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Tag:Mountain West
Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Big 12 commissioner candidates

Now that the Big 12 has formed a search committee to find a permanent replacement for Dan Beebe, it’s time to line up a list of candidates.

These four have been most often mentioned in administrative circles and published reports: Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowksy, West Virginia AD Oliver Luck and NCAA interim vice president of championships and alliances, Greg Shaheen, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick

 
--Banowksy, 51, is so highly thought of that his name was dropped by Neinas in September during his introductory teleconference. Banowksy is in his ninth year with Conference USA, which is currently in talks to combine and form a new conference with the Mountain West. There is already speculation that Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson would retain that title with the new conference, ostensibly leaving Banowsky free to take the Big 12. 

--Luck, a former NFL quarterback, has extensive administrative experience. In 1991, he made an unsuccessful run for Congress in West Virginia. Following that, he was general manager for two different teams overseas in the World League of American Football. Luck, 51, was the WLAF's president from 1996-2000 before the league rebranded as NFL Europe. From 2001-2008, Luck was CEO of the Houston Sports Authority and president of the Houston Dynamo of the Major League Soccer. Since June 2010 he has been West Virginia's AD. The school is in the process of moving from the Big East to the Big 12. Among his accomplishments at WVU is successfully implementing beer sales to increase revenue.

--Swarbrick reportedly finished as runner-up to Beebe the last time the Big 12 went searching for a commissioner in 2007. He was also a finalist for the NCAA president’s job in 2002. Swarbrick, 57, has a legal background having practiced law for 28 years before taking the Notre Dame job in 2008. He is credited with consulting on the NCAA’s move from Overland Park, Kan. to Indianapolis. Since he joined the Irish, football has continued its mediocrity. Swarbrick has had to fire Charlie Weis. Brian Kelly has yet to find traction in getting ND to the championship level. Heck of a question: Which job is considered better in the world of college athletics – Notre Dame or Big 12?

--Shaheen might be the most intriguing candidates. He is seen as one of the brightest minds in sports today. As NCAA vice president of basketball and business strategies, Shaheen was credited for the basketball-in-the-round concept that allowed the Final Four to be played in football stadiums. Also, during his watch the NCAA in general has become more open and media friendly. I reported in March 2009 that the Pac-10 twice took a run at him to be its commissioner before hiring Larry Scott. 

Here is a Sports Business Journal profile of Shaheen in 2010. He was mentioned on Jan. 23 in SBJ as a possible candidate for the Big 12 job. 

 

Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 1:04 pm
 

CUSA, MWC could "dissolve," form new league

One option being considered Sunday by two conferences' CEOs is to "dissolve" Conference USA and the Mountain West before forming a new league, CBSSports.com learned.

The move could have ramifications on current TV deals and put the new "Big Country" -- let's call it -- in line ahead of the Big East for a new TV rights deal. Dissolving both leagues could conceivably alter current TV deals in place with the MWC and CUSA and make the Big Country a new entity to be bid on by TV rightsholders.

The Big East is attempting to survive by realigning prior to the end of its current TV deal in 2013-14. The Big East and Big Ten (after 2014-15) are next in line to cash in with rightsholders. In figures obtained by CBSSports.com, a 12-team Big East configured for debut in 2013, would be significantly ahead of a merged CUSA/MWC in terms of average BCS computer ranking.

A year ago, Conference USA signed a $43 mlllion deal with Fox to broadcast a mininmum of 20 football games per year including the league's title game through the 2015 season. At the time ESPN protested saying it believed it had the right of first refusal on such a deal with Conference USA.

CBSSports.com reported Thursday that the two leagues' presidents would meet Sunday in Dallas to discuss forming a new league. Beginning in 2013 the "Big Country" would have 17 teams. There has been discussion whether to stay at that number or possibly add a team or teams. The new league could be football only, all sports or some other consolidation. 

With the assumed end of automatic qualifying conferences in the BCS, the rush is on to simply become as attractive as possible to TV rightsholders. One of the advantages of a combined MWC/CUSA league is strength in numbers. Seventeen (or more) schools would fortify the new league against departures if it was raided in the future.

A 17-team league (at least) would be the largest conference in FBS (formally Division I-A). That would mean a lot of inventory for a rightholder(s) with teams in 14 states extending over five time zones.  

According to a source, the five current non-automatic qualifying conferences distribute BCS money based on a performance-based ranking system. Half of the money received from the BCS is split evenly among the five. The other half is split based on the ranking. For the first time in six years, the Mountain West was not the leader of those five (MWC, CUSA, MAC, Sun Belt, WAC). CUSA was No. 1 in 2011.

Previously, the Mountain West had applied for a waiver to the BCS presidents that would allow it to temporarily become a BCS conference in 2012 and 2013. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told CBSSports.com last week, "I'm not overly optimistic."

According to the figures mentioned above, the average computer ranking for the projected 17 "Big Country" schools in 2011 was 86.18. That ranges from a high of 21.83 for Southern Miss and a low of 117.33 for New Mexico. The Big East average of 53.8 ranges from a high of 10.67 for Boise State to 89.5 for Central Florida.

The figures are based on this 12-team Big East projection:

Boise State
Central Florida
Cincinnati
Connecticut
Houston
Louisville
Navy
San Diego State
SMU
South Florida
Rutgers
Temple 

Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

Presidents from the Mountain West and Conference USA will meet Sunday in Dallas to discuss forming a new league, CBSSports.com has learned.

The move was not described as a full-on merger and talks are still in the early stages. According to a source, the new league could be football only, all sports or some other consolidation. Two sources said not all of the two conferences’ presidents will attend the meeting.

But there is urgency on both sides.  Raiding by the Big East has caused each conference to reconsider its future.  Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told CBSSports.com last week that he is concerned about membership issues in light of recent defections. The NCAA requires a league to have at least six members that sponsor, at a minimum, eight men’s sports and six women’s sports.

The leagues announced in October that they were forming a football “association” for scheduling purposes. Back then, the idea was for the champions of the two leagues to play with the winner getting an automatic BCS berth. That was before the Big East moved aggressively to invite a combined five schools from both conferences.

A 90-day memorandum of understanding that came out of the October announcement expires on Sunday, the same day as the meeting.

Also in October, the Mountain West and Conference USA proposed a consortium with the Big East that would include more than a quarter of the 120 FBS schools.

CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy reported in December that the two leagues were looking at an all-sports merger. Boise State and San Diego State from the Mountain West as well as SMU, Houston and Central Florida from Conference USA were formally invited to the Big East in early December.

Crippling the leagues further: According to an industry source, Boise, SMU and Houston comprise three of the four most TV-attractive schools from the current Mountain West and Conference USA. Air Force is the other.

The earliest the new league being reported today could begin play is 2013, but that start date may have to be pushed back.

With the apparent end of automatic qualifying conferences (beginning in 2014), the two leagues would be fortifying themselves are strongly as possible. One Conference USA school source speculated how different a new league would be from the new Big East in terms of football strength and television viability. The answer as of now: Not much.  

Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:43 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:12 am
 

What MWC has to do to become BCS league

The near-term BCS fortunes of the once-again fractured Mountain West is now in the hands of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.

The league’s board of directors on Monday approved the filing for an exemption for BCS status in 2012 and 2013. The move was expected and if approved, would result in the Mountain West gaining automatic BCS qualification status on a temporary basis in those two years.

The rule creating the possibility a seventh automatic qualifier was adopted in 2004, the year access was expanded to non-automatic qualifying conferences. Because it has achieved only a portion of the benchmarks for automatic qualification, the MWC is asking for an exemption.

Over the course of a four-year evaluation period that ended this season (2008-2011), the league finished in the top five of the 11 FBS leagues in average BCS ranking of its highest ranked team. The MWC finished in the top seven in average conference rank. It finished in the top 33 percent of average number of teams ranked in the final BCS standings.

For automatic qualification the MWC would have had to finish in the top six in the first two categories and top 50 percent in the third.

The exemption would have to be approved by nine of the 12 members of the oversight committee. That committee is made up of CEOs from the 11 current FBS conferences and Notre Dame. BCS executive director Bill Hancock would not speculate on which way the vote would go. He did add that the vote should come in the near future.

The league will rely heavily on the accomplishments of two schools leaving the league. Boise State is headed for the Big East in 2013 while TCU is going to the Big 12 next season. The league will be evaluated on based on the conference’s membership today. That means the MWC would get full credit for Boise’s accomplishments from 2008-2010 in the WAC. That includes a Fiesta Bowl win in 2010 as well as a 49-3 record the last four seasons.

TCU has competed in the MWC for the last four years going to two BCS bowls.

A seventh automatic qualifier for those two seasons would most likely mean the loss of an at-large berth that goes to one of the power conferences. For the fourth time in the last six years, there were eight automatic qualifiers for the 10 available spots. This season: The SEC finishing 1-2 in the BCS means both LSU and Alabama were automatic. Stanford was automatic because it didn’t win its conference but finished in the top four. The at-large teams were Michigan (Sugar) and Virginia Tech (Sugar).

There was an automatic qualifier from the non-AQ conferences each year from 2007-2010. Three of those were from the MWC – Utah in 2008 and TCU and 2009-2010.

There is additional hope for the MWC this time because of a waiver given to the Big East for automatic-qualifying status prior to the 2008 season. That waiver was approved by an 8-0 vote of the six power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10, Big Ten) and Notre Dame as well as one combined vote given to the five non-AQ leagues (MAC, WAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, MWC). This time around all 11 FBS leagues plus Notre Dame have a vote for a total of 12.


Mountain West membership for 2012:



Air Force

Boise State

Colorado State

New Mexico

San Diego State

UNLV

Wyoming

Fresno State

Hawaii

Nevada













Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 9:46 am
 

Delany makes postseason proposal

The source of one college football postseason idea pitched this week shouldn’t be surprising.

According to a person in the room at Monday’s BCS meeting, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany pitched a model whereby only the No. 1 and No. 2 teams would be matched in the postseason. That would basically eliminate the other BCS bowl tie-ins in the 14-year-old system.

The proposal essentially is a roll back to the old Bowl Alliance that was in effect from 1995-97. On its face, the proposal seemingly benefits the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 the most.

The Big Ten could not immediately confirm Delany as the source of the idea since the commissioner was traveling on Friday. However, another source in the room at the San Francisco meeting said the idea stood out among several that day because it was “new.” The source would not confirm the model came from Delany.

Using Delany’s idea, the relationship with the current BCS bowls – Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and Rose – would end. At the beginning of the season all schools would have an equal chance to get into the championship game. Supposedly, some kind of rating system would be used to rank teams.

Below that championship game, schools and bowls would be free to arrange their own deals. In the old Bowl Alliance, the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Eight, SEC and Southwest conferences, along with an at-large team, were matched in the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls. The Rose, Big Ten and Pac-10 did not participate at the time.  The uniqueness of the Alliance was that there were no conference tie-ins to particular bowls.

BCS commissioners began saying in December that they might go back to the old bowl system if pushed by non-BCS schools.  

There were other ideas Monday during what was termed a preliminary meeting meant for informal proposals. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson weighed in. Thompson was already on record with his 16-team playoff proposal. CBSSports.com reported last week there was growing support to get rid of automatic qualifiers in the BCS. One result of that could be a top 10, 12, or 14 ranking that would have to be attained to get into a BCS bowl.

Delany’s idea would reflect the elimination of automatic qualifiers. The so-called “AQs” are the champions of the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and SEC. Notre Dame and champions of lesser conferences can currently qualifier for BCS bowls if they meet a set of benchmarks.

Delany’s particular model doesn’t address an age-old BCS problem: What about No. 3 and below, the teams that get left out? The commissioners discussed legal concerns that could emerge from that situation according to a source.

Also, if automatic qualifiers are eliminated, it would seem there would have to be some kind of access for non-AQs. Teams from non-BCS leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – have enjoyed improved access to BCS bowls since 2003. During that time the success of schools such as Boise State, Utah and TCU developed into David-vs.-Goliath stories that captured the nation’s attention.

There is also the significant issue of revenue distribution. 

It’s a good bet that under Delany’s plan, the Rose Bowl would be “protected”. In other words, the bowl would have access to the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 each year unless one or both schools were involved in the championship game.

Because the ACC and Big East have struggled to be nationally relevant in recent years, Delany’s proposal would directly benefit the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12. Teams from those four conferences have played in some combination in the last eight BCS title games.

It can’t be stressed enough the preliminary nature of Monday’s meeting. After discussing various models at the 1 ½-hour meeting, commissioners were to go back to their conferences to present them with their schools.  One source called it “process and procedure.”

The commissioners meet again in person Jan. 10 in New Orleans, the day after the BCS title game. It is at that meeting and subsequent ones that a clearer view of college football’s postseason going forward will begin to emerge. The commissioners must develop a postseason model to present to ESPN during its exclusive negotiating window that begins in October. If ESPN passes during those negotiations, then the model would go out to bid.

The current BCS model is in effect through the 2014 bowls. 

Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 1:29 pm
 

BCS chair Spanier won't immediately be replaced

BCS officials will not pick an interim replacement for former Penn State president Graham Spanier when they meet Monday in San Francisco.

Spanier was BCS Big Ten rep and chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee but lost that position last week when he was fired at Penn State. One conference commissioner speculated that replacing Spanier might be the first order of business Monday. But BCS executive director Bill Hancock told CBSSports.com that it could be “a few weeks” before a replacement is found.

Spanier had been one of the most respected college CEOs both in academic and athletic circles. He was relieved of duties on Wednesday by the Penn State board of trustees, the same day Joe Paterno was fired.

The oversight committee consists of a presidential representative from each FBS league, plus Notre Dame (12 in all). They consider information from the BCS commissioners, AD advisory group and television partners throughout the year. Monday’s meeting is not expected to be all that newsworthy, although rudimentary discussions are expected to begin on how college football’s postseason will look at the end of the current BCS deal that expires after the 2014 bowls.

More significant meetings will be conducted in January at the site of the BCS title game in New Orleans and in April at the annual BCS meeting.

 

The 11 current members of the BCS presidential oversight committee and conference they represent:

Scott Cowen - president, Tulane University (Conference USA)
Rev. John Jenkins - president, University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame)
Max Nikias - president, University of Southern California (Pac-12)
Duane Nellis - president, University of Idaho (WAC)
Mark Nordenberg - chancellor, University of Pittsburgh (Big East)
John Peters - president, Northern Illinois University (MAC)
Bill Powers - president, University of Texas (Big 12)
Gary Ransdell - president, Western Kentucky University (Sun Belt)
David Schmidly - president, University of New Mexico (Mountain West)
Charles Steger – president, Virginia Tech (ACC)
Robert Witt - president, University of Alabama (SEC)


 

 

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told CBSSports.com this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”

Posted on: October 22, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: October 22, 2011 11:20 am
 

MWC/CUSA behind Global Conference proposal

You thought Big Country was big? Wait until you wade into the details from a consortium that would include more than a quarter of all Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

Under the plan being circulated by the Mountain West and Conference USA to FBS administrators, those two conferences would hope to join forces with the Big East in a grouping of 28 to 32 schools in football only. The Big East is still pursuing a 12-team football league.

The idea is for the three conferences to stay viable to the BCS for automatic qualification to a BCS bowl or bowls. For now, call it the Global Conference. 

Those conferences would reorganize to compete in four, eight-team divisions or four, seven-team divisions. It’s not clear from the document how many automatic bids would emerge out of the group.

The Boston Globe and CBSSports.com received the document detailing the plan. The Globe first reported its details on Friday.

“In the event the concept of the AQ (automatic qualifier) goes forward,” the document states, “the decision of which conferences receive it, will likely be based on multiple factors, some of which are tangible and others intangible.”

It adds that nothing is assured in the postseason landscape after the 2013 season, the final year of the current BCS/ESPN agreement. The document acknowledges that the five power conferences have “clearly distinguished” themselves – Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and SEC – but that the Big East “has not compared well to most Power Conferences from a competitive standpoint”.

The document goes on to say that there is a “low probability” the Big East would retain its automatic BCS bid after 2013. It states what is already known -- that the conference needed a waiver from commissioners to retain BCS membership in 2008. It also says that the Big East is so low in the current qualification standards that it wouldn’t even qualify for a waiver to remain a BCS league at the moment. It concludes the Big East in its current form does not merit BCS inclusion over “the MW/CUSA.”

That could be self-serving propaganda from the Big Country. Conference USA and the Mountain West announced last week a 22-school alliance from which a champion could emerge that would snag a BCS bowl. Separately, the Mountain West recently proposed a 16-team FBS playoff.

The document obtained by CBSSports.com and the Globe goes on to detail “an alternative path” for the Big East worthy of “serious consideration.” If there is a BCS going forward after 2013, it states, the Big East’s best future lies with a “cooperative initiative” rather than individual efforts to rebuild.

“We are at a crossroads,” states the document.

The Global Conference divisions

 

West

Boise State

Hawaii

UNLV

Nevada

Fresno State

San Diego State

Utah State

 

Mountain

Air Force

 Wyoming

Colorado State

New Mexico

Texas –El Paso

SMU

 Tulsa

Houston


Central

Marshall

Memphis

Southern Miss

Tulane

Alabama-Birmingham

Rice

Temple

Louisiana Tech

 

Big East

Louisville

Connecticut

Rutgers

Cincinnati

South Florida

Central Florida

East Carolina

Navy

 

The 28-team model would be slightly reorganized and not include San Jose State, Temple, Louisiana Tech, Navy

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com