Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ghosts of SoCon Past: Appalachian State

With four teams leaving the SoCon at the end of the sesaon, people have analyzed an re-analyzed how good it is for each team to be leaving. Tonight, Appalachian State's decision is analyzed by their Scanning the SoCon blogger.

1) Do you think your team is making a good move (in general) leaving the conference?

When ECU asked App State to join FBS when the D1 split happened in 1978, they should have went back then.

I believe that when it comes to football, App State has maximized the revenue they can receive. This is a football move. There is no debate about that. Georgia Southern has made it a point of saying their goal is to be a nationally-recognize research institute (i.e. they want to subsidize their payroll through research money and not student fees).  With Chancellor Peacock retiring at the end of this season, it'll be up to the new Chancellor to determine that course.

One area that I think will help is that more App fans will have to travel up the mountain to see their team play conference games. There won't be many convenient games in the Upstate or the Triad for some fans to go to. You want to see App State, you come to Boone. Yes I can see App scheduling WCU, Davidson and UNCG in non-conference games, but they won't have the impact they currently do. Also, I think it makes App a more viable non-conference option so scheduling will get easier.
Football is already proving that.

2) How do you think your athletic department will fare in the long run?
It all depends on the success of the football program. Right now, football operates at a financial gain and while it doesn't cover the entire department, it helps. I've though for years that more revenue
should be put in the basketball program for marketing and scheduling which would be a risk, but has a lot of upside. Plus it creates two sources of revenue for the program instead of relying on just one.

Obviously the budget will increase replacing minimal plane trips with multiple plane trips, but the TV and sponsorship money could offset that.

It all depends if one of the two money sports (men's baksetball or football) can become not just a winning program, but a strong winning program. Then you can maximize ticket revenue, bring in hot
non-conference games and finances would take care of themselves.

3) How do you think your men's basketball team will fare in the short run?

First of all, barring a SoCon title Capel is all but gone. The good news is that the Sun Belt has rules against terrible non-conference scheduling such as only one sub-D1 team allowed (two this year due to only having 14 conference games) and standards when it comes to scheduling guarantee games. Also, I like the tournament format in that only the top eight go to New Orleans and then the top two get a double bye like the West Coast Conference Tournament.

It would be up to AD Charlie Cobb to make a worthy hire and despite Capel's failures, Cobb has a good track record in hiring. He's not going to go cheap on the next hire. They will make at least 200k and he'll have a good pool of candidates to consider.

In reality, it's all up in the air.

4) How is your athletic department preparing for the move?

Right now men's scholarships in Olympic sports are being cut for the short term Title IX implications (which aren't as dire as Georgia Southern due to their M/F ratio). There are plans to add either
women's swimming and diving or women's lacrosse to offset the scholarships in the long term and hopefully restore men's scholarships.

Obviously the budget will increase replacing minimal plane trips with multiple plane trips. The predicted amount of overall budget increase is between $4-6 million. Areas that do help are the CFB Playoff Group of Five revenue sharing which will amount to $1 million a year for App State, Sun Belt TV revenue in the seven figures per school, increase in corporate sponsorships due to increased visibility and then NCAA Tourney units (which the departing schools forfeited).

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