mentioned prominently as a past Big Ten expansion target and that was a no-brainer at all levels: a top academic national brand name school with a blue blood football program that delivers a massive high growth population state is the top prize for every Power Five conference even above Notre Dame. The fact that Dallas has a Tier 3 connection with 9 existing Big Ten schools and Houston has connections with 4 conference members is just the proverbial icing on the cake. However, the value wasn’t as obvious when Georgia Tech was also identified as a Big Ten expansion target. The Big Ten graduate data partially points to why the league was interested in the Yellow Jackets: the Atlanta market is one of the most prominent destinations for conference grads with 9 Tier 3 connections.

There wasn’t much discussion about Colorado being a possible Big Ten school in the past, but Denver has Tier 3 connections with every Big Ten school except for the 4 that are closest to the East Coast. I’m not alarmist about the Pac-12’s status among the Power Five conferences (unlike some others) and I won’t subscribe to pie-in-the-sky scenarios (e.g. the Big Ten adding schools like USC and UCLA). However, I wouldn’t put it past the Big Ten to make a play for Colorado in the next decade if the Pac-12’s relatively lower revenue makes it vulnerable. Colorado is an AAU school in a major market with a critical mass of Big Ten alums and even in a state that’s contiguous with the current conference footprint (via Nebraska).***

(*** As a reminder, the Big Ten does not have a contiguous state requirement for expansion. The league will jump over states to get Texas, UNC or similar caliber schools if they ever wanted to join. That being said, geographic proximity is certainly an important factor, especially if it’s not a blue blood program.)

Kansas is also sitting there from the Big 12 as an AAU school with a blue blood basketball program and Kansas City is one of the few Midwest markets that been able to draw non-local Big Ten grads from multiple schools. I have long been on the record that the most valuable single plausible (e.g. no poaching Florida and USC) expansion scenario for the Big Ten that doesn’t involve Texas, Notre Dame and/or ACC schools is the league adding Kansas and Oklahoma. Their smaller markets on paper are countered by having national draws in basketball and football, respectively, along with deeper connections to a lot of major markets beyond their home states’ borders (such the OU presence in the Dallas market).

On the Eastern side of the Big Ten footprint, 10 of the 14 conference schools have connections with Boston. Adding a school to cover the Boston market would effectively make the Big Ten into the conference of the entire North. However, the challenge is finding an acceptable school that fits into the conference. Boston College is obviously located directly in that market, but it isn’t a great institutional fit as a private religious university (although that wouldn’t stop the Big Ten from adding Notre Dame if the Irish were willing to come). I’m not completely dismissive of a BC to the Big Ten scenario down the road since it still has great academics and a location directly in the Boston market, although it’s a stretch.

UConn is a more of an institutional fit as a flagship school, has strong connections to both New York and Boston and a top level basketball program historically. However, its largest roadblock can’t really be fixed by anything other than the passage of time: the Big Ten simply isn’t adding a school that has only been playing FBS football since 2002. In fact, that’s an underrated factor in why UConn isn’t in any Power Five conference today. All of the years that UConn played Division I-AA football might not as well exist. In the minds of the powers that be, UConn is more of newbie than a school like UCF (upgraded in 1996), and that’s a black mark in a universe where being able to say that a school has been playing at the highest level of football since the 1800s actually matters. It might sound arbitrary and unfair, but old school pedigree is simply an absolute requirement when getting to the Power Five level and dealing with very literally the snobbiest group of people on Earth AKA university presidents. Even a bad football history can be overcome if it’s at least a long football history (e.g. Rutgers).

Syracuse actually sends a similar percentage of its grads to the Boston market as UConn despite a farther distance from Upstate New York along having the largest percentage of grads of of any FBS school living in the New York City market with the exception of Rutgers. While Syracuse is a private school, it’s a very large one where it almost serves the role of a flagship-type institution for New Yorkers. As a result, it has Big Ten-like attributes in a region where Ivy League and other elite private universities have historically kept public universities in a subservient position.

To be sure, demographics are only part of what goes into the conference realignment equation. If schools are in markets that don’t necessarily have strong ties to existing Big Ten alums but are bringing in elite blue blood programs (such as Oklahoma football or Duke and/or North Carolina basketball), then those elite brand names are going to win out.

Still, it has been fascinating to go through the grad destination profiles of the Big Ten schools along with other colleges across the country. Once again, in matters more important than conference realignment, Midwestern cities in particular need to review this data and understand that they are giving up their home field advantage of nearby Big Ten grad talent to coastal cities that are providing such talent with more professional and economic opportunities. This is sobering data for every Midwest city outside of Chicago. They likely knew that this challenge was happening at some level, but the results are actually even worse than expected.

P.S. For long-time readers of this blog, I know that it has been a long hiatus. Thank you for your patience and continued support. I promise that I’ll get more posts up before the next Avengers movie comes out next summer that will inevitably undo what happened at the end of Infinity War.

(Image from Amazon)



1,709 thoughts on “Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Where Big Ten Graduates Live and Conference Realignment

  1. Chris Barnett

    You don’t mention Kentucky or Tennessee as “blue-sky” B1G possibilities for expansion despite proximity and blue-chip programs. Being too cheap to pay for WSJ access, I’m assuming there’s a data-based reason for not even mentioning them? (I note Nashville is not on your data chart.)


    1. @Chris Barnett – I’d put any SEC school on the unrealistic expansion list. It would be tough to ever see the Big Ten and SEC poaching from each other – they’re generally the biggest hunters in this game.


      1. bob sykes

        Considering the historic connections via the Rose Bowl, etc., and the mutual ideals and goals (two closest conferences in everything), this new data reinforces the desirability of some sort of enhanced Pac 12/Big 10 relationship, with much more interconference play. I would prefer that to any further Big Ten enlargement. (Purdue grad; OSU faculty)


        1. Brian

          The problem with the B10/P12 deal was always the details.

          1. It’s hard to make it work in football with 9 games in each conference plus some outside rivalries. USC and Stanford didn’t want it because of their rivalries with ND. We still play the P12 a few times per year but I don’t think you can realistically expect much more than that.

          2. The same can be said for basketball as we move to 20 games and the P12 has also discussed expanding their schedule. Add in the multi-team tournament and some needed cupcake home games and you’re running out of slots. The B10 would have to drop the ACC and/or the Big East series to do it.

          3. For any non-revenue sport, why fly 2000 miles for a game? It’s much cheaper to play local schools.


          1. bob sykes

            As usual, your arguments are good. But the 9/20 is a recent innovation, and mutual history and the possibility of a megaconference spanning the whole continent is worth a try.


          2. Brian

            Yes, I realize the 9/20 things are new. But the 9 game schedules in football were what basically killed the deal after it was tentatively accepted. The recent move to 20 games means it would be hard to apply it to hoops now.

            I don’t disagree with you that playing the P12 more is at least worth equal consideration to expanding the B10. If there was a good way to make money off of it, both sides would agree. Perhaps they could hype it all year round as a B10/P12 competition with each sport with a point. You’d only need a few games in each sport. Or perhaps they do a Director’s Cup competition. Use the average finish for all schools in each conference since Stanford always wins the cup. I just don’t know where the revenue would come from.

            Maybe they could do 2 opening week kickoff games with big brands for football and play a 4 team tournament or two in November (UCLA, AZ, IU and MSU would be good). Maybe they could get more baseball/softball games early in the season when the B10 teams all go on the road for weeks (and any other spring sports that do that).


          3. Brian


            I agree that gambling may be a new and large revenue stream but it’s not dependent on the B10 and P12 playing each other more. If they can make that money with the status quo in scheduling, what is the incentive to schedule each other more?


  2. anthony london


    Since Rutgers and Maryland are new additions to the conference, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that both schools have alums in Chicago that either weren’t contacted or covered in the research. Probably a research vehicle oversight, at least I hope. What the data suggests is that Chicago is carrying the midwest, which should create a different mindset for business and government leaders regarding how the city/state move forward. But that is another topic…

    I wonder if this data implies a change in BTN pricing from a regional focus to a national one. Would more out of region customers become enticed to add the BTN if pricing were similar? Additionally, is this trend new, old, growing or declining? It would be great to see this chart in four years.

    I hope the conference never adds Texas. I don’t think the school would make a good partner, nor do I think the school is ready to work with other blue bloods on equal footing. While Oklahoma is a blue blood football program, economically and politically speaking, they are not on equal footing with Texas.

    Welcome back Frank. You should do a post that matches schools/conferences with characters in the MCU. As an example, is the Alabama football program the “Thanos” of MCU?” I think that would be fascinating…



    1. Brian

      I think this is part of the midwest being “flyover country” for many people on the coasts. The UMD and RU alumni spread up and down the eastern seaboard and to major cities out west. I think the weather scares some people off plus Chicago isn’t synonymous with a major industry in the same way that NY, DC, SF, LA and others are. In short, I’m not sure Chicago is the same national draw that those other cities are.

      There’s also so many good schools around Chicago that they may not feel the need to recruit the coast as hard.


  3. Doug

    I suspect with the Big 12 GOR expiring in 2025, we will start to hear rumblings in 2023. The Big 12 will want schools signing on to a new GOR before 2025. It’s at that time schools will have to start showing their hands so to speak. Closed door negotiations for expansion will take place in 2022 if not currently. When the BIG TV deals start to expire I’m sure they will want to use any new schools to increase fees. Just some thoughts.


    1. Brian

      You’re correct that the movement will come around 2023. That’s when the B10’s current tier 1 deals expire, so they’d prefer to announce new members before signing yet another new deal. It’s also when the B12 will be starting to talk informally with bidders. They’ll want to lock down their membership before having formal discussions. It’ll be interesting to see if any talk of a B12N starts to come out again around then.


  4. houstontexasjack

    Thanks for the data, Frank! Anecdotally, I thought there were a lot of other Michigan alumni in the Houston-area, and this suggests Houston draws a reasonable amount of alumni. One factor I’ll be curious about in the next round of possible realignment is the relative importance of internet streaming services weighed against “traditional” cable and satellite offerings. The recent Nielsen ratings suggest the big Texas markets are gaining in the traditional rankings, and I suspect that’s because, in part, cord-cutters who might solely use streaming services are more prevalent in the Bay Area and other West Coast markets.

    Click to access 2017-18%20TV%20DMA%20Ranks.pdf


    1. Brian

      Recently Nielsen started accounting for streaming in their ratings. They’re still a pretty small number for now (~2.5M streaming-only households) but growing, obviously.

      The bigger impact of OTT may be in who bids for tier 1 deals going forward. Also in which games the conference networks keep for themselves. As the numbers of streamers grows, there must be a point where the B10 wants them to stream BTN2Go rather then ESPN or FS1. Do you make BTN a bigger player in game selection or keep giving them the dregs?


  5. loki_the_bubba

    The darn WSJ site won’t let me access the data without a subscription. Oh well, there’s no more than thirty or so Rice grads in any city outside Houston. So who cares.


    1. @loki_the_bubba – Rice actually looks a lot like the Big Ten schools and other top private universities: Tier 1 in its hometown (Houston), Tier 3 in other major markets in its home state (Dallas, Austin and San Antonio), and also Tier 3 in the same major coastal and interior markets that are popular with Big Ten schools (NYC, LA, Chicago, Boston, SF, DC, Seattle, Denver and Atlanta).


      1. loki_the_bubba

        Thanks Frank. I would have guess that’s the case. But then less than 5% of a graduating class of 800 is just about 30 anyway.


    2. Alan from Baton Rouge

      loki – I signed up for a promotional subscription of $1 for 2 months.

      Frank – I’ll drill down on the SEC schools over the next few days.


      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Here are the cities that show up the most for SEC schools:

        14 – Washington DC
        13 – NYC and Atlanta
        12 – Dallas
        11 – Houston
        10 – L.A.
        8 – Chicago
        7 – Nashville
        6 – Charlotte
        5 – Memphis & San Francisco

        Atlanta is the most popular place to live for Georgia (42%) and Auburn (14.5%) grads.
        Nashville is the most popular place to live for Vandy (23%) and Tennessee (14.1%) grads.

        Other #1 cities by school are:

        Houston – A&M (25.1%)
        St. Louis – Mizzou (23%)
        Birmingham – Alabama (19.8%)
        Memphis – Ole Miss (14.4%)
        Jackson, MS – Miss State (14.4%)
        Miami – Florida (13.7%)
        New Orleans – LSU (13.6%)
        Louisville – Kentucky (12.4%)
        Little Rock – Arkansas (10.9%)
        Charlotte – South Carolina (7.7%)


    1. Brian

      Did you guys really need him? From what I’ve read, you’ve already got several decent options although none with experience. It seems like there is a decent chance he ends up as a backup for you.

      It seemed like an odd choice by him when he would’ve been the clear starter at his other choice (UC).


  6. Dave

    How about the other direction? How many alums does a school like Colorado have in B1G footprint cities like Chicago, Detroit, Washington, New York, etc.?


  7. Kevin

    Hi Frank, great research and conclusions! I’m wondering if you could reserve the table and list graduates from each School as a percentage of population. Right now the data is heavily biased towards large metros.


  8. vp81955

    No real surprise on the Big Ten vis-a-vis the Ivy League. Traditionally, a majority of Ivy presidents previously served at B1G institutions.

    Glad you’re back.


  9. Brian

    That sounds interesting, but I don’t have WSJ access so I’ll rely on the article you linked plus your commentary.

    Some relevant notes from the linked article:

    The Big East, Ivy League, Pac-12, Big-12, ACC, and Big Ten are all over 70% in sending college grads to major metro areas (but see below for caveats).

    Alas, the Journal selected an unfortunate definition of major metro. They define them as the top 55 metro areas, plus the largest metro in the state, plus the largest metro in any state without one in the top 55, excluding Alaska. I don’t know anyone else slicing data this way. A more typical method would be to look at metro areas with more than a million people, of which there are 53. There are some clear midsized and lower tier cities below that on the Journal’s list, so the midsize city advocates are also going to claim this data for themselves. I can understand why they would want to include every state, but this definition of major metro raises questions about analysis based on it. I would like to see a re-slice, or better yet another field in their interactive tool to allow readers to set threshold sizes.

    I’m also not quite sure what the graphs for schools mean. They are labeled as “Percentage of alumni in each metro area.” The top bucket is greater than 50%, yet some schools (e.g., Wisconsin) have multiple cities in that category.

    I assume they mean the percentage of living alumni although I don’t know how accurate that data really is. It seems like some sort of normalization process to account for population would make this analysis even more useful. Of course NYC has a lot of alumni from all the schools. Metro NYC has 20.3M people (6.2% of the US population). I’d also like to see distance factored into this. Looking at the percentage of in-state students also seems reasonable.

    Some data from OSU:

    Currently, there are nearly 500,000 living Ohio State graduates worldwide and more than 285,000 graduates of Ohio State living in Ohio.

    Outside Ohio, the top five regions for Ohio State alumni population are: Washington, D.C./northern Virginia (9,388); New York City (9,123); Chicago (8,582); eastern Texas, including Dallas, Austin, and Houston (7,940); and Los Angeles (6,819).

    That puts DC at just under 2% while 57% stay in Ohio. Your chart shows only Columbus with over 10% of OSU’s alumni while Cleveland has 5-10% and Cincinnati has 1-5%.

    Columbus: >50,000
    Cleveland: 25,000-50,000
    Cincinnati: 5,000-25,000

    One thing that might impact this analysis is considering the semi-rural nature of the midwest. The northeast and west have a considerably larger percentage of their populations in urban areas. You may note that the SEC was the only P5 conference not to have 70% of its alumni in major metro areas. The rural south is part of that.

    Now that I’m done nitpicking what they didn’t do, I’ll talk about what they did.


    1. Brian

      Just for a reference point, the 53 metro areas of 1M+ people account for over 55% of the US population.

      I think the data for Chicago shows that while large, it is still a very midwestern big city. Distance from Chicago is a major factor in who moves there. OSU has more alumni in NYC and DC than Chicago, for example. This is why the other major cities in the midwest lack more B10 alumni. We send a few everywhere but the cities aren’t big enough or powerful enough (NYC, DC, SF for tech, etc) to be a huge attraction outside of their states.

      “If Midwestern metros want to have any chance of changing their slow growth compared to the rest of the country, it’s clear that they need to do a better job of attracting the college grads that are just beyond their own home state universities. There really isn’t a great reason why Indianapolis isn’t drawing at least 1% of grads from neighboring state Big Ten schools like Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State… and Indy is one of the healthier Midwestern economies. Essentially, the Midwest metros with the exception of Chicago have completely ceded their “home field advantage” for Big Ten grads to the coasts and other high growth locations (e.g. Dallas, Atlanta and Denver).”

      1. Are they not attracting any outsiders or are they just not getting other B10 schools’ alumni?
      2. Recruiting more out of state students will lead to losing many students to the coasts.
      3. All of the B10 schools are so good, why make an effort to get people from the other ones if the in-state people can fill your jobs just fine?
      4. People go where the jobs are. For the most part, that’s less in the midwest than it used to be. 5. People don’t like the winter. Many of these alumni are retired and have sought warmer climes.

      Like you say, our nationalized alumni base is a strength for the conference. It also helps the schools get out of state students.

      I don’t think the eastern alumni drove the B10 to head east nearly as much as the larger demographic trends (growing states to provide future students = $$$) and TV markets ($$$). They did want to capitalize on our eastern alumni by pushing hard in the region after they chose to expand (2nd HQ in NYC, playing in MSG, etc) but I don’t see them chasing the alumni in other regions. The plains schools didn’t have the numbers on their side.

      I will point out the Colorado will never be part of the B10. I don’t care how many B10 alumni live in Denver and neither does CU, because most of CU’s alumni live in CA. That’s why they went to the P12 and that’s why they’ll stay there. They are a great example on a smaller scale of what you’re talking about the B10 potentially doing (chasing their alumni).

      As for Boston, I just don’t see it. The ACC has the B10 blocked off. BC is a much better fit in the ACC. SU and UConn lack the academics to be main targets. I don’t think either really wants into the B10 (of course UConn would take it over the AAC). Unless the ACCN greatly disappoints, I think the ACC schools are happy where they are.

      The B12 has stayed ahead of the P12 and ACC financially so they may be content to extend their GoR in a few years. If not, that is the B10 only viable avenue for expansion anytime soon.

      B10’s top choices (if available):
      1. UT and OU (if UT comes, OU will be willing to follow)
      2. OU and KU (KU wanted in before, I’m still not 100% sure OU would be accepted withuot UT)
      3. Nothing else


      1. vp81955

        Not to mention the problem of having members in three time zones (which the Pac would’ve put up with if it had successfully wooed Texas and/or Oklahoma, but that’s it).


  10. Brian

    I think it’s relevant to link this article from 2016 that Frank brought up in his previous post. It details the migration of public college students between states.

    Students leave behind state financial aid, incur added transportation costs and pay ever-higher out-of-state rates set by underfunded universities. Why do they go?

    Some yearn for independence or fun (ski Colorado! Vermont!) or are lured by merit aid (the University of Alabama, Ohio State, University of South Carolina). They may have been shut out of their own flagships (California, Texas, Illinois) or are taking advantage of reciprocity agreements (Midwest Student Exchange Program), which allow neighbors to pay reduced or in-state tuition.

    Thomas G. Mortenson, senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, offers another explanation. “The surge in emigrants,” he says, “bespeaks troubles in the public four-year institutions in the home states of these residents.”

    As expected, populous states like CA and TX export a lot of students. So does NJ which has a high population density. Others like MN are more surprising. The article has the numbers for every state. Remember, this only counts public schools. That hurts the northeast where private schools are often king, but that should also reduce the total number per capita from those states.

    I’m using the 2010 census to normalize below.

    CA: +4681, -17196 -> -12,515 net (-336 per 1M residents); sends the most to AZ, gets the most from WA

    TX: +2750, -11179 -> -8429 (-335); to OK, from CA

    Big Ten footprint:
    NE: +1581, -1169 -> +412 (+226); to MO, from IA
    MN: +3567, -9025 -> -5458 (-1029); to and from WI
    IA: +4226, -1683 -> +2543 (+835); to SD, from IL
    WI: +5957, -3795 -> +2162 (+380); to and from MN
    IL: +2117, -16461 -> -14344 (-1118); to and from MO
    IN: +6509, -2477 -> +4032 (+622); to KY, from IL
    MI: +5831, -3112 -> +2719 (+275); to OH, from IL
    OH: +7065, -5609 -> +1456 (+126); to KY, from MI
    PA: +8751, -6995 -> +1756 (+138); to OH, from NJ
    NJ: +914, -11813 -> -10899 (-1240); to PA, from NY
    MD: +4361, -6662 -> -2301 (-399); to VA, from NJ

    Total: -17922

    Most of the students are only moving regionally, so the losses for the B10 overall aren’t large except for MN -> ND, IL -> MO and OH -> KY.


    1. vp81955

      MD: to VA, from NJ.

      When I attended Maryland in the mid-’70s, the running gag on campus was that the school soon would be renamed “Rutgers-College Park.”


  11. Brian


    They probably aren’t the only school doing it, but FAU was caught by the local newspaper falsifying their Title IX data to the feds. FAU claims it was a clerical error and perhaps it was.

    In 2016, women represented more than half of the Boca Raton school’s enrollment but only 31 percent of its athletes. The percentage was the lowest of all 127 schools participating in the highest level of college sports.

    Just one year later, FAU claimed it had erased its female participation gap. It told the U.S. Department of Education in 2017 that 51 percent of its athletes were women.

    FAU reported it had more than doubled the number of athletes on its women’s track team from the previous year, but the team’s own website shows that was far from the case. The staggering numbers: FAU reported having 98 women’s track athletes. The roster showed no more than 43, and the team photo showed 38.

    The 98 women, FAU claimed, occupied 222 roster spots on its cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams, more than any women’s track program among the 127 major sports schools. The number boosted a key measure used to determine whether schools are complying with sex-based discrimination laws.

    Metcalf pointed out FAU’s female athletes historically have gotten more than their fair share of scholarship money. Until the erroneous statistic skewed the numbers last year, FAU reported giving women a higher percentage of athletic scholarship dollars than the percentage of athletes they represented.

    But even after subtracting the 55 women unaccounted for on FAU’s report, the school’s numbers indicate it disproportionately gave athletic scholarship dollars to men last year, violating federal law.

    Correcting for the exaggerated track team numbers, no more than 46 percent of FAU athletes in 2017 were women, The Palm Beach Post calculated, but only 36 cents of every scholarship dollar went to female athletes.

    Without providing details, FAU said it would issue revised numbers to Education officials claiming that the correct percentage of female athletes is 43 and that the school actually handed out 45 percent of its sports scholarship dollars to women, not 36 percent. It did not explain how it had gotten the scholarship number wrong.


      1. Brian

        Yes, it’s easy enough to fix in theory. Being FBS requires 16 varsity sports including football, 6 men’s or coed sports and 8 women’s sports. They must provide at least 200 scholarships including at least 77 in football. FAU has 18 teams (8M, 10W) so they can drop up to 2 men’s teams. FAU has 41% female athletes receiving 46% of the scholarship money and 43% of the opportunities but the school is 54% female (could be okay by Title IX if there is no unmet demand).

        The real question is how many schools are cheating at this since many schools don’t meet the Title IX. They can get exemptions for making progress. How much of that progress is real and how many years do they get to reach compliance? Especially for P5 schools, there is no excuse not to truly satisfy Title IX.

        Both the Department of Education and the NCAA annually collect data from schools that help indicate whether they meet Title IX requirements, but those organizations don’t always use it. Sometimes, the department uses data to initiate a compliance review of a school, but mostly its enforcement efforts stem from individual complaints, of which it receives thousands per year. Title IX compliance is not one of the NCAA’s prerequisites for competition.

        “Schools have had 45 years to get it right and to make sure they’re treating their female students equally, and too many are still out of compliance,” Chaudhry said. “The reality is we’re seeing huge gaps at so many schools that I think many schools have just not been doing their job.”

        Pough said although Title IX is great for women of all sports, she sympathized with some men who she feels are shortchanged. Whereas schools tend to distribute scholarship money evenly among women’s teams, the majority of scholarships on the men’s side go to football and basketball players.

        For example, while women’s tennis players at FAU shared the equivalent of eight full-rides, men’s tennis players shared less than three. Women’s soccer players split the equivalent of about 16 full-rides, but men’s soccer players split just four.


        1. Jersey Bernie

          When women’s soccer has the equivalent of 8 full rides and men’s split four, eliminate a couple more men’s and soccer at FAU can essentially be a full varsity sport with no almost no scholies. Works for everyone, except may the men’s soccer players, but they are a casualty of Title IX.

          Years ago (at least 10) Rutgers was under major Title IX pressure. They dropped men’s varsity tennis, crew, and something else. What was interesting was that tennis alumni and other donors offered to step up and pay all mens’s tennis expenses, but RU refused.


  12. Brian


    [Charles Woodson] said Saturday he feels the game hasn’t been emphasized enough by Michigan.

    “To be quite honest I really feel like over the years, in recent years, there hasn’t been the emphasis that I’m used to being put on that game,” Woodson said.

    “Every game has been out on the same level of that game and that’s not the way we were brought up, that’s not the way we were raised around here. And we had no shame in saying it.”

    I use this as an entry point to ask a bigger question. I think we all agree a team can focus too little on a rivalry game. If the other team puts a lot more emphasis on it, you can end up losing a lot of games (see John Cooper at OSU).

    But is the opposite true as well? Can teams focus too much on a rivalry game? Many claim OSU and UM did just that during the Ten Year War (1969-1978), leading to a lot of poor Rose Bowl performances because the teams were emotionally spent but I can’t be objective on that subject so I’m asking others.

    Does the timing of the game (season opener, mid-season, season finale) make a difference? I could see where putting too much into a mid-season game could set you up for a trap game loss afterwards. As an opener I’d think a rivalry would be a great way to motivate the players in the off season just like any other big game opener. As a season finale, I always felt like it kept players pushing through the tough weeks late in the season and the break before the bowl should be long enough to recover and refocus.


  13. vp81955

    The University of Kansas is seeking a new AD after Sheahon Zenger was dismissed today. A Final Four appearance in men’s basketball can’t mask a dreadfully bad football program. The chancellor: “Progress in key areas has been elusive.”


    It should be noted that Kansas has made or is making major improvements to its football facilities, perhaps preparing for Big Ten expansion or Big 12 changes sometime next decade.


    1. Jersey Bernie

      Kansas football is clearly in a tough position. The State of Kansas does not exactly produce many players and when there is a good one, there is plenty of competition from neighboring states (and other SEC schools). There is absolutely zero tradition. Tough rebuild.


      1. vp81955

        Zero tradition? A couple of Orange Bowls, a legendary running back in Gale Sayers…Kansas football isn’t bereft of good moments.


      2. Brian

        Jersey Bernie,

        “Kansas football is clearly in a tough position. The State of Kansas does not exactly produce many players and when there is a good one, there is plenty of competition from neighboring states (and other SEC schools). There is absolutely zero tradition. Tough rebuild.”

        Agreed, but KSU has shown a least one path to success. Use lots of JUCO players (the state of KS has 8 JUCOs with teams) to supplement in-state recruits overlooked by better programs. They can also look at programs like Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Get a few out-of-state players for speed and develop the local kids into OL, LB, etc.

        KS has 2 4* players this class plus at least 7 3* players. It’s similar to what states like IA, MN and NE have. MO has a lot more and some are from the KC area. Then dip into TX for a bunch of 3* players looking to prove themselves to the TX schools that overlooked them.


          1. Doug

            I think you mean the Orange Bowl. Penn St. 15 Kansas 14. Infamous 12 men on the field for Kansas. OSU beat USC 27-16 in the Rose Bowl to win the National Championship.


  14. Brian


    NE AD Bill Moos made some comments that have stirred up some people.

    First (and non-controversial), NU will get back to playing on Black Friday in 2020 when they start a 2 year period with MN being their final game. In 2022 it will revert to beat NU vs Iowa on Black Friday. Mike Riley and Shawn Eichorst didn’t like playing on Black Friday so the games in 2018 and 2019 (vs Iowa) are set for Saturday instead.

    First, Moos confirmed that NU is the process of getting a long-term agreement set for 2022 and beyond with Iowa to play on Black Friday.

    In the meantime, Moos also confirmed the 2020 and 2021 games with Minnesota would be played on Black Friday, meaning the Huskers streak that dates back to 1990 of playing a nationally televised game won’t go away.

    “I had somewhat of a feel for it before I got here, watching those great Nebraska-Oklahoma games the day after Thanksgiving,” Moos said on the Huskers Sports Network. “I don’t think I ever missed one, and some of them I saw in black and white TV. Then when I got here, there was a couple of things I went to right away, and one was Black Friday and to secure the rivalry with Iowa.

    “I know there’s a bit of one now, but that needs to be our rivalry. It’s easy enough for our fans to go to each place, and once we came to the Big Ten, we didn’t have a traditional rival. That’s going to be in the works, and that will be scheduled long after I’m gone, and I mean on the face of the earth. But we couldn’t get the Minnesota thing turned around, but we will in 2020 and 2021 play on Black Friday, but it will be Minnesota, which is fine. Then we go into the Iowa Series from here on out.”

    Moos also said you don’t mess with tradition and in his mind the positives far out away the negatives about playing on Black Friday.

    “I like to color outside the lines at times, but at the end of the day I go with tradition,” Moos said. “Especially at a storied place like Nebraska. The brand is a national brand, it’s a respected brand and the things that have been done over the years traditionally need to be left alone. Some things can be changed, but not the ones that have a deep, deep traditional respect from the fan base.”

    “It’s an exclusive window, and like you said it’s not like a typical Friday night or afternoon game because people aren’t at work,” Moos said. “They are watching our brand, and that’s a whole big key to getting ourselves back in that national picture.”

    What has people talking (see Frank’s twitter) are some more cryptic comments about future B10 scheduling.

    Moos hinted that the league is in strong talks about modifying the 9-game conference schedule that puts the Big Ten at a competitive disadvantage against the SEC and ACC when it comes to the College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six Bowl games and overall win-loss records which effect polls and strength of schedule.

    “We might have some other schedule news here in a week or so in regards to 2022, on,” Moos said. “It was something I really became a bulldog on in regards to Nebraska and some of the traditional power programs in the Big Ten not beating each other up so bad. Because in my opinion the strength of schedule really hasn’t had much impact on who’s being selected for the College Football Playoff. We are in the process of addressing that to hopefully mine another satisfaction.”

    And Moos is not saying Big Ten teams should back down from non-conference scheduling.

    He feels the league needs to evaluate their approach and look at what’s best for the long-term health of the conference.

    “First of all, we play nine conference games,” Moos said. “Six in the division, and then the crossovers. Like I said, in recent years those crossovers have pitted the powerhouses against each other on a consistent basis. For non-conference scheduling, it’s a fine balance. Without freshmen teams anymore, you want to hopefully have opponents that you are just primarily playing at home, so it’s a money game, you have a realistic chance of winning, and you can play a lot of players and get a look at them early in the year. I do like an intersectional game with a Power Five opponent.”

    Some have interpreted that to mean that the B10 is looking at dropping back to an 8 game schedule. I don’t think that’s what he meant, though. As Frank pointed out on twitter, without the 9th game the crossovers would get too infrequent.

    Current: Play 3 teams (your tier) 56% of the time and the other 4 33% (IN/PU play every one else 33%)

    8 games: Play 6 teams 31% of the time and IN/PU 14% (IN/PU stay locked) or play all 7 29%

    My guess is that Moos is trying to talk the B10 into dropping the parity-based scheduling. That way NE wouldn’t play OSU every year for 6 straight years, then get PSU or MI for 6 straight. I think he wants to play 6 teams 44% of the time instead (keep IN/PU locked and thus at 33% vs others).

    However, I thought the B10 adopted that more for TV money than for CFP access. I wasn’t a fan of it then and aren’t now either, but it seems like TV might have some complaints. If not, I’d love to see equal play. The East schedule is hard enough without having NE or WI or IA locked in as well.

    Or maybe the news is just the release of the next rotation in the parity-based scheduling. For the next 6 years NE will get someone other than OSU as their locked crossover and that would seem like good news for them.


    1. Brian

      A Husker blogger seems to agree with me.


      But the crossover schedules ahead for the Huskers will be plenty challenging, even if Nebraska football takes a big step forward under Scott Frost. They have Ohio State as a crossover game on the schedule every year from here until 2021, meaning they’ll have played the Buckeyes for six straight seasons. Other teams in the league have been sharing a common crossover foe during this time too. Iowa is playing Penn State every year during this stretch, and Wisconsin is playing Michigan, and Northwestern is playing Michigan State. It certainly fits into “parity-based scheduling” in theory, though Nebraska has far from delivered on its part to be remotely close to Ohio State so far.

      Maybe this all plays into what Moos is getting at in his comment about being a bulldog about the “traditional power programs in the Big Ten not beating each other up so bad.” We’ll see how different the 2022 and 2023 schedules look when they come out.

      Another Husker blogger took a slightly different angle on the story.


      What’s that mean? We might have to wait the “week or so” to find out, but Moos made it seem like any change might have to do with how crossover games are scheduled.

      “In recent years those crossovers have pitted the powerhouses against each other on a consistent basis,” Moss said. Based on his previous quote, it’s clear he doesn’t see the upside to that when it comes to earning a CFP spot.

      If that’s what coming, it’ll be very interesting to see the Big Ten’s messaging on that (if there’s any message at all). How does a conference say, “We’re consciously choosing to have our best programs play less often”? It makes strategic sense (and thus financial sense), but fans like big games. Would you rather see Ohio State in Memorial Stadium, even if it meant greater potential for a loss, or Rutgers and greater probability for a win?

      This led me to look at how parity-based scheduling has worked out so far.

      2016-17 (the only years it has been in use):
      OSU 16-2
      PSU 15-3
      MI 12-6
      MSU 8-10
      UMD 5-13
      RU 3-15

      WI 16-2
      NW 12-6
      IA 10-8
      NE 9-9
      MN 7-11
      IL 2-16

      IN 6-12
      PU 5-13

      It’s a tiny sample size, but the tiers have worked out so far except for NW.

      Going back to 2014:
      OSU 31-3
      MSU 22-12
      PSU 21-13
      MI 21-13
      UMD 10-24
      RU 7-27

      WI 29-5
      IA 22-12
      NW 21-13
      NE 17-17
      MN 14-20
      IL 7-27

      IN 9-25
      PU 7-27

      As expected, MSU joins NW as outperforming their tier. Still, MSU is only 1 game up on MI and PSU. It’s only 4 years of games, but it doesn’t look too bad so far.


  15. Brian


    Dennis Dodd’s article about cracks in the P12 led to online speculation about conference expansion by David Ubben. Ubben suggested that the B12 should aim to steal UA and ASU from the P12.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/for-petes-sake/article211255024.html#storylink=cpy

    This led to multiple articles on the subject.


    Not very in depth (mostly an excuse to run a fan poll) but it did quote Ubben:

    “Big 12 would be wise to begin cuddling up to Arizona, Arizona State with expansion in mind before leagues begin negotiating their new TV deals,” David Ubben, who will be joining The Athletic, wrote on Twitter. “The fissures in the Pac-12 have never been wider.”


    Also pretty short and seems against the idea.

    Yes, landing two “power five” conference members would be a nice PR move by the Big 12. It would be even better if somehow the additions meant more TV money and greater stability.

    There’s a lot in the way, too. Arizona and Arizona State joined the Pac-10 in 1978. For all the athletic concerns, there’s no doubt the academic types at each school like being in the same league with prestige institutions like Stanford and Cal and USC and UCLA.

    At the conference AD and presidents meetings in late May and early June, the Big 12 is expected to announce a significant increase in revenue for 2017-18 — one that is only divided by 10 schools.

    Sometimes it’s a plus to be smaller.


    Jon Wilner on the subject.

    The Big 12, once on life support, is looking to grow. The Pac-12, once the aggressor (recall Texas, Oklahoma and the Pac-16) is vulnerable to poaching. Might the frustrated Arizona schools be there for the taking?

    If so, the Big 12 would actually become the Big 12 and add heft, a major TV market and football inventory prior to the next round of Tier I media rights negotiations in the early 2020s?

    In my experience, there are two rules of realignment:

    No. 1: It’s never done until it’s done … and sometimes not even then.

    No. 2: Everyone has an opinion, but only a handful of voices truly matter. And those voices rarely, rarely talk.

    From this vantage point, the situation is clear:

    There is no chance … none, zero … of the Arizona schools jumping conferences prior to the next round of Tier I deals.

    But never forget: Realignment doesn’t play out in the minutiae of year-to-year performance cycles; it unfolds on a broader canvass, one painted by university presidents, boards of regents and state politicians.

    For the Arizona schools, jumping to the Big 12 doesn’t make sense.

    For the Big 12, inviting the Arizona schools doesn’t make sense.

    *** The Big 12 doesn’t make sense for Arizona and Arizona State from a competitive standpoint.

    For all but a handful of football and men’s basketball teams, recruiting is geography: The program’s center of gravity is the largest talent base within the conference footprint.

    For Arizona and ASU, that center is Southern California: 370 miles away, stocked with alums of both schools, culturally similar to Tempe and Tucson and loaded with talent like no place else.

    But join the Big 12, and the Arizona schools would have more difficulty luring prospects out of the L.A. basin. The appeal of playing in the same conference as USC and UCLA would vanish.

    The Pac-12 makes far more sense from an expense and logistics standpoint. Most of the Pac-12 campuses are closer to Phoenix and Tucson than any of the Big 12 counterparts.

    *** It doesn’t make sense for Arizona and Arizona State from an academic standpoint.

    Academic association might not matter to fans (or coaches), but it matters to the voices that matter … to the presidents and the regents and the pols.

    Which conference offers more prestige on that front:

    The Pac-12, which has four schools ranked in the U.S. News top-25 (Stanford, Cal, USC and UCLA), or the Big 12, which has none in the top 50?

    And if the U.S. News ranking isn’t your thing, consider the conference ties to the prestigious (in academia) Association of American Universities:

    The Pac-12 has eight members in the AAU; the Big 12 has three.

    The guess here is Arizona president Robert Robbins, the founding director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, and Arizona State president Michael Crow, who has spent years raising ASU’s academic profile — and is commissioner Larry Scott’s staunchest supporter — would prefer academic alignment with California’s powerhouse universities.

    And so would the Arizona Board of Regents.

    *** It doesn’t make sense for the Big 12.

    Let’s not forget that realignment requires a willing suitor.

    Assuming the Arizona schools are a package deal — Tucson is well-represented on the Board of Regents — it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which the Big 12 benefits financially by adding both schools.

    Why would the Big 12 only add one major market (Phoenix) but split the revenue pie two additional ways?

    Because neither Arizona school brings a major football brand to the table — sorry, Wildcats: basketball doesn’t matter — there’s no way the Wildcats and Sun Devils could pay for themselves and increase the size of the revenue pie for everyone else.

    There’s also the matter of timing.

    It makes less-than-zero sense for the Big 12 to expand during the remaining years of its current Tier I deal with ESPN because the parties removed the contractual mandate that required ESPN to increase the rights fee if the conference expanded.

    The Hotline has long believed the best move for the Pac-12 and the Big 12 might be to combine forces and create a football scheduling alliance.

    At the negotiating table, content rules:

    An alliance would create premium inventory — the conferences could include a predetermined number of annual cross-over games — and it would fill every kickoff window from 12 p.m. Eastern to 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

    I agree with Wilner that it won’t happen. I disagree with his argument about the timing, though. ESPN and Fox would certainly consider a pro rata increase in the contract if the B12 added 2 P5 schools, especially since it would mean they could pay the P12 less. Maybe they’d just keep the AZ schools at what they make in the P12, but it’s not like the networks would pay nothing. That was just a method to prevent G5 teams from getting a full paycheck.


    1. Brian


      If the P12 broke up, where would the schools end up?

      It is a complete hypothetical, but we’ve seen schools pop up and change conferences out of nowhere before. On the very off-chance that the Pac-12 was to break up in a new round of conference realignment, I have a pretty good idea of where those schools may end up.

      According to this blog post’s writer:
      B12 – UA, ASU, CU, Utah
      B10 – UW, UO, Cal, UCLA
      Other 4 – No idea because the link in his article is broken

      My guesses at what he said for them:
      Independent – USC
      MWC – WSU, OrSU, Stanford?

      But I’ll play his game.

      Hypothetical: The P12 breaks up due to financial disparities

      Option 1 – Merger with the B12

      The B12 adds some major markets and the P12 gets the TX enthusiasm for college sports. They form 1 big network with LHN staying separate but other B12 schools joining. New regional feeds are formed (ISU/KU/KSU/WV, OU/OkSU, TT/BU/TCU). 8 games in division and 1 crossover (B12 vs P12). 1 non-conference crossover (USC and Stanford exempted due to playing ND annually).

      Option 2 – Lose a couple of schools

      B12 – UA, ASU
      P10 – the rest

      Play the full round robin plus the CCG. Maybe BYU and Boise eventually get in.

      Option 3 – Small takeover by the B12

      B12 – UA, ASU, CU, Utah
      New P10 – UW, WSU, UO, OrSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Boise, BYU

      Play the full round robin plus the CCG.

      Option 4 – Big takeover by the B12

      B12 – UA, ASU, CU, Utah, USC, UCLA (or Stanford if the UC system stops UCLA)
      New P10 – UW, WSU, UO, OrSU, Cal, UCLA, Boise, BYU, SDSU, UNLV

      Play the full round robin plus the CCG.

      Option 5 – Free for all

      B12 – UA, ASU, CU, Utah, USC, UCLA (or Stanford if the UC system stops UCLA)
      MWC – WSU, OrSU
      B10 – UW, UO, Cal, Stanford (or UCLA as above)
      ACC – none
      SEC – none


  16. Brian


    CFB Data Lab has done an in-depth look at recruiting, including which high schools produce the most players and how recruiting rankings correlate with team success. There are maps, charts and other graphics but no text. One map is interactive.

    Here’s a decent summary: http://footballscoop.com/news/study-talent-rich-high-schools-america/

    This is just a little bit of it:

    High Schools Producing Most FBS Signees, 2004-17
    1. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) — 130
    2. Miami Central (Fla.) — 78
    3. Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio) — 74
    4. DeSoto (Texas), Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) — 70
    6. Cedar Hill (Texas) — 69
    7. Buford (Ga.) — 63
    8. Long Beach Poly (Calif.) — 61
    9. Dallas Skyline (Texas) — 60
    10. DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) — 58

    A total of 18 states made the list, easily led by Florida’s 27 high schools. Texas was a comfortable second with 20, and Georgia surpassed California as the third best state for one-stop shopping.

    Number of High Schools With At Least 30 FBS Signees, 2004-17
    1. Florida — 27
    2. Texas — 20
    3. Georgia — 11
    4. California — 10
    5. Ohio — 7
    6. Louisiana — 5
    7. Arizona, Hawaii — 3
    9. Alabama, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah — 2
    13. Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania — 1

    They also tweeted some stuff (@ redmondlonghorn).


  17. Brian


    The most underrated team in the preseason AP poll every season (started in 1950).

    Final count: which team has been the preseason AP Poll’s most underrated team most frequently?

    Auburn: 7 times
    Arkansas, Houston, Iowa, Michigan State, Washington State: 3 times
    Arizona State, BYU, Georgia Tech, Illinois, LSU, Missouri, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse Utah, Wyoming: 2 times
    Kansas, Missouri: 1.5 times


  18. Brian


    Fox’s recent deal to get WWE rights ($200M per year for 5 years for a 2 hour show every Friday night) bodes well for CFB TV rights, especially from broadcast networks.

    The rumored “rights bubble” is starting to look more like a trampoline. “The value of premium live sports is going to continue to go up,” says Chris Bevilacqua, a co-founder of CSTV (now CBS College Sports) who now works as a consultant advising leagues on media rights deals.

    Technology is changing so fast and media companies are morphing at such a rate that it’s difficult to predict exactly what the landscape will look like when the Big Ten’s best games go on sale again after the 2022 season or when the package of SEC games that airs on CBS goes on sale after the 2024 season. The Pac-12’s current deals expire after the 2023–24 school year, and the Big 12’s current deals expire after the 2024–25 school year. But what we’re seeing now might offer a clue. Perhaps it isn’t a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu that will bankroll the next generation of college football. It could be the same channels your grandfather watched using a tiny black-and-white TV with rabbit ears.

    [several bullet points supporting his stance]

    This all seems to suggest that broadcast networks NBC, CBS and Fox may be even more interested in college sports than they already were. Meanwhile, ESPN will continue to attempt to dominate the sport. (And games purchased by ESPN are actually being purchased by Disney, which also runs games on ABC using ESPN personnel and branding.) The Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC could use their own cable networks as leverage as well by threatening to put the best games on those networks and demanding a higher subscription fee. (The ACC, which will launch its own network next year, won’t have this option because all its rights are owned by Disney/ESPN until 2036.) If even one streaming service such as Amazon Prime or YouTube Red decided to jump into the fray, the bidding could be frenzied. Dean Jordan, who has helped the ACC launch its channel with ESPN and who has worked with the Big Ten and College Football Playoff on media rights deals, believes the competition for rights could be fairly diverse in the next round.

    “Your rights are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them,” said Jordan, the managing executive for global sports media rights at the Wasserman Group. “Obviously with more platforms programming sports, the odds of having more than one interested in bidding on a package of content significantly increases.”

    ABC and Fox now have the capability to show college football from noon eastern until almost midnight on fall Saturdays. Might CBS or NBC want to do the same? Or would one of the networks want to run a featured game on Friday—currently the provenance of ESPN—to compete with SmackDown on Fox? (Assuming SmackDown remains on Fox when this deal ends.) As the demand for scripted entertainment continues to shift to streaming services, this might be the best ratings play.

    We keep looking to the newest technology to determine how we’ll watch college football in 10 years. But it’s quite possible the most lucrative move for the conferences and for the networks will be to present the best games using technology that has existed for almost 100 years.


    1. urbanleftbehind

      This actually is to be expected given the reversion to a 1/2 rabbit ears – 1/2 stream service viewing model that many more people are adapting to. The appetite of the old networks to procure prime time sports will increase even further as the procedural franchise shows wind down in footprint.


  19. Brian


    5 year APR rankings.

    The schools have to reach a certain threshold – 930 for four years, 940 for two years – to avoid penalties, and the higher the rating, the better the chance to go bowling if a football team doesn’t get to six wins.

    B10 teams are #1, 3, 4, 15, 16, 21, 24, 26, 32, 33, 45, 49, 60, 61*

    * #61 is PSU and they’ve made big gains lately (954, 956, 960, 969, 980) under Franklin as they’ve moved past the sanctions. It remains to be seen if that’s permanent.


  20. Brian


    Home field advantage is huge in the college baseball postseason.

    Here are some of their results:
    * 37.0 percent of teams that hosted a Regional advanced to the College World Series (57 of 154 teams)

    * For perspective, that means on average the 16 teams that host a Regional annually earn roughly six of the eight CWS spots, while the other 48 teams claim just two spots

    * 68.8 percent of teams hosting a Regional advanced to the Super Regional round (106 of 154 teams)

    * 66.2 percent of teams hosting a Super Regional advanced to the College World Series (51 of 77 teams)

    * 65.2 percent of teams that had home-field advantage in both the Regional and Super Regional rounds advanced to the College World Series (45 of 69 teams)

    * Eight of the last 10 national champions hosted at least one round in the NCAA tournament and five hosted both a Regional and Super Regional before winning the title.

    This puts the northern schools at a huge disadvantage since they play the first month of the season on the road incurring losses and thus get seeded lower.


    I’m guessing HFA is also huge in softball. This year all 16 national seeds advanced to the super regionals which start tonight. All 5 B10 teams were eliminated in the regionals.


    Meanwhile, the top 4 seeds all won their first game in the B10 baseball tournament held in Omaha (3 of the top 4 are from the B10 West but NE didn’t qualify – only the top 8 teams play). The #6 and #8 seeds were eliminated today in the losers’ bracket games so #7 over #6 is the only upset so far. The top 4 square off tonight.


    1. Brian


      Speaking of B10 baseball, the B10 is predicted to get 5 teams into the NCAA tournament again and could even get 6. Five would tie the conference record from 2015 and 2017. MN is projected to host a regional as the #13 seed.

      The SEC still leads the way in overall bids with 11, while the rest of the conferences break down like this: ACC (6), American (5), Big 12 (5), Big Ten (5), Pac-12 (4), Conference USA (2), Atlantic Sun (2) and Missouri Valley (2).

      As always, this is a projection: we’re not trying to illustrate what the field would look like if the season ended today. We’re still looking ahead, taking into account remaining schedules and our evaluations of the talent of the contenders, in addition to their bodies of work, of course.

      Last Five In: Illinois, Texas A&M, LSU, Kentucky, Washington

      First Five Out: Arizona, Troy, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Louisiana

      Just for context, here’s the number of CWS (final 8 teams) participants over the past 20 years by conference:

      SEC – 42
      ACC – 29
      P12 – 26
      B12 – 23
      B10 – 1

      Big West – 13
      CUSA – 6
      WAC, Ind – 5
      BE – 3
      AAC, American East, Big South, MAC, MWC, MVC, Sun Belt – 1

      The B10’s appearance was by Indiana in 2013. The one before that was Michigan in 1984 though NE went in 2001, 2002 and 2005. The B10’s last national title was in 1966 by OSU.


      1. ccrider55

        I generally appreciate d1baseball but I had to question them keeping Florida at #1 last week following four straight losses, while the two just behind won a series on road and swept. Seriously? 11 SEC teams in, projected. Ranking them by number of better losses? Maybe UF can lose a few more to help others standing while not falling…


          1. Brian

            Presumably they’ll drop UF in their next projection.

            Meanwhile, chalk continues to rule in the B10 as #1 MN beat #4 IL and #2 PU beat #3 MI last night. In the losers’ bracket today #3 MI faces #7 OSU (0-0 in the 3rd right now) then #4 IL faces #5 IN.


          2. ccrider55

            “Presumably they’ll drop UF in their next projection.“

            No more projections. Isn’t selection following this weekend?


          3. Brian

            I was assuming they’ll do a final one right before the actual selection. Most sites do that.

            Also, they do daily articles that require a subscription. Their projections are free but only done weekly. I’m guessing the daily articles might indicate UF dropping.


          4. Brian

            #7 OSU advanced to face #1 MN this morning, with OSU needing to win 2 games against MN to make the finals. Unfortunately MN won game 1 to make the finals.

            #4 IL advanced to face #2 PU this afternoon, also needing 2 wins to move on.


  21. Brian

    Another confirmation that the B10 is sticking with 9 games.


    1. Brian

      Greg Flugaur had an interesting view on Moos’ comment on twitter.

      People pointed out to him that the CCG rules would need to be changed, but that isn’t an insurmountable barrier. I don’t think that’s what the news will be, but it was an interesting leap to take.


      1. Brian

        He did talk to his B10 source about how this would impact any expansion plans.

        BTM: “If Big Ten did make a move back to 8 conference games after 2022 it would dim the prospects of expansion considerably in the next decade with one exception. The exception being a Texas & Oklahoma addition.”

        “One of the many hurdles facing the Big Ten in luring Texas into its conference is the past mentions of Texas to Big Ten brass that Texas would need 4 OOG within a Big Ten schedule to satisfy regional needs both inside and outside University of Texas.”

        “I haven’t heard any steam that would lead me to believe Texas has shown Big Ten any interest in last few years for Big Ten to make the move to 8 games on their behalf. So If 8 games is direction Big Ten is moving in then I would say expansion is not in their plans.”

        “I have not heard of any Big Ten plans to move to 8 Conference games. This would be news to me. I’m more than a bit interested in this development if it rings out to be true. If true I’m surprised.”

        His final conclusion:

        I listened to Nebraska’s AD’s words on a podcast where he is describing Big Ten scheduling for 2022 and beyond and it sure sounds like he is talking about making sure the crossover games are balanced among Schls in a certain period of years/time.


  22. SpaceTetra

    Now that this blog has become active again, I would like to revive something I haven’t seen discussed. A long time ago, after seeing the B1G reserve four channels, I suggested that they might be getting ready to broadcast multiple versions of the BTN and offered ideas on how they might do this. I was quickly attacked by multiple Neanderthals who found this crazy. Yet now I see that the PAC12 is running five or six versions of their network on my cable networks. I find the side issues of this somewhat interesting such as greater exposure of the non-revenue sports, possible advertising, and greater exposure. Has there been any feedback from the PAC12 on the success they are having with this or how long the BTN will continue to broadcast the identical material on multiple channels?


    1. Brian


      “A long time ago, after seeing the B1G reserve four channels, I suggested that they might be getting ready to broadcast multiple versions of the BTN and offered ideas on how they might do this.”

      Reserved 4 channels where? They have overflow channels for when multiple football games overlap but that’s the only time they are allowed to use them. I’m not aware of any other access to multiple channels. Can you link something?

      Without a link to your previous comment it’s hard to say much more in response.

      “I was quickly attacked by multiple Neanderthals who found this crazy.”

      Calling people names is a great way to start a conversation.

      “Yet now I see that the PAC12 is running five or six versions of their network on my cable networks.”

      The P12N has a national feed and 6 regional feeds (1 for each pair of neighboring schools). Many providers carry only 1 P12N channel (at least just the 1 on the basic tier). Originally they could choose the national or the regional one, but that may have changed. I know Comcast used to have the regional feed on basic and the national one on a sports tier but they swapped them a couple of years ago. They have signed some streaming deals to carry all of the channels.

      However, nobody seems to consider the P12Ns a glaring success. They came up with a different model (national and regional feeds) but it hasn’t been a huge financial success. Since COmcast just dropped BTN outside of the footprint, I’m not sure now is a great time for BTN to try to add channels. I think OTT is more likely to fill that need than another channel.

      “I find the side issues of this somewhat interesting such as greater exposure of the non-revenue sports, possible advertising, and greater exposure.”

      The exposure of those sports is really only to friends and family of the teams. The viewership numbers (and thus advertising dollars) are practically zero. Jon Wilner had an article about it.


      During the Saturdays covered in the ratings window obtained by the Hotline, there were four broadcasts of Olympic sports events on the Pac-12 Networks’ national feed.

      Ratings are measured in 15-minute segments, so a four-hour football game would have 16 segments.

      The four Olympic sports events in question had a total of 22 measured segments. Of those, 21 registered a zero.

      That’s right: 21 of 22 registered a zero.

      Technically, that zero refers to a share. But a zero share equals a zero rating.

      That doesn’t mean that zero people, literally, are watching. But it means that so few people are watching, it doesn’t register with the rating service.

      How many, specifically?

      Based on the households involved in this particular metro market and the way shares are calculated, no more than a few hundred people could possibly have been watching any of the 21 segments that generated a zero share.

      What about the single 15-minute segment that registered? It had a 0.5 share, and I can’t explain the spike.

      The 15-minute segment immediately prior was a zero share, and the 15-minute segment immediately following was a zero share.

      (Note: 0.5 is not the minimum share that registers. There are plenty of rated segments over the four Saturdays that have shares of 0.2 or 0.3. But for the Olympic sports, it’s all zeroes except for that single spike to 0.5.)

      One of the industry sources I turned to for context made three points after seeing the data:

      1. “An advertising model associated with Olympic sports is not viable.The ratings are non-existent. No one is watching.”

      “Has there been any feedback from the PAC12 on the success they are having with this or how long the BTN will continue to broadcast the identical material on multiple channels?”

      We discuss this topic all the time around here. The P12N is paying out roughly 1/4 of what BTN and SECN are paying their schools, but of course the financial model is different (the schools own all of P12N, half of BTN and none of SECN). Recent comments from some ADs and others (chancellor/president) show that there is disappointment with the current revenue stream. Nothing will change before the P12’s TV deals expire in 2024.

      You’ll need to say more about the multiple channels for BTN for me to comment on that. To read more about P12N, read Jon Wilner’s articles at https://www.mercurynews.com/tag/pac-12-hotline/. He has covered that topic in depth for years.


  23. Brian


    The latest census data on the fastest growing cities in the US show the usual trend of growth in warm weather cities with 2 major exceptions – Seattle and Columbus, OH.

    The article includes an interview with an editor from The Atlantic.

    On why Texas towns are at the top of the list

    “Well the first thing that’s going on is a little bit of statistical trickery. And that is that when you’re looking at rate of growth from a really low base, it’s easy to grow really quickly. You know, if ‘Hobsonville’ has 10 people, and adds 10 people, it’s growing by 100 percent. If New York City adds 10 people, it’s not even growing. That’s the first thing that’s going on is still a bit of statistics.

    “The second thing is that this is a continuation of something we’ve seen ever since the Great Recession ended: People have just kept up with the early 2000s migration patterns of moving to the South, moving to the West and moving to hot suburbs.”

    On two cities that surprisingly made the list

    “I mean there’s not a lot of surprises to me at the top of the list, except for two things: You’ve got Seattle, which is by far the fastest-growing dense urban area in the United States. And then second, Columbus, Ohio, I think is going to surprise a lot of people. A lot of people don’t realize that Columbus, Ohio, is secretly becoming the second Chicago of the Midwest. It has been growing really quickly for the last few years. And so those are really the two exceptions to this general rule of hot cities growing quickly — it’s Seattle, and it’s Columbus.”

    On why people aren’t moving to Chicago

    “Well first I should say: I love Chicago. I went to school at Northwestern. I love Chicago quite a lot. But look, it’s at the center of two not-so-great trends: The first trend is the demographic trend that I’ve already explained — people are not moving to the Midwest to the Northeast, they’re moving to the South and West. And then second, Chicago is now one of the crime capitals of the U.S. The murder rate there is rather high, and they have gang problems that the city is trying to deal with. And so you put these trends together — both the crime trend and the demographic trend — and you have Chicago falling behind places like Columbus, its neighbor, and also cities like Seattle that are competing for a lot of the same jobs.”


  24. Brian


    CA state legislators have proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit salaries for non-faculty (which includes coaches) to $200,000.

    The proposed amendment limits nonfaculty salaries to $200,000 per year, which would affect coaches that, on some campuses, make millions of dollars, and administrators that make hundreds of thousands of dollars. The proposal also requires the UC Board of Regents to approve higher salaries in public hearings.

    Under the amendment, regents’ terms would be reduced from 12 years to four years, and the UC president would lose their voting power on the Board of Regents. The UC Office of the President would also be required to report expenditure information to the regents, governor and Legislature.

    The amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and the state Senate, followed by a majority vote by the public in a ballot measure in order to pass.

    They could still play the game of having the boosters and apparel company cover most of a coach’s salary, but this would severely limit base salary. More importantly, it’ll be hard to find administrators to run Cal and UCLA thanks to the cost of living if they are truly capped at $200,000. Unless they can make them all adjunct faculty or something.


  25. Brian


    The editorial board of the LA Times is calling for the resignation or ouster of USC’s president.

    Almost a year after the shocking revelation that the dean of the medical school was doing drugs and partying with young criminals and addicts — and a week after the revelation that a gynecologist at the student health clinic had been repeatedly accused over several decades of making sexual comments and touching young patients inappropriately — it has become increasingly clear that Nikias is not the proper person to lead the university out of this mire. He has failed to respond forcefully or appropriately to these crises on his watch.

    In the cases of both Carmen Puliafito, the medical school dean, and George Tyndall, the gynecologist, Nikias and top administrators had the opportunity to confront the misconduct head-on in a public and transparent fashion. They could have used these troubling cases to demonstrate their commitment to protecting students and patients. They could have sent a message that misconduct would not be tolerated.

    Instead, USC leaders chose to cut secret deals to make the problem employees go away. They failed at first to report the doctors to the Medical Board of California, the agency responsible for protecting the public from bad physicians. They failed to notify past patients or the larger USC community until they were confronted by The Times. They didn’t arrange counseling for victims of the accused gynecologist until the revelations were about to come out. They did not alert law enforcement until they came under pressure. In a move that smacked of tragicomedy, the university actually replaced Puliafito with a new dean who had himself been formally disciplined some years earlier after an allegation that he sexually harassed a researcher. That was an indication of either an extraordinary failure in the vetting process or of mind-boggling tone-deafness.

    In all three cases, Nikias and university leaders acknowledged the misconduct publicly only after reporters from The Times uncovered the secret deals, leading to the inevitable conclusion that damage control is USC’s top priority, not the protection of the students and patients.


    1. Brian


      USC’s president has stepped down.

      USC President C.L. Max Nikias, whose tenure was marked by a significant boost in the university’s prestige and fundraising prowess but tarnished by a series of damaging scandals, is stepping down from his post, the university’s Board of Trustees announced Friday.

      The move comes after more than a week of uproar over the university’s handling of a longtime campus gynecologist accused of misconduct toward female students. More than 300 people, most of them former female patients of Dr. George Tyndall, have since come forward to USC, many with allegations of mistreatment and sexual abuse that date back to the early 1990s.

      The revelations published by The Times heightened long-festering concerns about university leaders’ ethics and management style and sparked calls for Nikias to resign.

      A prolific fundraiser during his eight years as president, Nikias pushed USC to imagine itself as an elite global research university and to dramatically expand and renovate its South Los Angeles campus. He oversaw a major construction boom that transformed parts of the campus community and extended USC’s ties to China and the Pacific Rim.

      That’s a pretty quick response to the public outcry.


  26. Brian


    Jon Wilner has an interesting idea.

    The P12 is playing at least 1 Labor Day weekend neutral site game against the SEC in 2018-2020 on top of USC’s game against AL in 2016. All 4 games will be in Atlanta or Arlington.

    Wilner thinks that the P12 needs to start playing a major neutral site game every Labor Day weekend, but it should be in the new stadium in Las Vegas. And it should be P12 vs B10.

    What Pac-12 football needs … what it must secure in coming years … is to create a mammoth football presence in Las Vegas, starting with an annual Labor Day weekend showcase game at the Raiders’ stadium (completion date: 2020) against marquee programs in the Big Ten.

    “We can do for football what we’ve done for basketball,” said Pat Christenson, the president of Las Vegas Events. “In the past, the problem was we didn’t have the facility.”

    Were the Hotline named czar of Pac-12 football, the first move would be to overhaul the schedule: End the outsourcing, bring it in house, and eliminate all instances of competitive disadvantages.

    Our second move? Make Vegas the conference’s home-away-from-home, to an even greater extent than it is for men’s basketball.

    The Hotline has been mulling the Las Vegas concept for months, seeking out naysayers both inside the conference and within the world of college football event planning.

    None exist.

    “It would be great, but it’s not a Pac-12 decision,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said during a conversation last month about football scheduling. “It would be great for TV. But the entities that host would have to replace the home gate.”

    Playing a marquee opponent in Las Vegas on Labor Day weekend is only half of the Hotline’s master plan for Pac-12 football.

    The other half, which has been discussed publicly with commissioner Larry Scott, is to move the conference championship game to Las Vegas — make Sin City the regular-season bookends

    The Pac-12 is under contract to stage the title game in Levi’s Stadium through the 2019 season, with an option for 2020.

    Beyond that?

    “As we get closer,” Scott said during a press conference in December, “we’ll talk to the 49ers and Levi’s and consider all the options.”

    Three facilities could be in play:

    1. Levi’s
    2. Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park (i.e., the new home of the Rams and Chargers)
    3. Las Vegas Stadium (i.e., the new home of the Raiders)

    The Pac-12 could create a neutral-site rotation for the game, or it could pick a long-term home.

    And here’s a Hotline suggestion (free of charge):

    The conference could buff up fan and media interest in the Friday night football game by staging a high-profile men’s basketball game in T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

    That component would require buy-in from the schools, because they control the non-conference schedules, but finding a blueblood opponent shouldn’t be difficult for event organizers given the potential for recruiting exposure. (Findlay Prep and Bishop Gorman are stocked with 4- and 5-star prospects.)

    Heck, you could make it a doubleheader with UNLV involved.

    The Week One showdown … a western version of the Atlanta and Arlington games … is more difficult to execute, and it’s more difficult for one reason: The money.

    Despite all the pomp that would come from a duel with the SEC powers, that might not be the most realistic approach.

    For one thing, they already have Week One options in Arlington and Atlanta, which are easy trips for their fans. For another, the SEC schools don’t have significant alumni bases in the west — at least, not like those of the Big Ten.

    The way to make the Week One showcase work financially is to lean on the Big Ten and create a mini-Rose Bowl, if you will: Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State would be the top targets in a rotation, possibly with Iowa and Nebraska involved, depending on states of those programs.

    Would the event have to involve the Big Ten? Not necessarily. Maybe you’d mix in Texas or Oklahoma, maybe you’d grab an SEC team once every four or five years. But the Big Ten would be the primary opponent.

    I think both conferences could get behind something like this. It’s the B10/P12 scheduling alliance pared down to size both conferences can accept. I know the larger B10 schools haven’t been big on neutral site games for financial reasons among other things, but this is different. It gets you out west where many schools are trying to recruit and have lots of alumni and it pairs you with a conference taking equal scheduling risks. And if you only do it every few years, it’s not a burden financially.

    The hardest part would be finding holes in the schedules to do it, but there are some good B10/P12 series already scheduled. OSU has a P5 opponent for every year from 2020-2027 already, but that includes Oregon in 2020-21 and UW in 2024-5. Since OSU also has Texas in 2025, I bet OSU would love to reduce the UW series to 1 game at a neutral site. They could play Oregon’s home game in LV, too. I’m sure there are other series they could tap, too.

    If you want to add to that, what about getting a B10/P12 mini-tournament in LV and Indy the weekend of their CCG? 2 teams from each conference in each city.


  27. frug

    I have long been on the record that the most valuable single plausible (e.g. no poaching Florida and USC) expansion scenario for the Big Ten that doesn’t involve Texas, Notre Dame and/or ACC schools is the league adding Kansas and Oklahoma.

    It is probably worth noting that is also true for the SEC and the PAC as well.


    1. Brian

      Let’s examine that from a couple of directions.

      1. Assuming UT, ND and the ACC (plus the B10, P12 and SEC) are unavailable, what are the most valuable expansion options for the B10, P12 and SEC? Basically the options are AAC, MWC or independents in addition to non-UT B12 schools.

      B10 options: OU, KU, UConn

      OU & KU is clearly the top pair since OU’s football has so much value and KU is both a geographical bridge and a hoops king. KU also brings another AAU school. UConn’s only advantage is more east coast access. The downside is that I struggle to imagine OU & KU joining the B10 unless UT goes independent.

      P12 options: Boise, BYU, UNLV, TT, OU, OkSU, KU

      It would take desperation for the P12 schools to accept any of the MWC schools. TT would be a better geographical bridge to OU than KU, but the hoops brand of KU is valuable. UT would have to go independent for TT to leave the B12.

      SEC options: OU, OkSU, KU, UC

      The SEC doesn’t need any more football powers, especially in the West, but OU brings that plus some more Dallas access. They could use the hoops brand of KU plus that gives MO a natural rival. UC would be a direct attack on the B10 but would require the SEC to take a clearly second-tier program in the state which they don’t do.

      So yes, one could argue that OU & KU is the best pair for all 3 conferences. OU & TT may be of similar value to the P12, though.

      2. Do OU & KU offer sufficient value for the conferences to expand?

      They may be the most valuable pair in this scenario, but is that value high enough to justify expansion?

      I’ll use Frank’s valuation method from his Expansion Index (https://frankthetank.me/2009/12/27/the-big-ten-expansion-index-a-different-shade-of-orange/).

      OU/KU values
      Academics – 25/25 (25 max)
      TV value – 20/15 (25)
      Football – 30/5 (30)
      Basketball – 5/10 (10)
      Rivalries/fit – 3/3 (5)
      Mutual interest – 3/5 (5)

      Totals – 86/63

      That would make KU a Contender and OU the top Contender or in the group of only real choices (with ND and UT).

      These scores apply to both the B10 and SEC roughly. I’d subtract 3-5 points each for the P12 (less fit, less mutual interest).

      Looking at the money they make in the B12, they should be worthy additions for any of the three. KU by itself is borderline but as a #16 (or #14) to go with OU they’re solid.

      3. Which conference offers the most value to OU & KU?

      Academics: 1. B10, 2. P12, 3. SEC
      Money: 1. B10 & SEC, 3. P12
      Geography: 1a. SEC, 1b. B10, 3. P12
      Cultural fit: 1. B10 & SEC, 3. P12 (B10 is better for KU, SEC is better for OU)
      Rivalries: 1. B10 & SEC, 3. P12 (B10 is better for OU, SEC is better for KU)

      It’s really close between the B10 and SEC depending on which things they value more. It’s hard to see the P12 winning unless they offer concessions that the others won’t.

      4. How likely is this?

      I give it a very small chance. As I said above, it only makes sense if UT leaves the B12 to go independent and I don’t think independence is very likely. In addition, KU and OU would have to decide that leaving is better than staying in the B12. Maybe once the B10’s new payouts show up the money gap will be big enough to justify leaving in-state rivals and the B12, but that’s a tough decision.


      1. Brian

        As a reminder, KU started a $300M+ renovation of all their football facilities after the season. This year they’re building an indoor practice facility. After 2018 they’ll redo their south end zone and west side of the stadium. The N and E sides will be done later. New facilities won’t fix everything, but it should help a lot in recruiting. But maybe the new AD will try to cut back on the renovations. That’s a big decision that will need to be made soon and could be huge for KU’s future in realignment.


    2. Brian

      Let’s look at the possible outcomes:

      1. OU & KU to the B10

      a. 9 games = 7 in division + 2 rotating

      W – OU, NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, KU
      E – OSU, MI, PSU, MSU, IN, PU, RU, UMD

      I’d use 2 tiers for the crossover games, playing 1 team from each tier:
      Tier 1 – OU, NE, WI, IA / OSU, MI, PSU, MSU
      Tier 2 – MN, NW, IL, KU / IN, PU, RU, UMD

      That gives everyone a big game and a lesser game in their crossovers. The down side is that you only play crossovers once every 4 years.

      b. 9 games = 7 in pod-based division + 2 rotating

      W = OU, NE, KU
      N = WI, IA, MN, NW, IL
      S = OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PU
      E = PSU, RU, UMD

      Swap the W and E pods every 2 years to form divisions (NW vs SE x2, NE vs SW x2, repeat). That leaves only the W/E and N/S games unplayed. The 2 rotating games cover those.

      Pod of 3 – 100% x2 in pod, 50% x10 in pods of 5, 67% x3 in other pod of 3
      Pod of 5 – 100% x4 in pod, 50% x6 in pods of 3, 40% x5 in other pod of 5

      This keeps the outliers connected as well as keeping almost all relevant rivalries alive.

      c. 9 games = 3 locked rivals + 6 rotating games (50%)

      No divisions but you do need to get the CCG rules changed. This maintains the rivalries while maintaining equal play as much as possible.

      2. OU & KU to the P12

      a. 9 games = 6 in division + 3 rotating (games in CA locked as now)

      N – UW, WSU, UO, OrSU, Cal, Stanford, KU
      S – USC, UCLA, UA, ASU, CU, UU, OU

      The schools all pair so well it’s hard to pick which pair to split between divisions. You might swap KU and UU. I’d lock 1 crossover rival for the CA schools (Cal/UCLA, Stanford/USC) plus OU/KU and rotate the rest. I assume OU would demand to play in Los Angeles so the blue bloods are together while the new powers are in the other division.

      b. 9 games = 6 in pod-based division + 3 rotating

      N = UW, WSU, UO, OrSU
      S = UA, ASU, UU
      E = OU, CU, KU
      W = USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford

      Swap the W and E pods every 2 years to form divisions (NE vs SW x2, NS vs EW x2, repeat). That leaves only the N/W and S/E games unplayed. The 3 rotating games cover those.

      Pod of 3 – 100% x2 in pod, 50% x8 in pods of 4, 100% x3 in other pod of 3
      Pod of 4 – 100% x3 in pod, 50% x6 in pods of 3, 75% x4 in other pod of 4

      This keeps the newbies connected as well as keeping relevant rivalries alive.

      c. 9 games = 3 locked rivals + 6 rotating games (60%)

      No divisions but you do need to get the CCG rules changed. This maintains the rivalries while maintaining equal play as much as possible.

      3. OU & KU to the SEC

      a. 9 games = 7 in division + 2 rotating /
      8 games = 7 in division + 1 rotating

      W – OU, KU, TAMU, MO, AR, LSU, MS, MsSU
      E – UF, UGA, SC, UT, VU, UK, AL, AU

      The down side is that you only play crossovers once every 4 or 8 years. I don’t think even the SEC would be happy with playing teams once every 8 years. But if they would stick to 8 games that would be a big plus for attracting OU.

      b. 9 games = 7 in pod-based division + 2 rotating

      W = OU, KU, TAMU, MO, AR
      N = UT, VU, UK, AL, AU
      S = LSU, MS, MsSU
      E = UF, UGA, SC

      Swap the S and E pods every 2 years to form divisions (NE vs SW x2, NS vs EW x2, repeat). That leaves only the S/E and N/W games unplayed. The 2 rotating games cover those.

      Pod of 3 – 100% x2 in pod, 50% x10 in pods of 5, 67% x3 in other pod of 3
      Pod of 5 – 100% x4 in pod, 50% x6 in pods of 3, 40% x5 in other pod of 5

      This isn’t great for rivalries. I don’t think any pod setup works well for the SEC. Again, I don’t think the SEC would settle for 8 games but if they did the numbers would drop to 33% and 20% for the the matched size pod.

      c. 9 games = 3 locked rivals + 6 rotating games (50%)

      No divisions but you do need to get the CCG rules changed. This maintains the rivalries while maintaining equal play as much as possible.


      1. Doug

        Please read with open mind, out of the box thinking.

        I agree with the thinking that OU & KU as expansion targets.

        However the question is? WWJD? Or What Would Jim (Delany) Do?

        To lay some ground work I’ve come to the conclusion that Texas brings too much baggage, that not to say the BIG wouldn’t take them if the opportunity opens up. I think the ACC schools are out. 1. They’re very parochial 2. They have their act together unlike the Big 12.

        There is a lot of dissatisfaction at SC. Really upset that Rutgers, Maryland & Vanderbilt make more money than they do.


        If I were JD, I’d be on the phone to SC, UCLA, Cal & Stanford pitching a national coast to coast conference and the license to print money it would create.

        My next call would be to South Bend saying that we have a possible agreement with said schools. If you would join, we will place you in a Western Division with them. Thus your must games with SC and Stanford would be in place leaving you with 3 OOC Games to schedule who ever you wanted.

        The 20th team could be anybody, I’d pick Kansas for Culture & Academics.

        Ah ACC GOR. Notre Dame signs nothing; I mean nothing that doesn’t benefit them. I’m willing to bet anything that you would find on Page 219 Paragraph 7 Subsection C ESCAPE CLAUSE. In the event of…..……(enough money buys you out of anything. It’s the American Way! LOL)

        Unlikely sure, but from a strictly business perspective what would the bidding be for those rights. I’m sure ND could squeeze even more $$$ from NBC.

        With 20 teams you have 4 Division of 5 teams. East Divs. A&B, West Divs C&D. Say PSU is in Div. A. They would play all the teams in their Div. (4 Games) and all the teams in Div. B (5 games) equals 9 Conference games. Next year Div. A&C play and B &D and so on like the NFL. Thus a school would play every team in the BIG every three years.

        Yes the Cal. Schools don’t even like to go to Oregon but $$$ talks. As Winston Zeddmore once said, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything.”

        Yes it seems far fetched but I now believe anything is possible in this changing world.


        1. ccrider55

          I stopped reading after this “The precursor to the Pac-12, the PCC, blew up in part because the California schools didn’t want to travel to Oregon State, Washington State, or Montana (oh yeah, Montana and Idaho used to be in this league)” substitution for the self immolation brought to the conference by the “power” schools.


          1. Brian

            In a nutshell, the piece is an argument for USC to go independent. Points he makes after you stopped reading:

            1. Could USC assemble a workable schedule as an independent? Almost assuredly

            2. Could USC find a home for Olympic sports? Yeah, probably

            3. Could USC secure access to the College Football Playoff or major bowls? That’s not immediately clear

            4. Could USC make more money this way? That’s the big question

            Should USC try to leave the Pac-12 now? Probably not. But I don’t think it’s crazy.


        2. Brian


          “Please read with open mind, out of the box thinking.”

          Expansion speculation is pretty much all that way.

          “To lay some ground work I’ve come to the conclusion that Texas brings too much baggage, that not to say the BIG wouldn’t take them if the opportunity opens up. I think the ACC schools are out. 1. They’re very parochial 2. They have their act together unlike the Big 12.”

          The ACC Grant of Rights (incl. ND) holds until 2036, so at best they wouldn’t be available until 2034ish and the whole landscape may have changed by then.

          UT comes with baggage (LHN, ego) but most kings do. Anyone would take them under the right conditions (equal footing for the B10).

          “There is a lot of dissatisfaction at SC. Really upset that Rutgers, Maryland & Vanderbilt make more money than they do.”

          Well, there’s dissatisfaction among the fans. I don’t know that USC is upset at all.

          I read that SBN article when it came out (I think I linked here). I don’t agree with everything he has to say. One of USC’s major scheduling complaints has been fixed now. Moving to the B10 wouldn’t help with the 9 games issue. In fact it would make things worse as they’d want to keep playing the other CA schools a lot. 9 B10 games + Notre Dame + UCLA/Stanford/Cal doesn’t leave much flexibility.

          “If I were JD, I’d be on the phone to SC, UCLA, Cal & Stanford pitching a national coast to coast conference and the license to print money it would create.”

          I think working together would make more sense than merging. It’s much too expensive and time consuming for the players to send non-revenue sports 2000+ miles away on a regular basis.

          Let’s talk just football. How do you incorporate the 4 teams in CA? Are we doing pods?

          W – USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal
          N – NE, IA, WI, MN
          S – MI, MSU, OSU, PU, IN
          E – NW, IL, PSU, RU, UMD

          9 games = 8 in division + 1 crossover (some locked for rivalries)

          The W and N teams would play once every 4 years, E and S once every 5 years. Who wants that?

          I think you’d have to drop divisions and change the CCG rule. Even then you’d lose cohesion:

          9 games = 3 locked + 6 rotating (43%)

          Do you have to go to 10 games = 3 locked + 7 rotating (50%)? How does that help USC?

          The other obvious question is how much more would TV pay per school.

          “My next call would be to South Bend saying that we have a possible agreement with said schools. If you would join, we will place you in a Western Division with them. Thus your must games with SC and Stanford would be in place leaving you with 3 OOC Games to schedule who ever you wanted.”

          First, ND is bound by their ACC deal to join the ACC or nobody until 2036. Second, ND would rather play in the east than the west. They like a national schedule and their current deal gives them that. Nothing will lead them to give that up voluntarily.

          “The 20th team could be anybody, I’d pick Kansas for Culture & Academics.”

          Would KU leave the B12 and all their rivals to play a bunch of new foes? I’m not sure.

          “Ah ACC GOR. Notre Dame signs nothing; I mean nothing that doesn’t benefit them. I’m willing to bet anything that you would find on Page 219 Paragraph 7 Subsection C ESCAPE CLAUSE. In the event of…..……(enough money buys you out of anything. It’s the American Way! LOL)”

          But the GOR does benefit them. It gives them their independence plus a home for their other sports. The money is irrelevant to them. Any contract can be escaped, but the price wouldn’t be worth it to ND.

          “With 20 teams you have 4 Division of 5 teams. East Divs. A&B, West Divs C&D. Say PSU is in Div. A. They would play all the teams in their Div. (4 Games) and all the teams in Div. B (5 games) equals 9 Conference games. Next year Div. A&C play and B &D and so on like the NFL. Thus a school would play every team in the BIG every three years.”

          W – USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, ND
          N – NE, IA, WI, MN, KU
          S – MI, MSU, OSU, PU, IN
          E – NW, IL, PSU, RU, UMD

          B10 schools don’t want to play each other only once every 3 years. The money would need to be huge for them to agree.

          With no divisions:

          9 games = 3 locked + 16 teams * 38%
          10 games = 3 locked + 16 teams * 44%

          “Yes the Cal. Schools don’t even like to go to Oregon but $$$ talks. As Winston Zeddmore once said, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything.”

          Yes it seems far fetched but I now believe anything is possible in this changing world.”

          I don’t think the money would work. There are two many emotional costs plus extra travel to make it work.


          1. Doug

            Thanks for the thoughtful response. Hard to argue with any of your points. Probably would only work if football separated itself from the rest of college sports. BTW I still think ND has an escape clause of some sort. You never know when a prettier girl might walk by. LOL


          2. Brian


            “Probably would only work if football separated itself from the rest of college sports.”

            At that point you’re basically talking about a modern version of the Airplane Conference. That seems most likely only if the courts decide players in revenue sports must get paid so schools decide to separate football and men’s basketball from the rest of the NCAA.

            Then you get NFL and NBA lite.

            Who would make it? Basically the top 25-30 programs plus some for markets. Below is a rough idea.

            Football only:
            ACC – Miami, FSU, Clemson, UNC, VT, SU, BC
            B10 – PSU, OSU, MI, NE, WI, MSU, IA
            B12 – UT, OU
            P12 – ASU, USC, Stanford, UO, UW, CU
            SEC – UF, UGA, AL, LSU, TAMU, MO, TN
            Other – ND, BYU, Boise

            Basketball only:
            ACC – UNC, Duke, GT, UVA, SU, UL, Pitt
            B10 – OSU, MI, WI, MSU, IU, PU, IL, UMD
            B12 – UT, OU, KU
            P12 – UA, UCLA, Stanford, UO, UW
            SEC – UF, UK, TAMU, MO, TN, VU
            Other – ND, BYU, UConn

            Football and basketball:
            ACC – UNC, SU
            B10 – OSU, MI, WI, MSU
            B12 – UT, OU
            P12 – Stanford, UO, UW
            SEC – UF, TAMU, MO, TN
            Other – ND, BYU

            17 schools made both lists. You’d have to make some compromises to make 1 group of 32 for both sports (I leave that as an exercise for the reader). Or maybe you make a group of 16 that plays both with a supplementary set of 16 in each sport. Or do market forces drive a number larger than 32?

            Those schools would make a ton of money, especially if they play both sports in it. And if it let them avoid paying athletes, that’s a huge savings. But what about everyone else? There would still be some money to be made by the next 32 football and basketball programs. Do they form a B league? I don’t think so. I think they’d press to have a group of 64ish (essentially the P5) as one big semi-pro league. Call it 72 schools that play both football and basketball or maybe just 64 plus 8 that


  28. Brian

    Men’s lacrosse:

    #1 UMD faces #4 Duke in the national semifinals this afternoon. #3 Yale plays #2 Albany in the other semifinal.

    Women’s lacrosse:

    #1 UMD lost to #4 BC in the national semifinals yesterday.


    1. Brian

      UMD’s men lost in the semis as well, so no repeat title. Duke will face Yale on Monday.


      Meanwhile, NW is T3 in the men’s golf championship at the moment. IL is T13. Today is the 2nd round of stroke play. The top 15 teams and 9 individuals make the cut to play rounds 3 and 4. After that, the individual champion is crowned. Then the top 8 teams advance to match play quarterfinals on Monday. The match play ends on Wednesday with a team title winner.


      1. Brian

        Welp. NW had a terrible Saturday (28 strokes worse than Friday) and missed the cut by 2 strokes to finish 17th. 14th place IL had a weak Sunday (25 strokes worse than the leader – Duke) to just make the cut and trail Duke by 27 strokes. The top 15 teams and 9 individuals from other teams will play one more round of stroke play. That will decide the individual champion and set the top 8 teams to advance to match play. IL trails 8th place Kent State by 9 strokes, so they’ll need a heckuva day. Northwestern has a solid chance to advance a player (their top guy is T40 right now).


        1. Brian

          IL played well but couldn’t move up enough to advance to match play. IL moved up 3 spots to 11th. Unfortunately NW’s player had an off day and dropped 11 places to T50.


  29. Brian

    Women’s softball is having the chalkiest tournament ever. Not only did all 16 hosts advance to the super regionals, but all 8 national seeds won their home super regional so the WCWS will feature seeds #1-8. Yawn. 4 P12, 2 SEC, 1 ACC and 1 B12 team.


    1. Brian

      Speaking of chalk, #1 MN beat #2 PU to win the B10 baseball tournament. The NCAA selections are tomorrow and the B10 looks to get 5 or even a new conference record 6 teams in.


      1. Brian


        D1 did 1 last set of projections after the 16 regional hosts were announced. They still had UF #1.
        D1 says that IL was the first team out in their final projection and got bumped due to Morehead State winning the OVC and turning it into a 2-bid league.

        • Illinois just misses the cut, at No. 47 in the RPI, 17-11 vs. Big Ten teams, 7-7 against the top 50 — it’s a nice resumé, worthy of an at-large spot. We just ran out of room. We also rank the Illini ahead of Arizona, thanks in part to their 3-0 weekend against Pac-12 contenders Arizona, UCLA and Washington in Minneapolis early this year (while Arizona went 0-3 against the Big Ten in the same weekend). The Wildcats also have fewer top 50 wins (5-7) and a comparable RPI (No. 46), and they finished with a losing record against Pac-12 teams (15-16). We don’t project either to make it, but we’d give Illinois a slightly better chance than Arizona.


        Looks like D1Baseball.com knew what they were doing. UF got the #1 seed and IL didn’t make it. Sorry Frank.

        MN got the #14 seed. The B10 only ended up with 4 teams getting in, same as the AAC and P12.

        MN is the top seed in their regional
        PU is #2 in UNC’s regional (UNC = national #6)
        IN is #2 in Texas’s regional (UT = national #13)
        OSU is #3 in ECU’s regional (ECU = national #12)

        Go Gophers.


  30. Brian


    Frank tweeted a link to this Dennis Dodd piece about the collapse of the WAC16 20 years ago this weekend. It’s a good read.

    What we’re left with is a cautionary tale – and plenty of questions — in this age of the super conference. Did the WAC experience teach us college athletics reached Peak Realignment — the point at which any conference diminishes its strength and wealth by expanding beyond the current max membership of 14 (in football with the ACC, Big Ten, SEC)? Is that old WAC a working blueprint when 16-team leagues are considered today?

    “Going back to that time frame, I don’t think [16 teams] would work in 1996,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said. “I don’t think it would work in 2018.”

    I think it’s apples and oranges to compare the WAC 20 years ago to a P5 conference today. The WAC was never a major TV draw compared to the P5 and TV money was an order of magnitude less back then. Cable TV was also still fairly new, satellite TV was a non-entity, the internet was all dial-up and the concept of streaming didn’t exist. This is a new world and I think a larger conference could work if constructed and managed properly.

    What is the optimal size for a superconference (16+)? It depends on the origins.

    1. A merger of 2 smaller groups -> 18 is best

    Have 2 divisions of 9 with no crossover games that count. Schedule at least 1 crossover game as an OOC game every year just to keep some contact. Keep the CCG as the only crossover game that matters. In basketball play everyone once with 3 locked rivals for double plays for 20 total games.

    2. A big conference adds a few -> 16 is best

    Drop divisions but keep the CCG by changing the NCAA rules. 9 games = 3 locked rivals + 6 rotating games against the other 12 teams. Play 20 basketball games with 3 locked rivals to play twice and 2 rotating second games.

    I think 18 is tough for keeping cohesiveness unless you spent a long time with 9 members (ACC?) so you can form divisions. The B10 would do better at 20 than 18 I think. Put the newbies versus the early 10 to keep old rivalries. PSU would get upset, but they’d get some OOC home and homes with OSU and MI to pacify them. They might even prefer some of the newest members.

    Talking more about the WAC16:

    “Who in the F-word came up with this?”

    Benson remembers those words from incoming Utah president Bernie Machen, who had just arrived at Utah after serving as Michigan’s provost.

    He walked into the equivalent of an advanced calculus class regarding college athletics. The 16-team WAC was split into two divisions. It included “quad” scheduling where groups of four teams would play part of a rotating schedule for a two-year period. Then the quads would be shuffled.

    It was harder to write down than it was to explain.

    “I was fresh out of the Big Ten, and I couldn’t understand it,” Machen said. “If I can’t understand it — as simple as I am — there must be a problem.”

    Pods really aren’t that difficult of a concept. It says a lot about Machen and the other presidents if they found the concept confusing. I understand it was a new concept, but they’re PhD’s.


    1. bullet

      It just makes it too complicated to figure out who you will play. KISS. No legends and leaders. And who really remembers whether FSU is Coastal or Atlantic and who is in which division in the ACC?


      1. Brian

        I think that depends on the conference. The WAC was too minor for people to know who was in it anyway, so outside fans would’ve been confused even with geographic divisions. I also think WAC fans would’ve caught on pretty quickly. Most fans just look up next year’s schedule online anyway, so as long as the main rivalries are still on it they wouldn’t care. Plenty of fans really only care about 2-3 games per season, and those aren’t always in conference.

        I agree KISS is generally a wise principle to follow, but I’m not sure it would’ve worked well for the WAC16. In hindsight, I think they might have done better without divisions despite not getting a CCG. Play 9 games with 3 locked rivals and 6 rotating games versus the other 12 teams. They could’ve petitioned to get the CCG rules changed and the P6 back then might well have allowed it.

        I assume most ACC fans know. I know at least 3 teams in each (Clemson, FSU, UL / Miami, VT, GT )and I know whether they are Coastal (the weaker division right now) or Atlantic. I have no reason to care about the others. But a geographic split would be terrible for them with all the football power in the south. A zipper was their only choice if they had to have divisions.


    1. Brian

      As is typical for B10 teams/players, they lost the title match. All 3 sets went to tie breakers with OSU winning the 1st set and leading both 5-4 and 6-5 in the 2nd set before losing it. They lost the 3rd set 11-9.

      Is it my imagination or does the B10 have a significantly worse W% in championships than any other P5 conference? It sure seems to happen a lot to B10 teams and individuals.


  31. Brian


    Apparently tension had built up between John Skipper (president of ESPN) and Bob Iger (Disney’s CEO) before Skipper left suddenly in December. The true source article was in the WSJ but this Awful Announcing piece analyzes the WSJ article and isn’t behind a paywall.

    Those comments created quite a stir externally, drawing some strong criticism from outlets like TechDirt. And now we have a better sense of the drama they created internally, and of their potential role in widening a Skipper-Iger divide. It’s also interesting that ESPN seemed to be proceeding very cautiously on the OTT front until near the end of Skipper’s tenure, something that seems in contrast to Iger’s focus on it (and it’s being discussed as a much bigger priority now Pitaro is in charge). We knew that Skipper and Iger weren’t always on the same page, but this reporting is significant for perhaps showing that divide was wider than thought.

    And differences in approach between Skipper and Iger may also explain some of the contrary messaging and indecisive actions we’ve seen from ESPN over the past few years, and they may further suggest that we’ll see a much different ESPN under Pitaro.

    The article is notable for more than that, of course. It has some interesting thoughts on morale, including a whole bunch of anonymous former execs taking shots (credit to Jeannine Edwards for going on the record with her “I think the morale there is probably as bad as I’ve seen it in my 22-year tenure” quote, unlike many of the others involved), but some current talent saying things are going in the right direction under Pitaro.

    It also has a very funny line from former ESPN executive vice-president (programming and production) Mark Shapiro (now co-president of WME-IMG), who said “there was too much emphasis on talking heads and fiery opinions and less on breaking news and analysis.”

    The piece also has some details on ESPN’s revenues and subscribers, current and projected, and those elements are interesting, as are some of the quotes about the perceived politics of the network.


  32. Brian


    Pete Thamel with a lengthy piece about NW’s new indoor training facility and the new, deeper commitment to athletic success it represents.

    In the collegiate space, Northwestern’s facility makes the University of Texas look three decades behind, sends taunting echoes to the facilities at Notre Dame and out-Hollywoods both USC and UCLA. “When you see that football field laying beautifully inside that incredibly designed structure, it takes your breath away,” said Pat Ryan, the Northwestern donor and trustee for whom the football fieldhouse is named.

    The improbability of this all happening at Northwestern can’t be overstated. This is Northwestern, a school with football facilities so bleak that Fitzgerald hosted Junior Days across campus to avoid showing them to recruits. This is Northwestern, a school with three times as many winless seasons (6) as outright Big Ten titles (2). Two of those winless years came under Dennis Green and Ara Parseghian, coaches who later showed that their X’s and O’s likely weren’t holding the school back. “We chose striving for mediocrity,” says Ryan of the lean decades. “When you strive for mediocrity, you generally fail.”

    The institutional desire for Northwestern purple to intermingle with the bluebloods includes a $400 million athletic building boom on campus, as the growl of bulldozers and “beep-beep-beep” of trucks provides the soundtrack to a basketball arena renovation and new practice facility.

    The opening of Ryan Fieldhouse, though, comes at a particularly captivating time for Fitzgerald’s program. Northwestern football is coming off a 10-win season, and Northwestern’s 27 wins the past three years rank as the best stretch in school history. It also puts them No. 15 overall in college football in wins over that time, a sign of perhaps a new standard now that the setting is catching up with the results.

    Northwestern returns star quarterback and all-time win leader Clayton Thorson, who projects to be ready for the season coming off ACL rehab. They also host Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Wisconsin this season for what school officials are billing as the best home schedule in school history. “We’ve been a winner,” Fitzgerald says during the tour. “Now this is a commitment to becoming a championship contender.”

    Northwestern’s upward football construction trajectory can be traced back to a singular day – Jan. 6 of 2011. Officials from the University of Michigan, including athletic director Dave Brandon and a search firm representative, came to Chicago in an attempt to lure Fitzgerald to replace Rich Rodriguez.

    Ryan, the longtime donor, trustee and the most benevolent benefactor in university history, flew back from Florida to meet with Fitzgerald. Then-board chair William Osborn also few back from Arizona. They met with athletic director Jim Phillips, president Morton Schapiro and Fitzgerald, who described to them the level of commitment necessary from a facility perspective to change Northwestern football’s paradigm. “It was a pivot point,” Phillips said in a phone interview. “It was never contentious, it was nothing other than being receptive and figuring out a way for this to work for everyone.”

    Fitzgerald agreed to not interview with Michigan. Northwestern agreed to, essentially, support football at a level that brings the school closer to Big Ten brethren like Michigan. “Pat didn’t want to leave,” Ryan said. “Pat also knew what it required to really get to the next level.”

    It’s hard to imagine 27 wins in 3 seasons being the greatest stretch in a program’s history, but seasons did used to be shorter. Thamel needs a footnote to his claim of NW being 15th in wins over that period, though. That’s only counting Power 5 teams. Overall NW is T22 in wins.

    For context, AL is the wins leader over that time with 41 to Clemson’s 40. OSU is 3rd with 35 to lead the B10. WI (34), PSU (29), IA (28) and MI (28) also lead NW which is part of why moving up in the pecking order will be tough for NW. They also face improving programs at NE, PU, MN and IL. They’re current locked crossover game is with MSU. They one bright spot is that they are in the lower tier for parity-based scheduling so in 2022 MSU will rotate away from being locked and they’ll get UMD or RU instead for 6 years.


  33. XOVERX

    The schools of the B12 are the most likely to come I to play starting around the 2023 time-frame. That’s not news.

    It’s the PAC that I think is intriguing. Does the PAC have too many light-weight schools?

    Would a core of the four CA schools, OR, and WA develop designs next decade?


    1. bob sykes

      Sports success is important, but it is not what defines a conference. Conferences are built around and continue to exist because of a common culture and history, similar academic goals, and proximity. Proximity is really behind the culture. The Midwest culture vs. the South’s culture is really what distinguishes the B1G from the SEC. I cannot imagine SoCal or Oregon or Washington schools in the B1G. Chardonnay-sipping surfer boy won’t fit into a Columbus brats-and-beer tailgate. Nebraska barely does.

      It should also be noted that the Kings need the Princesses: Ohio State needs Purdue. That is how 12 win seasons are built. If the Kings only play each other, they each will have .500 seasons, and no one will know that they are Kings.


      1. vp81955

        I could see the Big 12 and Pac splitting into two leagues:

        * A top-tier league with the four California schools, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas;

        * A lower-tier league with Washington State, Oregon State, Utah, Texas Tech, Baylor, Okie State, Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas Christian. (West Virginia could join too, but if WVU thought travel was a pain now…? Perhaps it could wind up in the ACC, alongside fellow Tier 3 Louisville.)


        1. Brian

          “* A top-tier league with the four California schools, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas;”

          West = USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, UO, UW
          South = UA, ASU, CU, OU, UT, KU

          That’s 12 members but it requires UT to drop all their in-state schools. Will the politicians let that happen?

          “* A lower-tier league with Washington State, Oregon State, Utah, Texas Tech, Baylor, Okie State, Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas Christian. (West Virginia could join too, but if WVU thought travel was a pain now…? Perhaps it could wind up in the ACC, alongside fellow Tier 3 Louisville.)”

          That lower tier would have no reason not to invite Boise and BYU, certainly. Probably SDSU as well to make 12 and get a CA market.

          West = WSU, OrSU, Utah, BYU, Boise, SDSU
          South = TT, Baylor, TCU, OkSU, KSU, ISU


          1. vp81955

            Good additions to the “lower nine.” For some of them, a conference such as this might be the only way they remain (or become) a Power 5 member.

            As for Texas playing in-state rivals, how about rotating Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor over a six-year period? That leaves UT with two open dates, assuming the new conference plays a 9-game schedule.


          2. ccrider55

            For mental exercises these fantasies may be fun. But, remember there has been only one brief expulsion from a (bipolar) power conference. Only the dissolution of the SWC and the absorption of only some into the reconstituted Big8(12) has cost a school its membership.


      2. Brian

        bob sykes,

        “Sports success is important, but it is not what defines a conference.”

        But should it be?

        “Conferences are built around and continue to exist because of a common culture and history, similar academic goals, and proximity.”

        They were built that way until recently, yes. But the proximity, common culture and history have taken a back seat for many conferences to financial considerations. WV is hardly a fit for the B12. RU only shares culture with the B10 in an academic sense. BC and FSU have nothing in common.

        The similar academic goals have been more important to some conferences than others. The B10 stresses that, but even they let in Nebraska. It’s hard to say that Cal and OrSU share academic goals, or UT and KSU, or Vanderbilt and MsSU.

        More importantly, I think schools need to evaluate whether there is any need for academic conferences and athletic conferences to be the same anymore. B10 schools work with other elite schools all the time. The AAU is essentially a big academic conference. Why do the sports teams need to affiliate with those same schools? There’s a reason the B10 doesn’t play the Ivy League much in sports and it isn’t academics.

        “Proximity is really behind the culture. The Midwest culture vs. the South’s culture is really what distinguishes the B1G from the SEC.”

        I agree, but that’s getting blurred in most directions. The ACC and SEC overlap. The ACC and B10 overlap. The B10 and B12 overlap. The SEC and B12 overlap. RU has more in common with several ACC schools than with much of the B10. NE fits with the B12 better than much of the B10. 50 years ago the conferences were more geographic and the regions were more different.

        The north/south divide will last a very long time due to the Civil War, but southern states are getting northernized (see MD, FL and big cities in the south) as people migrate and mass media
        homogenizes America. The larger divide now is usually rural versus urban.

        “I cannot imagine SoCal or Oregon or Washington schools in the B1G. Chardonnay-sipping surfer boy won’t fit into a Columbus brats-and-beer tailgate. Nebraska barely does.”

        Me neither, not in a traditional conference concept. But I could see playing them more through scheduling agreements.

        “It should also be noted that the Kings need the Princesses: Ohio State needs Purdue. That is how 12 win seasons are built. If the Kings only play each other, they each will have .500 seasons, and no one will know that they are Kings.”

        This is one of the fundamental differences between college and pro sports. College sports are built on bluebloods with high winning percentages and that requires lesser teams to beat. CFB might lose a ton of fans if they aren’t careful as all the top teams start going 8-4. They might gain enough new fans to make it worth their while, but it would hurt the schools come donation time.


    2. Brian


      “It’s the PAC that I think is intriguing. Does the PAC have too many light-weight schools?”

      They have some (WSU, OrSU, maybe others), but so does every P5. Besides, they also have very few other options and significant political barriers preventing them from dropping those schools. TV was a non-factor when the old conferences formed and now some schools that brought a lot (geographic proximity, similar values, etc) to the table aren’t nearly as valuable. But what politicians want to throw a major state university to the wolves?

      It will take a substantial increase in the financial gap to the ACC/B12, to the point where the P12 is falling behind on the field/court, to spur the philosophical change to chase the money for some by “trimming the fat.”

      “Would a core of the four CA schools, OR, and WA develop designs next decade?”

      They’d lose Denver, Salt Lake City and Phoenix as home markets and drive away millions of fans. Besides, that wouldn’t fix their 2 biggest problems:

      1. Being 3 hours behind hurts them with eastern viewers and thus financially.
      2. Western fans don’t care as much about college sports.

      There is no good fix for geography.

      Also, designs on what?

      Merging with the cream of the B12? So not only do UO and UW need to ditch their “little brothers” but OU and KU and UT do as well? There are a lot of people who would try to stop that. Would either group really be happy with that new conference anyway? Everyone would lose familiar foes and several rivals and they would add a lot of travel expenses.

      Partnering with the B10? What’s in it for the B10? Making teams regularly play 3 time zones away is a huge demand for amateur athletes, especially in the non-revenue sports.

      Shrinking to a smaller conference? They’d lose leverage with the networks that would waste much of the gain they expected by splitting the pie fewer ways.

      I don’t think the P12 has a lot of options. They can make another attempt at the P16 with UT and friends. Beyond that, they may need to just be more efficient with their money.

      The only real solution I see for them would take major changes in college sports. Say the courts force schools to pay players of revenue sports (and thus potentially all athletes due to Title IX), so the schools separate the revenue sports from everything else. That leads to NFL lite and NBA lite. Those groups would cherrypick the cream of the crop in terms of schools and pay them a lot more money. The P12 (and other P5 conferences) or their politicians could choose to force those schools to share some of the wealth with the other members left behind in return.


      1. XOVERX

        Designs on the B1G?

        In a big B1G, consider a 24-school conference in 4 pods of 6.

        A West pod of the 4 California schools, WA, and OR. Suddenly the B1G controls the entire West Coast, but without the lightweight schools.

        Add to that Texas, OU, KU, CU.

        Yes, that would mean,apparently, 11 conference games, but the revenue would me immense, best I can tell.


        1. Brian


          “Designs on the B1G?”

          I did mention merging with the B10 as an option.

          “In a big B1G, consider a 24-school conference in 4 pods of 6.

          A West pod of the 4 California schools, WA, and OR. Suddenly the B1G controls the entire West Coast, but without the lightweight schools.

          Add to that Texas, OU, KU, CU.”

          What are the pods?

          W – USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, UW, UO
          S – CU, UT, OU, KU, NE, IA?
          N – WI, MN, NW, IL, PU, IN
          E – MI, MSU, OSU, PSU, RU, UMD

          IA would be very upset as would WI and MN for losing their annual games with IA. I think all 6 teams in the north pod would be upset at playing all these newbies just as much as OSU, MI, etc.

          Wouldn’t it work just as well to combine the 10 new schools as the New 10 conference and have it partner with the B10 for scheduling? If not, then would the money really improve by enough to feed all those mouths? All the bowl and CCG money would have to be split 24 ways instead of 14

          “Yes, that would mean,apparently, 11 conference games, but the revenue would me immense, best I can tell.”

          Would it? They would feel like OOC games. Would western fans suddenly watch those more than they do P12 games?


  34. Brian

    A Reddit user looked back through the past 25 NFL drafts and broke things down by school, position, coach, round, year, etc. Using a points system (1st round = 7 pts, 2nd = 6, etc) he gave teams scores.

    He lists the top 5 or 10 schools for several things in the post, but of more interest is he includes the link to his GoogleDoc that contains all the data. You can look and see how any P5 school of interest to you fared.

    For example, his total points list from his post:
    Top-10 Total Draft Points (Since 1994):
    #1: Ohio State (714)
    #2: Florida State (669)
    #3: USC (607)
    #4: Florida (602)
    #5: Alabama (600)
    #6: Miami (593)
    #7: LSU (525)
    #8: Georgia (510)
    #9: Tennesse (486)
    #10: Notre Dame (449)

    From the sheet, you can continue it:
    11. OU
    12. UM
    13. PSU
    14. NE
    15. WI
    16. UT
    17. Clemson
    18. UNC
    19. TAMU
    20. Cal

    For comparison, I went back to look at the top teams in W% over the previous 25 seasons.

    Rank by W% (among P5 only) – Rank in draft pts
    1. Ohio State – 1
    2. Florida State – 2
    3. Florida – 4
    4. Oklahoma – 11
    5. Virginia Tech – 22
    6. Nebraska – 14
    7. Wisconsin – 15
    8. Georgia – 8
    9. Louisiana State – 7
    10. Oregon – 27
    11. Southern Cal – 3
    12. Alabama – 5
    13. Miami-Florida – 6
    14. Texas – 16
    15. Penn State – 13
    16. Michigan – 12
    17. Auburn – 21
    18. Texas Christian – 50*
    19. Kansas State – 40
    20. Clemson – 17
    22. Tennessee – 9
    25. Notre Dame – 10

    * – Wasn’t P5 for most of the period


    1. Brian

      Oops. Sorry. I didn’t know the full post would show up from just the link. I hate that sort of behavior. Stupid WordPress.


  35. Brian

    Click to access May24overallDI.pdf

    As usual, the B10 is doing well in the Director’s Cup. Stanford is #1 again, but the B10 is 2nd-4th.

    B10 standings right now:
    2. MI
    3. PSU
    4. OSU
    9. MN
    14. WI
    19. NE

    33. PU
    35. IN
    42. MSU
    46. NW
    52. IL
    53. IA
    55. UMD

    (13 P5 schools)

    93. RU

    (118. BC)

    RU still lags the rest of the B10 by a sizable amount. It’ll be curious to see if they start to improve once they start getting a full financial share. Starting in 2018 RU will get a sizable financial bump ($24M in 2018-2020, >$44M in 2021 and beyond). So far, the move to the B10 has had no measurable impact on their final results.

    RU’s finishes:
    2018 – 93 (so far – not done until the end of June)
    2017 – 116
    2016 – 83
    2015 – 104
    2014 – 91
    2013 – 120
    2012 – 111
    2011 – 158
    2010 – 96


      1. Brian

        They started changing the mindset a while ago as they started making the push to join a P5. As they start to get the money without a giant subsidy from the academic side, that should help change the attitudes of those who have been resisting. It also means they can more freely spend where they need to in order to become more competitive.

        I’m just curious to see if money can quickly (a few years) make a difference versus waiting a generation or two for the culture to change.


    1. Stephen

      Those Director’s Cup standings can’t be up to date. Illinois has zero points for spring, but their spring sports have done very well. Men’s tennis made the NCAA quarterfinals. Men’s baseball was one of the last-four out of the NCAA tournament, but finished 4th in the B1G and had a very strong season overall. Men’s golf finished 11th in the nation. Women’s tennis finished 20th in the nation. Women’s golf ended up #24 in the final Golfweek national rankings. Women’s softball was 37-18 and just missed the NCAA tournament.

      I would have to think Illinois should move up significantly in the standings after their strong spring sports.


      1. Brian


        “Those Director’s Cup standings can’t be up to date. Illinois has zero points for spring, but their spring sports have done very well. Men’s tennis made the NCAA quarterfinals. Men’s baseball was one of the last-four out of the NCAA tournament, but finished 4th in the B1G and had a very strong season overall. Men’s golf finished 11th in the nation. Women’s tennis finished 20th in the nation. Women’s golf ended up #24 in the final Golfweek national rankings. Women’s softball was 37-18 and just missed the NCAA tournament.”

        It is their most recent release. They don’t grant points for a sport until after the national championship is decided and they do several releases during each season. They have not yet accounted for golf, tennis, lacrosse, rowing, track&field, softball or baseball in 2018.

        “I would have to think Illinois should move up significantly in the standings after their strong spring sports.”

        Lots of schools will gain points. The final release comes out 6/29 due to baseball.


        1. Stephen

          That’s what I figured. I know other schools will add points, but spring is the best season for Illinois sports overall. If they are 52 now, I would think they will move up to at least the 40’s in the final standings, if not higher.


        2. Stephen

          Illinois is already up to #38 and that does not include a #20 finish in men’s track and a decent season in baseball. They could move up even more in the final rankings.


          1. Brian

            Yeah, there are just too many moving parts for me to want to track it. Even with just 4 sports left there will be a lot of movement. Next week’s release will count all but baseball, making it easier to analyze.

            You have to make the NCAA to score in baseball, so any team within 100 points next week that made the CWS could pass IL. There will be few, if any, teams that fit that mark.


          2. Stephen

            Illinois finished #36 in the final standings, even with being one of the final two teams left out of the baseball tournament


  36. Brian


    The ACC’s numbers came out.

    Atlantic Coast Conference revenue increased 12 percent in 2016-17, but the league’s average distribution to member schools continues to lag behind its Power Five peers.

    The ACC’s average distribution to 14 full-time members of $26.6 million was last among the Power Five — with only 10 schools, the Big 12’s average distribution was $34.3 million, the latter figure from USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz.

    Mean per-school shares for the other Power Fives, according to USA Today, were: Southeastern Conference $40.9 million, Big Ten $37 million and Pacific 12 $30.9 million.

    The ACCN starts in 8/2019 which will provide some additional revenue, but not enough to catch the B12 (especially once you factor in their 3rd tier rights individually). The B10 and SEC will be well ahead of them but the ACC and P12 may be similar for a while. The ACC’s GOR lasts until 2036 but they might have some internal strife before then.


    1. Doug

      The ACC’s GOR lasts until 2036 but they might have some internal strife before then.

      Hey Brian,

      In your opinion what ACC teams might become disenchanted and what would their
      possible options be?


      1. Brian

        It would probably be the same ones that have spoken up before or are having financial problems. The private schools tend to be pretty quiet about the financial side because they can be, but it drove UMD to leave. I know GT has had budget problems. I also know that the southern schools are more football focused and have complained before. We know FSU and others were concerned before.

        Imagine the finances in 2020 looking something like this:
        B10 – $50M
        SEC – $45M
        B12 – $42M including tier 3 (I’m doing rough averages for each conference)
        P12 – $35M
        ACC – $35M

        Then in the mid-20s, the B10, B12, P12 and SEC renegotiate so by 2026 (assumes no realignment):
        B10 – $65M
        SEC – $65M
        B12 – $55M including tier 3
        P12 – $48M
        ACC – $40M (their deal lasts until 2036)

        How long would ACC schools tolerate trailing in-state SEC foes by $25M per year? That could make it very hard to keep a school like FSU happy.

        Possible options?

        * The B10 might want a few of them (UVA, UNC, Duke, GT)
        * The B12 might consider expansion more seriously if they can get FSU and Clemson
        * The cream of the B12, P12 and ACC could look at making an airplane conference

        I’m not saying this is a likely scenario, but then 20 years ago nobody would’ve believed UMD and NE would be in the B10 either.


        1. vp81955

          The $64M question: Given the ACC’s air-tight GOR through 2036, how do they escape? And if, in our hypothetical situation, the six members you mention depart, shrinking the ACC to eight (nine if Notre Dame remains) where do its replacements come from? Connecticut and Cincinnati, certainly; how about Houston and Southern Methodist? Or, given the ACC’s fondness for private institutions, Rice and Tulane?


          1. Doug

            Given the ACC’s air-tight GOR. I would respectfully disagree that it is air-tight.. It would seem that the cost of litigation would be the factor holding a team back.

            The Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law (Harvard Law School) has an interesting article on the GOR and discusses the (BIG, Pac12, Big 12, ACC) GOR. It discusses several different means of attack on the GOR. Which may or may not be successful. Which circles back to, would a school ligate where the outcome would be uncertain?

            Click to access Wilhelm.pdf


          2. Brian


            “The $64M question: Given the ACC’s air-tight GOR through 2036, how do they escape?”

            They wait until 2034ish unless the turmoil builds to the point that the majority want out (which I don’t think would ever happen). I’m guessing the lawyers made the GOR tight enough that escaping early is cost prohibitive. But once even one school refuses to extend the GOR, the conference is better off negotiating to let them out than not being able to extend their GOR and negotiate the next TV deal.

            “And if, in our hypothetical situation, the six members you mention depart, shrinking the ACC to eight (nine if Notre Dame remains) where do its replacements come from? Connecticut and Cincinnati, certainly; how about Houston and Southern Methodist? Or, given the ACC’s fondness for private institutions, Rice and Tulane?”

            I’d guess the ACC would lose at most 4, maybe just 1 or 2 (more likely is losing nobody), but I’ll work with your 6. ND would negotiate to shrink their deal to 4 games per year since several top brands left. The ACC would have to be strategic in seeking replacements. UConn adds a state to the footprint and a hoops brand. UC fits geographically and add another new state. I’d look for UCF and USF potentially to replace the southern losses so Miami doesn’t look elsewhere.

            North = BC, UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, UC, UL
            South = Miami, UCF, USF, WF, NCSU, UVA

            8 games = 5 in division + 3 rotating crossovers (50%)
            ND plays 2 teams from each division in exchange for a home for their other sports

            In the smaller losses scenarios:

            1. Losses = Clemson and FSU

            Maybe stay at 12, but consider UCF and USF to bolster the FL footprint for recruiting and markets. Maybe look at UCF or USF + UConn instead but football brands are what they need.

            2. Losses = UVA and GT

            Stay at 12.

            3. Losses = UVA and UNC

            Look at adding UConn and UC for basketball brands.

            4. Losses = UV, GT, UNC and Duke

            Look at adding UConn and UC for basketball brands but shrinking to 12.

            5. Losses = UV, GT, Clemson and FSU

            Look at adding UConn and UC for basketball brands plus UCF and USF to shore up FL.


          3. Brian


            “I would respectfully disagree that it is air-tight.. It would seem that the cost of litigation would be the factor holding a team back.”

            Also the “cost” of getting dirty laundry exposed in court, becoming a pariah for being the one to break the GORs that many schools depend on for protection and the potential financial cost of winning (exit fees, lost rights, whatever). I think almost everyone would rather negotiate an escape than fight it out in court. If done close to the expiration date, it might not even be all that expensive.

            “The Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law (Harvard Law School) has an interesting article on the GOR and discusses the (BIG, Pac12, Big 12, ACC) GOR. It discusses several different means of attack on the GOR. Which may or may not be successful. Which circles back to, would a school ligate where the outcome would be uncertain?”

            That looks like a great source for a future blog post by Frank. I’ll let all the lawyers here dig into the details of it because 62 pages of legal analysis is beyond my expertise. Just reading the table of contents is somewhat informative, though.

            I. Introduction: An Instant Classic

            II. The Impact of Conference Realignment
            A. Tradition
            B. Economics
            C. Litigation

            III. Explanations for Conference Realignment
            A. Money
            B. University Exposure
            C. Winning on the Field
            D. A New Theory: Taking M + 1 from the Voting Booth to the Selection Committee
            1. Electing a College Football National Champion .
            2. Applying M + 1 to Changing Methods of Picking a National Champion

            IV. Conferences’ Current Solution to Realignment: The Grant of Rights
            A. Text of Grant of Rights
            1. Atlantic Coast Conference
            2. Big 12 Conference
            3. Pac-12 Conference

            B. Considerations Underlying the Effectiveness of the Grant of Rights
            1. Modeling the Realignment Decision Factors
            2. The Money Term Specifically

            C. Legal Enforceability of the Grant of Rights
            1. Irrevocability
            2. Characterization as Liquidated Damages
            3. Lack of Specific Performance as a Remedy for Breached Grant of Rights
            4. Generally Vague

            V. Proposed Considerations for Future Grants of Rights from the Conference Perspective
            A. Process Considerations
            1. Diminishing Effect of Grant of Rights
            2. Collateral Risks of a Time-Diminished Grant of Rights

            B. Substantive Changes

            VI. Alternative Solutions to Conference Realignment
            A. Integrate Athletics and Academics
            B. Halt Changes to the College Football Playoff Structure: Reacting to the Interplay of
            M + 1 and the Realignment Model

            VII. Conclusion

            A quote from one of Frank’s blog posts is the first footnote in the article.

            I want to talk more about this so I’m going to start a new thread of comments.


          4. Mike

            Given the ACC’s air-tight GOR through 2036, how do they escape?

            IMHO – they won’t. The ACC will sign another extension (like they did before) that will up their value enough to be competitive. ESPN will give them X dollars now for an additional Y years added to their deal.


  37. Brian


    CUSA is trying something new in hoops scheduling.

    So, how is scheduling going to change that? The most radical difference will be that when the conference schedule is released, built in will be dates for games, but with opponents to be determined. Those dates will be filled with league opponents after the conference seeds the teams following the first 14 games.

    “We’re going to play 13 games and your travel partner twice, which would be Western Kentucky for us,” said D’Antoni. “Then they are going to seed the schools. If you finish in the top five, No. 1 through No. 5 will play each other for the next four games to get 18 games.

    “Like, if you’re No. 1 you will play No. 4. And you’ll play, I think, No. 4 and No. 3 at home and then travel to No. 2. … There are four games in that five-team slot. No. 1 will play No. 5 and No. 4, I think. And No. 2 and No. 3 will come to No. 1.

    “Then, if you’re No. 2 you will play No. 4. It just reverses all the way down until you get everybody in that top group playing each other once. That will give you 18 games.”

    The goal is for C-USA’s best teams to play one another in effort to boost the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) of those teams. Those groupings remain in place all season all the way through the conference tournament.

    “Once you’re in that top five, since you are playing the tougher teams,” explained D’Antoni, “what they do is guarantee you that you will be one of the top five seeds. You can’t fall out of the top five seeds in the conference tournament.

    “And then No. 6 through No. 10 will do the same type of thing. They can’t fall out of six through 10. And then No. 11 through 14 play and the same thing goes there. They can’t get any higher than No. 11 and, obviously, no lower than No. 14.”

    This same concept could be applied to football as well. People have called for CFB to use flex scheduling, usuallly without understanding all the ancillary events schools build around home football games. A conference could play all the divisional games plus all but 1 crossover game before Thanksgiving. Then the final week have the teams face the same seed from the other division. It could be big for TV if you make it so that the winner of the 1/1 game makes the CCG while the loser doesn’t, but they may run afoul of the NCAA’s CCG rules.

    I wouldn’t suggest this for the P5, but it could help the G5 get some attention and maybe a better bowl game.


  38. Brian


    Jon Wilner interviewed the distribution chief for the P12N.

    *** Is there room for the Pac-12 regional networks to grow their base, or are they maxed out?

    “I would refer you to way Fubo carries us. Fubo carries the national in its base package and then all six regionals in their sports add-on.

    “All of the new players in the marketplace have the ability to gear themselves to what the audience needs.”

    *** Might the Pac-12 expand its streaming deals before football season?

    “I don’t think I can get that specific, but like I said earlier: A big part of our business is expanding our roster. But I’m not going to handicap it.”

    *** Fans have been told that retaining 100 percent ownership allows the networks to be nimble, but how has that served the fans? Several key streaming services don’t carry the Pac-12 Networks.

    “If you look at what Hulu and YouTube do carry … we certainly are not alone among the networks not on those services. And let’s remember that it’s super early. Most of them have launched in the past year. They’re trying to figure out what they want to carry.

    “There will be a tremendous amount of evolution in how those product offerings take shape and what’s the portfolio of content, and we’re just at beginning.”

    *** Is there a misconception about the networks in the media narrative?

    “If I’m really being honest, it is sometimes painful to be consistently faced with the ‘Oh, they’re so challenged’ narrative.

    “The Pac-12 Networks have turned a significant operating surplus every year, they’ve delivered on the mission to elevate the sports that never had been broadcast before, and they’ve represented those student athletes in a caring way.

    “Because of our mission, we’re obligated to be very cautious in the way we create content. The fact that we’re able to do that and stand up such a good product and deliver an operating surplus — to me, that’s a success story.

    “Would we all like to be making more money? Of course. But I don’t see it as, ‘We’re challenged.’ I see it as, ‘Wow, we have this amazing foundation to build from, to evolve into the next phase.’

    “When you look at the trends in the industry, the narrative is that ratings are down, that TV is done. That’s not true. With linear TV, with people on their couch looking at the big screen, yes that’s down. But if you look at total content consumption and factor in mobile and tablets, it’s up.

    “The media day is expanding, so that’s an opportunity, and it’s incumbent on us and every programmer to find a business that is going to cultivate fans on the platforms where they live and make them viewers of our content.

    “The ‘Pac-12 is challenged’ narrative — I understand why it exists, but I don’t see that from where I sit. I see lots of opportunity.”


  39. Brian


    DE will become the first new state to offer individual game sports betting, starting Tuesday.

    Delaware will begin offering Las Vegas-style sports betting at its three casinos on Tuesday, becoming the first state to open for business since the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on state-sponsored sports gambling three weeks ago.

    Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino will begin taking single-game bets on baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf and auto racing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the state announced Thursday.

    New Jersey, which battled the NCAA, NFL and other major professional sports leagues in court for six years, is also hoping to begin offering sports betting in June. A sports betting bill is advancing in the legislature and headed for a vote on June 7.

    Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are among the states quickly preparing to get into the sports betting game.


  40. Brian

    Up above, Doug linked a legal journal article about GORs.

    “The Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law (Harvard Law School) has an interesting article on the GOR and discusses the (BIG, Pac12, Big 12, ACC) GOR. It discusses several different means of attack on the GOR. Which may or may not be successful. Which circles back to, would a school ligate where the outcome would be uncertain?


    I excerpted the ToC to give people an idea what’s in the 62 page article but wanted to start a new thread to discuss the article since we were out of REPLY levels. I’ll leave the detailed legal analysis in Part IV to the lawyers. But Part III caught my interest.

    The article is a pdf so please excuse the short line lengths:

    Part III analyzes the most
    prominent explanations of the mechanisms causing realignment, including
    money, university exposure, and the desire to win on the field. Further, Part
    III advances a new theory for a factor causing conference realignment. This
    theory applies the well-known M + 1 rule employed by political scientists
    and argues that the way in which college football chooses its annual national
    champion has created a structural push toward realignment.
    must address the mechanisms discussed in Part III when implementing any
    barrier to conference realignment, including, but not limited to, the grant of

    On to Part III:
    This section proposes four main motivating factors be-
    hind conference realignment: (1) the well-accepted money factor, (2) in-
    creased university exposure, (3) a chance to improve on-the-field
    performance, and (4) strategic behavior based upon the structure of choosing
    a football national champion.

    The fourth factor is the one of interest to me, but I’ll provide one key quote before that.

    The current wave of realignment, however, suggests that an attempt to
    increase individual school revenues is likely not the cause of the realign-
    ment. Studies show that in order to maximize revenue, the ideal conference
    size would be twelve schools.54

    54 – https://www.econ.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/Trevor%20Abbott%20Honors%20Thesis.pdf

    That thesis was written in 2012 so it doesn’t include the most recent round of P5 expansion. I would argue that data from the B10 and SEC might show that the ideal conference size to maximize profit depends on who you are and who you can add. No conference wouldn’t gain a lot by adding ND and UT, for example. And in reading the thesis, he concludes that 14 teams fits within his confidence interval but 16 doesn’t.

    For decades, political scientists have discussed Duverger’s Law, which
    suggests that, in popular elections, the maximum number of viable political
    parties depends on the structure of the electoral system. Based on
    Duverger’s findings, Gary W. Cox coined the “M + 1 rule,” 83 which states
    that, in multimember electoral systems, “no more than M + 1 candidates
    . . . or lists . . . can be viable” in a district with M seats.

    His basic model:
    Conference = political party
    School = candidate
    Poll voters/CFP committee = voters

    This Article then recognizes that the behaviors observed in political contests
    can be translated to shifting allegiances in conference realignment. While
    there are certainly many different types of electoral systems, conference divi-
    sions most closely translate to multimember electoral districts.

    He looked at the poll era and decided the model didn’t really apply because you weren’t competing for the same things. The goal was to win your conference and then you went to the assigned bowl.

    Then came the BCS era. The competition was for the at-large spots, which meant 6 power conferences were fighting for 4 spots.

    The four at large bids represent the posi-
    tions up for “election.” In other words, in the
    M + 1 formulation, M = 4.
    Therefore, one would expect those six conferences to strategically condense
    to a maximum of five conferences to maximize each conference’s likelihood
    of placing a second team in a BCS game though an at large bid (in addition
    to the automatic bid). If, however, the six BCS conferences had actually
    condensed into five power conferences, the M + 1 effect would have allowed
    the number of stable major conferences back to six. Of the ten bowl slots,
    five would be awarded to the new five major conferences, leaving five at
    large bids remaining; again, with at large bids representing positions up for
    election, M = 5, and one would expect a maximum of M + 1, or six,
    conferences to form.

    Admittedly, there must be a reason why the number of viable confer-
    ences did not constantly fluctuate between five and six during the BCS pe-
    riod. A compelling explanation is the transaction costs associated with
    changing conferences. As discussed above, moving from one conference to
    another — while it may impact the chances for a national championship
    — does involve an incredible cost on the part of schools.

    The conflict ended when the CFP began. Now there was no competing force driving for 6 conferences. All forces said there should be 5.


    1. Brian

      Part IV starts with excerpts from the GORs for the ACC, B12 and P12. He includes this about the B10:

      Requests to Big Ten schools — including Michigan State University, Ohio
      State University, the University of Michigan,125 and the University of Wis-
      consin, all of which provided denials for varying reasons126 —
      ultimately returned no responsive documents.127

      Michigan State University’s denial stated that it possessed the document but
      that the Big Ten Grant of Rights was a “trade secret” falling under a disclosure
      exemption pursuant to the State of Michigan’s MCL 390.1554(1)(d), as the Grant
      “contains unique and proprietary information of significant commercial value, in
      which Michigan State University, as a member of the Big Ten Conference, holds an
      interest. Michigan State University, its Intercollegiate Athletics Department, and
      its student athletes, directly benefit from the media rights contracts negotiated by
      the Big Ten Conference on the University’s behalf.”
      Letter from Ellen Armentrout,
      Freedom of Information Act Office & Assistant General Counsel, Michigan State
      University, to author (Dec. 10, 2014) (on file with Harvard Law School Library).
      Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin
      all denied having responsive documents after conducting a reasonable search of their
      respective records.

      It is not clear why Big Ten schools do not provide copies of the grants of their
      broadcast rights that they have reportedly given to the conference.
      See, e.g., Alex Prewitt, ACC Grant of Rights Deal Might Weaken ACC’s Exit-Fee Lawsuit Against Maryland, Wash. Post, April 23, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/
      fee-lawsuit-against-maryland/, {https://perma.cc/MQ95-9Z6C}
      (“The Big Ten, Pacific-12 and Big 12 also have grant-of-rights agreements, which give the conferences control of each school’s television rights, even if they choose to leave the conference.” (emphasis added)); Pete Thamel, N.C.A.A. Strife, and How to Ease It, N.Y. Times, Sept. 11, 2011, at SP4, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/sports/ncaafootball/ncaa-strife-could-be-eased-by-real-revenue-sharing.html,
      {https://perma.cc/EN9L-6WMM} (“The Big Ten and Pac-12 members have signed
      grants of rights, which basically give all of the television rights from each university’s
      sports to the conference for a specified number of years. If a member switches con-
      ferences, the rights cannot be transferred.” (emphasis added)).


    2. Brian

      Also in Part IV is a discussion of some problems with GORs. I’ll just summarize:

      1. It assumes all the schools put a huge value on generating revenue, well above any other concern. If that isn’t true, the GOR loses effectiveness (think UT compared to ISU, or ND vs anyone else). Basically, the coefficient of importance of that factor varies.

      2. The various factors in the decision (money, exposure, etc) also vary, which can make the GOR ineffective. Say the media model changes and TV money plummets – the financial cost of violating the GOR goes way down.

      3. GORs may not be enforceable, but it’s exactly this uncertainty that actually gives the GOR its value. Schools have to assume the worst. But if someone ever busts a GOR, then all of them lose value.

      4. The GOR is a brute force financial threat but not all decisions are dominated by money. For example, a G5 would jump to a P5 no matter the short term cost.

      Then he discusses the legal enforceability of GORs which I leave to the lawyers to discuss.

      The sixth section suggests alternative approaches to prevent realignment:

      1. Integrate athletics and academics, as the B10 has with the BTAA (formerly CIC).

      2. Settle on a national championship format and stick with it.

      Conferences therefore need to acknowledge and recognize the impact of
      their consistent waffling on a national championship selection process.

      The current CFP has an equilibrium at 5 power conference. If they expand to 8 teams, in one sense that alleviates financial pressure as all P5s get in. On the other hand, they are competing for the at-large bids again. 3 at-larges pushes for 4 conferences. 2 at-larges (G5 autobid, which becomes more likely with further realignment) pushes for 3 conferences. I think 8 teams and a new TV deal would likely drive to a P4 with a G5 autobid and 3 at-large bids.


  41. Brian


    The B10/ACC challenge games are out:

    Indiana at Duke
    North Carolina at Michigan
    Michigan State at Louisville
    Nebraska at Clemson
    Minnesota at Boston College
    Syracuse at Ohio State
    North Carolina State at Wisconsin
    Purdue at Florida State
    Virginia at Maryland
    Rutgers at Miami
    Virginia Tech at Penn State
    Pitt at Iowa
    Georgia Tech at Northwestern
    Notre Dame at Illinois


    1. @Frug – Oh, definitely The Americans in the sense that they went into that finale where every single scenario (e.g. everyone dies to no one dies to everyone escapes to everyone goes to jail) was still possible. It actually ended perfectly within the context of the show.

      Game 1 wasn’t surprising in that the Warriors are supposed to win. J.R. Smith thinking that the Cavs were up by 1 instead of tied on that last offensive rebound was hilarious (unless you’re a Cavs fan)… but typical J.R.


  42. Brian


    The US+ bid for the World Cup greatly outscored the Moroccan bid when FIFA judged them. It doesn’t really mean anything, but it will just making the explaining much harder to do when FIFA votes for Morocco.

    FIFA judged Morocco’s 2026 World Cup proposals to be “high risk” in three areas and offered significant praise for the North American bid, which outscored its rival by a wide margin in an inspection evaluation report published on Friday.

    The joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico scored 4 out of 5, while Morocco scored 2.7 following FIFA inspections.

    Morocco’s risks relate to stadiums, accommodation and transport. No part of the North America bid was flagged a high risk, and FIFA said it “has a clear lead” to advance the governing body’s mission to “push new boundaries in terms of sports-related technology and engagement” since stadiums and hotels already exist.

    FIFA’s five-man panel could have disqualified Morocco had the North African country scored less than two overall, and less than two on key measures including stadiums.

    The FIFA Council has to approve both candidates at a June 10 meeting in Moscow. The final vote of up to 207 member federations is on June 13 and the inspection task force scores can be ignored when making their decision.

    While Morocco has said it needs to spend almost $16 billion on infrastructure for the 48-team World Cup, including building or renovating all 14 stadiums, North America does not require any tournament-specific building work.

    “The amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated,” the bid evaluation task force said. “The Morocco 2026 bid and United 2026 bid represent two almost opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the nature of their bids.”

    The North Americans scored the only maximum 5 mark for its ticketing and hospitality plans, which helped drive a forecast revenue for the tournament of $14.3 billion, “significantly higher” than Morocco’s $7.2 billion.

    However, the lowest mark out of 5 for either bid in each of nine categories is 2.0 for the North American bids’ projected organising costs which were driven up by having 16 stadiums instead of the minimum 12.

    In 20 categories evaluated for risk, the North American bid had three medium-risk areas — government support, human rights and labor standards, and organizing costs — and 17 low risk. Morocco had the three high-risk sections, 10 medium risk — also including human rights and labor standards — and seven low risk.

    Overall score: United bid 4.0, Morocco 2.7


    Stadiums: United bid 4.1, Morocco 2.3
    Team facilities: United bid 3.7, Morocco 2.9
    Accommodation: United bid 3.9, Morocco 2.6
    Transport: United bid 4.3, Morocco 2.1
    Telecommunications: United bid 4.0, Morocco 3.5
    Fan Festival locations: United bid 3.6, Morocco 3.2


    Organising costs: United bid 2.0, Morocco 3.0
    Media and marketing: United bid 4.9, Morocco 4.6
    Ticketing and hospitality: United bid 5.0, Morocco 2.4


    1. Brian

      IN easily won their second game in the baseball regional to stay alive. PU leads 14-3 in the 8th with a weather delay.

      OSU somehow made it to a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 13th before losing. UNCW had 19 hits to OSU’s 5, so it was pure luck OSU lasted that long.

      At least the B10 won’t go 0fer.


      1. Brian

        PU held on 14-4 to survive until tomorrow.

        #7 seed FSU got swept out of their regional to continue their woeful postseason history. They’ve made the NCAA tournament 56 times (41 straight). They’ve hosted a regional a record 35 times. They’ve made the CWS 22 times. They have zero national titles despite making the championship game 3 times.


  43. Rich

    Here is my Blue Sky B1G:
    Boston Coll
    Penn St
    W. Virginia
    West Virginia

    Michigan St
    Ohio St

    Fla State
    Ga Tech
    Miami, Fla
    No Carolina

    Air Force
    Arizona St
    Oklahoma St


    1. bob sykes

      The basis of all stable college conferences is cultural similarity, which is based on geographic proximity, and which results in commonly held academic and athletic goals and values. This list is a mishmash of incompatible cultures and has no possible hope of realization. Rather than “Blue Sky,” I would label it “Nightmare from Hell.”

      Everyone interested in college conference realignment should read “The Nine Nations of North America,” by Joel Garreau, or “American Nations…,” by Colin Woodward, or even “Battlecry of Freedom,” by James McPherson. These books explain in detail the cultural basis of the existing college conferences, why they have the schools they do, and why schemes like the one above are anathema to the people, faculty, students, alumni, boosters et al, involved. And they do hate these kinds of schemes. Won/lost records, TV ratings are simply irrelevant to the issue of realignment.

      Arguably, the current B1G is already too big, and lacks the cultural uniformity it had before PSU came aboard. But, all the additions were large, flagship, land grant schools, and that might be enough justification to accept schools outside the Midwest. Gordon Gee understood the issues, and his opinion that Kansas and Missouri would be the best new (and very last) additions is probably correct. Oklahoma is a cultural bridge too far, and Okie St, Texas and the rest of the B12 (except maybe KSU and ISU) are beyond the pale culturally.


      1. Brian

        bob sykes,

        “The basis of all stable college conferences is cultural similarity, which is based on geographic proximity, and which results in commonly held academic and athletic goals and values.”

        That was the basis for forming them in the early days of conferences, but things have changed. When most of the conferences formed, long distance travel was done by train and people rarely moved to other parts of the country. Regional differences are still strong, but they aren’t quite as strong as they used to be. And travel has certainly changed. As for academic similarities, I think we tend to let the B10 color our views too much. The P12 (Stanford vs OrSU), B12 (UT vs KSU), SEC (MsSU vs Vandy) and ACC (UL vs Duke) all have tremendous ranges in their academic goals and values.

        “Everyone interested in college conference realignment should read “The Nine Nations of North America,” by Joel Garreau, or “American Nations…,” by Colin Woodward, or even “Battlecry of Freedom,” by James McPherson.”

        Always good suggestions.

        “These books explain in detail the cultural basis of the existing college conferences, why they have the schools they do, and why schemes like the one above are anathema to the people, faculty, students, alumni, boosters et al, involved. And they do hate these kinds of schemes. Won/lost records, TV ratings are simply irrelevant to the issue of realignment.”

        They explain it in part, but not necessarily in detail. There are a bunch of timing, political and now financial reasons that aren’t related to culture. UMI kept ND out of the B10 over 100 years ago. MSU was one of several viable options in the 50s but wouldn’t get in today. UT asked about joining the B10 soon after PSU did but the B10 had declared a 5-year moratorium on expansion.

        “Arguably, the current B1G is already too big, and lacks the cultural uniformity it had before PSU came aboard. But, all the additions were large, flagship, land grant schools, and that might be enough justification to accept schools outside the Midwest.”

        It may be too big, but the changes in what factors matter helped drive it. Having multiple schools in IN, IL and MI meant that the B10 needed to expand the footprint for demographic and BTN reasons. It used to be a pure positive to have so many schools close together, but a downside emerged as the world changed. Cultural diversity is the price the B10 paid to not have to cut anybody and to be prepared for changing demographics.

        “Gordon Gee understood the issues, and his opinion that Kansas and Missouri would be the best new (and very last) additions is probably correct. Oklahoma is a cultural bridge too far, and Okie St, Texas and the rest of the B12 (except maybe KSU and ISU) are beyond the pale culturally.”

        While Frank reminds us to think like a college president, Gee may go too far. KU and MO are closer culturally and geographically, but OU adds a lot more value than MO. The B10 would probably be better off financially not expanding than adding KU and MO. Gee ignores the athletic value in his statement.

        I say all this not to argue in favor of B10 expansion (I’ve always been against it), but just to point out that culture isn’t everything anymore.


    2. Brian


      “Here is my Blue Sky B1G”

      Isn’t it more of a new level of NCAA, like if the P5 split from I-A, minus the SEC? It’s 40 schools. Would you really want the B10 to have 40 schools? I assume you are keeping play within the divisions except for the postseason, but having to beat out 39 other schools to win a title?

      I like the Midwest division and would love to re-establish that if the B10 ever expands to 20 schools, but I have no use for a 40 team conference. That’s a league like the NFL.

      My B20 (if the B10 has to get that big):
      Midwest – OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PU, IL, NW, WI, MN, IA
      Other – PSU, RU, UMD, UVA, VT, ND, NE, OU, KU, UT

      I doubled up in VA to draw a firm boundary and prevent overlap with the SEC there. I considered UNC, but that would require complete commitment to the east and I’d rather also go west since we have NE on board already.

      Football would be a little unbalanced with PSU, NE, ND, UT, OU and VT all on one side versus OSU, MI, MSU, WI and IA, but those would be good CCGs.

      Smaller versions seem more likely, though.

      My B16:
      OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PU, PSU, RU, UMD, IL, NW, WI, MN, IA, NE, OU, KU

      OU provides another football brand, a true rival for NE and better access to TX for recruiting. KU provides a much needed hoops brand, increasing the odds that the B10 eventually wins a hoops championship again. Play 3 locked rivals and 6 rotating games (50%) rather than divisions.

      I think 18 would be tough for the B10. Best I can do:
      My B18 (if the B10 has to get that big):
      OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PU, PSU, RU, UMD, IL, NW, WI, MN, IA, NE, OU, KU, UT, ND

      East – OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PU, PSU, RU, UMD, ND
      West – IL, NW, WI, MN, IA, NE, OU, KU, UT

      Play 8 division games to decide the division winners. Play 1 crossover game each except for the 4 new additions which are allowed to play an old rival instead (KSU, OkSU, TT, USC) instead. A second crossover can also be played as another OOC game since crossovers don’t count towards division standings.


      1. Rich

        I want the 40 school league because the divisions I laid out go back to the more traditional set ups. Old rivals would play more often. I have little interest in Illinois playing Rutgers, for example. But Illinois playing Ohio St every year? Yes. Just one example.

        Btw, ideally I would have TAMU instead of TCU & Missouri instead of Ok St. As far as cultural fit is concerned, brought up by others, the long arc of cultural fit history bends toward money. This league would have the money from B1G, Big XII and a not small chunk of Pac12 cash.


        1. Brian


          “I want the 40 school league because the divisions I laid out go back to the more traditional set ups. Old rivals would play more often. I have little interest in Illinois playing Rutgers, for example. But Illinois playing Ohio St every year? Yes. Just one example.”

          I appreciate that, believe me. It just seems like you could’ve said you want the old Big Ten back with the newer 4 in more appropriate regional conferences of 10. There isn’t really a need to add 26 schools if dropping 4 (or adding just 6) could reach a similar goal. I think you’d actually enjoy 4 conferences of 10 more than 1 conference of 40. Think how hard a conference title would become to win in any sport. Many schools would go years between any conference title.

          You’d also only have 1 CCG when you could have multiples. Or were you assuming you could have a 2-round playoff for the conference title in football? How many teams make the conference tournament in other sports? The top 12 in hoops?

          “Btw, ideally I would have TAMU instead of TCU & Missouri instead of Ok St.”

          You might as well put them in then. It’s your dream scenario.

          “As far as cultural fit is concerned, brought up by others, the long arc of cultural fit history bends toward money.”

          It does. I’ve said so elsewhere.

          “This league would have the money from B1G, Big XII and a not small chunk of Pac12 cash.”

          But the B10 already pays more per school than those leagues. Would this growth add a lot per school for the current B10 members?


  44. frug

    I wouldn’t put it past the Big Ten to make a play for Colorado in the next decade if the Pac-12’s relatively lower revenue makes it vulnerable. Colorado is an AAU school in a major market with a critical mass of Big Ten alums and even in a state that’s contiguous with the current conference footprint

    While we are talking about alumni bases, it is worth noting that while the Big Ten may send a lot of alumni to Colorado, the reverse isn’t necessarily true. 40% of Colorado’s out of state alumni live in Southern California alone, so the I suspect the revenue difference between the Big Ten and the PAC would have to be enormous for the Buffaloes to seriously consider jumping.


  45. Brian

    #14 MN (2-0) advanced to the super regional in Corvallis to face #3 OrSU. OrSU played great in their regional, winning 9-3, 14-1, 12-0, so MN has a very tough task ahead of them.

    IN lost in the finals of their regional (2-2, LWWL). PU lost in the semifinals of theirs (1-2, LWL). OSU got swept out of theirs (0-2).

    That’s a reasonable performance based on their seedings.

    National seeds eliminated in the regionals:
    2. Stanford
    7. FSU
    8. UGA
    10. Clemson
    12. ECU
    15. Coastal Carolina
    16. NCSU

    #1 UF and #4 Ole Miss are both still playing elimination games. Ole Miss trails 3-2 in the 8th versus TN Tech. UF and FAU play tomorrow due to weather.

    3-seeds (out of 4 in their regional) advancing: UW and CSU-Fullerton, and they face each other in a super regional. FAU still has to face UF in an elimination game.

    2-seeds advancing: Auburn, Duke, SC, Vandy, MsSU.


    1. Brian

      UF won today but Ole Miss lost to TN Tech last night. That’s 8 of 16 national seeds that failed to make the super-regionals. 2 3-seeds and 6 2-seeds (TN Tech was the 6th) advanced instead.


    1. Brian

      It’s a smart move for the non-power conferences. The WCC isn’t using flex scheduling according to the article, but it is making things easier for the top teams in the tournament.

      The next move would be to see some of these conferences do flex scheduled OOC games to end the season. That way you don’t guarantee your teams more losses plus you might get more national exposure. The SB is playing 10 games in division plus 6 crossovers, then flex scheduling 4 more games (home and homes against the 2 other teams in their pod). Do you really need up to 4 games against the same school in one season? I think fans might prefer SB1 vs CUSA 1, etc while still getting all the SOS benefits.

      I could see both the B10 and P12 considering flex scheduling a couple of conference games. That could help some bubble teams each year.


      1. jog267

        Which non-power conferences make natural parings for such OOC flex scheduling? Could 3 or more conferences participate in such a scheduling arrangement?

        Would 4 school late season OOC ‘tournaments’ be feasible among non-power conferences matching all respective 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place and 4th place schools from each participating conference in 4 separate (one each per conference) locations?


        1. Brian


          “Which non-power conferences make natural parings for such OOC flex scheduling?”

          I assume they’d mostly do it regionally, but maybe the better ones would consider doing it more nationally. You need conferences of a similar strength. I’ll leave it to bigger hoops fans than me to suggest pairings that make sense. There are over 30 conferences and I don’t know much about many of them.

          “Could 3 or more conferences participate in such a scheduling arrangement?”

          Sure, it would just be a little more of a hassle to plan.

          “Would 4 school late season OOC ‘tournaments’ be feasible among non-power conferences matching all respective 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place and 4th place schools from each participating conference in 4 separate (one each per conference) locations?”

          They could do it if they didn’t play in a tournament earlier (you only get 1 per season).


    2. Brian


      The P12 is looking at something similar.

      The Pac-12 is now considering a conference scheduling change for the 18-19 season, a source told FRS Sports.

      Based on the results of the poll conducted by the league’s head coaches, the Pac-12 will have “travel partner rankings” based on the average of what the two seeded teams were.

      According to a source, the rankings are listed below:

      1. USC/UCLA
      2. Oregon/Oregon State
      3. Arizona/Arizona State
      4. Washington/Washington State
      5. Stanford/Cal
      6. Colorado/Utah

      Under the proposed method, the league is sticking with its travel partners and would have the top two programs listed above (UCLA, USC) play teams ranked two through four twice next season with stand alone games against Stanford, Cal, Colorado, and Utah.

      This is similar to the model used by the Atlantic 10, which annually ensures that its top teams play as many times as possible during the regular season.

      A separate source told FRS Sports that the Pac-12’s head coaches have a conference call on Friday to discuss this matter further.


  46. Brian


    The P12 has had a lot of turnover in school CEOs since Larry Scott was hired and the P12N was agreed upon. What impact might that have when their rights come up for bid again in a few years?

    If you’re monitoring the conference oversight groups — the boss’s bosses, so to speak — there are two relevant categories.

    * Three current presidents were part of the CEO group that hired Scott in 2009: Arizona State’s Michael Crow, Oregon State’s Ed Ray and UCLA’s Gene Block.

    * Four current presidents were part of the group that approved the Pac-12 Networks strategy: Crow, Ray, Block and Colorado’s Phil DiStefano.

    But that’s it. The Pac-12 Networks were created seven years ago, yet eight schools have changed, or are in the process of changing, presidents since that point.

    Using Scott’s hiring (spring of 2009) as the cutoff point for the 10 continuing members, the totals are as follows:

    Men’s basketball coaches: 22
    Presidents/chancellors: 28
    Athletic directors: 28
    Football coaches: 32

    The presidents run the show, let’s not forget, and the majority of sitting/incoming CEOs did not hire Scott or sign off on the Pac-12 Networks’ model.

    They come into power not during a period of bliss but with frustration swirling … with fellow presidents and several athletic directors making less-than-flattering comments about the financial state of the conference.

    To a greater extent than the dwindling number of CEOs with personal stake in the networks’ success, the newcomers might be more willing to ask tough questions during the next round of Tier I negotiations … as opposed to simply signing off on whatever strategy Scott and his consultants suggest.


  47. Brian


    Despite its roots in the Big East, the AAC is becoming a southern conference as it moves its HQ from Providence to Dallas.

    OS: You broke some news last week when you said the league is moving its headquarters from Providence, R.I., to Dallas once the current lease is up in two years. Why Dallas?

    Aresco: “The thinking behind it is simply most of our schools tend to be in that area and it would make travel easier. The airport in Dallas is one of the best situated in the country. You can get almost everywhere directly. Another big factor is that we have a school there in the marketplace in SMU and that means people are constantly coming in and out and you can go over and meet them and say hello at games and you can’t do that here anymore. The travel burden on the conference staff and the people coming here is significant. We’re about as far away from everybody that you can be except for UConn. From Dallas, you can get almost anywhere in our conference from a half hour to about two hours.

    “Dallas has also become one of the epicenters of college sports, if not the epicenter of college football. You’ve got not only the College Football Playoff [offices] but you have the Big 12, Conference USA, Southland Conference, the Cotton Bowl there. … The geographical football of the conference has changed. Dallas in many ways makes all the sense in the world. Ultimately it’s a growing market and it would be better for the conference to be situated there.”

    Obviously Dallas is a major hub airport and Providence doesn’t make much sense anymore for them. But to say that most of their schools are in that area? I think UConn, Temple, ECU, UC, UCF, USF and others might disagree. They would be more central and perhaps get more coverage in a smaller market like Memphis. I doubt the Dallas sports media has much time to spend on the AAC even with SMU in it.


  48. Brian


    Matt Sarzyniak with some thoughts on the released football schedules for this year. Things in bold are links in the post that take you to more detailed posts about that (B10) or press releases (ESPN, Fox).

    Big Ten

    * My impression was that ESPN and FOX Sports were the only folks that would end up airing Friday night Big Ten games. Will need to check as to whether the conference and/or Michigan St. had to approve the Utah St. game airing on BTN.

    * After the opening weekend, FOX Sports took the remaining weeknight games.

    * Using Rutgers at Ohio St. for an early way to clear OSU’s BTN intraconference game commitment was a good idea. If the Tulane game on 9/22 ends up being the Buckeyes 2nd BTN game, they wouldn’t be required to appear on the network for the rest of the season.

    * The FOX Sports release (linked in the FOX Sports area) touts 136 games across FOX, FSN, FS1 and BTN. After subtracting out bowl games, conference championships and other conferences, 71 regular season games are available to FOX, FS1 and BTN. This lines up with the 99 Big Ten controlled games and subtracting off the conference championship game and 27 games for ABC & ESPN Networks.

    ESPN Networks

    * Selections remaining for specific conferences:

    Big 12: 16
    Excludes Big 12 Championship
    Big Ten: 17
    Pac-12: 14

    FOX Sports

    * Missouri St. at Oklahoma St. is a curious, and underwhelming, choice to start the FS1 schedule. There’s no other way around that. Same with the first FOX primetime game with Akron at Nebraska. I suppose I can excuse the latter because it is going up against Michigan at Notre Dame & Louisville at Alabama.

    * That large space between games on Black Friday on FOX I believe is to carry the 3rd place & championship games from the Las Vegas Invitational, involving Michigan St., UCLA, Texas and North Carolina.

    * Selections remaining for specific conferences:

    Big 12: 24
    Big Ten: 13-16
    Variable count
    Pac-12: 13

    Big 12 and Pac-12 counts exclude their respective conference championships.

    * My overall accounting for FOX Sports using the number of 136 games they counted across FOX, FS1, FSN and BTN:

    2 bowl games
    2 conference championship games
    4 Big 12 member retained games on FSN
    22 Pac-12 games
    35 Big 12 games
    71 Big Ten games
    24-27 for FOX & FS1
    44-47 for BTN

    The B10 link goes here: http://mattsarzsports.com/Contract/GameList/BigTen/2018#.WxhAtSAh1PZ

    The page lists games the B10 controls with current TV info. It also reminds us of the TV deal rules.

    ESPN Rights Notes

    27 total games.
    All intraconference games must air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
    Non-conference games can air on ESPNU.
    At least six games in primetime on ABC or ESPN.

    FOX Sports Rights Notes

    24-27 total games to air on FOX & FS1.
    Up to nine games per season will air in primetime
    FOX will air the conference championship game every season.
    FOX Sports will have the first choice of the weeks they want the top choice of games.

    Every Big Ten school must make two appearances on BTN. At least one of those appearances must be from a conference game.


    1. Brian

      He’s being smart about it, too.

      A new hockey arena would also house at least four other programs: men’s and women’s gymnastics, women’s volleyball and wrestling — that currently are in Huff Hall or Kenney Gym, facilities that provide challenges. The facility would include a permanent, separate volleyball and wrestling practice facilities as well as three hockey rinks (one for public use, one for practice and one for games). To add a men’s hockey program, Illinois would need to add another women’s program to comply with Title IX requirements. Whitman said it’s not clear what that sport could be but acknowledged that women’s hockey would be under consideration since the athletics department wouldn’t have to create a new facility for that sports, unlike lacrosse or another sport.

      “To me it’s about what hockey and what the building that hockey would require means for this athletic program and more broadly what it means for our community,” Whitman said. “I see this as an opportunity for us to overnight to change the opportunity that is currently existing for volleyball, for wrestling and for gymnastics. …We think that a wholesale solution, a new building, is the right answer. Generating the resources to build a new building for those sports is very, very challenging. We think that using hockey to drive that plan is the right answer. That allows us to create a new solution for those sports that I think otherwise would be very hard to come by.”

      Whitman also thinks hockey can be a boon to the downtown area, which is about a mile north of State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium. He said hockey, which hosts Friday and Saturday games, could drive business for area hotels, bars and restaurants.

      “It mooves us outside of our normal university bubble,” Whitman said. “It allows us to extend a hand to the Champaign-Urbana communities.”

      Hockey should thrive at UIUC and it would be great to add another women’s team, too. That would make 5 women’s teams.


  49. Good info. Demographics drive lots of conference and media considerations and actions. Data does tend to support/reinforce the MD and RU add to the big10.

    And…..Welcome back!


  50. Brian


    Gary Barta talking about B10 scheduling. He denied there has been any discussion of dropping to 8 games, but then he said some other things of interest.

    Since 2016, when the league expanded its football schedule to nine games, Big Ten officials protected annual cross-divisional matchups pitting programs of similar profile for six consecutive years. Those matchups include Iowa-Penn State, Nebraska-Ohio State, Wisconsin-Michigan, Northwestern-Michigan State, Minnesota-Maryland and Illinois-Rutgers. Indiana-Purdue is permanently protected.

    Aside from Indiana-Purdue, those regular matchups could end beginning in 2022 with a true rotation among the other schools.

    If the blogger/reporter paid attention, he’d know that the scheduling is supposed to be built around a 6-year cycle of locked crossover games and then it rotates among the tiers.

    “In crossovers, we look forward to playing great teams like Ohio State, Michigan and whoever else we get matched up,” Barta said.

    “We always have crossovers, and we’re constantly trying to come up with the right formula for crossovers.”

    The B10 came up with the “formula” several years ago. Did they not bother to explain their parity-based scheduling to the ADs or did the ADs not pay attention?

    The Big Ten began divisional play in 2011 with the competitively equal Legends and Leaders Divisions. In 2014, it switched to a geographic model with an East-West divide. Although the league’s East Division towers over the West in prestige and perception, there are no plans for revisions.

    “We committed to the East-West,” Barta said. “I like the East-West. Everybody likes the East-West. Clearly, things go in trends. But, no, there’s been no discussion about going away from East-West.

    “One of the things that I feel strongly about is Hawkeye fans love to play against Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, the border states. How great is that for the fans? I won’t support anything that will go away from that.

    “We talk about how we can make ourselves better but we’ve never, I’ve not been in any conversations where we talked about changing the makeup.”

    That’s a shame, but not unexpected. Especially at the AD level where ticket sales are so important. Perhaps the East ADs would have a different view given their tougher division.


    1. Brian

      Just for context, 5 men from 5 different B10 schools (1 each from OSU, MI, WI, MN, PSU) won individual events this year. If just 2 titles per year is typical, that’s still 48 titles won by B10 athletes without OSU getting one of them. It just seems strange to see such a large gap in time.


      1. Brian

        The women combined for 1 title this year (WI).

        Meanwhile, MN baseball needs to win tonight to get a rubber match tomorrow to make the CWS. Earlier UNC became the first team to advance to the CWS.


  51. Richard

    For the next 6 year cycle, I think you’ll see locked
    OSU-U of I


    That way, traditional rivalries would be played more often and the top teams get easier cross-overs (except for PSU and Iowa, but that’s because PSU, MSU, Iowa, and NU are in the middle tier in their divisions).

    Of the western schools, UW and NU draw the most heavily from the East Coast so being locked against East Coast teams is a good thing (though NU would prefer visiting greater NYC or greater DC).

    OSU/UMich and UNL/UW would have much easier paths to the B10 title game, which I think Delaney would like to see.


  52. Brian


    Chris Low at ESPN ranked the toughest OOC schedules.

    But as far as the 10 toughest Power 5 nonconference schedules, only three of the five leagues are represented. The Big Ten and SEC are noticeably absent. The ACC leads the way with four of the top five toughest slates out of conference and five of the top 10. The Pac-12 is right on the ACC’s heels with four of the 10, and Texas is the lone Big 12 representative.

    1. Pitt – Albany, PSU, UCF, ND*
    2. USC – UNLV, UT, ND*
    3. FSU – Samford, NIU, ND, UF*
    4. Clemson – Furman, TAMU, GA Southern, SC*
    5. GT – Alcorn St, USF, BGSU, UGA*
    6. ASU – UTSA, MSU, SDSU
    7. Stanford – SDSU, UC-Davis, ND
    8. UT – UMD, Tulsa, USC
    9. UL – AL, IN St, WKU, UK*
    10. UCLA – UC, OU, Fresno St

    * – not in September

    I have several issues here:

    1. He’s right that he didn’t include any B10 or SEC teams, but it should be pointed out that the B10 plays 9 conference games and avoids I-AA games. That’s a lot different than the SEC.

    2. Kudos to the 4 P12 and 1 B12 team that also play 9 conference games.

    3. Are these really the 10 toughest OOC schedules? There are a lot of I-AA and weak G5 games on that list. Take Clemson for example. I-AA, 7-6 TAMU with a new coach, 2-10 GA Southern and SC the week after playing Duke. How tough is that?

    4. 3 B10 schools plays 2 P5 teams (incl. ND):
    OSU – OrSU, TCU, Tulane
    NW – Duke, Akron, ND*
    PU – EMU, MO, BC

    They may not be top 10 OOC schedules, but they’re pretty solid. They seem equivalent to several that are listed to me.


  53. Brian

    https://www.facebook.com … /TheBrettMcMurphy/posts/1962031377154250

    According to Brett McMurphy, the NCAA is going to add 3 more bowls for 2020. I gave a split link so the post wouldn’t show up here (remove the ” … “). This includes some news that impacts the B10.

    The Competition Committee’s recommendations, expected to be approved Tuesday by the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, has also designated the maximum number of bowl tie-ins per conference. These numbers were based on each conference’s average number of bowl-eligible teams in the past four seasons (2014-17).

    The number of proposed bowls allowed per conference beginning in 2020, the start of the new bowl cycle, will be as follows (the Power 5 tie-ins do not include one New Year’s 6 bid for each league):

    League Maximum bowl tie-ins
    ACC 10 (not including ACC’s Orange Bowl bid)
    SEC 10 (not including SEC’s Sugar Bowl bid)
    Big Ten 8 (not including Big Ten’s Rose Bowl bid)
    Pac-12 7 (not including Pac-12’s Rose Bowl bid)
    Big 12 6 (not including Big 12’s Sugar Bowl bid)
    American 7
    Conference USA 7
    Mid-American 6
    Mountain West 6
    Sun Belt 5
    Army & BYU each can secure its own automatic bowl tie-in, but the remaining independents (New Mexico State, UMass and Liberty) must hope for an at-large spot from a conference that can’t fill all of its allotments in a specific year. Notre Dame remains part of the ACC’s bowl lineup.

    Here’s where those easier schedules in the south help out (8 games, I-AA games). Max bowls per conference, not counting the NY6 tie-ins:
    SEC – 10/14 = 0.714
    ACC – 10/15 = 0.667
    B12 – 6/10 = 0.600
    P12 – 7/12 = 0.583
    B10 – 8/14 = 0.571

    B10 bowl eligible teams by year:
    2014 – 10
    2015 – 10
    2016 – 10
    2017 – 8 (2 5-7 teams that went 2-7 in B10 play)
    Average = 9.5

    SEC bowl eligible teams by year:
    2014 – 12
    2015 – 10
    2016 – 12
    2017 – 10 (if you ignore Ole Miss’s NCAA issue)
    Average = 11

    The 9 game schedule and lack of I-AA games may have cost the B10 a bowl slot in that next window.

    * The three new bowls? Chicago and Myrtle Beach are near locks to host two of the new bowl games.

    The Chicago bowl, to be played at Wrigley Field, will feature the Big Ten against the ACC, sources said. To add the Chicago bowl in 2020, the Big Ten is expected to end its affiliation with the San Francisco Bowl (formerly Foster Farms Bowl) after 2019.

    Great, another outdoor game at a baseball park. I’m sure the weather won’t ever be an issue. Playing the ACC, too, just like in the Pinstripe and Detroit bowls. I’m not surprised to see the SF bowl go away for the B10. That’s an expensive trip for a mediocre bowl game and still leaves the Rose and Holiday bowls to face the P12. Still, the SF bowl is on the 5/6/7 tier of B10 bowls now. Will the Wrigley game be in that mix or join the 8/9 games (Detroit, Dallas)?

    * Which conferences increased their bowl tie-ins in the new bowl cycle? The SEC (hello Vegas!), Pac-12, Conference USA, Mid-American and Mountain West all will be able to add another bowl affiliation in 2020, compared with their current allotments.

    The Pac-12 will get an additional bowl bid in two years even though just last week the league announced it would prohibit any conference teams with 5-7 records from accepting bowl bids. That should be fun. …

    * Vegas, baby, Vegas! As I reported last week, the Las Vegas Bowl will feature the Pac-12 vs. another Power 5 school in Vegas’ new NFL stadium in 2020, ending the bowl’s 19-year run with the Mountain West at Sam Boyd Stadium. It’s not a done deal, but sources said it’s “very likely” the Pac-12’s opponent will be from the SEC. Since it’s Vegas, I’d bet on the SEC. I’m told the matchup could be the Pac-12’s second or third selection vs. the SEC’s third or fourth selection and the game obviously would be moved off the first Saturday of bowl season.

    I don’t think we mentioned this last week. P12/SEC bowls are rare and LV should be a great site for a bowl.

    * What makes sense (so it will never happen): What if the Group of 5 designated that the four Group of 5 conference champions that didn’t advance to the New Year’s 6 bowl meet annually in two bowls each year? They could be paired based on highest rankings (1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4 or 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3) or geography.

    It does sound like a good idea, so of course it won’t happen.


    1. Brian


      Jon Wilner looks deeper at the P12 bowl picture going forward based on McMurphy’s report.

      * The second development took the form of a conversation last week with one of the Hotline’s most trusted sources:

      Officials throughout the Pac-12 are concerned about the fate of the conference’s bowl partnerships when the next contract cycle begins in 2020.

      The current pairings are lacking compared to those of the SEC and Big Ten, largely because of the paucity of high-level bowls in the west.

      “Everybody feels like we need more bowls and better bowls,” the source said. “We don’t want to get left behind.”

      To that extent, the ascent of Las Vegas couldn’t come at a better time:

      The Raiders’ $1.8 billion stadium is expected to be ready for the 2020 season, with both state and local officials putting immense resources behind the drive to attract major sporting events.

      Combine the first-class venue with top-tier payouts and a destination city for fans, and the Las Vegas Bowl would have the resources to become a marquee matchup — perhaps the No. 2 bowl in the western half of the country.

      Let’s assume he wasn’t counting the Fiesta Bowl. It’s hard to imagine the LV Bowl replacing a CFP bowl any time soon, but I suppose it could eventually. The gambling fears make me doubt it happens soon.

      Don’t be surprised if the next round of bowl negotiations results in Vegas jumping into the second slot in the Pac-12 pecking order, ahead of the Alamo and the Holiday bowls.

      Such a scenario would instantly add heft to the conference’s postseason.

      Consider this potential lineup:

      1. Rose vs. Big Ten
      2. Las Vegas vs. SEC
      3. Alamo vs. Big 12
      4. Holiday vs. Big Ten
      5. Sun vs. ACC
      6. San Francisco vs. Big Ten/Mountain West/TBD
      7. Cactus vs. Big 12

      If the Holiday is your No. 4, that’s a fairly strong rotation, and there could be an eighth bowl added to the lineup.

      But to make it work, to maximize impact, the SEC would have to deliver a top-shelf team.

      A repeat of the Foster Farms Bowl arrangement with the Big Ten, which sent a stream of basketball schools, wouldn’t work … and assuredly wouldn’t happen.

      Let’s look at that from all sides:

      First, the B10 reportedly won’t renew the SF bowl so scratch that part out.

      Current P12 bowls:
      1. Rose vs. Big Ten 1
      2. Alamo vs. Big 12 2
      3. Holiday vs. Big Ten 4
      4. San Francisco vs. Big Ten 6 (part of the B10’s 5/6/7 pool)
      5. Sun vs. ACC 4
      6. Las Vegas vs. MWC 1
      7. Cactus vs. Big 12 5

      Moving LV up to the #2 P12 slot would slide the P12’s team down in all the other bowls. Would the B10, B12 and ACC be okay with that? Perhaps the Holiday becomes part of the 5/6/7 pool instead of a tier above it? The ACC can’t like pitting their #4 against #5 from the P12 considering how many more ACC teams make bowls.

      One other note McMurphy gave was that the P12 could add another bowl game (7 + Rose). So where is the 8th bowl?

      If we expand our survey of the Pac-12’s postseason future, let’s not dismiss the potential for a bowl game at the Rams’ new venue in Inglewood, although that’s a tricky situation because of the Rose.

      Two games within 20 miles of each other, in a five- or six-day span? Not sure how that would play.

      It seems unnecessary. Who would play in it? I could see it hosting the NCG in the future though.

      This ties in with the financial article I linked below. Bowl revenue is one place the P12 can look to gain in the future. It won’t be a huge jump, but every bit helps.


  54. Brian


    Someone other than Jon Wilner talking about concerns in the P12 over finances.

    Headline: “Panic in the Pac-12 as conference quickly falls behind rivals”

    I think panic is way too strong, especially since the story shows no indications of it. Typical clickbait headline.

    The Pac-12 Conference is projected to fall far behind other Power 5 conferences over the next five years in revenue-sharing and won’t even reach $38 million in payouts per school until 2023, according to budget documents recently provided by Pac-12 member Washington State.

    By comparison, the Big Ten is expected to provide payouts to schools this year that exceed $51 million. Even the Atlantic Coast Conference soon is expected to rocket past $40 million after previously ranking last in school payouts among the Power 5.

    “I think if you look at the overall athletic budgets of the top 25 largest (public) athletic budgets in the country, I think the Pac-12 only has two schools that are even on that list,” Washington State President Kirk Schulz told USA TODAY Sports. “I do think it’s harder to compete for coaches. It’s harder to build facilities. It’s harder to do the things we would like to do with less revenue coming in compared to (other leagues). I do think it puts us at a disadvantage.”

    Some Pac-12 school officials recently have grumbled dissatisfaction about the payout disparity and accepted that it wouldn’t improve dramatically until around 2023-24, when the league’s current TV contracts expire with ESPN and Fox. The recent budget projections from WSU put the next five years into stark specific terms.

    This year, the payout estimate is $31.5 million. It then is projected to go up incrementally to $32.7 million in fiscal year 2019, $35.3 million in 2021 and $38.1 million in 2023, according to the payout projection range confirmed by WSU officials.

    Every other Power 5 league either has exceeded the $40 million payout mark already or is projected to get there in a year or two at most, with contract terms that are expected to increase that amount annually.

    “As I told our fans, we’ve got to stop worrying what the Pac-12 is providing to the conference and start doing some of our own creative things to bring in additional revenue,” Schulz said.

    Schulz doesn’t blame league leadership for the league’s position and said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott “continues to do a great job for our conference.” Instead, he noted the cyclical nature of the revenue landscape for conferences, which make most of their money from media networks broadcasting their football and men’s basketball games.

    For example, in 2013-2014, the Pac-12’s $374 million in total revenue ranked first in the Power 5. But then the market spiraled upward. At the same time, the Pac-12’s television venture, the Pac-12 Networks, failed to meet financial expectations after battling distribution challenges.

    Other conferences still have had bigger percentage increases since then and now have much rosier trajectories. The Southeastern Conference reported an average payout of about $41 million for fiscal year 2017. In the ACC, recent payouts have ranged from $25 million to $31 million. But that is expected to increase significantly after next year, when the ACC and ESPN launch the ACC Network. Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox said at a university board of trustees meeting last year that the average payout is projected to increase by $10 million to $15 million after 2019, which would put payouts above $40 million.

    “They’re saying this network should have the same kind of return that the SEC Network has had in their first couple of years,” Wilcox said then.

    In the Big 12, the league recently announced an average distribution of $36.5 million for fiscal year 2018. Unlike other conferences, the Big 12 payout figure doesn’t include individual schools’ separate media rights deals for some games not selected by its big broadcast partners. Those separate deals boost those members’ revenues even more and is almost $20 million more at Texas alone, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said at league meetings on June 1.

    Bowlsby also said his league is projected to reach about $40 million per school next year, not including the schools’ separate media deals.

    “We have escalators in several of our revenue streams, and so it could be that or more,” Bowlsby said.


    1. Brian

      That financial gap is significant, though.

      Click to access 2017-06-X-14.pdf

      Let’s use UM’s athletic budget for this year as an example (next year’s is due any day).

      B10 payout – $51.1M (28%)
      Tickets – $46.4M
      Donations – $37.5M
      Other – $47.5M
      Total – $182.4M

      Other than USC, I doubt any P12 school can even come close to matching UM’s tickets sales and donations. Football accounts for over 85% of those sales at UM (>$40M annually) and nobody in the P12 comes close to that. Football also generates most of the seating donations ($30M) and much of the other (concessions, parking, merchandise sales, etc). It’s hard to see how P12 schools could jack up those areas much compared to B10 schools.

      Now let’s use the articles numbers from WSU:

      2018 – $31.5M
      2019 – $32.7M
      2021 – $35.3M
      2023 – $38.1M

      That’s growth of 3.9% per year ($1.2M growing to ~$1.4M). B10 distributions have been growing faster than that in absolute terms. The 4% rate seems reasonable, though. Let’s use that for the B10 to get a guesstimate at future payouts:

      2018 – $51.1M (+$19.6M)
      2019 – $53.1M (+$20.4M)
      2020 – $55.3M (+$21.3M)
      2021 – $57.5M (+$22.2M)
      2022 – $59.8M (+$23.1M)
      2023 – $62.8M (+$24.7M)

      That’s a $130.3M deficit for the P12 or $21.9M per year on average. That would be 12% of UM’s budget and a much bigger fraction of WSU’s (25-30%).


  55. Brian

    There is a lot of recent news that could have an impact on the future of CFB TV rights.


    The AT&T/TW deal was approved by the judge. That could certainly impact what rights are worth and how sports gets watched.

    … basically at issue is the fact that in this merger the AT&T-owned satellite distributor DirecTV would be be part of the same company as channels like CNN, TNT, TBS, and HBO. This in theory could lead DirecTV to squeeze those channels’ competitors on affiliate fees, or those networks to squeeze DirecTV’s competitor cable companies.

    Comcast vs. Disney

    The sports implications of this are immense: First, the ruling will impact whether and to what extent Comcast goes after the 21st Century Fox assets that the company has agreed to sell to Disney. This includes the wildly profitable regional sports networks, which combine to air about half the country’s local MLB, NBA, and NHL broadcasts.

    If the deal ultimately goes through, expect Comcast to be very aggressive and at least make Fox shareholders consider whether they’d rather a bigger lump sum of cash now, or if they more value the sports and entertainment synergies that going to Disney would garner in the long run. If they believe that those assets in the hands of Robert Iger and Disney would make the new company the winner in a war over Netflix and Amazon, they could still choose that option over the sale to Comcast.

    So many sports rights are coming up in America

    Further, DirecTV is the rights holder to NFL Sunday Ticket, while Turner Sports airs the NBA, March Madness, MLB Playoffs, and Champions League. They also own Bleacher Report, which has massive digital distribution and recently launched the BR Live app for over-the-top streaming. If the two combined, they would have the muscles to go after more NFL rights for 2021/22 when all of the league’s TV packages — Sunday Ticket and ESPN’s Monday Night Football in 2021, NBC’s Sunday Night Football and the CBS and FOX packages in 2022 — are up.

    And there’s a buffet of other rights that are up around the same time. The MLB, NHL, and Champions League rights are up in 2021. The English Premiership and MLS are up in 2022. The Big Ten’s deal with Fox and ESPN and the SEC’s deal with CBS are up in 2023. In the few years after that, we’ll see the Big 12, Pac-12, College Football Playoff, and finally the NBA rights come up again.

    When will digital companies be serious threats for rights?

    Over the last few years, we have seen digital companies like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo dabble mostly in rights that are either non-exclusive or are the table scraps of what the traditional television networks really want. Netflix hasn’t really gotten into the games at all. Meanwhile, the TV networks are scrambling to fortify their positions.


    Also of note is the new standard for broadcast TV being developed.

    A new TV standard dubbed ATSC 3.0 will soon result in even better picture and sound quality, especially if you’re one of the millions of US consumers using an antenna to get over the air TV. At the same time, critics worry that the standards creation process isn’t taking consumer privacy, digital rights management (DRM) and interoperability concerns particularly seriously.

    ATSC, or Advanced Television Systems Committee, is a group tasked with determining what the future of television will look like.

    Its latest effort, ATSC 3.0, is an attempt to update over the air broadcasts to include support for Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and the kind of interactivity traditionally seen with cable TV and streaming video services. The standard should also boost broadcast refresh rates up to 120Hz while improving overall indoor reception of TV signals.

    “With higher capacity to deliver Ultra High-Definition services, robust reception on a wide range of devices, improved efficiency, IP transport, advanced emergency alerting, personalization features and interactive capability, the ATSC 3.0 Standard provides much more capability than previous generations of terrestrial broadcasting,” notes a primer by the group.

    What the full, final standard will look like is still being negotiated, but last November the FCC approved the new standard on a “voluntary, market-driven basis” with a 3-2 agency vote. As a result, most analysts expect the standard to arrive sometime around 2020—provided it doesn’t get bogged down in industry infighting.

    But like everything, there’s some caveats.

    One, it’s unclear how many broadcasters will be willing to eat the costs necessary to upgrade to the new standard. And given it’s not backward compatible, consumers could balk at having to pay even more money for compatible hardware—especially so soon after upgrading to new 4K-capable televisions and audio equipment in the first place.

    That said, you won’t have to upgrade at first if you don’t want to; broadcasters have agreed to continue using the existing ATSC 1.0 standard for a period of five years after ATSC 3.0 formally launches. And you hopefully shouldn’t need to buy a completely new television, since users with older ATSC 1.0 tuners should only need to buy an ATSC 3.0 compatible adapter.

    That could really help cord cutters.


  56. Brian


    The AAC needs (and thinks it deserves) a big jump in its TV deal next time around.

    The conference reported $74.47 million in total revenue for the 2016-17 fiscal year, the most recent documents available and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

    Those figures are down slightly — 6 percent — from the previous year, during which the league reported $79.297 million in total revenue. It’s the first decrease in revenue for the AAC since the decline between 2013-14 to 2014-15, with the latter being the first year without Louisville and Rutgers as members of the league.

    Compare the American’s 2016-17 revenue to figures recently released by the five autonomous conferences: SEC ($650 million), Big Ten ($531 million), Pac-12 ($509 million), ACC ($418 million) and Big 12 ($371 million).

    According to the records, the American earned $42.179 million in postseason tournaments, including money generated from the NCAA Tournament, revenue from appearances in bowl games and a share of the College Football Playoff as mandated by the playoff management group.

    The league received more than $20 million in revenue from its television and radio rights shared over a variety of networks, including ESPN and CBS Sports. The conference’s current media rights deal ends in 2020.

    “The real game-changer for us would be TV because we’re just not getting anywhere near what we deserve in TV,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said. “It’s a throwback to that five-year ago period when we were very unstable and the whole situation was unstable and that’s just not remotely true now.

    “I think at the time, I don’t think anyone realized how powerful our schools could become. We’ve established ourselves as a nationally relevant and respected conference and now it’s a question of let’s make sure that results in a TV deal that we need to keep this going. It’s a mixture of exposure and revenue.”

    Let’s look at 2017 TV ratings for their games:
    They had the #7 regular season game with Army/Navy (8.42M viewers). But otherwise?

    They played in 8 games that pulled at least 1M viewers and only 2 of those were conference games:
    USF/UCF – 4.70M
    AAC CG – 3.39M

    Navy/Army – 8.42M
    UC/UM – 3.69M
    Memphis/UCLA – 3.24M
    Navy/ND – 3.20M
    Temple/ND – 1.58M
    USF/IL – 1.37M

    The USF/UCF game was a great game with UCF’s undefeated season on the line, inflating the numbers significantly over what they would normally be. Otherwise they had some OOC games against the P5 and ND that did okay based almost entirely on the P5 teams. Army/Navy always does well due to it being the only game that day, but that’s a special TV deal already. It’s hard to see paying too much for AAC regular season games that pull so few viewers.

    For comparison, the P12 also has 12 teams and struggles for viewers compared to other P5s. The P12 had 32 games pull at least 1M viewers last year, mostly conference games.


  57. Brian


    It’s official. The North American joint bid won the 2026 World Cup over Morocco 134-65.

    The 2026 tournament will feature an expanded field of 48 teams — the current field has 32 — and will mark the first time in FIFA’s history that a three-nation bid has been awarded the showpiece event.

    The joint bid’s plans call for 60 of the 80 games to be played in the United States — including all matches from the quarterfinals onward — while Canada and Mexico host 10 apiece. The final is expected to be played at MetLife Stadium, just outside New York.

    The format for automatic bids for host countries is in transition. The North American region will get 6.5 bids (including one-half of a bid because one team will play another team from another country in a playoff to get in), and it hasn’t been decided whether all three hosts of the United bid will get in automatically. In 2002, when Japan and South Korea co-hosted the event, both teams were given automatic bids.


    1. Brian


      More about it.

      Of the 16 host cities, 10 will be in the United States while the remainder will be split evenly between Canada and Mexico.

      Sixty matches will take place in the US, while Canada and Mexico will host 10 games each.

      The final will be held at the 84,953-capacity MetLife Stadium, which is home to NFL sides the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

      The distance between the most northern host city (Edmonton) and the most southern (Mexico City) is almost 3,000 miles, which compares to 1,900 miles at this month’s tournament in Russia.

      The 1994 World Cup, staged by the US, had the highest average attendance in the tournament’s history, while Mexico was the first nation to host the event twice.

      Host cities:
      Canada – Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal
      Mexico – Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey
      US (10 of these 17) – Seattle, SF, LA, Denver, KC, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, DC, Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Boston

      My guess – Seattle, SF, LA, Dallas/Houston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, DC, NYC, Boston

      I don’t know which of those pairs have better facilities.

      By many accounts, Mexico City will host the opening game and NYC the title match. All 3 countries will host a game on opening day with LA getting the US game.

      United votes by region:
      North America, Central America, Caribbean – 29/29
      Ocenania – 11/11
      South America – 9/10 (Brazil voted for Morocco)
      Europe – 41/53
      Asia – 33/45
      Africa – 11/52


  58. Brian


    Transfer reform is official.

    College athletes will no longer need permission from their coach or school to transfer and receive financial aid from another school.

    Under the new rule, athletes would be permitted to be contacted when they notify their current coaches, who have two days to enter the names into a database created and managed by the NCAA that will alert schools who can be recruited. The change will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise.

    Nicholas Clark, a former football player at Coastal Carolina and a member of a student representative on the council, said the change promotes fairness and the well-being of college athletes.

    “This creates a safe place for student-athletes to have a conversation with their coaches and makes the whole process more transparent,” Clark said.


    1. Brian

      It should be pointed out that conferences can still have more restrictive rules for intraconference transfers.

      The redshirt rule was also changed. Now a player can play in up to 4 games without using a year of eligibility. Players still only get 5 years to play 4, but now freshmen can play in some cupcake OOC games early or replace an injured player late in the season without losing a year.


  59. Brian


    This is a big step in the never-ending pursuit of foreign students and their higher tuition payments. UNH will become the first state university in the US to accept Chinese placement test scores.

    A US university will begin accepting the Chinese university entrance exam known as the Gaokao in an effort to attract more Chinese students.

    The University of New Hampshire will be the first state university in the US to accept the standardised placement test.

    China is the largest exporter of students to the US, with 377,000 currently enrolled in US universities, according to government data.

    An estimated 10 million students took the nine-hour test in China last week.

    The exam – which takes place over two days in June each year – is taken by nearly every Chinese pupil and plays a crucial role in determining a person’s career and future prospects.

    The University of New Hampshire had 781 international undergraduate and graduate students on campus last fall, according to the Union Leader newspaper – double the figure from five years previous.

    About half of those foreign students – 357 – came from China.

    As part of the new initiative, the university has launched a recruiting website in Chinese and English.

    “This initiative is part of UNH’s commitment to attracting more and stronger applicants from around the world,” said university spokeswoman Erika Mantz.

    “This new programme will in no way limit access for New Hampshire students,” she added.

    In addition to submitting their Gaokao results, students must also take an English test, participate in a video interview and send their high school transcripts before moving forward with the application process.

    Ms Mantz added that the process was still being finalised, but that Chinese students may still need to take the American SAT or ACT exam.

    The University of New Hampshire charges $45,000 (£34,000) per academic year for tuition and housing costs.

    The University of San Francisco already has a similar program but it’s a Jesuit school.

    $45,000 to attend UNH? That seems mighty high for a state school that isn’t elite. It’s almost $30,000 for in-state students. The gap between in-state and not seems a little small, too.

    Some B10 comparisons:
    OSU – $22,800 / $42,000
    PSU – $31,600 / $47,800
    UM – $30,500 / $63,800

    Is UNH worth that? USN&WR ranks them #103 in national universities. Their in-state tuition of over $18,000 is much higher than most other state schools in a similar place on the list. It is similar to UVT, though (#97 and $17,700). To find a more expensive state school in-state, you have to go to #75 CO School of Mines. Also higher are Pitt (not really a state school, but also not really private), PSU (same as Pitt), and William and Mary. That’s it. Their out-of-state tuition ($32,600) is more inline with other state schools with UVT ($41,400) being a lot more.


    1. bob sykes

      I have relatives in New Hampshire. UNH is priced like a private school, and many of my nieces and nephews were simply priced out of college. U. Vt is another public university priced like a private school.

      It might seem strange that UNH and UVT are so costly, but the attitude in the Northeast is that serious students go to private schools, and there is little support for public schools. Mass. governor Endicott Peabody famously said that UMass was for the kids who couldn’t get into college. The implication being that public universities did not deserve substantial government subsidy.

      The difference in attitude between the Midwest and Pacific Coast with their world-class public universities, most reasonably priced, and the indifference to public schools in the Northeast is quite striking.

      My relatives in NH cannot grasp just how badly they are living, with sky high taxes (even NH), sky high living cost, appalling weather … and, of course, bad public universities. UConn will never be P5 because of CT’s attitude to public universities.


      1. vp81955

        New York was much like that until officials pumped up the SUNY system after World War II. It’s made substantial progress over the decades, but its best schools (Binghamton, Albany, Buffalo, Stony Brook) still aren’t at the level of Midwest or West Coast flagships.


      2. BoilerTex

        I live in NH and agree with much of what you say about the public school bias. However I need to take exception to NH being “high tax”. No income, no sales. Of course, I pay a couple of hundred dollars per week for property. I believe when viewed in the aggregate, we are the 6th lowest tax state. And the COL doesn’t seem excessive, especially the further away you get from Boston.


  60. Brian

    Some hazing news:


    OSU has suspended Phi Kappa Psi for for 4 years after an investigation. They are 1 of 11 chapters that were under investigation when OSU temporarily suspended all frat activity in November. The chapter got an interim suspension in March and has 5 days to appeal.


    One PSU frat brother has pleaded guilty in the Tim Piazza hazing death case that’s been going on there.

    Ryan Burke, 21, of Scranton pleaded guilty to all nine remaining charges he faced, including four misdemeanors alleging hazing against Tim Piazza of Readington Township, N.J. Other charges previously were dismissed or withdrawn.

    In addition to the four counts of hazing, Burke also pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor, malt and brewed beverages and licenses; and one count of purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor and malt or brewed beverages.

    Originally, Burke was facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangering another person.

    Twenty-five other defendants face charges in the death of Tim Piazza, who was an engineering student at Penn State. The freshman pledge drank a dangerous amount of alcohol and suffered fatal injuries in a series of falls during a party last year.


    1. urbanleftbehind

      A Piazza….at Penn State….hmmm….dont want to be those fraternity brothers, from a legalistic or a corporal point of view.


  61. Brian


    Comcast has upped their bid to $65B in cash for Fox’s studios and RSNs. Disney’s bid, which everyone thought Fox would take, was $52B of stock.

    Fox shareholders have scheduled a meeting for July 10 to vote on the Disney merger, but Comcast said it is seeking to reach an agreement before that time.

    Philadelphia-based Comcast offered to buy the Fox assets last year, but was spurned by Fox, which made a deal with Disney. Last month, Comcast said it planned to make a higher all-cash bid for the Fox studios.

    Those Fox shareholders will have a tough decision to make and it will have repercussions for billions of people.


    1. Brian


      SBD says a bidding war is coming.

      But whatever Comcast offers, Disney is “sure to counterbid.” Investment firm Jefferies media analyst John Janedis said that if a bidding war “takes off, and it could given Fox’s strategic importance and the capacity of both companies to stretch their balance sheets, bids could reach” up to $80B. That is the “maximum value at which the companies could maintain their investment-grade credit ratings” (WSJ.com, 6/13). Evolution Media analyst Sean Atkins said he finds it “hard to believe that Disney is going to match” a higher Comcast offer for Fox’ assets, “at least the first round what comes out.” Atkins said if the Murdoch family is “still playing a little bit for legacy” in the sale of assets, then it “gives the hand to Disney with a little bit of wiggle room.” Atkins noted Comcast “needs the assets more than Disney … but if you’re looking at who’s going to execute the most, who has the most synergistic opportunities to really expand that portfolio over time, you have to give it to Disney” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 6/13).

      Both Comcast and Disney have indicated they are willing to not include the RSNs if necessary.


  62. Brian


    Clay Travis has some thoughts on the AT&T/TW merger.

    1. Turner Sports will be a big buyer on the sports rights front in the years ahead.

    2. ESPN will have trouble keeping Monday Night Football when this deal is up in 2021.

    3. The SEC is set for a windfall when its deal with CBS expires.

    I’d suspect Turner, Fox and ESPN will all be at the bidding table. But the wild card to watch here is could Apple CEO Tim Cook, a huge Auburn fan, finally decide that he wants to step into the original sports rights game by buying up an asset like this? Don’t underestimate the value of personal connections in a story like this. Effectively the SEC game of the week is a piece of artwork.

    $300 million a year is a rounding error for Cook and Apple.

    Here’s the other question, could the SEC go direct to consumer and sell their game of the week? Don’t you think there are millions of SEC fans who’d be happy to pay, let’s say, $50 a year for an SEC game of the week telecast that didn’t have a single commercial break?

    Then the SEC could sell their title game off as a single game to the highest bidder, and potentially get $100 million just for that game.

    This one will be a fascinating rights package to watch.

    4. CBS is a dangling asset waiting to be acquired by someone.

    5. What will happen with Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Apple?

    Read the article if you want more depth on his thoughts.


  63. Brian


    The expansion to 20 B10 games in hoops has led to the end of the Big 4 Classic in Iowa.

    The annual doubleheader between Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake will come to an end after next season.

    The Hawkeyes announced on Thursday that they are pulling out of the Des Moines-based event partly because the Big Ten is moving from an 18- to a 20-game schedule, which limits their options in non-conference scheduling.

    “The addition of two conference games is good for our fans, the Big Ten Conference and our strength of schedule, but unfortunately it created some scheduling challenges that impacts this event,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said.

    Iowa and Iowa State held home-and-home series with Northern Iowa and Drake, both Missouri Valley Conference members, until 2012 — an unusually generous gesture for the high-major schools. The Big Four Classic, as it came to be known, was a neutral-floor compromise that the Hawkeyes and Cyclones reached with their mid-major rivals. It came on the heels of consecutive blowouts road losses by Iowa at Northern Iowa.

    The annual series between Iowa and Iowa State will go on as scheduled.


    “In our last agreement we added language that provided each institution an opportunity to opt out of the remainder of the contract if they reached 22 required games by the conference,” said Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta. …

    The 22 games refers to a 20-game conference schedule and single games in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Gavitt Games, a series featuring Big Ten and Big East games.

    It’s too bad for UNI and Drake but perfectly understandable on UI’s part. Having 23 locked games is bad enough. UI needs some flexibility to keep things interesting. I’m sure they’ll still play those 2 on occasion in the future.

    ISU has fewer B12 games, so hopefully they’ll keep playing UNI and Drake.


  64. Mike

    I hope it works out, but I’m skeptical


    It’s going to be almost impossible for the ACC to close the gap on the SEC and Big Ten, both of which had a considerable head start on their own (profitable) networks, but the ACC is counting on network revenue – which even in its least optimistic projections should be at least $10 million per year, once the network is up and running – to move it past the Pac-12 and even with the Big 12.


    1. Brian

      Disney has a lot of leverage to force cable companies to pick up the ACCN and the ACC has a large footprint (MA, NY, PA, KY, IN, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL). If they can force all those cable households to pay $1/month they’ll make a lot.

      The B10 has worry a bit about Fox losing some leverage going forward as they sell off their assets. Comcast (a small carrier of BTN due to locations) has already dropped BTN.


  65. Brian


    Related to Frank’s post, here’s a look at where millennials are moving to and away from.

    They give the top 10 states and top 25 cities for gaining millennials.

    In order to calculate which cities and states millennials are moving to, SmartAsset compared 2016 Census Bureau migration data for 217 cities and all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.

    We compared the number of persons between the ages of 20 and 34 who emigrated from each city and state to the number who immigrated. We ranked the cities and states by highest difference between the number who immigrated and the number who emigrated for persons ages 20 to 34.

    Data on migration patterns comes from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s 1-Year American Community Survey.

    Top 10 states and net migration:

    1. Washington – 39,590
    2. Texas – 33,650
    3. Colorado – 26,547
    4. Virginia – 18,338
    5. Georgia – 17,621
    6. Oregon – 11,989
    7. North Carolina – 9,647
    8. Nevada – 8,820
    9. Florida – 7,195
    10. Arizona – 7,077

    Top 10 cities and net migration:

    1. Seattle – 7,302
    2. Columbia, South Carolina – 6,937
    3. Sacramento, California – 6,680
    4. Minneapolis – 6,529
    5. Jacksonville, Florida – 6,354
    6. Newport News, Virginia – 5,667
    7. San Jose, California – 5,496
    8. Denver – 5,106
    9. Norfolk, Virginia – 4,997
    10. Virginia Beach, Virginia – 4,984

    Ohio did not make the list of top 10 states, but Cincinnati (#13, +4,420) and Columbus (#24, +3,335) did make the top cities list.


    1. bob sykes

      These numbers look awfully small. Are the city numbers for the cities per se or for the SMSA? In the case of Columbus, OH, for which I have direct knowledge, the City itself is showing slow growth, but the surrounding countryside shows spectacular growth out to 30 to 40 miles.


      1. Brian

        1. Remember that it’s only millennials. There are 71M of them nationally, so about 22% of the population. Total movement could easily be 4-5 times as large.

        2. They used the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s 1-Year American Community Survey for data (net = immigration – emigration).

        3. They don’t say how they defined city, but its probably for the incorporated city.


    2. urbanleftbehind

      Could Nos. 6, 9, and 10 be indicative of standard Navy related-churn or of some consolidation of domestic operations or return from foreign deployments/engagements? Apart from Navy, defense related industries or intermodal (Norfolk Southern railyards, ports) , what could be behind the large numbers of millenials migrating to the greater Hampton Roads?


      1. Brian

        Yes, that’s probably exactly what it is. The next 3 cities are Charlotte, Nashville and Cincinnati if you want to move them into the real top 10.


  66. Brian


    ESPN’s list of the 10 easiest OOC schedules for P5 teams.

    We were especially hard on those teams not playing any Power 5 opponents in their nonconference slate as well as those teams padding their schedule with FCS foes and/or not playing any true road games.

    Of note, there are three Big Ten teams and three SEC teams on this list, including the two teams — Alabama and Georgia — that played in the national championship game a year ago.

    1. Oregon
    2. Wisconsin – vs WKU, vs UNM, vs BYU
    3. Kansas
    4. Rutgers
    5. Arkansas
    6. Virginia
    7. Washington State
    8. Indiana
    9. Georgia – vs Austin Peay, vs MTSU, vs UMass, vs GT
    10. Alabama – vs UL, vs Ark. St, vs Louisiana, … vs Citadel in November

    I don’t think anyone begrudges bad teams like KU, RU, UVA and IU playing an easy OOC schedule. Even teams like WSU (lack of historical success), Oregon and Arkansas (coaching changes) have decent excuses.

    WI, UGA and AL? No valid excuses.


    1. Brian


      Barry Tramel looks at how B12 OOC scheduling compares to other P5 conferences.

      • The Big 12 has the biggest percentage of its games against fellow Power 5 schools. Eleven of the Big 12’s 30 nonconference games, 36.7 percent, are against the Power 5. Every Big 12 team except OSU plays a Power 5 opponent, and the Cowboys play mid-major power Boise State. Texas and West Virginia each play two Power 5 foes.

      • Schedules can be fortified with strong mid-majors. OU lost to Brigham Young in 2009 and Houston in 2016, both in NFL stadiums. The Big 12 is playing 46.7 percent of its games (14 of 30) against either Power 5 foes or strong mid-majors. Only the Pac-12 (47.2 percent) is above the Big 12. The SEC is playing 26.7 percent of its nonconference games against Power 5 schools or strong mid-majors (Arkansas State and Memphis).

      • The Big 12 still is playing too many Division I-AA (FCS) opponents, which can offer only 63 scholarships, compared to the 85 provided in Division I-A (FBS). Every Big 12 team but OU and Texas play a lower-division foe, meaning eight games out of 30, 26.7 percent. That’s about the going rate in the SEC, ACC and Pac-12, all of which is playing 25 percent of its non-conference games against I-AA teams. Only the Big Ten is taking the honorable route — Iowa is playing Northern Iowa and Illinois is playing Western Illinois, but no other I-AA opponent is on a Big Ten schedule.

      I think CFB would benefit from more balanced scheduling nationally. There’s no good mechanism for doing it and each conference has different needs, but I think they’re leaving a lot of money on the table doing things this way. We’ve seen rules requiring teams to play another P5 team become the norm. The question is if they can ever get conferences besides the B10 to give up the I-AA games. My suggestion is trying to combine several factors into one rule, as in you can only play a I-AA team if you also play 10 P5 (or equivalent) games in the regular season. That can be 9 conference games + 1 P5 OOC game or 8 conference games + 2 P5 OOC games. The B10, P12 and B12 generally satisfy that already.

      What really needs to happen to drive change is for the CFP committee to truly value SOS and punish I-AA games, not playing on the road and only playing 8 conference games. Until the committee pushes that, nothing will change.


    2. Brian


      An AL blogger explains why the SEC going to 9 games is a must.

      Critics praise Alabama for their opening games against tough opponents yet hammer them for the teams added the week before Auburn. Fans across the nation are quick to point this out when discussing SEC football. While other conferences are playing formidable foes within their conference and winning, skeptics see the SEC playing FCS cupcakes before regular season finales.

      Nick Saban has advocated for nine conference games for a long time. One, it allows your players to play every team during their career. Second, critics cannot question games such as Mercer, Wofford, Chattanooga or Missouri State.

      Even if the Tide played a bottom dweller from a major conference like an Illinois, Indiana or Maryland it would be better than playing an FCS school. Just imagine the heat Auburn would take playing a Mercer the week before the Iron Bowl while Alabama football whipped on a low-rung B1G or Big 12 team.

      Last year the SEC had two teams make the playoffs. If the SEC would play nine games, it would enhance the chances of two teams making the field in the future.

      Of course, the problem with these ideas is the bowl qualification for teams like Vanderbilt and Kentucky. In some years, the same could be true for other SEC schools. As long as one measurement in defining coach stability is six wins and a bowl game, several SEC schools will oppose the change. Nick Saban has a better idea for determining bowl eligibility.

      His idea is to use a committee as basketball does for the purpose of picking all the bowl participants. The idea would allow five-win teams who played tougher schedules to be rewarded with bowl game over 6-win teams who played weaker schedules.


  67. Brian


    Bill Moos (AD at NE) spoke again about scheduling.

    “No I don’t think we’re going to go away from nine conference games, what we have now,” he said when asked.

    “We’re having discussions on the broader schedule in football as athletic directors and working through some ideas there and looking at some options.”

    One of those ideas is, instead of reducing the number of conference games, changing the way teams from opposite divisions play each other. It’s a comment Moos has made before and Brandon Vogel explored it last month in Hot Reads.

    Moos is an advocate for an expanded eight-team playoff. While there are plenty of headache-inducing logistics to work out on getting to that front, Moos said he’d be in support of it after being “screwed enough” by the BCS. He called the switch to the current four-team College Football Playoff a step in the right direction.

    “What I was glad to see was to get to four, that’s a step,” he said. “There are some good things about eight. All five of the Power 5 champions are in and you get three at-larges, which this year would have included UCF. The problem is when do you play it and where do you play it and how do the bowls tie in to [it]?

    “We’re making headway. Going to four was a big step and I think it was a good one and we’ve got to let that kind of play it’s course — it’s already starting to — and then hopefully go to eight.”

    I disagree about CFP expansion. First, I think it will prove difficult to exclude the G5 from autobids. Maybe you could have a clause that the G5 team has to be undefeated (or ranked high enough) to get an autobid, but they’d probably also demand an equal payout to the P5s that they can split among themselves whether a team gets in or not. Second, I think the logistics around adding another round are a bigger problem than he admits. The presidents will stand firm on not pushing deeper into January, so the quarterfinals would have to be in December. Using current bowls and playing around December is bad for TV but might be doable. Southern schools will never agree to play on campuses in the north, so playing in early December is out. The extra round is also a big expense for fans. You risk hurting attendance by asking fans to travel for a CCG, QF, SF and NCG.


  68. Brian


    A few weeks ago President Gee (new head of the B12 presidents) spoke about expansion.

    He was an advocate for Big 12 expansion two years ago, although he now questions the public process that eventually led to the conference standing pat with 10 teams.

    “I’m not certain it was the best way to do it,” Gee said. “It was a little bit messy — and I was part of the mess.”

    Gee describes the process as a “refiner’s fire” and now says that the Big 12 reached the right conclusion. There is an upside to being the smallest power conference, Gee said.

    “Intimacy gives us an opportunity to do something that a lot of other places can’t do,” Gee said. “We’ll play to our strengths. We’re small, but we can be very aggressive in positioning ourselves uniquely.”

    Gee still sees the possibility of significant national realignment sometime in the next decade, with power conferences possibly realigning themselves geographically without the whole raids of past realignment. And he’s not oblivious to the change brewing in television and digital rights fees.

    “I think the world of college athletics is changing dramatically,” Gee said. “I’m wondering when all the television contracts come up in 2024-25, if we won’t all be negotiating with Amazon and Google. I think the world is just upside down right now.”

    Gee’s view of the Big 12 is also different now that when West Virginia joined in 2012.

    “I worried about the conference when I came here,” Gee said. “Having come from the Big Ten where it was massively stable to institutions that were put together by a shotgun, it was a little nerve-wracking at first.

    “But now, I really feel everyone has sheathed their shotguns and said, ‘Let’s make this work.'”


  69. Brian


    John Engler is being pressured to resign as interim president of MSU. 1 trustee and several state legislators have called for him to go while others have also criticized him for this latest screw up.

    Michigan State University board member Brian Mosallam is calling on Interim President John Engler to resign in wake of an email in which he accused a victim of former sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar of taking kickbacks from attorneys.

    “Our courageous survivors all came forward out of their own bravery and courage rather than a manipulative game,” he said in a statement released Friday morning. “Such a suggestion otherwise is disgusting. I fear that this most unfortunate tone has sent a chilling message across our campus to survivors of relationship violence and sexual misconduct.”

    Mosallam, a frequent critic of Engler, is the first trustee to call on the former Republican governor to step down. Trustee Dianne Byrum issued a statement earlier this week criticizing Engler’s comments and asked him to apologize, but she stopped short of calling on him to resign.

    Several state lawmakers have also called on Engler to resign in the wake of emails obtained by the Chronicle of Higher Education through an open records request. In the emails, Engler sent the following message to MSU Vice President and Special Counsel to the President Carol Viventi:

    “… The survivors now are being manipulated by trial lawyers who in the end will each get millions of dollars more than any of individual survivors with the exception of Denhollander who is likely to get kickback from Manley for her role in the trial lawyer manipulation.”


    This piece focuses on the comments from the legislators. Obviously some of this is just politics, but not all of it. Engler was a Republican governor, but even some Republicans have spoken out against him.

    “It’s time for John Engler to resign, retire and get out of the way of MSU’s future,” said Jones, the first of nine lawmakers to call for Engler’s resignation.

    “I don’t know how anyone could feel comfortable talking about survivors like that. I think it goes well beyond any official role, I think it goes to just basic human decency,” Hertel said.

    Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, supports Engler resigning.

    “I am very disappointed in his comments about the sister survivors. Not only are they completely off-base, they’re coming from someone who is supposed to be reforming a culture of victim blaming and secrecy. This is a clear indicator that his time at MSU needs to come to an end,” he said in a statement.

    Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, spearheaded a package of bills aimed at strengthening Michigan law around childhood sexual assault amid the Nassar scandal, including by extending the amount of time victims have to come forward in criminal and civil cases.

    She worked on those bills with Denhollander as an ally, and Engler’s words stung.

    “I was so stunned and saddened when I read that article. I’ve known Rachel for 20 years. She wants to make this world a safer place for kids. That has been her mission,” O’Brien said.

    Asked if she thought Engler should resign, she said he should.

    “It’s hard to say, but yeah,” O’Brien said.

    “It’s something I’ve avoided saying, but I don’t see where we’re getting the positive image and the positive results we want,” said O’Brien, an MSU graduate and Republican who was initially excited to see Engler take the helm.

    The Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus’ executive committee, in a joint statement to be released Friday, also called for Engler’s resignation.

    “With his own words, interim President John Engler has made it clear that he is not capable of handling the sensitive and important work of rebuilding a campus and a community in the wake of a disturbing sexual assault scandal. He must resign,” said the caucus’ executive committee, comprised of Reps. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit; Erika Geiss, D-Taylor; Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids; Donna Laskinski, D-Scio Twp; and Leslie Love, D-Detroit.

    “After everything these survivors suffered, the last thing they deserve is to be attacked by the very institution that failed them. If Engler will not resign of his own volition it is time for the Michigan State University Board of Trustees to exercise its authority and remove him from a position he clearly is not capable of fulfilling.”

    Jones, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee that handled Nassar-related bills and also an MSU graduate, said Engler was a political pick who hadn’t fared well.

    “I believe that (MSU Trustee) Joel Ferguson and the rest of the board selected John Engler because they thought as a former governor he could keep control of the Republican legislature. He soon found out that was not true,” Jones said.

    While a growing chorus of lawmakers has called for Engler’s resignation, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, said it was up to the Board of Trustees.

    “It is up to the Board to decide if the President’s comments are a reflection of the culture they want to perpetuate at MSU,” said Amber McCann.

    O’Brien said Engler’s words in the email were exactly the kind of reaction that made sexual assault survivors hesitant to come forward.

    “We wonder why more people don’t report sexual assault or sexual abuse. This is why,” O’Brien said.


    This piece from The Chronicle of Higher Education has the emails in question and good analysis.


  70. Brian


    Some more info about the potential bowl game at Wrigley.

    But a key facet has yet to be determined, and there’s a chance it would threaten the game: The Cubs want one of the higher-rated Big Ten teams rather than, say, the conference’s sixth- or seventh-place team.

    As far as the annual opponent, college football reporter Brett McMurphy reported it will come from the ACC. Sources told the Tribune that’s not a reality just yet, pointing to discussions with the SEC. But there’s at least a 95 percent chance the ACC will sign on.

    Notre Dame is part of the ACC’s bowl lineup, but it would take an odd set of circumstances for the Irish to end up playing at Wrigley, according to sources.

    Really? They think they deserve a high place in the pecking order? For an outdoor game in Chicago in December in a small stadium? Exactly which bowls do they expect to be better than?

    Current B10 bowls:
    1. Rose vs P12 #1 (Pasadena)

    2a. Orange vs ACC #1 (Miami) or
    2b/3/4. Citrus vs SEC #2 (Orlando)
    2b/3/4. Outback vs SEC #4-7 (Tampa)
    2b/3/4. Holiday vs P12 #3 (San Diego)

    5/6/7. Music City/TaxSlayer vs SEC #4-7 (Nashville/Jacksonville)
    5/6/7. San Francisco vs P12 #4 (SF)
    5/6/7. Pinstripe vs ACC #3-6 (NYC)

    8/9. Quick Lane vs ACC #7-9 (Detroit)
    8/9. Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces vs CUSA (Dallas/Ft. Worth)

    We know the SF bowl slot will go away, making space for adding the Chicago bowl. But it seems on par with the Pinstripe to me (outdoors in a northern baseball stadium in a major city). Without a huge payout, how does it get on the same tier as trips to football stadiums in CA or FL? Do they expect the B10 to drop the Holiday Bowl lower to make room for the Chicago game on that second tier?

    You also have to get the ACC to want this game high up.

    Current ACC bowls (ignoring really low conditional tie-ins):
    1. Orange (Miami)
    2a*. Citrus (* – only if the B10 is in the Orange; Orlando)
    2b. Camping World vs B12 #3 (Orlando)

    3/4/5/6. Sun Bowl vs P12 #5 (El Paso)
    3/4/5/6. Belk vs SEC #4-7 (Charlotte)
    3/4/5/6. Music City/TaxSlayer vs SEC #4-7 (Nashville/Jacksonville)
    3/4/5/6. Pinstripe vs B10 #5-7 (NYC)

    7/8/9. Military vs AAC (Annapolis)
    7/8/9. Independence vs SEC #10 (Shreveport)
    7/8/9. Quick Lane vs B10 #8/9 (Detroit)

    Again, I don’t see this supplanting a FL trip. It seems like that middle tier is the most natural fit.


  71. Brian


    With Fox selling its assets, the Yankees may buy back the controlling share in the YES network.

    The Yankees ceded control of the regional sports network four years ago to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., which increased its stake to 80 percent from 49 percent. That agreement included a clause that gives the baseball team the right to buy back the network in the event Fox puts it up for sale, said the person, who asked to be anonymous because the deal terms are private.

    Fox first took a 49 percent stake in YES in 2012, in a deal that valued the network at about $3.8 billion. In 2014, Fox bought an additional 31 percent at roughly the same valuation. Yankee Global Enterprises owns the rest; its deal with Fox calls for the team to pay fair-market value to buy back the sports network, according to the person.

    “It would be worth $4 billion or more by now, based on the success of the Yankees and the fact that it’s in the nation’s No. 1 market,” industry consultant Lee Berke said. “It’s not dropping in value. It’s only increasing.”

    I think this shows that conference networks will maintain value going forward as well. Maybe not the same value that they built on mandatory fees, but the value based on actual viewership. This is why I wonder if the ACCN can really pay $10M+ per school annually. Will the viewership justify that is or is all based on people on the coast being forced to pay for it?


  72. Brian


    An interview with Chris Bevilacqua about the changing media landscape and future tier 1 deals. It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing.

    * What’s your read on the future of sports media rights if we use as a backdrop the next round of Tier I rights for the Power Five?

    “It’s hard to predict so far out in the future, because you can see how quickly consumer behavior changes.

    “But at the end of the day, all this change is shaping a higher value for premium content and premium brands, and for access to that content. …

    “It’s pretty clear, if you look at the mergers, that there’s a doubling down on premium content. It’s Disney saying, ‘We have to get more heft to compete. We need depth and breadth for all audiences.’

    “When you talk about live premier content, that’s sports. We’re not talking about rugby and lacrosse. We’re talking about football and basketball, baseball, the NHL and the Olympics. If you’re on the top shelf, the future is bright.

    “But there’s going to be a choppiness as things work through the system for a few years. And that’s not to mention we’re in the world of Trump and regulatory issues and net neutrality. It will take a while to sort itself out.”

    * The Big Ten’s media rights expire in the summer of 2023, and the Pac-12’s are up in ’24. That means we’re roughly three years from the start of the Big Ten’s negotiating phase. Will there be clarity at that point?

    “I don’t know that it will all be sorted out by then, but some of it will be sorted out. Everybody will have more and better information on the overall market and what business models will work. But they will be going through (negotiations) while it’s changing.

    “The evolution of the industry is going at a pace we haven’t seen, but it’s not going to stay at this pace forever.”

    * How would you advise the commissioner of Conference X to prepare for Tier I negotiations to ensure maximum value for content?

    “I’d say: ‘Put out a great product and showcase it in a way that maximizes consumption. Do what you’re doing. The market will define itself.’ If you have high-value premium content, you’ll be OK.

    “What’s going to happen over the next several years is everybody’s going to try to catch up so that monetization matches consumption on digital and mobile. You have all the people fleeing to Over-The-Top and Direct-To-Consumer, but the business models haven’t caught up to it yet.

    “We’ll see how they all make the pivot.”

    * In the previous round of Tier I negotiations, there was a small number of buyers: Fox and ESPN mostly; Comcast dabbled. Because of that, the conference felt the need to get bigger, to increase supply. But if there are numerous potential buyers in the next round — Fox and ESPN and maybe the telecos and the techs — could that eliminate the need for the conferences to get even bigger? Might we not see any realignment?

    “The reasons expansion may or may not happen aren’t directly aligned to the number of buyers. If you have more than one buyer, you have a market, right? It’s a matter of the strategic importance of the content to the buyer.

    “I think there will be at least two or three well-heeled media guys, whether it’s Disney or Fox, Viacom or CBS, Turner — there will be multiple legacy media companies in that market (for Tier 1 rights).

    “The outstanding question is, ‘When are the tech guys going to show up, and are they going to show up?’ They all have massive video budgets, and they’ve started to dabble in sports. But in three-and-a-half years, when the Big Ten hits the market, are any of those non-legacy media companies going to be there in a big way?

    “I hope so, but it’s not clear to me yet.”

    * What clues are you watching for to determine whether the techs will jump in?

    “We just saw Amazon do a deal with the EPL” — 20 matches per year for Prime members in Ireland and Great Britain — “and we saw them re-up with the NFL. It’s clear there is some alignment with sports. Verizon spent $2.25 billion on the NFL and didn’t even get exclusivity.

    “They’re all dabbling. But what happens when the rubber hits the road in the next cycle of deals? The NFL, NHL, MLB, Big Ten, Pac-12 and NASCAR — they’re all up in about a three-year window. When they all turn over, we’ll see if there’s a critical mass and sports rights migrate out of the bundle.”

    * What else is on your sports rights radar?

    “Another big thing — and it’s all interrelated — is net neutrality. There’s this fight between the pipes (Verizon, Comcast AT&T) and the techs. Google, Netflix and Facebook want access to the pipes without paying tolls.

    “There’s a lot going on on the regulatory front, and it all is connected to the top of the pyramid. If you’re an owner of rights, you want as little friction in the system as possible. You want your product in as many places as possible in real time.

    “Then you throw in gambling, which will have people tethered. And that’s a great thing for sports and the owners of sports rights.”


  73. Brian


    John Ourand interviewed P12N president Mark Shuken.

    Jon Wilner gave a few quotes and commented on them in his newsletter (he’ll post it as an article in a day or two).

    “Our short-term objective is to learn from (the tech giants) and exploit their reach. Our long-term goal is to position ourselves for the most number of interested parties when our rights agreements come up.”

    My comment: The number of interested tech heavyweights will help set the market for Pac-12 media rights in 2023-24, but we might have a good sense for the ceiling before Shuken and commissioner Larry Scott sit down with Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc:

    The Big Ten’s Tier I rights expire a year earlier than the Pac-12’s rights. Given the metrics (population, fan affinity, inventory, brand names, etc.), it’s difficult to imagine a situation in which the latter reaps a greater windfall than the former.

    “We have already 450 events that aren’t monetized” (i.e., no rights fees attached). “We have to figure out how to exploit that both financially and in terms of the reach of the event.”

    My comment: Both in this article and in my conversations with Pac-12 Networks executives over the months, it’s clear that there are many unanswered questions within the organization as to how best maximize the content.

    Halfway through the 12-year rights cycle, but less than one year into Shuken’s tenure as president, the networks are searching for a strategy.

    “All those entities want sports content and live sports content and storytelling. Ultimately, we want to make sure that we’re partnering with those entities so that when our future is before us, we’re prepared to look at all options.”

    My comment: The present isn’t exactly bright and shining — every few weeks, it seems, the networks are criticized by one campus official or another. In that regard, Shuken is smart to focus on the future, on positioning the networks, and the conference, for the big payday in 2024.

    It has to be a whopper, after all, or else Scott’s big bet on 100 percent ownership will have been a massive miscalculation.


  74. Brian


    Will Facebook become the preferred way to watch sports in the future?

    Facebook overhauled its platform to encourage more interactive and engaging content, and video is at the forefront of that change. According to Techcrunch, “live videos on Facebook generate six times more discussion” than recorded videos.

    “When done well, video brings us closer together,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook’s Q3 earnings call last year. “We’ve found that communities formed around video like TV shows or sports create a greater sense of belonging than many other kinds of communities . . . But too often right now, watching video is just a passive consumption experience.”

    The Facebook platform seems ideal for an interactive sports watching experience. So, what is their endgame with this move — to show more ads or to capture more user data?

    Meg Brunson, founder and CEO of EIEIO Marketing in Glendale, Arizona, thinks it’s all about the user data. “Given the recent breach with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook is trying to increase the quality and quantity of first-party data they can gather on users,” she said. “Video viewing data is the least expensive way to identify an interest in a topic. Facebook can track how long a user watches any given video. From there, the page that streamed the video will have remarketing capabilities, and internally Facebook can track what topics the user is interested in based on the tags and description of the video they watched.”

    However, throughout the broadcast, I was struck by the fact that there were no commercials shown between innings. Instead, the announcers showed Instagram posts from some of the ballplayer’s accounts, provided a game summary, showed highlights throughout the league and asked questions for the audience to respond to. It was a refreshing change from the interminable slog of sitting through ads during countless calls to the bullpen.

    “This is all about the changing ratio of power across alternative content distribution platforms. ESPN and similar ‘pay for’ distributors, like MLB broadcast package distributors, should worry about the clear encroachment into their worlds,” said Steve Andriole, PhD, Professor of Business Technology at Villanova School of Business. “Facebook (and other social media platforms) has an inherent cost-sharing advantage: as long as Facebook can enable communication and content distribution ‘for free’ (because of its ad-supported revenue model), it can out-compete distributors who charge for content.”


  75. vp81955

    There are three finalists for the Maryland AD position, according to the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun: current interim AD Damon Evans, Temple AD Patrick Kraft and former K-State and Tennessee AD John Currie. Kraft is the supposed front-runner, thanks in part to not only the recent success of Owls’ athletics, but his work in fundraising at an urban institution whose student and alumni demographics are similar to College Park.



    1. Brian


      I see your AD news and raise you some president news, all courtesy of MSU.

      Bill Beekman has been serving as Michigan State’s interim athletic director for more than four months.

      And, don’t expect the university to hire a permanent replacement for the position soon.

      Following a Michigan State Board of Trustees meeting Friday morning, trustee Brian Mosallam said he believes the next university president will hire an athletic director. He also doesn’t think Michigan State will have a new president until 2019.

      “I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon,” Mosallam said of hiring a new athletic director. “I think you’d want a new president to hire the AD – that’s my position.”

      John Engler, who was appointed Michigan State’s interim president after Lou Anna K. Simon resigned, appointed Beekman interim athletic director on Feb. 5. Beekman, a Michigan State vice president, has no previous experience in athletic administration and the announcement of his appointment stated no internal candidates from the department will be considered for the permanent athletic director position.

      Beekman agreed to a brief interview with MLive following a Michigan State Board of Trustees meeting in February but has not fulfilled any other interview requests, including at meetings between Big Ten athletic directors at conference headquarters outside of Chicago in May. He remains a vice president and secretary of the Board of Trustees but left at the conclusion of Friday’s meeting without talking to the media.

      Mosallam was the only one of the eight trustees who talked with reporters after Friday’s meeting, in which he was unable to generate enough votes from the board to fire Engler. He said the process of finding a president to replace Engler will begin with hiring a search firm by this summer or fall and then the formation of a search committee. Mosallam said he believes a new president will be named by next June, before the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

      Two weeks after being appointed interim athletic director, Beekman said he was surprised Engler asked him to take over the position and was unsure how long he will be in it before a new athletic director is hired.


  76. Brian


    The B10 had 8 players drafted into the NBA last night:

    1st round:
    4. Jackson (MSU)
    12. Bridges (MSU)
    19. Huerter (UMD)
    25. Wagner (MI)

    2nd round:
    43. Jackson (UMD)
    48. Bates-Diop (OSU)
    51. Carr (PSU)
    52. Edwards (PU)

    By conference:
    ACC – 10 (6/4)
    B10 – 8 (4/4)
    SEC – 7 (5/2)
    P12 – 7 (3/4)
    B12 – 6 (3/3)

    By school:
    Duke – 4 (3/1)
    Villanova – 4 (3/1)
    UK – 4 (2/2)
    MSU – 2 (2/0)
    UMD – 2 (1/1)
    Miami – 2 (1/1)
    UCLA – 2 (1/1)
    KU – 2 (0/2)
    USC – 2 (0/2)


    That link his historical totals for 1st rounders and overall #1 picks by school (before last night) as well as 1st round picks by conference.

    #1 picks:
    Duke and UK – 3
    17 others – 2 (see chart in link)
    26 others – 1

    1st rounders:
    1. UNC – 48
    2. UK – 47
    3. Duke – 42
    4. UCLA – 38
    5. KU – 32
    6. IN – 25
    6. MI – 25

    10. OSU – 23
    14. MSU – 19
    15. UMD – 18
    17. MN – 16

    1st rounders by conference:
    ACC – 252 (16.8 per school)
    B10 – 175 (12.5)
    P12 – 163 (13.6)
    SEC – 161 (11.5)
    B12 – 96 (9.6)
    BE – 92
    AAC – 76


  77. Brian


    Now we know how MSU will pay their $500M settlement.

    The Michigan State University Board of Trustees on Friday unanimously approved a settlement agreement with survivors of ex-university doctor Larry Nassar and the issuance of $500 million in bonds to pay for it.

    The university will issue bonds but then continue to work with more than a dozen insurers to recoup money that way, said MSU Interim President John Engler in an interview.

    “That will be bonded and then that bond issue will be reduced as insurance proceeds come in,” Engler said in an interview.

    Engler said it was important to him going in that tuition not be raised to pay for the settlement. There is an increase — $360 per year for sophomores, juniors in seniors or $540 per year for juniors and seniors in business and engineering majors–but it’s less than a dollar per day, he said, and it goes toward salaries and increased financial aid.

    To stay away from tuition, cuts did have to be made in other places. The budget approved by the Board of Trustees on Friday implemented an additional 1 percent reduction in college budgets, a salary freeze for top administrators and deans and a 1 percent scale-back of a planned salary increase for faculty.


  78. Brian


    In case anyone is interested, 538 has World Cup predictions.

    On the “Standings” tab they show how likely each team is to advance to the final 16 and every round after that. The teams are broken into their World Cup groups so it makes sense (top 2 from each group advance).

    On the “Matches” tab they show the win likelihoods for both teams (as well as for a draw) dynamically during each match. All scheduled matches are listed so you can see which ones are upcoming (and decide if it’s worth watching).

    On the “Bracket” tab they show the bracket for the final 16 teams and you can pick which teams advance to the next round to see how that impacts various W%.


  79. Brian


    The NHL draft started Friday night. Very few college players get drafted, but some did.

    1st round:
    4. Tkachuk – BU (Hockey East)
    7. Hughes – Michigan (B10)

    45. Perunovich – UMN-Duluth (NCHC)

    89. Hutsko – BC (Hockey East)

    121. Green – Cornell (ECAC)

    135. Kruse – BGSU (WCHA)
    138. McGing – WMU (NCHC)
    144. Hrenak – St. Cloud St. (NCHC)

    182. Leonard – UMass (Hockey East)


    That’s 9 college players drafted. For comparison, 11 American high school players and 12 players from the US Development Program (USA’s U18 team) also got drafted.


    1. Mike

      The NHL draft is a bit of a different animal. Here’s a list from the USHL (highest level of Junior Hockey in the US*) that shows 57 players** who played in the US were drafted. Some these guys are not high school players anymore or college players yet.

      *Unless you quit hockey, typically you head to the NCAA or a Pro league when you are done with Juniors.

      **Includes international players


  80. Brian


    Now that the B10 has announced their 2018 payout, Jon Wilner looks at how the P12 payouts will compare over the 6 years until their new TV deal can start.

    The comps below assume that the rates of increase in payouts remain constant across the conferences.

    Notes on the following:

    * Each conference reports on a different schedule, so projections are necessary in some cases.

    * Pac-12 projection of $33.5 million for FY18 constitutes an 8.4 percent increase over the confirmed FY17 figure of $30.9 million. (The majority of the increase is sourced in the escalator clause in the Tier I deal.)

    * To repeat: Projections assume comparable rates of increase across all conference.

    *** Pac-12 vs. Big Ten

    Big Ten: $51 million per school in FY18 (confirmed; see above link to Detroit News)
    Pac-12: $33.5 million per school in FY18 (projected)
    FY18 difference per school: $17.5 million
    Pac-12 cumulative per-school deficit from FY19 to FY24 (example: USC vs. Ohio State): $105 million

    *** Pac-12 vs. SEC

    SEC: $42 million per school in FY18 (projected)
    Pac-12: $33.5 million per school in FY18 (projected)
    FY18 difference per school: $8.5 million
    Pac-12 cumulative per-school deficit from FY19 to FY24 (example: Washington vs. LSU): $51 million

    *** Pac-12 vs. Big 12

    Big 12: $38 million per school in FY18 (confirmed)
    Pac-12: $33.5 million per school in FY18 (projected)
    FY18 difference per school: $4.5 million
    Pac-12 cumulative per-school deficit from FY19 to FY24 (for example: Utah vs. Oklahoma State): $27 million

    (Note: Big 12 figure includes an average of $1.5 million per school in Tier III media rights, which are generated on the campus level and not distributed by the conference office. Texas and Oklahoma collect far more annually through their deals with ESPN and Fox, respectively, but most schools are believed to earn $1 million – $2 million in net profit from local rights.)

    *** Pac-12 vs. ACC

    Pac-12: $33.5 million in FY18 (projected)
    ACC: $28 million per school in FY18 (projected)
    FY18 difference per school: $5.5 million
    Pac-12 cumulative per-school deficit from FY19 to FY24 (for example: Arizona State vs. Wake Forest): $10 million

    (Note: ACC Network launches in FY20, at which point school distributions are expected to jump to approximately $40 million. The Pac-12 total deficit of $10 million includes one year without, and five years with, the ACC Network.)

    The conference disagreed with my conclusions back then and continues to be optimistic about the Pac-12 Networks’ business model and the value of Pac-12 content during the next Tier I negotiations.

    And yes: All signs point to a slew of bidders (legacy and new media) for the Pac-12 media rights starting in FY25 — the value of live sports is only increasing.


    1. Mike

      This is the story to watch. How Larry Scott (if he’s even around) attempts to close that gap will either start realignment or end it.


      1. Brian

        One thing we need to remember is that all but the ACC will have a new TV deal of some sort starting in the mid-20s. The P12 might get a big bump if other bidders jump in, but won’t that also be true for the others? The SEC on CBS deal is massively undervalued right now (~ $55M per year). The B10 is likely to at least continue a slow upward trend. The B12 is another wildcard, but they won’t lose value.

        For the P12 to make a leap, either the others have to fall back (have their networks lose value perhaps) or someone has to discover new value in the P12 that’s been hidden.


  81. Brian


    The government has approved Disney’s purchase of Fox assets with the condition that Disney sells off the RSNs within 90 days.

    As both Disney and rival Comcast expected, the regional sports networks fell under government scrutiny. According to Variety, the justice department filed a complaint in federal court earlier Wednesday to block Disney’s acquisitions of the RSNs, arguing that adding the networks to Disney’s existing sports properties — i.e. ESPN — would be anti-competitive.

    Disney agreed to divest the RSNs as part of a proposed settlement.

    It is worth noting that the government’s rationale is questionable. Quoting the head of the justice department antitrust division:

    “American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox’s cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher. Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution.”

    Disney acquiring the Fox RSNs would have had no impact on sports programming competition, as Disney does not currently compete in the RSN market. There are three primary RSN owners, Fox (22), Comcast (nine) and AT&T (three), and that would not have changed if one simply swapped Fox for Disney. In addition, it is hard to see how an ESPN with 22 RSNs would be dramatically more anti-competitive than present-day Fox Sports.

    While the RSNs were thought to be a key to the deal when it was announced in December, it is likely the case that Disney did not think they were worth potentially jeopardizing the deal. Disney is not expected to sell back the RSNs to Fox, which Variety says has “little interest” in retaining them.

    Will Comcast look to buy the RSNs? ATT&T/TW?


  82. Brian


    Gray TV is buying Raycom, including Raycom Sports.

    Gray, based in Atlanta, currently owns or operates about 100 stations in 57 markets, while Raycom owns or provides services for 65 stations in 44 markets. The cash and stock deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, will create a 142-station powerhouse in 92 separate markets, reaching 24% of the TV homes in the U.S.

    According to Gray TV, the combined company would have 62 stations that are ranked No. 1 in all-day ratings in their respective markets, according to Nielsen, the largest concentration of top-rated stations owned by any single broadcaster.

    The deal comes on the heels of another mega-broadcast deal – Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, which is currently winding through the regulatory approval process.


  83. Brian


    USA Today released their 2016-17 financial database today.

    Tops in revenue:
    1. UT – $215M ($0 in subsidy)
    2. TAMU – $212M ($0)
    3. OSU – $185.4M ($0)
    4. UM – $185.2M ($281k)
    5. AL – $174M ($2.9M)
    6. UGA – $158M ($3.3M)
    7. OU – $155M ($0)
    8. UF – $149M ($1.6M)
    9. LSU – $147.7M ($0)
    10. Auburn – $147.5M ($3.6M)

    14. PSU – $144M ($0)
    15. WI – $143M ($2.8M)
    18. IA – $131M ($650k)
    21. MSU – $126M ($901k)
    23. NE – $120M ($0)
    25. MN – $116M ($14.8M)
    28. IU – $106M ($2.6M)
    33. IL – $97.4M ($3.3M)
    34. RU – $96.9M ($33.1M)
    37. UMD – $95M ($14.5M)
    46. PU – $85M ($0)

    * Public schools only

    * This was NE’s last year of a partial B10 payout ($26.0M vs $36.3M). They will get a full share of $51.1M for 2017-18.

    * RU only got $12.7M. RU decided to copy UMD’s model and move some future revenue up to smooth their transition. RU will get $24.6M in 2017-18, $27.0M in 2018-19 and $29.4M in 2019-20 in their adjusted deal and “only” $44.5M in their first full year (should pay back about $9M per year for about 4 years).


    1. Brian

      For some realignment relevance, let’s look at it by conference.

      Schools in bold ran a deficit. Subsidy is in parentheses. Remember, public schools only. Accounting methods vary from school to school, so don’t take the numbers too exactly.

      3. OSU – $185.4M ($0 in subsidy)
      4. UM – $185.2M ($281k)
      14. PSU – $144M ($0)
      15. WI – $143M ($2.8M)
      18. IA – $131M ($650k)
      21. MSU – $126M ($901k)
      23. NE – $120M ($0)
      25. MN – $116M ($14.8M)
      28. IU – $106M ($2.6M)
      33. IL – $97.4M ($3.3M) -$3.3M deficit
      34. RU – $96.9M ($33.1M) -$2.3M

      37. UMD – $95M ($14.5M)
      46. PU – $85M ($0) -$868k

      13. FSU – $145M ($7.5M in subsidy)
      22. UL – $120M ($5.4M)
      26. Clemson – $113M ($5.5M)
      35. UNC – $96M ($8.8M)
      39. UVA – $93M ($13.9M) -$7.5M deficit
      44. VT – $87M ($8.9M) -$3.3M
      47. NCSU – $84M ($6.6M) -$3.2M
      51. GT – $82M ($7.7M) -$3.1M

      The middle of the ACC is the bottom of the B10 and the top of the ACC lags the top of the B10. Half of the ACC ran a deficit versus less than one quarter of the B10. Considering that the B10 pays out $23M more this year than the ACC (number may drop by up to $10M once the ACCN starts), you can see how the financial pressure may build.

      1. UT – $215M ($0 in subsidy)
      7. OU – $155M ($0)
      27. WV – $111M ($4.2M)
      36. KU – $95M ($1.9M)
      40. OkSU – $92M ($3.7M)
      43. TT $89M ($5.8M)
      45. KSU – $86M ($450k)
      50. ISU – $83M ($2.1M)

      The B12 is much closer to matching the B10 at the top than the ACC is, but their middles and bottoms are similar. One huge difference is that no B12 schools ran a deficit. Kudos to them for that.

      12. UO – $145M ($271k)
      20. UW – $129M ($3.7M)
      29. UCLA – $104M ($2.7M)
      30. ASU – $102M ($18.9M)
      38. CU – $94M ($12.6M)
      41. UA – $91M ($10.1M) -$780k
      42. Cal – $91M ($0) -$16.0M

      48. Utah – $84M ($12.4M)
      52. OrSU – $79M ($7.1M) -$3.8M
      53. WSU – $64M ($5.3M) -$7.5M

      The P12 is very similar to the ACC in terms of revenues and the percentage of schools running a deficit. They use even larger subsidies to avoid more debt.

      2. TAMU – $212M ($0)
      5. AL – $174M ($2.9M)
      6. UGA – $158M ($3.3M)
      8. UF – $149M ($1.6M)
      9. LSU – $147.7M ($0)
      10. Auburn – $147.5M ($3.6M)
      11. UT – $146M ($0)
      16. SC – $136M ($0)
      17. UK – $131M ($0)
      19. AR – $130M ($0)
      24. MS – $118M ($2.8M)
      31. MsSU – $100M ($0)
      32. MO – $98M ($1.0M) -$4.6M

      The SEC leads everyone in revenue and has just 1 school running a deficit. None of the schools are using a large subsidy either. It’s easy to see why the B10 and SEC are the most stable and secure conferences.

      Next year the B10 should be neck and neck with the SEC. Assuming an extra $15M per school from TV, the B10 would have had 4 top 7 schools, 9 in the top 25 and all 13 in the top 35 this year. I expect everyone to be in the black next season, too.

      Realignment candidates:
      13. FSU – $145M ($7.5M in subsidy)
      22. UL – $120M ($5.4M)
      26. Clemson – $113M ($5.5M)
      35. UNC – $96M ($8.8M)
      39. UVA – $93M ($13.9M) -$7.5M deficit
      44. VT – $87M ($8.9M) -$3.3M
      47. NCSU – $84M ($6.6M) -$3.2M
      51. GT – $82M ($7.7M) -$3.1M

      1. UT – $215M ($0 in subsidy)
      7. OU – $155M ($0)
      36. KU – $95M ($1.9M)

      I know the GOR probably has the ACC safe until 2034 or so, but you can see the vulnerability of the ACC schools. UVA has $21.4M in deficit+subsidy while the bottom 3 are around $10M. Even the top ACC schools use large subsidies, though. If the ACCN starts paying them $10M per year, UVA is still facing significant budget issues and the others will be borderline.


  84. Brian


    For your weekend enjoyment, here’s the AP Top 25 CFB podcast. They talk about which team will be the next first-timer to make the playoff (3 B10 teams are mentioned – PSU, UM, WI) among other things.

    In four seasons of the College Football Playoff a total of nine programs have filled the 16 semifinal spots. Which teams could be next to crack into the football’s final four?

    AP voter Matt Brown, an editor and writer for The Athletics’ All-American vertical, says Michigan or Penn State are among the most likely to be a first-time playoff participant. AP college football writer Ralph Russo suggests another Big Ten team or maybe Miami.

    Brown joins Russo for the “AP Top 25 College Football Podcast” where they talk the history of people complaining about too many college football bowls, the future of the playoff and potential breakout teams for 2018. Could Boston College be this season’s North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference? What about Kansas State in the Big 12?


  85. Brian

    A study verifies the danger of soccer headers, even for young children. Headers are generally banned in the US for players under 11 but the study showed issues for children even younger.

    Headers are also bad for adults but unlikely to ever be banned.


  86. Brian


    A Q&A with ASU’s VP for Athletics touched on finances in the P12 and the philosophy in the P12 versus other P5 conferences.

    CK: We’ve seen a significant increase in coaching salary pool for the revenue sports here at ASU in recent years, and the facilities are obviously being overhauled. Revenue is significantly increasing at programs across the country and has here as well. Do you feel there’s an arms race, so to speak, that is going on?

    RA: There is some arms racing going on in college athletics. More so in other conferences than the Pac-12 I would say because our chancellors and presidents have determined that we’re a different model. We’re not concerned with having everything as good as Alabama or Georgia or others who are flush, sometimes it appears, with cash, because their athletics seem to be the only thing in town that motivates people. We’re OK with not being in that arm’s race. That being said, there’s always pressure to make sure that your facilities are at a good level. That you have the salary pools to attract and retain really good coaches and personnel. So there’s constantly that pressure. An arms race, I wouldn’t declare us or the Pac-12 in an arms race because I think our model is different. But are there arms race things going on outside the conference? Yeah.

    CK: At the press conference announcing (previous football coach) Todd Graham’s dismissal you discussed the state of the Pac-12 being down, which then went 1-8 in bowl season, so you kind of foreshadowed that. The Pac-12 then had a bad performance in post-season, 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament. I saw some comments you made to Dennis Dodd about the state of the Pac-12. Do you feel like there’s a potential problem there in terms of how the Pac-12 is being monetized with the Pac-12 Networks and does it have what it needs to compete with other major conferences?

    RA: I don’t think the Pac-12 has any emergency on its hands, by any stretch of the imagination. We did not have the type of seasons in the Pac-12 in football and basketball that we wanted, and certainly not in the postseason. I think there’s a real acknowledgment that we’ve got to figure out a way to get better. There’s also an acknowledgment that every now and again you’re going to have a bad year. Let’s up this was an aberration, which I happen to believe it was. That being said, you can’t be naive to believe the revenue gap between the Pac-12 and some of the other conferences, the SEC, the Big Ten in particular, mostly attributed to the differences in the television deals, are a challenge for us that we can’t take our eyes off of. I remain fully committed to the notion that it’s better to own your own business 100 percent. I’m fully committed to the notion as dictated by the presidents and chancellors to Larry Scott and the Pac-12 that we’re going to continue the path of owning 100 percent of our network through 2023-24, and then see where we are. If we get to there and we’re a free agent and these other suitors are out there, then we’ll do a really good deal and we’ll catch up. I’m very comfortable with staying that course. My concern that I articulated in comments to Dodd were that between 2023-24, are we going to continue to fall behind, and are you every going to make up that gap that could be created by not doing something between now and then? But that time is completely out of our control (at ASU athletics). That’s in the presidents’ and chancellors’ control. I’m all in for being entrepreneurial. Let’s wait and see if we can really hit it big and then make up the difference. In the meantime, we’d better be creative about competing with the resources we have or on our own creating additional resources we can invest.

    CK: What’s your philosophy on expanding sports and the way that spreads dollars wider and allows you to bring in more student-athletes versus lessening the focus of (revenue) toward certain things that may improve a football program, for example. How do you weigh those things?

    RA: We are intentionally designed to be a broad, whole athletic department. Olympic sports matter. Women’s sports matter. We believe in the great development opportunity that varsity athletics, coupled with academic scholarship aid, what that does for people. The more opportunities that we can provide, and we’ve done it by adding four sports, is on purpose because we think the more opportunities you provide for student-athletes, the better off you’re going to be. We’re OK with taking on the financial challenges of financially supporting those things. Football is the primary driver, and basketball at most institutions. But we think the model whereby if successful football helps support other sports and makes those other sports also help themselves, it makes for a better overall experience. Our job is to then take the resources we have for football and men’s basketball and just make it work better than the others do it. We’ve got no conflict [internally]. We believe that, on base, providing more opportunities for student-athletes across all sports is better than just focusing primarily on football and basketball. That’s not who we are.

    CK: So there’s no concerns about a competitive imbalance with the way programs across the country are pouring money into football recruiting operations and creative departments and those types of things?

    RA: One of the things that’s going to create a competitive advantage is that some conferences are going to make a lot more money to put into all of their sports, and then some of those conferences are more concerned about putting that into football and basketball than they are the other sports. But that’s their model, that’s what they’ve decided is important to them. We’ve got a different model, a different set of things that we think bring value beyond just the football and basketball court. We’re very comfortable with our philosophy and approach, and that’s why I think in the Pac-12 you’ll see all of our institutions, on average, sponsoring more varsity sports than you’ll see in the Big 12 or SEC, in particular. A lot of those (programs) have 17, 18, 19 sports and focus more on football and basketball. Our model is, we’ve got 26 varsity sports and there are several in this conference that promote 30 or more, and it’s because that’s more important to us, to have more opportunities for more student athletes in various sports, including as many sports for women as we can possibly put out there under Title IX.

    CK: How much of a role does the stadium district (Novus Innovation Corridor) play in that and how is it coming along?

    RA: The district is progressing well. It probably got off slower than anyone liked but the fact is there’s traction. I think when you see what’s going on with the construction [at the stadium], you’re seeing construction fences going around areas where they’re starting to give you an indication that activity is going to be underway. There are things getting ready to go under contract. It’s nothing I can control though I certainly have a cheerleading interest and making it go faster than not, but it’s starting to move.”

    CK: How much of an advantage can that be from a financial standpoint?

    RA: Longterm it can be a big advantage because the Novus Innovation Corridor’s purpose is to ultimately have commercial, residential, mixed use things that, in lieu of paying property tax are paying to a fund that is used to provide sustainability to our athletics facilities, including paying down the debt that we’ll take on [the stadium] and Wells Fargo and other improvements that we want to make in athletics. Nobody else in the country has that at this point.



      Anderson seems to be implying that the PAC is moving towards an Ivy League model for athletics. Certainly, he is dismissive of the B1G, SEC, ACC, Big12 model. That is likely a healthy attitude for everyone involved, especially the athletes, but it does look like a trend that will drop the PAC out of the P5. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. We live a few miles from Kenyon College; I worked for a while at Union College; and my wife spent her career at Wooster College. Division III sports are well-attended (not Ohio Stadium level), and the fans and athletes are enthusiastic. There are even excesses. But in some ways it is cleaner.

      I worked 35 years as a faculty member at tOSU, so I have some experience for comparison.


    1. Brian

      In 2016, the Missouri legislature passed a budget bill which contained a $3.8 million cut for the University of Missouri’s administration. This was openly billed as a reprisal for their handling of the 2015 protests, according to The Columbia Missourian. A total of $12 million was cut from the university’s budget that year.

      Last year Missouri governor Eric Greitens withheld a further $22 million of funding from the university system in 2017 to maintain a balanced budget as required by the state’s constitution.

      Greitens proposed another $43 million in cuts to the University of Missouri’s budget for this year, though legislators ultimately settled on a $2 million cut.

      Speaking in a phone interview, Representative Kip Kendrick told The Fix that for the 2017 fiscal year, the legislature specifically directed cuts at the University of Missouri administration and the Columbia campus where the protests took place. In the same year, the state established and funded a commission to review the University of Missouri system.

      Reached via email, Missouri state senator Tom Hurst ascribed decreasing enrollment and state support to the university’s response to the 2015 protests: “Couple of years ago, whenever all the protests were taking place on the campus, many students decided they did not want that atmosphere and attended different universities. From what I’ve seen we did not lose those students to other states, they just went to other universities within the state.”

      “Given that it seems like MU does not need the funding, but some of the other universities in the State could use a little extra help because they did the right thing,” Hurst added.

      It seems counterproductive to keep punishing the school when the administration (president and chancellor) resigned in 2015. How are things supposed to improve if the state won’t even support the school and the new administration?

      In fall 2015, the semester that saw the protests, total Mizzou enrollment stood at 35,448. In fall of 2017, that number was down to 30,870. Freshman enrollments have dropped significantly, with the smallest class in over a decade matriculating in 2017, according to The Kansas City Star.

      “I applied to MU, was accepted, I was assigned housing and I toured the campus. I was really all set to go. Then I got my tuition statement. Despite being awarded the Chancellor’s scholarship, the Bright Flight scholarship, and having my family income be in one of the lowest categories, I was still going to to have to take out a $10,000 loan per year.”

      “Wash U actually gave me enough financial aid to cover my tuition, housing and food in full. After that it was an easy choice. MU was not willing at all to help me go to school and Wash U made sure I could go,” Rowland said.

      WU is a private school with a large endowment and high tuition and hasn’t had a recent hit to their funding. Of course they can provide more financial aid to a poor student. But their average student pays $33k per year.

      Tom Hurst, the state senator, said that his daughter chose Missouri State University because “MU is more concerned about their image and MSU was more concerned about the student.”

      Hurst said the problem is not new: He attended the University of Missouri and said the same atmosphere prevailed. “I feel like I had to educate myself versus having the professors educate me. They didn’t care if I showed up or not, they were going to get paid anyway,” he said.

      Yes, senator, education is work for the student. It’s supposed to be challenging.

      Earlier this year the university announced that freshman enrollment increased by 14 percent for the fall 2018 semester. Freshman enrollment still remains below that of fall 2015.

      So this may turn into a 5 year blip for MU.


  87. Brian

    Click to access June29overallDI.pdf

    The final Director’s Cup standings are out.

    There are some slight scoring changes from previous years.


    The committee reviewed the overall scoring structure and based the new scoring off of the following:

    * Adjustment of “count maximums” based on actual sport sponsorship averages/medians
    ** We utilized the sports sponsorship and Participation rate report from the NCAA and were provided final numbers from the NAIA office.

    * Requirement of predetermined sport “counters” in point determination which varies by division
    ** The sport “counters” were on team bracketed sports.

    * Adjustment of gender requirements
    ** Since the NCAA and NAIA currently embrace and abide by the federal law (Title IX) that requires equal participation opportunities within its athletics programs, the previous gender requirements (equal sports scored in each gender) that have been used were no longer deemed necessary.

    The following changes will be made beginning with the 2017-18 year with regard to the scoring:

    Division I: Count 19 sports with the following breakdowns (decreased by 1, 19.1 avg.)

    • Four of which must be Baseball and Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball

    The scoring structure for the past 20-plus years has been the following:

    * Division I: 20 total sports scored (10 men’s, 10 women’s)

    I guess dropping to 19 sports makes sense based on how they score but I think their philosophy is wrong. To me they should combine two scores to make their ranking:

    1. Average points in all sports offered by each school. This makes the size of the AD irrelevant and just determines success rates.

    2. A scoring system similar to their current one but that weights sports based on the number of teams participating and counts all sports to reward broad ADs. Right now #1 always earns 100 points but #1 in hoops is much harder than #1 in water polo. I’d try something like 10 * sqrt(number of teams). That would make 350 teams -> 187 pts while 60 teams -> 77 pts. That gives some extra value to more common sports without devaluing the other sports too much.

    Anyway, the rankings:
    1. Stanford – 1442
    2. UCLA – 1326
    3. UF – 1216
    4. USC – 1147
    5. UT – 1143.25
    6. MI – 1131
    7. OSU – 1118

    8. UGA – 1046.35
    9. FSU – 1038.75
    10. TAMU – 1005.5

    12. PSU – 978.25
    19. MN – 852
    22. WI – 804
    34. NW – 644
    36. IL – 592
    39. PU – 585.5
    44. NE – 553
    49. IN – 491
    50. MSU – 475.75
    53. UMD – 467.5
    54. IA – 457.5
    107. RU – 170

    Worst P5s (those outside the top 65):
    SEC – 55. Vandy
    B12 – 72. KSU
    P12 – 80. WSU
    B10 – 107. RU
    ACC – 95. BC, 111. Pitt, 121. GT


    1. Brian


      This was NE’s worst finish ever in the Director’s Cup and their 3 worst finishes ever have come since joining the B10. NE was a regular in the top 10 back in the 90s thanks in part to football dominance. They’ve only had 2 top 20 finishes (19th in 2006, 17th in 2010) since 2002, so the drop off began long before NE moved. The writer blames Shawn Eichorst (AD in 2013-2017), but I think the issues are bigger than that. As more schools have started taking non-revenue sports seriously, NE has slid back. I think this is partly due to all the extra TV money out there.


  88. Brian

    This month from the Dude (@ theDudeofWV) on twitter.

    On B12 revenue:

    * 2018 – $37M per school
    * Will hit $40M soon and should hit $45M in 2023 (he calls their deal backloaded, I’d say it’s normal escalation), with tier 3 money on top of that.

    As a reminder, the P12 is projected at $38.1M in 2023 and not hitting $40M until 2024.

    On B12 TV deals:

    The Big 12 is going to be the first conference to go with an online partner for primary TV rights. I expect ESPN to be one partner and Fox to be out.

    ESPN, despite what many think, wants the Big 12 intact. Fox is thinking about getting out of sports other than on their OTA channel. That’s why they sold their regional networks.

    Numbers lie. On the surface B1G ratings look great…until you look under the hood and see how the top four dominate TV ratings and the other underperform. ACC is like that too.

    The top 4 of 14 isn’t enough? How many schools in the other P5s match the B10’s top 4 in ratings? Maybe 2 each in the P12, B12 and ACC? The SEC probably goes deeper, but they’d be the outlier. The B10’s ratings look good because they are.

    On realignment

    This is just my opinion… but if I had free money to bet I would bet that the Pac 12 and Big 12 have some type of merger.

    It’s a foregone conclusion that if ND joins the ACC as a full member that WVU will be #16 to ND’s #15. I feel that the next round of realignment will force ND’s hand.

    [re: WV isn’t snooty enough]
    That argument died when the ACC added Louisville. Interest has already been expressed. It’s not a secret WVU is at the top of the ACC’s list.

    [re: WV has a bad rep as hillbillies]
    How do I respond without being mean? The ACC has changed. WVU has changed. The ACC is infinitely more valuable to ESPN with WVU as #16.

    There’s not a program that would be available that can match WVU’s value to the ACC.

    UCONN would be the alternate choice for the ACC, but WVU’s football program means the Mountaineers get asked first.

    UCONN is behind #3 on the ACC’s list. If WVU can’t (or wont) leave the Big 12 then UCONN would join the ACC with ND.

    Take long hard look at financials. UCONN’s subsidy is huge but their revenues are considerable for hoops. Plus the ACC would want to avoid market duplication & ESPN would want to avoid it too. Not a lot of options after WVU.

    It seems to me that UConn would put up a decent fight for that #16 slot. The ACC has ignored both of them repeatedly. If it’s not a secret that WV is #1 on the ACC’s list, it sure isn’t widely known. And infinitely more valuable with WV as #16? Any real value would come from ND as #15. #16 will bring marginal value at best.

    On revenue numbers:

    * WV (3rd in B12) would be 4th in ACC
    * ASU would be 4th in B12 while CU would be 5th, UAZ would be 6th and Cal would be 7th

    WVU’s fan base is one of the most valuable in the nation. Consider the revenue WVU generates as compared to the state’s population.

    Looking at ACC revenue numbers… wow… I may have to rethink my desire to see WVU in the ACC… the haircut would be more than TV money.

    ACC schools should be very, very grateful that ESPN was willing to add money for the ACCN. But any doubts that WVU wouldn’t be welcomed need to look at ACC revenue numbers. They tell a story.

    But I’m not sure the ACC doesn’t need WVU more than WVU needs the ACC.


    1. Jersey Bernie

      According to the Dude, the ACC needs WVa. Of course also according to him, I take for granted that the B1G, and the SEC would also both be really lucky to be able to steal WVa. The academic powers in the ACC would need to be more than desperate to take WVa. I am sure that UVa, Duke, etc. would be thrilled.

      With Clemson at the top of the football heap, with Miami rising, and with FSU, I am not at sure that the ACC will “sell it’s academic soul” for WVa football.

      As far the WVa fan base being one of the most valuable in the country, what do they bring in eyeballs to cable, streaming, etc? The population of WVa is under two million and is less than it was in 1950. To look at revenue compared to population may be fun, but doesn’t prove much. Connecticut, for example, has double the population of WVa and a lot more money as a state.

      If the Big 12 and PAC do have some sort of merger, contrary to the opinion of the Dude, it looks like WVa will be one of the leftover programs.


      1. Brian

        I find his combination of supposedly sourced information and extreme WV bias mildly entertaining. He’s even occasionally correct about something.

        1. He’s right that the B12 leads the P12 and ACC in revenue. That should provide some stability for the B12. The problem, of course, is that the B10 and SEC are well ahead of most of the B12.

        2. His speculation about the B12 being the first to partner with an online company is interesting. I’d tend to think the P12 might be the first for that based on where Silicon Valley is located and what schools’ alumni run those companies.

        3. As I said, I think he’s dead wrong about the B10’s TV ratings. The networks don’t care if it’s 4 or 7 teams driving them as long as the numbers are high.

        4. His realignment speculation seems wrong to me, but not provably so.
        a. I don’t see the benefit of merging the B12 and P12 to either side. There are too many school with minimal value for the benefits to be worth the hassles. Combining the top 10-12 (UW, UO, Stanford, USC, CU, UA, UT, OU, KU, TT) in one conference would have financial advantages but I don’t think either side is willing or able to cut ties from that many rivals.

        b. I haven’t heard that WV is the ACC’s top target, but it’s possible. Even he agrees UConn is the most likely other option. WV’s academics might be an issue but they did just approve UL. How much worse (if any) is WV? And WV’s fan base is rabid if small. That’s better than schools like WF can manage.

        5. I think WV is a great geographic fit for the ACC but not a great cultural fit. But it could help the ACC in football and revenue while the ACC would help WV’s academics. It could be mutually beneficial despite WV making less money. WV might enjoy having an ACCN, too.


  89. Brian


    This guy wrote a series of 5 articles to describe his proposed 64-team CFB playoff, partially inspired by the World Cup. The page linked above contains links to all 5. As with any such proposal it has zero chance of ever happening, but it’s a long off-season.

    In a nutshell:

    16 8-team conferences (128 teams) split into 4 regions. The conferences are all regional and mix P5 and G5 teams. Everyone plays a 7 game round robin to start the season.

    You can see the conferences at https://fishduck.com/college-playoff-conferences-64-teams/

    For B10 teams:
    West Region:
    IA, NE – AF, CU, CSU, KU, KSU, ISU

    East/Southeast Region:
    UMD, RU – UConn, WV, Marshall, Navy, UVA, VT

    North/Northeast Region:
    IL, IU, PU – AR St, MO, NIU, Ball St, ND
    OSU – Akron, BGSU, UC, Kent St, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo
    PSU – Army, BC, Buffalo, UMass, Pitt, Syracuse, Temple

    Yes, that’s 6 different conferences with multiple major rivalries split up. He even mentions OSU vs MI as a major rivalry and how his system will enhance most rivalries. I think it’s safe to say he needs to rethink his conferences.

    Back to his plan. The top 4 teams in each conference advance to the 64 team playoff. The bottom 4 teams advance to the consolation playoff (they still have 5 more games to play too).

    1st round:
    Each #1 plays a #4 seed from another conference in the same region and #2s play #3s. The specific matchups are randomly assigned.

    2nd round:
    The 32 winners from round 1 are randomly paired up nationally for their 2nd game. Likewise with the 32 losers from round 1 as this is a double elimination tournament.

    3rd round:
    The 16 2-0 teams are paired randomly, as are the 32 1-1 teams and the 8 0-2 teams.

    4th round:
    8 3-0 teams play randomly, 24 2-1 teams play, 24 1-2 teams play, 8 0-3 teams play.

    5th round (12th game of the season):
    4 4-0 teams play, 16 3-1 teams play, 24 2-2 teams play, 16 1-3 teams play, 4 0-4 teams play.

    After 12 games:
    2 5-0 teams – go to championship
    10 4-1 teams – either go to the championship bracket or are bowl eligible
    20 3-2 teams – bowl eligible
    20 2-3 teams – maybe bowl eligible
    10 1-4 teams – done
    2 0-5 teams – done

    He gets less certain when he gets to the postseason and offers multiple options.

    1. 2 team NCG, others go to bowls
    2. 4 team playoff with the top 2 4-1 teams in, others go to bowls
    3. 6 team playoff (byes for 5-0 teams), others go to bowls
    4. 8 team playoff, others go to bowls

    At the very end he poses some questions and answers that start to address the many glaring logistical issues with this.


  90. Brian

    Random factoid from the twitterverse (@ SportsPac12, /SportsPac12/status/1001854853415452673)

    Combined Football & Basketball W% over the last decade:
    1. Ohio State .748
    2. Wisconsin .732
    3. FSU .722
    4t. Louisville .719
    4t. Michigan State .719
    6. Oregon .682
    7. Oklahoma .668
    8. Notre Dame .665
    9. West Virginia .661
    10. Cincinnati .654

    I assume he/they averaged the 2 W%. Still, I’m surprised to not see hoop kings like UK and UNC or football schools like AL or Clemson. They had to have been close based on their 1-sport dominance.


    1. Brian

      I’m happy for him as he’s very deserving. The only caveat is that the award has only been around since 1982 so some of the old greats never had a chance.


  91. Brian


    Which schools produce the most draft picks across all sports (weighted and unweighted) over the past 10 years.

    The Ultimate Draft Ranking comprises data from the past 10 draft classes in the following leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, MLL (lacrosse) and NFP (softball).

    With a major assist from Matt Williams and the team at ESPN Stats & Information, we gathered data from the past 10 drafts in every league in which U.S. collegiate players are fed into a top professional tier. Our formula? See the methodology below.

    Draft choices for the eight leagues that were part of our survey were weighted as part of a formula that took into account the size of the draft pool — this prevented Kentucky’s and Duke’s successes in the 60-pick NBA draft, for instance, from being dwarfed by colleges that produced more players for the 256-pick NFL draft.

    Professional leagues with fewer than 10 years worth of draft data (e.g. professional women’s lacrosse, hockey and soccer leagues) were not considered, nor were professional leagues that do not plausibly represent the top professional tier in North America (the NBA G League), nor were leagues with major variations between the college and professional games (men’s box lacrosse, indoor soccer).

    For this exercise, college baseball selections were limited to the top 10 rounds of the 40-round draft. All other draft classes were accounted for in their entirety.

    Colleges were given credit for players who were selected directly from their school into the draft — juniors hockey draftees with collegiate experience were not considered, nor were high school baseball draftees who attended college after being selected.

    1. UNC – 1706.6
    2. UMD – 1580.4
    3. Duke – 1482
    4. UK – 1351.9
    5. ND – 1291.7
    6. SU – 1206.7
    7. UCLA – 1180.4
    8. UF – 1152.1
    9. OU – 1110.9
    10. OSU – 1051.9

    Other B10:
    20. MI – 894.9

    Worst P5s:
    Washington State – 104. 7
    Texas Tech – 134
    Illlinois – 162.3
    TCU* – 180
    Kansas State – 199.7

    3 B12 schools and no Rutgers. Interesting.

    Top G5s:
    #12 UConn – 1032.4
    South Florida – 458.9
    Akron – 394.7
    Creighton – 358.9
    Georgetown – 284.6

    A good sign for UConn in their bid to join a P5.

    Total draftees:
    North Carolina -140
    Florida – 122
    LSU – 122
    Notre Dame – 109
    Maryland – 107
    UCLA – 107
    Ohio State – 105
    Florida State – 102
    Oklahoma – 102
    Alabama – 99


  92. Brian


    Predictions for every game all 14 B10 teams play this year. Read the article for the results of each game and records for everyone.

    The resulting final standings:

    1. Ohio State
    2. Michigan State
    T3. Michigan
    T3. Penn State
    5. Maryland
    6. Rutgers
    7. Indiana

    1. Wisconsin
    T2. Iowa
    T2. Nebraska
    T2. Northwestern
    T2. Purdue
    T6. Illinois
    T6. Minnesota


  93. Brian


    An article by a CTE researcher after the WSU QB’s suicide. Excerpt below:

    I wish I was more surprised by the diagnosis. One thing I consistently struggle with is that nearly all of the college and professional football players whose brains we’ve looked at had the disease. And even if you factor in who the sample is coming from, families should not be right 95% of the time at guessing this.

    This is the third active college football player that we know about that had CTE. We’ve seen CTE in football players who just played a few seasons. So we don’t know where the floor is. But it’s safe to assume that one season of football in theory could give you CTE. The risk is not zero after one season. It just goes up each additional year you play.

    We’ve seen it in kids as young as 17. But now, we’re talking about the youngest when he stopped playing football was 14. We recently had a case of a young man who had post-concussion syndrome in eighth grade. He played five years of football, seven years of ice hockey, baseball. But had never really played a sport after the eighth grade. He never got better from his post-concussion syndrome and he also died by suicide at the age of 20. He had Stage 1 as well.

    There’s two discussions after stories like this publish. We have to divide them. One is the discussion about whether his CTE was caused by playing football. And there’s less intelligent pushback on that these days. But it’s still strong because people see the game under threat, and there are a lot of people who are more focused on protecting this abstract concept of the game than the real concept of the people who play the game. It wasn’t that long ago that the NFL was in complete denial and just said CTE doesn’t exist and that was the stance of a lot of people until the last five years.

    But where there’s a really fair debate is: did CTE play a role in the decisions that Tyler and others made that led to their suicide? And we can’t answer that. But it’s absolutely something we should discuss. Because there’s a known and incredibly strong relationship between concussions and increased risk of suicide. Most studies peg it as a three to four times greater risk of suicide, just from one concussion.


  94. Brian


    The B10 wants the NCAA to develop an injury reporting system since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting nationwide.

    The conference’s athletic directors proposed to the NCAA Football Oversight Committee in June what would be a first-ever weekly national injury reporting mandate. The ADs claim an injury report is necessary to protect the integrity of the sport.

    With the cross-country growth of sports betting in its infancy, it is becoming imperative that injury information be accurate and widely available.

    “We have to be more transparent,” Ohio State AD Gene Smith said during a National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics panel last week. “In football, we’re going to kill this [idea of] gamesmanship around injuries.”

    Smith added: “We don’t know if we want to report as many days as the NFL, but clearly on Mondays if somebody is injured from Saturday and you know they’re not going to play the following Saturday because they broke their leg, why not just say that?”

    Sources tell CBS Sports that the oversight committee was receptive but tabled further consideration of the measure following its June meeting. It’s not clear how soon the proposal could become permanent legislation as it first needs to be reviewed and approved by the committee.

    “It would be a modified version of what the NFL has in place,” Smith said. “If any of our members have any ideas, we need to get that in place now. I see some of these things being implemented to be pretty simple.”

    The main issue is how to get around student privacy laws — most notably the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Essentially, athletes would have to consent to have their injury information released publicly.

    “It could be interesting,” Guerrero added. “If you don’t get 100 percent of your players willing to allow you to do it [then it could be a problem].”

    Administrators across the country are concerned not only about the new legal landscape but the dissemination of accurate information from their programs. Several at the NACDA convention complained that sports gambling puts more pressure on them and their schools.

    The NCAA said last week it would not seek so-called “integrity fees” from sports gambling. The idea of these fees gained traction after the Supreme Court decision. Some schools hinted they might want part of a state’s gambling “handle” to beef up compliance staff.

    To date, Marshall and West Virginia are the only FBS programs that have come to an agreement with their state government for an integrity fee.

    I don’t see HIPAA as a huge problem because you don’t need to release details. Simply report the players’ status for the game (likely, doubtful, out) and maybe a vague description like hockey uses (upper body injury, lower body injury, etc).


  95. Brian


    The sex abuse scandal at OSU (Dr. Richard Strauss, team doctor for wrestling from the mid-70s to late 90s) is getting worse. Former assistant coach and current Congressman Jim Jordan has been accused of knowing about the abuse and ignoring it.

    Jordan, who was assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1986 to 1994, has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the abuse until former students began speaking out this spring, and continued to deny it on Tuesday. His denials, however, have been met with skepticism and anger from some former members of the wrestling team.

    Three former wrestlers told NBC News that it was common knowledge that Strauss showered regularly with the students and inappropriately touched them during appointments, and said it would have been impossible for Jordan to be unaware; one wrestler said he told Jordan directly about the abuse.

    Former head coach Russ Hellickson, Jordan’s mentor, said in a recent video — made by Mike DiSabato, a former wrestler — that Hellickson had told Strauss that he was being too “hands on” with students.

    DiSabato, whose allegations against Strauss prompted Ohio State to open its investigation, called Jordan a “liar.”

    “I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” DiSabato said. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”

    Dunyasha Yetts, who wrestled at Ohio State in 1993 and 1994, said he and others told Jordan about Strauss.

    “I remember I had a thumb injury and went into Strauss’ office and he started pulling down my wrestling shorts,” he said. “I’m like, what the f— are you doing? And I went out and told [former head coach] Russ [Hellickson] and Jim what happened. I was not having it. They went in and talked to Strauss.”

    Yetts said he and his teammates talked to Jordan numerous times about Strauss.

    “For God’s sake, Strauss’s locker was right next to Jordan’s and Jordan even said he’d kill him if he tried anything with him,” Yetts said.

    Nothing like getting a Congressman involved to ratchet things up.


    1. bob sykes

      tOSU President Drake has sent the whole university two or three emails the last few months soliciting information regarding Strauss. Strauss died 13 years ago, so he cannot be punished, but some of his colleagues are still around, and they might be liable.


  96. Brian


    The best teams ever for each of the B10 members with descriptions. I think he has a bit of a recency bias.

    IL – 1914*
    IN – 1945 (only undefeated season)
    IA – 1958* (only national title)
    UMD – 1951 (non-title year but won a title in 1953)
    MI – 1947*
    MSU – 1965* (lost their bowl, though)
    MN – 1940*
    NE – 1995*
    NW – 1995 (1st B10 title since 1936, 1st winning record since 1971)
    OSU – 2014*
    PSU – 1994 (non-title year but it’s debatable)
    PU – 1943 (non-title year but claims a title in 1931)
    RU – 2006 (first bowl win ever)
    WI – 2017

    * – national title winner

    IN, NW, PU and RU have never won a national title.


    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Brian – without stirring the pot too much, it should be noted that Iowa’s 1958 title was only recognized by the FWAA. My LSU Tigers won the AP, UPI, and every other title that year.


      1. Brian

        I know, but Iowa claims it and that’s the only title they claim. Many older title years have multiple teams claiming them.


      2. bob sykes

        The best year for national champions was 1970. Ohio State, Texas and Nebraska all were ranked national championship by one agency or another.

        Now, isn’t that more interesting than any silly playoff system?


      1. Brian

        But that wasn’t the only game. They played again the following week and Princeton won 8-0. That makes the cumulative score 12-6 in favor of Princeton in their 2 games. If anyone won the title, it was Princeton.

        But since there were only 2 teams and the rules were based on soccer (no running with the ball, etc), nobody gets a college football national title for that season.


  97. Brian


    UMD was subpoenaed twice as part of the FBI investigation into college hoops.

    The University of Maryland confirmed Friday that it has received two grand jury subpoenas stemming from the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.

    In a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports and other media outlets, the university said it received the first subpoena on March 15 and the second on June 29.

    “The University complied with the subpoenas by providing responsive records,” the university said in the statement. “None of the responsive records shows evidence of any violations of applicable laws or NCAA bylaws by University coaches, staff or players. The University has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing federal investigation.”

    One subpoena was about a player and a coach. The second was about a recruit.


  98. Brian

    Click to access ConcussionAbstractAAOS2017.pdf

    The most dangerous high school sport per capita for concussions as a percentage of total injuries is girls soccer, at 27%. Football is at 24% with girls basketball just behind at 23% and boys soccer at 22%.

    To our knowledge, this is the first study to report that concussions now account for a higher proportion of injuries in girls soccer than boys football. The concussion rate for girls soccer is also increasing rapidly, and is now nearly tied with boys football and 3-fold higher than boys soccer.

    How long until girls soccer bans headers and/or makes the girls wear helmets?


    1. bob sykes

      Someone has proposed eliminating the header in soccer as a large percentage of long-term soccer players, especially the pros, have some sort of brain damage.

      Helmets will not prevent concussions. Concussions come from sudden head accelerations, and helmets have only a small effect on that. Helmets prevent head lacerations and some skull fractures.


      1. Brian

        Soccer helmets (some goalies wear them) are soft, not hard like football helmets. They are designed to cushion impacts against the goal frame or from accidental collisions. As far as I know it is unknown whether they actually reduce concussions or not. I doubt they make them worse, though, so no harm in wearing one.


  99. Brian


    All week, SI.com is running a series of articles about the BCS. Part 1 is the basic history leading up to and through the BCS years

    All week, SI will look back at a system that drew a bright line between college football’s castes, trusted computer algorithms to rank teams and eventually ticked off enough people to bring about the creation of the College Football Playoff. The BCS was the bridge between the poll era and the CFP, and it had a profound effect on the game and the power structure of major college athletics. To understand why a consortium of bowl games and conferences caused so much drama and so much change in a 16-season period, it helps to look back at the landscape 10 years prior to its formation before examining how the BCS reshaped the national landscape.

    After crowning split national champs following the 1990 and ’91 seasons, college football’s power brokers began trying to create a group of conferences and bowls that would make it easier to match No. 1 and No. 2 more often at season’s end. The result was the Bowl Coalition, which matched SEC champ Alabama and Big East champ Miami in the Sugar Bowl at the end of its first season but dissolved and reformed as the Bowl Alliance prior to the 1996 season. The Coalition and the Alliance suffered from the same fatal flaw: Neither could get the Rose Bowl on board. That meant the Big Ten and Pac-10 champs remained off limits. But by the time the 1996 season kicked off, the Big Ten and Pac-10 had already agreed to something called the Super Alliance. After the 1998 season, some combination of two teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC would play for the national title. “It was important to us to have a national championship within the context of the traditional bowl system,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told the Chicago Sun-Times in July 1996. “We thought this was an important thing, to make the bowl system healthier, because we don’t want an NFL-style playoff. But we understood America’s appetite for a 1–2 game.”

    The first season of the BCS had delivered exactly what it promised—a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup and a national title that didn’t need to be split. The next few years delivered mostly satisfactory results. (Nebraska getting into the title game over Oregon in 2001 was largely ignored because whoever played Miami was going to get pasted.) The bulk of the complaints came from members of the “non-BCS” conferences, who hated being considered second-class citizens. Then things got wonky.

    The end of the 2003 season forced a change in the ranking formula that kept the computers as one-third of the mix but reduced the number of computer rankings to six and called for the formula to toss a team’s highest and lowest computer ranks. Meanwhile, the assault on the BCS continued from the leagues outside the chosen six. Threats of legal action and calls for congressional intervention scared the BCS conferences enough to throw the other five leagues a crumb; beginning with the 2004 season, if a team from a non-BCS league could finish in the top 12 of the BCS standings, it would earn an automatic berth into a BCS bowl. If BCS supporters thought this would satisfy everyone, they were wrong. The events of the 2004 season would ultimately bring about the demise of the BCS.

    You’ll learn quite a bit more later this week about the polls in the aftermath of the 2004 season, but here’s the Reader’s Digest version. The Associated Press, realizing media members shouldn’t be directly affecting the story they’re reporting on (who plays for college football’s national title), pulled its ranking from the BCS formula in late December 2004. Meanwhile, fans and media demanded that coaches poll voters reveal their final ballots after Cal was denied an at-large berth and Texas was awarded a berth in the Rose Bowl.

    The changes did produce less controversy in the title game selections, but the BCS produced arguably its greatest unintended effect during these middle years. The decision to favor six conferences over the other five had clearly delineated college football’s castes. The only way to change a program’s fortune was to somehow win a golden ticket into one of the chosen leagues.

    … Some commissioners and athletic directors realized that the real power lay not in membership in a BCS conference but in having a television deal so valuable that a league couldn’t be left out of the power structure no matter how much it changed. When the BCS formed, the ACC and Big East were essentially equals. But ACC commissioner John Swofford, who is in fact a ninja, realized two things: Football would drive every decision, and he needed to shore up his league’s flanks to avoid getting picked apart as power conferences sought bigger TV deals near the end of the new century’s first decade.

    Conference realignment raged in the background of the 2010 and ’11 seasons. The BCS had survived a challenge from Slive and Swofford—who wanted either a four-team playoff or an extra game to determine a champion—in 2008 and remained in place until the end of the ’13 season. But 2012 would bring another vote, and one final BCS controversy would doom the system and usher in the playoff era.

    A day after the [2011] bowl selections were announced, Big 12 athletic directors voted in a straw poll to support scrapping the BCS in favor of a four-team playoff. The Big East had been ripped to shreds, so its vote didn’t really count anymore. With the ACC, Big 12 and SEC in favor of a playoff and new Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott relatively agnostic about the postseason, the BCS stood no chance. It would be replaced by a system that is more fun, more interesting, more lucrative and just as controversial.


  100. Brian


    Dennis Dodd’s annual hot seat rating for all I-A coaches.

    His scale:

    Rating – What it means (# of Coaches)
    5 – Win or be fired (6)
    4 – Start improving now (10)
    3 – Pressure is mounting (19)
    2 – All good … for now (42)
    1 – Safe and secure (41)
    0 – Untouchable (11)

    IL – 5 (was a 2 last year)
    RU – 4 (1)
    MD – 3 (1)
    IN – 2 (1)
    MN – 2 (1)
    MI – 2 (0)
    IA – 1
    MSU – 1
    PSU – 1
    PU – 1
    WI – 1
    NW – 0 (1)
    NE – 0
    OSU – 0

    P5 coaches in trouble:
    5 – KU’s Beatty, IL’s Smith (he gives him a 4 in the article below)
    4 – RU’s Ash, TT’s Kingsbury, CU’s McIntyre

    See https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/hot-seat-rankings-five-college-football-coaches-with-their-jobs-on-the-line-in-2018/ for details on them.


  101. Brian


    NJ.com did a bit of a Big Ten Expansion Index of their own. They break down 16 candidates to join the B10 in the future. They are realistic when giving the reasons why a move is unlikely to happen for each school. they bring up some good discussion points, too.

    The schools (see article for details):
    OU and UT
    Others – AZ, Army, Buffalo, Cincinnati, CU, ISU, KU, Navy, Rice, Temple, UConn, UMass, WV

    The basically dismiss most of them out of hand in their comments about them, which is a good thing. Out of all of these, I think we’d agree only 4 (ND, UT, OU, KU) have any realistic hope of joining any time soon. Most of the others have glaring issues that would keep them out.

    But in their comments about ND, they basically add several more candidates.

    Due to its status as a full ACC member for all sports but football (where it is basically a de facto member), Notre Dame is part of the ACC’s grant of media rights deal, which extends through the 2035-36 academic year and all but boxes in all ACC teams in the meantime. That’s why ACC schools (and SEC schools, which also have a long-term GOR) are not serious candidates to be picked off if/when the carousel starts spinning again. The SEC’s main television deal with CBS will be up after 2023, though.

    If something unforeseen was to happen, though, and ACC schools became realistically available, the Big Ten (and SEC) would likely pounce. The SEC would likely target Duke and North Carolina (both AAU members) as its top priorities. The Big Ten could do the same, or angle for Georgia Tech (another AAU member) and N.C. State in an effort to open up the Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham markets.

    Boston College, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech could also be potential Big Ten targets, but those schools would be second-tier candidates. Pitt and Virginia are also AAU members.

    ACC – Duke, UNC, GT, NCSU, BC, Pitt, SU, UVA, VT

    I don’t see any interest in NCSU, BC or Pitt at this point. SU would have a small chance (slightly above UConn), hurt by their shift away from AAU priorities.

    VT is a borderline case to me. They are the better football brand in the state and probably have more fans but they aren’t AAU (getting close, though). On the other hand UVA has the academic power the B10 loves as well as a rivalry with UMD. I’m not sure either really helps bring a new major market (Newport News?, Richmond?) but the state is valuable. Would it be worth taking both to lock down VA and keep the SEC further south? Maybe, if UNC and Duke won’t join. I think the UVA/GT pair is problematic due to isolation of GT.

    My guess is that the B10 would prefer UVA and UNC out of all of these but would consider Duke if UNC won’t come or demands them. I think the distance to GT is too much to overcome without a school in NC. I also don’t see a NC school without a VA school. They’d be more likely to come as a package anyway.

    Some other fun points under UT/OU:

    No one would turn down a Oklahoma-Texas duo. But what happens if Texas wants the Big Ten and Oklahoma wants the SEC? Does the Big Ten take Texas Tech as a cost of doing business? Oklahoma State and its T. Boone Pickens money will probably be able to strong-arm its way into the mix as well. It’s also possible, and perhaps likely, that the Pac-12 will need these schools a heck of a lot more than the Big Ten will, and it will be able to present a desperate deal the Big Ten doesn’t want to match. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott (if he can keep his job long enough) has a small advantage in that his league has not yet grown to 14 teams. He has extra room to take on inventory.

    I don’t see TT or OkSU as viable for the B10. They don’t need UT or OU that badly. The P12 could be desperate enough to make an offer the B10 wouldn’t match, but the P12 can’t offer the money the B10 can. KU is a viable partner and maybe Rice if another TX school is demanded.

    The P12 has the advantage of being smaller, but more growth means splitting their pie more ways.

    Their conclusions:

    After running through the list of candidates, one takeaway stood out: There aren’t many slam dunk potential expansion options out there for the Big Ten. Unless it feels it has to add members to keep up, there’s a strong chance the league may decide it’s better off standing pat for the time being.

    Oklahoma and Texas would be major additions, but it’s debatable whether either is a true cultural fit for the Big Ten, and the competition would be fierce with the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC also likely in the mix. The complications that would come with adding one or both (i.e. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech) also have to be taken into account. It seems more likely Oklahoma and Texas won’t join the Big Ten than those schools will. And once they’re off the board, is anyone else who is available really worth it?

    All things being equal, the Big Ten is likely better off trying to expand south than west. That would mean poaching more ACC programs, though, and that will likely be an impossible lift for years to come. There could be enticing options on the table if the Big 12 or Pac-12 implode, but would Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, et al really boost the conference’s drawing power when it comes to media negotiations? Because that’s the only thing that really matters. The Big Ten has to make a tremendous amount more cash to expand. No school is going to sign off on roughly the same pie being divided 16 ways instead of 14.

    The answer to that question? Probably not. Which is why if we had to venture a guess, the Big Ten is more likely to stay at 14 members going forward than grow to 16 or more. If a meteor hits the landscape again and things radically change? All bets are off. But for now, the status quo – at least as far as the Big Ten is concerned – seems pretty stable.


  102. Brian


    CBS’s rankings of the best schools in college sports last year.

    The National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has been ranking athletic programs for years by weighing every sport equally, meaning a football national title is worth the same number of points (100) as a women’s water polo title. We tweaked the formula in 2013, providing additional weight toward sports with more broad fan bases and media interest. We rate every FBS school in three sports — football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball — along with two “wild cards” among the school’s most successful spectator sports: baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, hockey and wrestling.

    The weighted formula puts 2.5 times as much emphasis on football compared to women’s basketball and the “wild cards;” men’s basketball is worth twice as many points. Teams that did not finish in the final AP Top 25 in football but played in a bowl were awarded 62.5 points (25 x 2.5). Three teams — Buffalo, Western Michigan and Texas-San Antonio — received 50 points for being bowl eligible but not playing in a bowl. Teams that made the NIT were given 20 points (10 x 2), while WNIT teams received 10 points. For all titles settled via bracket, point totals were based upon how many teams participated. All champions in the other sports received 100 points for a national title. For example: Florida State received 100 points in softball, while the second-place finisher received 90 points.

    That means national titles across the board would yield a perfect 750, just for comparison.

    1. OSU – 510.50
    2. AL – 492.25
    3. OU – 477.50
    4. MI – 453.00
    5. Duke – 445.50
    6. ND
    7. Clemson
    8. FSU
    9. Stanford
    10. UGA

    11. MSU
    13. PSU
    25. WI
    27. PU
    37. NW
    48. NE
    50. UMD
    52. IA
    55. MN
    68. IN
    69. IL
    82. RU

    Worst P5s:
    119. GT
    95. Pitt
    91. MS
    83. Vandy
    82. RU
    81. CU
    74. Cal
    66. ISU

    This is OSU’s second title in these rankings having also won in 2014-15.

    The result? Despite not winning a national title over the course of the campaign, Ohio State (510.50 points) earned the honor for the second time in the past four years.

    The Buckeyes accomplished this feat in large part due to a tremendous football season with the program finishing 12-2 and No. 5 in the final AP Top 25 with a Cotton Bowl victory and Big Ten title. Ohio State men’s basketball (25-7, No. 17 AP) and women’s basketball (28-7, No. 10 AP) each reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The wrestling team finished as a national runner-up, while the men’s volleyball team reached the national semifinal. The men’s and women’s ice hockey teams reached the Frozen Four, and both baseball and softball made the NCAA Tournament.


  103. Brian


    A first look at the consensus pre-season poll. The final version of this won’t come out until mid-August, obviously.

    Each year, we try and take all of the available preseason top 25 polls and mash them together for our Preseason Consensus Poll. The premise is we use each of these polls as a “vote” for our consensus top 25. Teams ranked No. 1 get 25 points and so on down to one point for those ranked 25th.

    In the first edition today, we have 23 different polls. We have polls from Phil Steele’s College Football, The Sporting News (Bill Bender), Lindy’s Sports, Athlon Sports, Street & Smith’s, ESPN.com (Mark Schlabach), SI.com (Chris Johnson), CBSSports.com (Dennis Dodd), McIlleceSports.com, Landof10.com (Wayne Staats), BleacherReport.com (David Kenyon), the Detroit Free Press, Vegas Insider.com (Brian Edwards), USA Today College Football (Paul Myerberg), Yahoo.com (Dr. Saturday), SaturdayDownSouth.com (Connor O’Gara), SaturdayBlitz.com (Zach Bigalke), TheSpun.com (Matt Hladik), CollegeFootballNews.com (Pete Fiutak), SBNation.com (Bill Connelly), FloFootballcom (Kolby Paxton), ESPN.com’s Football Power Index and ChatSports.com (Mitchell Renz).

    1. Alabama (13-1 in 2017; 15 first-place votes), 565 voting points
    2. Clemson (12-2; six first-place votes), 539 points
    3. Ohio State (12-2; two first-place votes), 517 points
    4. Georgia (13-2), 493 points
    5. Wisconsin (13-1), 450 points
    6. (tie) Oklahoma (12-2), 446 points
    6. (tie) Washington (10-3), 446 points
    8. Miami (Fla.) (10-2), 375 points
    9. Auburn (10-4), 359 points
    10. Penn State (11-2), 356 points
    11. Michigan State (10-3), 314 points
    12. Michigan (8-5), 299 points
    13. Stanford (9-5), 298 points
    14. Notre Dame (10-3), 261 points
    15. USC (11-3), 214 points
    16. Virginia Tech (9-4), 178 points
    17. Florida State (7-6), 157 points
    18. Mississippi State (9-4), 155 points
    19. TCU (11-3), 144 points
    20. West Virginia (7-6), 131 points
    21. LSU (9-4), 106 points
    22. Boise State (11-3), 103 points
    23. Central Florida (13-0), 98 points
    24. Texas (7-6), 91 points
    25. Oklahoma State (10-3), 75 points

    Other B10:
    33t. Northwestern – 9
    39t. Nebraska – 4
    47t. Iowa – 1


    1. Brian

      That is a good piece. There were a couple of long pieces written about Maryland’s move to the B10 that hit on the same points. You have to think someone will write a book about this era of expansion and include all of these stories.

      One small quote that shows why BYU will struggle to ever make a P5 conference:

      Hill: It was not a requirement to upgrade our facilities. … It was not required. Nothing was required except playing on Sunday and the money we gave up.

      I fully support BYU standing by their religious beliefs and refusing to play on Sundays, but this just confirms that P5 conferences have zero tolerance for a newbie causing them a logistics problem like that.

      The same site had a follow-up piece with some extra quotes.

      Chris Hill on some of the commitments Utah made to enter the conference:

      “… But it moved at warp speed. It was one of those things where you just didn’t want to have it out there where people would go, “Oh you can’t go. How can you leave the Mountain West? How can you leave BYU?” All of that stuff might have caused an upheaval where we wouldn’t have been attractive. Or “How are you going to play on Sunday?” All of that stuff. They asked us will you play on Sunday, and the answer was yes., if that’s a requirement. We didn’t like to play on Sunday, but at the end of the day, we were going to be in the Mountain West not playing on Sunday or be in the Pac-12 and play occasionally on Sundays. And people don’t know we were already doing that in some of our other sports anyways. It was a whirlwind in your head and how things move.”

      Thing how different things might be now if Utah had refused to play on Sundays. Would the P12 not have expanded or would they have found a different partner for CU?


      1. Doug

        Speaking of What If’s. What would the football landscape look like had Paterno’s dream of an Eastern All Sports Conference materialized

        When expansion started it would be the Big East raiding the ACC instead of the other way around.

        So a 16 team Big East could conceivably look like this:
        West Virginia
        NC State
        Notre Dame (If they don’t join then Clemson)

        The first 8 being the original members.


        1. Brian

          Okay, let’s set the scene. We’ll say the 8-team ECC formed in 1985.

          ACC – GT, Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Duke, WF, UVA, UMD
          B8 – CU, ISU, KU, KSU, MO, NE, OU, OkSU
          B10 – IL, IN, IA, MI, MSU, MN, NW, OSU, PU, WI
          P10 – UW, WSU, UO, OrSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, UA, ASU
          SEC – AL, AU, UF, UGA, UK, LSU, MS, MsSU, TN, VU
          SWC – AR, Baylor, UH, Rice, SMU, UT, TT, TAMU, TCU
          Ind. – PSU, Pitt, BC, SU, RU, Temple, WV, ND, SC, FSU, Miami, UC, UL, VT, Army, Navy, …

          ECC – PSU, Pitt, BC, SU, RU, Temple, WV, UMD
          ACC – GT, Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Duke, WF, UVA, ???
          Ind. – ND, SC, FSU, Miami, UC, UL, VT, Army, Navy, …

          The one conference member they would’ve stolen in JoePa’s plan was UMD, dropping the ACC to 7 teams. Presumably the ACC would’ve looked to fill that hole. The big question is which independents might be willing to join a conference. By 1993, almost all the major independents had joined a conference in the real timeline with the formation of the BE (8 teams) plus SC, FSU and PSU all finding homes over 3 years. The B10 grabbing PSU started that cascade. Would the formation of the ECC have made it happen even sooner? I’m guessing so.

          Would SC have rejoined the ACC? Would FSU and/or Miami have joined? What about another Metro conference school like UL or VT (GT and FSU both came from the Metro to the ACC)? This is a hard call to me and all the other dominoes depend on it. I’ll say FSU became #8.

          ACC – GT, Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Duke, WF, UVA, FSU
          Ind. – ND, SC, Miami, UC, UL, VT, Army, Navy, …

          I believe this would’ve lead to more changes as independents became nervous and the B10 looked to grow.

          ECC – PSU, Pitt, BC, SU, RU, Temple, WV, UMD, VT, Miami
          ACC – GT, Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Duke, WF, UVA, FSU
          B8 – CU, ISU, KU, KSU, MO, NE, OU, OkSU, TT, TAMU
          B10 – IL, IN, IA, MI, MSU, MN, NW, OSU, PU, WI, UT
          P10 – UW, WSU, UO, OrSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, UA, ASU
          SEC – AL, AU, UF, UGA, UK, LSU, MS, MsSU, TN, VU, AR, SC
          Ind. – ND, …

          Now things get interesting. The SEC expands to 12 as usual but the SWC falls apart too since the B10 is looking to grow at the same time as the B12 is trying to form. Remember, UT talked with the B10 about joining in the early 90s but was told no because the B10 had a moratorium on expansion for 5 years after adding PSU. I’ll assume ND stays independent.

          This leaves the SEC as the only conference with a CCG and eventually the same factors as drove realignment for real hit again.

          ACC – GT, Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Duke, WF, UVA, FSU, PSU, UMD, VT, Miami
          B12 – ISU, KSU, OkSU, TT, UC, UL, Pitt, BC, SU, RU, Temple, WV
          B10 – IL, IN, IA, MI, MSU, MN, NW, OSU, PU, WI, UT, OU, NE, KU
          P10 – UW, WSU, UO, OrSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, UA, ASU, CU, Utah
          SEC – AL, AU, UF, UGA, UK, LSU, MS, MsSU, TN, VU, AR, SC, TAMU, MO
          Ind. – ND, …

          The ECC dies just like the Big East did because it lacks enough CFB power. Instead its top members make a stronger ACC. Since the B10 got UT instead of PSU, they continue to grow west as the B12 dies. UT had been asking for rivals and the B10 is happy to add 3 kings (2 FB, 1 MBB). The SEC gets its same pair because TAMU wants away from UT while OU doesn’t, especially with NE in the mix as well.

          Obviously this is only one of many possible paths, but I think the ECC was doomed as a concept because there just weren’t many good football programs in the northeast after the 70s.


          1. Doug

            My question with your 2010 scenario is splitting PSU and Pitt. The reason they split was Paterino was upset and rightly so with Pitt for not being on board with the formation of the ECC which led to PSU joining the Big 10. Prior to that PSU-Pitt had a good relationship. Paternio was very accommodating to Pitt agreeing to play at Pitt for 3 of the 4 Tony Dorsett years. Being a WPA guy I’m certain that PSU and Pitt would have stayed together whether it be the ACC or the Big 12. Also I’m sure PSU, Pitt, WV and SU would have preferred to stay together and if your talking 16 team conference they would have.


          2. Brian


            “My question with your 2010 scenario is splitting PSU and Pitt.”

            I did that for one reason – money. Adding to the footprint for conference networks was the driving force at that time. PSU is the higher-value target of the two and a second school in the state of PA adds nothing financially. PSU and Pitt were clearly willing to be separated in our timeline so I think it would’ve happened in this scenario, too. In my scenario the ACC was the stronger of the two conferences so ECC members didn’t have a ton of leverage.

            “The reason they split was Paterino was upset and rightly so with Pitt for not being on board with the formation of the ECC which led to PSU joining the Big 10. Prior to that PSU-Pitt had a good relationship. Paternio was very accommodating to Pitt agreeing to play at Pitt for 3 of the 4 Tony Dorsett years.”

            Get 10 PSU or Pitt fansa together and you’ll get 12 different stories about what happened and why. The groups don’t agree about who has the right to be upset or much of anything else. I’ll let Pitt and PSU fans argue that.

            “Being a WPA guy I’m certain that PSU and Pitt would have stayed together whether it be the ACC or the Big 12.”

            If it was their choice, perhaps so. But if only one of them got offered a spot in a better league, would they have refused it to stay with their partner? Nobody else has done that and you never heard any talk of PSU trying to get Pitt into the B10 in the recent expansion.

            “Also I’m sure PSU, Pitt, WV and SU would have preferred to stay together and if your talking 16 team conference they would have.”

            Again, that assumes the option was on the table. In my scenario the ACC stopped at 12 because they were strong enough. I’m not convinced any of the B12 East members offered enough value that the ACC would have invited them. I don’t think they would’ve chased markets quite as much as they actually did if they had the football power they do in my scenario.

            Might another round of realignment get the ACC to 14 as well? Sure. But it’s not clear to me that the value would be there for them without ND.


          3. vp81955

            There was a bit of talk at Maryland in the ’70s and ’80s about moving to an eastern all-sports conference were one ever founded. The Terps had regularly played PSU, SU and WVU in football for years and occasionally had series with Pitt and BC. At the time, the ACC had a lousy football brand, but compensated for it in men’s basketball. Would SU have filled in for UNC, NCSU and Duke in that department? Perhaps, but I’m skeptical.


          4. Brian


            “There was a bit of talk at Maryland in the ’70s and ’80s about moving to an eastern all-sports conference were one ever founded.”

            I could see that. UMD was always on the edge of the footprint with lots of interaction with the northern schools. Still, the money wasn’t big enough back then to drive UMD to leave their old rivals so I doubt they would’ve done it. Every school in the ACC outside of NC (and UVA) complains because of how Tobacco Road has dominated the conference politically. I think it took the more recent change in culture in the MD and DC area (much less southern than before) combined with the financial problems to make the move possible. But that’s coming from a pure outsider.

            “At the time, the ACC had a lousy football brand, but compensated for it in men’s basketball. Would SU have filled in for UNC, NCSU and Duke in that department? Perhaps, but I’m skeptical.”

            Me, too. You can’t easily replace that sort of history of success and the rivalries.


          5. Brian

            Just some context for UMD in 1985.

            FB games against other teams through 1984 (all teams with 20+ games are included):

            ACC members:
            UVA – 49
            UNC – 47
            NCSU – 40
            WF – 33
            Clemson – 33
            Duke – 28
            GT – 0 (joined ACC in football in 1983 – ACC played 5 conference games with 8 members)
            Total = 230 (32.9 per school on average)

            ECC members:
            SU – 29
            PSU – 28
            WV – 22
            RU – 7
            Pitt – 2
            BC – 0
            Temple – 0
            Total = 88 (12.6 per school on average)

            SC – 28 (former ACC member)
            VT – 24
            VMI – 23
            Washington & Lee – 20

            MBB games against other teams from 1949-1985 (all teams with 20+ games are included):

            ACC members:
            UVA – 80
            Duke – 79
            UNC – 77
            Clemson – 77
            NCSU – 75
            WF – 70
            GT – 16 (joined ACC in hoops in 1979)
            Total = 474 (67.7 per school on average)

            ECC members:
            WV – 21
            PSU – 14
            SU – 5
            Pitt – 4
            BC – 3
            RU – 2
            Temple – 2
            Total = 51 (7.3 per school on average)

            SC – 44 (former ACC member)
            Georgetown – 44
            GW – 39
            Navy – 33

            Especially when you value hoops, it’s not even close. UMD had no hoops history with any of the ECC members and football history with just 3 of them. It’s really hard to see the alumni or school supporting such a move. Joining the B10 (a similar move to a league with few ties) required massive financial incentives (huge debt, cutting teams, gigantic financial disparity between the B10 and ACC, getting up front money to make the switch). And this ignores the entire academic side of the issue. Leaving UVA, UNC, Duke, etc to join WV and company? That would be a tough sell to the faculty and president.


          6. Doug

            “Get 10 PSU or Pitt fans together and you’ll get 12 different stories about what happened and why. The groups don’t agree about who has the right to be upset or much of anything else. I’ll let Pitt and PSU fans argue that.”

            Pitt fans can come up with all the revisionist history they want but it was Pitt who decided not to join. At the time they were riding high in football and didn’t want to share revenue with anyone. Here’s the issue revisited by the Pittsburgh PG. http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/2007/11/04/The-Big-East-question-revisited-25-years-later/stories/200711040221

            PSU approached the Big 10 about joining. People forget PSU was not welcomed into the Big 10 when the announcement was made. Everyone was blinsided. Read about it here. https://www.blackshoediaries.com/2010/6/22/1523717/penn-state-history-joining-the-big.

            Their poor treatment had a number of PA folks saying PSU should say screw the Big 10, PSU should apply to the ACC. Since PSU only was accepted by one vote. They could easily have been rejected. Then their next option would have been to approach the ACC. Boy that would have changed things.

            Since it was handled so badly, I’m certain that when Delany announced that the Big 10 was looking to expand he stated they would be very open about it.


          7. Brian


            “Pitt fans can come up with all the revisionist history they want”

            I believe they’d accuse PSU fans of the exact same thing.

            “but it was Pitt who decided not to join.”

            Nobody decided to join. The other 7 could have formed the ECC without Pitt and grabbed someone else for #8. I think part of the problem is that all the schools were used to being independents and they struggled with the cooperation and trust a good conference requires. more on that below.

            “At the time they were riding high in football and didn’t want to share revenue with anyone.”

            I’ve heard PSU accused of a similar thing. See below.

            Basically, Pitt chose to join a basketball conference and stay independent in football. If they’d known the Supreme Court was about to stop the NCAA from controlling TV rights and foresaw the huge growth in football money they might have done things differently. But back then hoops was more on par with football for money and independents were common and successful. The move worked well for Pitt in all but football, and the team might have fallen off after Sherrill left anyway.

            And remember this all happened only because the Big East (before Pitt joined) unofficially rejected PSU as a hoops member first. That drove PSU to suggest the ECC.


            And for a different perspective, read post #62 on this. I assume he’s a Pitt fan.

            This thread is full of all kinds of incorrect assumptions and revisionist history. The situation was a lot more complex than many of you seem to realize. The alliances described in the initial post are all incorrect. That’s not what happened at all.

            Of course, how you view the situation is largely dependent on the school for which you cheer. However, I can tell you that the part that never gets enough discussion is how Penn State resigned from the Eastern 8 at the 1978 league meetings. That was a big deal and people always just gloss right over it.

            Basically, to make a long story short, Joe Paterno, who at the time was Penn State’s official athletic director rather than just their de facto athletic director, as he would be for the rest of his life; was frustrated with certain elements of the league and was throwing his weight around regarding some rules changes. He essentially told the assembled group that if they did not make certain rules changes – which I believe had to do with eligibility – Penn State was leaving the league and going independent in all sports – just like Notre Dame at the time.

            Well, they had a vote and the vote went against Penn State’s wishes. True to his word, Paterno immediately withdrew Penn State from the conference. However, they did it by slipping the resignation announcement press release under the doors of the assembled media and league membership as they were sleeping. It was very much like the Mayflower moving truck incident regarding the Baltimore Colts…and it pissed off a LOT of people and eroded a ton of trust.

            So you can imagine when three or four years later that same GOOF is talking about forming an all sports league how little appetite the rest of the schools had to partner with this maniac who had already proven that he was not going to be shy about throwing his weight around or nuking the whole thing if things didn’t go his way.

            I am telling you from a Pitt perspective that was a huge issue. They did not trust Paterno at all…at all!

            Then, the terms started to leak out and it had nothing to do with egos. It was about business and what Paterno was proposing would’ve been great business for Penn State but terrible business for everyone else.

            Penn State did not want to share any football money but they wanted to divide basketball money equally. Well, they played in tiny Rec Hall, which seats about 4,000 people. You can imagine the appetite Syracuse – which played in a brand-new dome that seats 30,000 people – had for such a partnership.

            It would’ve been like the Texas situation on steroids and it would not have been sustainable. It would’ve choked the life out of every other team in the East.

            I’m not saying he’s 100% factually correct, but it helps to see what fans from both sides say since the truth is probably in the middle somewhere.

            “PSU approached the Big 10 about joining.”

            They did, but it helped that Delany was a new commissioner and had come in looking to expand essentially from the start. He helped push the presidents to get past their traditionalist leanings.

            “People forget PSU was not welcomed into the Big 10 when the announcement was made. Everyone was blinsided.”

            Some do, especially those outside the footprint. Many are also too young to remember it (it’s been almost 30 years). But those of us here remember quite well. The presidents welcomed PSU, but they kept the process secret from everyone including the ADs and coaches. Unfortunately the B10 had some very big personalities in those positions (Bo Schembechler, Bobby Knight) who were angry with their presidents and felt they should’ve been asked for input before a vote. They become vocal leaders against the addition mostly because they were upset with the process but it was taken out on PSU in the media via cutting remarks.

            When fans saw/heard their coaches and ADs upset about it, many supported them over the presidents on general principle. But there were other factors that influenced the reaction of fans. And don’t forget that a lot of people didn’t actually care much one way or the other. Don’t assume that Bo and Bobby reflected the common opinions.

            1. JoePa was not the most beloved coach outside of PA. A lot of people disliked the way he claimed the moral high ground and said his program was above everyone else’s. The pedestal PSU fans put him on also annoyed people.

            2. Dislike of easterners in general was pretty common in the midwest (especially outside of cities) at that time due to the frequent jokes about the midwest and treating it as flyover country. Expanding outside of the midwest ruffled some feathers.

            3. PSU fans caused some backlash with their attitudes. Some were quite cocky about how PSU would dominate the B10 and that angered people. Other PSU fans were upset at losing their independence and blamed the B10 or mocked it.

            4. People didn’t understand the role of money in college sports at that time like they do now. The reasons for expanding were not explained well to all the B10 alumni and fans and they reacted poorly to change for no apparent reason.

            “Their poor treatment had a number of PA folks saying PSU should say screw the Big 10, PSU should apply to the ACC. Since PSU only was accepted by one vote. They could easily have been rejected.”

            That’s why they do these things in secret but with more people informed. But beyond the poor process, I always thought part of the problem was PSU having been an independent for so long. I’ve seen PSU fans get angry over things that are SOP for conference members but they never had to deal with before joining so they claim the B10 is picking on them. PSU not joining in football for 3 years didn’t help matters (from both sides), nor did PSU demanding 10 years of games against MI (at the expense of the other B10 schools) and having OSU as a locked game.

            “Then their next option would have been to approach the ACC. Boy that would have changed things.”


            “Since it was handled so badly, I’m certain that when Delany announced that the Big 10 was looking to expand he stated they would be very open about it.”

            They improved the process a lot with NE but it was too open in the run up stages. The UMD/RU addition was the most well executed of the 3 most recent expansions.

            I think the B10 getting rid of people like Bo and Bobby helped a lot, frankly. They had a sense of entitlement that was impossible to deal with.


        2. Doug

          Ah yes, the old note under the door. Hahahahahahaha, I still laugh my ass off at that so dumb, stupid take your pick.

          Look Joe was NO saint. He could be very, very, very vindictive and petty.

          I couple of the Pitt fan’s comments seem to conflict with the Post Gazette. I defer to the PG over some anonymous poster. Not to say he doesn’t make some good points. But I’m always a little suspicious when someone says, “I happen to know somebody… I know for a fact…” unless they cite sources.


          1. Brian

            I’m certainly not saying his story is accurate. But it’s perfect for illustrating my point that Pitt and PSU fans view things very differently. I use that to say that I question statements like:

            “Paterino was upset and rightly so”

            Rightly so? In the minds of PSU fans, sure, but I don’t know that even neutral fans would agree.

            “Prior to that PSU-Pitt had a good relationship.”

            Did they? That’s not how Pitt fans seem to view it. And both sides seem to view it as a rivalry full of disrespect for the other school.

            “Paterno was very accommodating to Pitt”

            Again, only one side feels that way.

            I’m sure you believe what you wrote and I’m also sure a Pitt fan would disagree on every point.

            All that adds up to me being a lot less sure than you that Pitt would bend over backwards to stay with PSU in the ECC scenario. Pitt would do it exactly as long as they felt it was best for Pitt.


          2. Doug

            I use that to say that I question statements like: “Paterino was upset and rightly so”

            That was an opinion nothing more, not a statement of fact. I wouldn’t have any clue what the majority of neutral people say or don’t say.

            Look it’s a ‘burgh thing. There’s PSU facts, Pitt facts and the real facts. I’ve listened to this shit for close to 70 years.

            PSU fans are arrogant & look down on Pitt fans. Pitt fans are angry & frustrated. PSU is the big dog in PA and they are powerless to change it.

            Just to let you know Family breakdown.

            PSU Alum Pitt Alum
            Youngest son Wife
            Father-In-Law Oldest son
            Daughter-In-Law Brother-In-Law
            Brother-in-law Sister-In-Law

            Dear old Dad well I bleed Scarlet & Grey. LMAO So I’m stuck in the middle and tired of being the negotiator. Usually end it by saying we kick both your asses. We’ve had some memorable Pitt-PSU games though.

            Geez Brian If I agree to play you 3 out of 4 years at your home and you say I’m not accommodating, then there’s nothing I could ever do to make you happy. 🙂

            Love the discussion. Peace out my brother.


          3. Brian


            “Geez Brian If I agree to play you 3 out of 4 years at your home and you say I’m not accommodating, then there’s nothing I could ever do to make you happy.”

            When was this offer? And was that just a way to switch the home games from even years to odds and vice versa (say 1980, 1981, 1983, … ), perhaps to balance when Pitt played WV? That’s basically just home and homes.

            The long standing offer from PSU after joining the B10 (and maybe earlier) was a 2 for 1 series with Pitt. How accommodating is that?


          4. Doug


            I did some research, no wonder Pitt hated Paterno when he became coach he insisted that Pitt play at State College. In their 31 meetings 16 were at Pitt and 15 were at Penn State.

            Prior to that from 1903 to 1966 (Paterno’s first year) every single game was at Pitt except 4 games. 1931,1939,1942 & 1955. I damn near fell off my chair. Then I had to ask, “What the hell was Coach Rip Engle thinking?”

            Once Penn State decided not to play Pitt then vindictiveness took over. The 2 to 1 offer was just sticking a thumb in Pitt’s eye. He knew Pitt would never accept it. But hey 2 to 1 is better than 59 to 4 right? LMAO


  104. Brian


    A new B10/ACC challenge will start this year, in swimming and diving. All-star teams from each conference will face off in a dual meet format in November.

    In a similar format to the successful 2016 College Challenge (versus USA Swimming), a running score will be kept throughout the dual meet competition combining the points earned by both women and men. Team scoring will be used to determine a winner of the All-Star meet. Meet scoring will mirror NCAA dual meet parameters.

    Swimming students will be determined using a similar selection process to that of the College Challenge, where at least two males and two females from each institution will be designated to compete, but no more than five males and five females from each school will participate. Additionally, for diving students, there will be no more than two males and two females from each school. Numbers may vary based on men’s and women’s swimming program membership, as well as selection to the All-Star team based on personal event times and diving results.

    Each athlete may be entered in up to six events during the meet, including individual events and relays.


  105. Jersey Bernie

    Rutgers football problems in two names. Saquon Barkley. From Eastern PA. Rutgers commit who flipped to Penn State. Jon Taylor, listed today by USA today as the projected number two running back in the country – as a sophomore. From South Jersey. Rutgers commit who flipped to Wisconsin. I don’t blame either of the players, but there it is in a nutshell.


  106. Brian


    In response to a colleague’s piece explaining why the NFL is better than CFB, Andy Staples rebuts him point by point. Here’s a bit of his opening:

    As I read my MMQB colleague Andy Benoit’s treatise on why the NFL “annihilates” college football from a “strategic entertainment standpoint,” one thought kept racing through my head.


    When I awoke and wiped the trickle of drool from the corner of my mouth, I thought a little more about Benoit’s carefully reasoned analysis of why the NFL’s narrower hash marks make for a more precise dhsiqhohwiodfhiuewoihaoucn;duibcbadubxibu….


    When I awoke again, it occurred to me that I don’t want strategic entertainment. I want entertaining entertainment. That’s what college football provides.


  107. Brian


    SI’s story on the history of the computer polls the BCS used and their creators. They talk about the decision to drop margin of victory and the decision to reduce the impact of the computer polls among other things.

    They clearly disagree about MOV:

    Sagarin: “I wasn’t going to bastardize my ratings, so I just invented another column [excluding margin of victory] for the BCS.

    “There’s no debate with [the BCS]. They would tell you, either you do this, or your gone. [Matthews and Rothman’s] systems had a lot in [them] that didn’t let runaway scores totally dominate. I respected them for quitting.”

    Billingsley: “I still run [a version of my formula] with margin of victory, and it’s slightly more accurate in terms of future predictions of games, to the tune of 2 to 3%—which doesn’t sound like a lot, but really when you get down to looking at the games, 2% of difference is quite a bit. It’s a question of do you want a national championship that’s the best team or the most deserving team?”

    Anderson: “Margin of victory is not the object of the game, and if it’s going to be incorporated in a ranking—and we didn’t really think it should be—it should be in the polls. They can tell the difference between a 28–7 game where a team gets a couple of late scores and makes it look close and the opposite.”

    Anderson: “It’s always been a crazy thing to me; college football is the only sport where anybody cares about margin of victory. What was Golden State’s margin of victory over Houston in the Western Conference Finals? It was just phenomenal. They were probably 70 points ahead of the Rockets before Game 7, but if the Rockets won Game 7, that would have been it. The Mazeroski World Series in 1960, the Yankees [scored almost twice as many runs as] the Pirates.”

    Other quotes:

    Sagarin: “There’s no ratings that fit all the games. People get upset, because they pick out what’s important to them. They say, backfit it with these games. And you even try to say, but what about these games? They don’t even matter.”

    Anderson: “That new formula was in effect the last 10 years of the BCS, 10 out of the 16 years. And in those last 10 years, there was never really any controversy about who was in the [title] game. That’s remarkable, to go an entire decade and never have a year where there wasn’t a consensus pick. Even in years like 2004, when Auburn was the only major undefeated team to ever be left out, everybody agreed with that: the polls, every computer, everybody.”

    Sagarin: “What they were trying to find out was how much weight could they give to the computers. What was the maximum weight they could give to the computers whereby we really wouldn’t effect the results? We were there to look like guys in white lab coats, to give an intellectual aura. You could sense that we weren’t that popular.”

    Colley: “When the BCS was running, the people were closer to the computers. Since the computers have gone, the people have sort of diverged again from the computers. I will say that one thing that started me into this game initially was I thought people were too easily enamored with name teams.”

    Sagarin: “Here’s the nirvana I’ve reached: I don’t care. It has no effect on my life if Oklahoma gets picked over Auburn or if out of the blue they decided that undefeated Arizona State gets in. There was a point in my life when I actually cared. I don’t care.”