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Posted on: December 22, 2010 3:28 am
Edited on: December 22, 2010 11:19 pm
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Lines in the Sand 6 - Season ties

At the recent IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, NCAA leaders sat on a panel.  The ensuing discussion became much more than the typical polite exchanges.
From their comments at the forum and elsewhere arise several lines drawn in the sand on a range of topics.
In Part 1, we reviewed the position of the NCAA and the BCS position on mid majors.
In Part 2, we reviewed their position on a post BCS landscape.
In Part 3, we reviewed a playoff isn’t an option.
In Part 4, we reviewed no conference opposes a seeded 4 format, they oppose the inevitable larger formats.
In Part 5, we reviewed a playoff’s impact on the bowls

Less obvious is a large format playoff’s impact on the regular season.
ESPN College Football Programmer Dave Brown I wouldn't want to see the bowls changed because I don't want to create meaningless games during the regular season. I don't think that would be good for college football.
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto If we ever go to a playoff, we lose what is probably the most valuable regular season in all of sports.
SEC Commissioner Mike Silve One of the ways to measure a conference is by understanding its television relationships.  It’s all based on regular season play, and that is something we’re very careful to protect.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford
“…Every other sport has devalued the regular season while college football's regular season has only gained in stature, interest, attendance and television coverage.”

Swofford provides a compelling absolute
– as a playoff expands, gaining an invite becomes easier as the significance of a regular season loss decreases.  As the outcome of regular season games drop in significance, the regular season is devalued.

The BCS success lies in its small size
By encompassing only 2 teams and 1 game it did not devalue the outcome of regular season games – lose a game and a team can expect not to get a NCG invite, don’t win your conference and your chances of getting a BCS invite drops.
Since going undefeated in the regular season is rare, the BCS still adds significance to games played by 1 loss teams pursuing an invite.
The BCS attracts fan attention to games played outside the conference as 1 loss teams or any team still in a conference title hunt pursue an invite.
It preserves the significance of other bowls as the BCS games are only played at the end of the season after most bowls, and only encompass a small percentage of the bowls.  Even if a team is not pursuing a BCS invite, the stature of the bowls they are invited to (or the chances of bowl eligibility) is still on the line with each game.
When you diminish the significance of the outcome of regular season games, you diminish fan interest in these games.

In NCAAF math, Interest = TV Ratings = Revenue

Diminishing the significance of the regular season hurts more than broadcast contracts.
  The regular season broadcast revenue is more per major than the post season revenue.  Game day receipts are usually more than broadcast revenue.  Corporate and individual donors coupled with venue advertisers can compare with or surpass the revenue of both of these.

In Part 7, we will look at why the mid-majors harbor a substantially different opinion.
For a list of references, see Lines in the Sand Part 1

Posted on: December 21, 2010 8:37 am
Edited on: January 2, 2011 9:34 pm
 

Lines in the Sand 5 - It makes more and loses $$$

At the recent IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, NCAA leaders sat on a panel.  The ensuing discussion became much more than the typical polite exchanges.
From their comments at the forum and elsewhere arise several lines drawn in the sand on a range of topics.
In Part 1, we reviewed the position of the NCAA and the BCS position on mid majors/
In Part 2, we reviewed their position on a post BCS landscape.
In Part 3, we reviewed a playoff isn’t an option.
In Part 4, we learned no conference opposes a seeded 4 format, they oppose the inevitable larger formats.

A playoff would earn more revenue than the BCS
ACC Commissioner John Swofford In and of itself, a playoff of some type would generate more money than the current BCS.

This  is no secret
Every commissioner has voiced similar comments.
This isn’t a surprise After all the BCS could be made more profitable by adding more games.

Playoffs earn less in terms of the entire season and all revenue sources
PAC 10 Commissioner Larry Scott College football is so popular today because we have a great regular season and because we have an important bowl tradition that provides a meaningful experience for the students and fans -- all of which would be at risk if this concept were implemented.
We have to think what a 16-team would look like, the effects on regular season and bowl system.   It's a pretty easy call that no one wants to go down that path.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford What would be the effect on the regular season?  What about the effect on the other bowls?  But the BCS is certainly healthy financially and has been from the beginning.

The most obvious hit is to the other bowls
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto The opportunities we have in bowls across the country would lose the interest and value they currently have.
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe I don’t think the bowls are going to exist (with a playoff)… once you create that level… if you are Oklahoma State fan, why am I going to go down to the Alamo bowl?...
ACC Commissioner John Swofford Sponsorships and TV revenue that now go to bowl games would instead be spent on playoff games, meaning that it will be very difficult for any bowl, including the current BCS bowls, which are among the oldest and most established in the game's history, to survive.

A seeded 4
is only 1 more game.  It is small enough not to detract attention from other bowl games.  It only draws the top end sponsors leaving sponsors of other bowls substantially intact.  It spans as little as 2 weeks of the season leaving a spotlight on the other bowls.
A seeded 8 encompasses 7 games (nearly 20% of the NCAAF post season) drawing a lot of interest from the other bowls.  Unlike the BCS where the games occur at the very end, it draws attention from the other bowls over a 3+ week period.

Most Bowls
exist on the margin of profitability or lose money requiring a subsidy from the local government.  Minor bowls can readily find a broadcast carrier, but large sponsors are still needed to balance the books, and they are becoming harder and harder to locate.  Most have difficulty selling out the stadium (even the Orange bowl) as venues often go partially filled.
Host cities can afford a minor loss they recoup thru tax revenue as local businesses receiving a boost from fans and publicity.  They improve the gains by making bowls a weeklong event with rallies, press days, fan days, etc. but there are limits… fans are shortening their stays and spending less.  Even if the economy wasn’t down, there are limits how much subsidy a local government can provide.

Most conferences
collect the appearance fee, pay the participants a stipend, and share the rest providing a benefit for all teams.
Bowl participants expenses are almost always over $1 Million, but last year 16 bowls had payouts from $1.25 million to $300 thousand – below the team’s expenses.  Expenses could be dropped by decreasing the length of the stay and decreasing the number of motel rooms (most teams are required to buy more than they use) but only at the expense of the bowl host city.  The teams and universities profit financially, but the gains come from increased donations resulting from the increased exposure.
The teams gain from exposure in recruiting and an opportunity to practice several weeks longer helping future years.
The athletes gain from a great experience and for those with NFL hopes, a last chance to spotlight their skills.

Networks. commissioners, and universities agree a playoff would diminish the bowls
Diminishing or losing the bowls
, even just the minor bowls, would diminish the experience and/or finances of the conferences, programs, host cities, businesses, athletes, and fans.  It isn’t just the appearance fees paid by the current bowls that would be threatened; a valid comparison includes the peripheral money raised from boosters and corporate sponsors.

In Part 6, we will look at the playoff’s impact on the regular season.
For a list of references, see Line in the Sand Part 1

Posted on: December 20, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 5:12 am
 

Lines in the Sand 4 -Majors admit only 1 reason..

At the recent IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, NCAA leaders sat on a panel.  The ensuing discussion became much more than the typical polite exchanges.
From their comments at the forum and elsewhere arise several lines drawn in the sand on a range of topics.
In Part 1, we viewed the position of the NCAA and the BCS position on mid majors.
In Part 2, we viewed their position on a post BCS landscape.
In Part 3, we viewed a playoff isn’t an option.

Surprise - No conference is opposed to a seeded 4 playoff format
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany I'm not morally, philosophically opposed to one and two… I'm not morally, philosophically opposed to four.
If the face of playoff opposition Jim Delany says its fine, then why not?

The issue lies in the history of playoff expansion
The BCS AQ commissioners say they're less likely now to be in favor of a "Plus One" model for fear that would ultimately lead to a full-blown, 16-team playoff.  (As noted in part 2, plus 1 really means seeded 4 thanks to some shenanigans by Silve and Swafford.)
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany history informs you the best way to think about the future…  every small incremental step has led to an incremental step; not only inside the NCAA, but inside the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball.
Plus One would lead to four, six, eight, 12 and, ultimately, a 16-team playoff and said the pressure to increase the number of teams would come from everywhere – the NCAA, Congress, the public and the fan bases.

In every other sport, and even in football at other levels, every playoff has grown in size.  That is the playoff history and the only reason the majors won’t adopt a seeded 4.

The major’s commissioners don’t see it as a choice between the BCS and a seeded 4;
they see it as a choice between the BCS and larger format playoffs.

1 voice disputes this belief
SEC Commissioner Mike Silve What the concern that has always been expressed is 'bracket creep' is endemic.  That has been the history of all championships, particularly those governed by the NCAA. The differentiating factor here is the BCS is not governed by the pressures for bracket expansion.

Apparently Silve is on an island.
  Swafford no longer voices support for a playoff.  In the SEC you won’t find a single statement confirming a majority of the Presidents would vote in favor of a playoff in any format.
They will make individual statements when nothing is on the line and it favors their press (UGa President when his team was left out) but not a single statement saying the majority favors a playoff.

In comparing the arguments
it is the historic absolute of playoff expansion –vs- Silve stating NCAAF is different.   It isn’t surprising a University President’s decision would follow history.

After you clear issues
listed for anti-trust laws (extending the season, etc.), you arrive at the core issue standing in the way of a seeded 4 playoff – valid expectations it would expand to a larger format.  Other concerns, while they may be valid, are not the insurmountable obstacles.

In Part 5, we look at why the commissioners are opposed to a playoff format larger than 4 teams.
For a list of references, see Line in the Sand Part 1

Posted on: December 20, 2010 2:08 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 10:35 pm
 

Lines in the Sand 3 - Are Playoffs an Option?

At the recent IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, NCAA leaders sat on a panel.  The ensuing discussion became much more than the typical polite exchanges.
From their comments at the forum and elsewhere arise several lines drawn in the sand on a range of topics.
In Part 1, we reviewed the position of the NCAA and the BCS position on mid majors.
In Part 2, we reviewed their position on a post BCS landscape.

Line #4 – Playoffs aren’t a consideration
The BCS AQ commissioners say they're less likely now to be in favor of a "Plus One" model for fear that would ultimately lead to a full-blown, 16-team playoff.
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe I don’t like it for football…  it isn’t like some of these other (mid major) programs that want us to have a playoff so they can get the notoriety and money from us, we have kids playing in a high pressure situation week after week…
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto We've talked about them all since (the BCS) was created, all the different models, but when you apply them; none of them achieve the current benefits without sacrificing something.
PAC 10 Commissioner Larry Scott while it's "easy to poke holes" in the BCS format, a playoff would hurt college football's regular season.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford But what would be the effect on the regular season?  What about the effect on the other bowls?  But the BCS is certainly healthy financially and has been from the beginning.
Sponsorships and TV revenue that now go to bowl games would instead be spent on playoff games, meaning that it will be very difficult for any bowl, including the current BCS bowls, which are among the oldest and most established in the game's history, to survive.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany We're not winning the PR war… but we do have a great regular season, a great bowl season and the 1-2 game.  We don't have an NFL style or college basketball style playoff.  I get that people want it.

There isn’t any major conference supporting a playoff
BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock The consensus of all of the schools in the 11 conferences support the BCS.  There are some who have said they would rather do something else. But it’s a small percentage... it does preserve the importance of the regular season.  And it does preserve the bowl system... I don’t see the universities changing their minds about a playoff or about the BCS system.

When the SEC
put forth the original proposal in April 2008, the PAC and Big Ten immediately announced opposition, the Big 12 and East waited until the meeting to announce they had taken a poll months earlier and were opposed.  The mid majors didn’t comment, but it is unlikely the MAC, CUSA, or Sun favored a seeded 4 (when was the last time they had a team in the top 4?).

The SEC and ACC
said they “…were anxious to bring the model to our conference for discussion.”
What?  They propose a seeded 4 and call it a plus 1 (when someone redefines common terms it should set off red flags).  There was a flood of publicity to be gained by any conference supporting a playoff, the other majors had reached a decision, but the 2 conferences proposing the change have no idea what their members think?  I smell a couple of rats, but the cheese these rats are headlines and press.

Don’t believe me?
  Do a search and find where any major announced their conference would support a seeded 4 (plus 1) playoff – the most you will find is 2 commissioners, the WAC, and the MWC.

In Part 4, we will look at why the majors oppose a playoff.
For a list of references, see Line in the Sand Part 1

Posted on: December 19, 2010 1:48 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 3:30 am
 

Lines in the Sand 2 -Majors Offer BCS Alternative

At the recent IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, NCAA leaders sat on a panel.  The ensuing discussion became much more than the typical polite exchanges.
From their comments at the forum and elsewhere arise several lines drawn in the sand on a range of topics.
In Part 1, we reviewed the position of the NCAA and the BCS position on mid majors.

Line #3 – The only alternative to the BCS is the bowl tie in system
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe We are less close (to a playoff) I think more of our people are getting so frustrated by those in the other levels who want to get our access and our money that we are more likely to go back to the old bowl system and say “Lets just go have a good time” and let the pundits decide.
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto You see what's going on with Congress in regards to the playoffs, and you know how the schools and conferences across the country feel relative to that issue.   At some point or another, I think people are going to be going back to the old system.   If there are two choices on the table (playoffs or old system), I think they'll go back to the old system.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany The only thing I would say, if you think you (mid majors) can continue to pressure the system and we'll just naturally provide more and more and more, I don't think that's an assumption that our presidents, athletic directors, football coaches and commissioners necessarily agree with.

They aren’t bluffing  - the BCS isn’t as far beyond the old system as we would think for most majors.
1. 3 majors would garner 2 tie ins to the top 4 bowls (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12).  The appearance fee from 2 top bowls is substantial.
2. With the Rose accounting for 25-30% of the BCS revenue and a 2nd BCS invite a rarity for the PAC, they haven’t seen a financial boost from the BCS.
3. With no need to share $$$ with the mid-majors, Big East, etc. the other majors can take a 30% drop in revenue and still come out the same.
4. They gain freedom from defending the BCS to playoff proponents, threatened lawsuits, congressional hearings. (4 so far)
5. They can concentrate on promoting their other bowl tie-ins which gain in stature.
6. Without a NCG, the other BCS bowls gain in interest (and in NCAAF math, interest = money)

In Part 3, we will see why a playoff isn't on the table.
For a list of references, see Lines in the Sand Part 1

 
 
 
 
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