Great Hoops Post In the Kalamazoo Gazette
There's a lot of talking going on in MAC circles. It mostly centers around basketball, but you don't get too far in any conversation about MAC sports without ending up in a discussion about the MAC's costly commitment to football.
This is all well detailed in a great article in the KZoo Gazette by Graham Couch. It is a must read for MAC fans.
Exhibit One: MAC is basketball is average at best, today. While statements like this are always debatable, it is important to remember that the MAC used to be known as a basketball conference. Today, our RPI is 13th among D1 conferences, and well behind the Missouri Valley, which has had seven tourney bids the last two years.
Couch's article goes on to detail how the Missouri Valley does it....among the reasons are:
- Better facilities
- Better paid coaches
- Guarantees to get home games
Others have written on this. The New York Times has written a great magazine story on "How Football Can Kill a College," about The University of South Florida.
Simply put, our ability to compete in basketball (and hockey, though that is another conversation) is severely hampered by the investment you must make to play big-time football. How many (how many, I ask you), non-BCS colleges sustain successful (on a national scale) programs in football and basketball. Much less hockey.
I'm not saying we shouldn't have I-A football. I'm not saying we should drop hockey. But in today's fiscal environment, we have to ask if we can compete at the level we want in all three revenue sports based on our ability to finance athletic programs. The article is thought provoking, interesting, and a little frightening for MAC fans. Some excepts are below:
Altman earns $700,000 per season -- and he's not even The Valley's highest paid coach. That honor goes to Wichita State's Mark Turgeon at $750,000.
By comparison, the MAC's best-compensated coach is Kent State's Jim Christian at $250,000 annually....The disparity in facilities is significant, too. MAC venues such as Central Michigan's Rose Arena, Toledo's Savage Hall, Akron's Rhodes Arena, Kent State's Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center, and Bowling Green's Anderson Arena are far below the standard for The Valley....
So, too, is scheduling. Based on membership standards set by the league office, Valley schools used to be penalized $100,000 of their share of the NCAA money for playing a non-Division I team, a policy that was only discontinued when its programs seemed to get the message, Elgin said. They are also rewarded financially for finishing with an RPI ranking in the top 149, an incentive that encourages solid scheduling and the setting aside of guaranteed money for home games....