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Slive Gets National Writer’s Vote As College Sports Most Powerful Person… We Disagree (Barely)

slive-delanyAndy Staples of SI.com has today ranked the 10 most powerful people in college athletics for his readers.  Above NCAA president Mark Emmert there are two names.  You can guess both of them.  And though they’re friendly when in the same room, everyone knows there’s a bit of a rivalry between the two.

So here’s guessing Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany won’t like the fact that a national publication has ranked him below SEC commissioner Mike Slive.  Given Delany’s past comments regarding Big Ten superiority, he must feel a bit like Delta House has beaten his more prestigious Omega Theta Pi.

After explaining Slive’s power — and Delany’s — Staples explains exactly why he chose to put Slive atop his list:

 

“So why, when they seem relatively equal, does Slive get the nod over Delany?  Seven consecutive national championships in football, and Slive got everything he wanted in the negotiations for the format of the four-team playoff.  Remember, Slive proposed this very idea in 2008.  Delany opposed it until he saw no other option.  Had we made this list two years ago, Slive would not have finished so high.  A TV deal that looked like a Whopper in the post-crash world of 2009 looked like a junior cheeseburger in 2011.  So Slive changed the game.  The most important move so far in this round of realignment has been Texas A&M’s switch from the Big 12 to the SEC.  No matter what Slive actually said about fit and culture when the Aggies joined, the move was always a land grab to enlarge the SEC’s footprint.  Adding the nation’s second-largest state made a cable channel feasible and will allow the SEC to significantly increase its revenues.  No other move in realignment has had such a profound impact on one league.”

 

Staples goes on to suggest that Delany could jump Slive on his list if he decides to expand south and east.  His take on the Big Ten expansion situation mirrors what we’ve written on this site… the Big Ten is waiting to see what Maryland has to pay to leave the ACC and if it does decide to expand, schools like Virginia and North Carolina would likely prefer the the Big Ten to the SEC:

 

“The Big Ten has been more proactive, and if Delany decides he wants to push to take Virginia, North Carolina or Georgia Tech from the ACC, he probably can do it. Most likely, he’ll wait until dueling lawsuits in North Carolina and Maryland over the ACC’s $52 million exit fee play themselves out. If the exit fee holds up, it might not be financially wise to take any more ACC schools given the huge up-front cost — something those schools probably would ask the Big Ten to help pay. If the exit fee gets tossed or negotiated down, game on. Because of the Big Ten’s established network and its coalition of mostly academically elite schools, it would be the first choice among the presidents of the ACC’s old guard.”

 

Obviously, Staples gets no argument from us on those points.  However, we would argue that Delany should be slightly ahead of Slive on Staples’ power list and not the other way around.  Slive is clearly the smoother the operator as he usually gets his way in meetings with other commissioners (including Delany).  Whether he’s mastered the Jedi mind trick or he’s just more likable than his Big Ten counterpart, the SEC’s commish usually gets the votes he needs and and wants to get his way.

But he’s currently commanding the nation’s top football conference at a time when football is king.  That’s a pretty bid advantage.  If television dollars hadn’t become so closely tied to football, would Slive be quite as powerful?

Delany has inherited the oldest, most prestigious major conference.  The Big Ten has bigger schools, a better academic reputation, and deeper pockets than any of the other remaining “big five” leagues.  While Slive is helped by football, Delany is hurt by demographic swings that show people leaving the Northeast and Midwest for the Sun Belt states.  (Can it, Big Ten fans, Delany’s has referred to population shifts as a problem on numerous occasions.)  All things being equal, the Big Ten would be in better shape than even the SEC.  In fact, what SEC president wouldn’t like to see his conference become more like the Big Ten in terms of academics, shared resources, and research dollars?

But even with the nation’s population working against him, Delany’s addition of Rutgers and Maryland has started the college sports world trembling again.  Had the Pac-12, ACC, or even Big XII expanded the reaction would have never been so great.  Only the Big Ten and SEC can scare everyone else into action.  And as we (and Staples) believe, Delany might be able to come down into Dixie and convince a school or four into picking his conference over Slive’s in a head-to-head battle.

Whether expanding past 14 schools is wise for anyone is up for debate, but if Delany has the power to completely change the college landscape and outduel Slive in a faceoff for North Carolina, Duke or others — and we think he does — well, in our book that makes him the post powerful person in college athletics.  But only by thismuch over his fellow visionary, Slive.

Check back in six months.

 


32 comments
JRsec
JRsec

1.  In a struggle the weaker power is the one usually making defensive moves.  That's the Big 10.

2.  In the end television money is about a maximizing a byproduct of content and markets.  Delany's strategy will gain him markets, but adds little to nothing to his content in the one area in which it needs content, football.

3.  Research needs to be actually done by most bloggers on the CIC.  It helps in lobby for grants.  It helps in coordinating grant money to schools working on different aspects of the same research project and it does have advantages.  But, it does not really garner a research University like North Carolina that much more money than they get already, especially when cooperating within the research triangle with other neighboring North Carolina schools.  In fact the ways in which they are called upon to share within the CIC might even become a slight detriment to those schools.

4.  Most of the Big 10 advantage is in the visionary network that they started a couple of years ago.  But, even that is dependent upon a model of broadcasting and collection of advertising money that may not be an appropriate model in a rapidly changing market that is heavily influenced by innovations in technology.  So is moving to the Big 10 a short term net positive with large potential downside?  It's possible, but unclear.

5.  In the end as long as the SEC increases its lobby strength within the AAC (especially if through expansion the SEC garners 4 more AAU schools to become the clear #2 conference in that regard) and maintains its athletic prowess which is what garners the nations interest in viewing, then they will only continue to gain ground on the Big 10.  

 

In this game the Big 10 has markets, research money, and academic standing.  They should be looking for content.  The SEC has content, they are looking to add markets and increase academic standing thereby increasing research dollars.  Texas A&M delivered a competitive athletic program that increased market size and academic reputation.  Missouri strengthened basketball, increased markets and added academic reputation.  So far the SEC has gotten what it needs without sacrificing its athletic reputation to get it.  So far the Big 10 hasn't acquired what it needs most, in fact it has weakened its strength athletically with Rutgers and Maryland.  If it adds Virginia, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina it will have only added one significant sports program and that in basketball, a Big 10 strength, not a Big 10 need.

 

I think Slive is playing his hand beautifully.  If Delany pursues his course he will have tremendous market penetration, tremendous academics, tremendous research grant connections, and not one danged thing worth watching on his network outside of hoops!

Seanbo
Seanbo

If The B1G expands, I'm curious about what the SEC does.

 

Could the SEC get UNC by adding Duke?  How about Virginia by also taking Virginia Tech?

 

If B1G research money is to much to turn down and UNC, GT and UVa are gone, who does B1G take as #18?  Duke, FSU, dare we say Notre Dame?

 

If B1G goes to 18, does the SEC go to 16 and match the B1G at 18.

 

If the SEC goes to 18 and UNC is not an option,  does the SEC try to win the North Carolina market by adding NC State and Duke?  Does the SEC grab the best 4 football schools and continue doing what they do best by dominating college football (and baseball).

 

What would be best for the SEC?

 

a. stop at 16 with NCSU and VT

b. go to 18 with NCSU, VT, Duke and FSU

c. go to 18 with NCSU, VT, FSU, and Clemson

 

Can't wait for Slive's answer.

 

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

I have to admit that you are probably correct --- even though I wish you weren't. It is a very objective commentary. I just do not like the Big 10. However, a couple of things. The very thing that made the Big 10 powerful --- huge state schools in huge rust belt population centers --- is what is now a negative for that league. You could argue that Delany didn't see the trend fast enough and therefore, allowed the ACC to implement the huge exit fee. If the ACC exit fee holds, and that causes the Big 10 to not be able to take the ACC teams, that would be a big failure. Finally, if the SEC had the same reputation in basketball as football, do you believe the Noth Carolina's, Dukes and Virginias would still favor the Big 10 because of academics? 

adarpy
adarpy

 @JRsec One thing I don't understand is why Slive doesn't want to break up the ACC by inviting UNC/Duke/Virginia proactively?  Why wait for Delany to do the work first (grabbed Maryland and others) then get what we want (in UNC/Duke/Virginia)?  It's no time to be gentleman or play strategy.  I know Slive is really good at it.  It's time for action when power is in his hand.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec I agree that Slive has played his hand most effectively and that he at least deserves consideration for the #1 spot.  However, as much as I respect your opinions, I think that you miss the mark just a hair with regards to B1G expansion.  These were not defensive moves.  The point can be argued given Alvarez's statements about Penn State, but the fact remains that adding Rutgers and Maryland gave the Big Ten inroads into a very important portion of the country.  Rutgers, in particular, is primed to own the NY/NJ market.  Its games with Ohio State and Penn State will be the biggest college football games of the year in two of the nation's four largest TV markets.

 

Also, it's important to remember that conference networks are game changers.  The BTN had the best ratings in its history in January 2013 due to basketball.  As much as football drives the bus, it's important to remember that basketball is very important to conference networks.  There are more games that can be spread out over more nights and time slots.  If the SEC Network is going to equal the BTN with regards to advertising dollars, then the SEC will need to vastly improve its basketball product.  Remember, the big football games featuring the conference heavyweights are still going to be on CBS and ESPN.  Don't get me wrong - that's a good thing.  However, profitable conference networks depend on depth.  Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Arkansas will typically be the featured football programs on the SEC Network.  Just as the BTN doesn't get many Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska games, so, too, will the SEC Network not have much access to Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia, and LSU.  The middle and lower tier SEC football schools will have to carry the network in the fall.

 

Basketball offers four times the content of football.  Other than Penn State and Nebraska, just about every B1G alumni base is fully engaged in its basketball program.  Is that true in the SEC?  I admit that I don't know, but it's certainly not part of the conference's reputation outside of Kentucky and, perhaps, Missouri.

 

The argument in favor of Delany is the BTN.  He changed the game.  Slive is trying to catch up despite the fact that his football conference is the best and most popular product in all of college sports.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @JRsec 

 

"Research needs to be actually done by most bloggers on the CIC."

 

Apparently research needs to be done by university presidents and their fellow academicians because many of them spend a great deal of time praising the CIC and its value.  As a matter of fact, the SEC began it's own academic consortium in 2005 in an attempt to build what the Big Ten already has.

 

Slive may be playing his hand beautifully, but Delany has more power at the moment -- by a hair -- at this point.  Slive isn't going to break up the ACC and bring about the age of the super-conference.  Delany might and he's got the ability to do it.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

JRsec
JRsec

 @MoKelly1 You're last point could conversely be a reason for North Carolina and Duke to pick the SEC.  We have Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Vanderbilt most years, and some good mid level basketball schools.  The SEC is hardly a league in which the North Carolina and Duke brands would be overshadowed.  Year to year the Big 10 is a lot tougher in hoops from top to bottom than most conferences.  True they haven't won untold championships in the sport lately, but the Big 10 is almost always in the mix deep into the tournament and they have won their share.  I'm not so sure that Duke and North Carolina would want to go through that hammering every year.  Their fans love it when they play each other and when they play that OOC game with Kansas, or Kentucky, etc.  But they also like those wins over Clemson, F.S.U. (usually), Virginia Tech, B.C., and Georgia Tech.  Syracuse and Pitt are going to make the ACC more difficult.  Should the ACC get raided where better for the Heels and Blue Devils to go than the SEC where they will have about the same strength to compete with at the top as they have had in the ACC prior to expansion, maybe easier mid level teams to play, and a broader bottom to feast on for tourney credentials.  It will be an interesting decision to be made.  I'm just not sure the ACC is going to get raided.  ESPN and FOX are the ones providing the revenue projections upon which Big 10 and SEC strength of pull is gauged.  If ESPN decides to hang on to their property in the ACC they will.  If they decide to lose part of it the question becomes where do they want their most valuable brands to land.  My money would not be on the soon to be FOX controlled Big 10.  ESPN can monetize their investments in North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and F.S.U. much more efficiently in the SEC.  That's the angle that needs to be considered not only for ESPN brands in the ACC, but also in the Big 12.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @adarpy  @JRsec The best negotiator and/or salesman in the world won't be successful unless he has a willing buyer.  I forget where the rumor began - it did seem credible - that the SEC has been trying to land UNC and Duke since 2009.

 

Slive's problem when it comes to the Big 2 in Carolina is that his most valuable asset is not necessarily the thing that's important to UNC and Duke.  Delany has a competitive advantage because he 1) has a profitable conference network, 2) has 13 AAU schools in the fold, and 3) has the CIC to include as part of the package.  Still, even that might not be enough.  It seems that UNC and Duke would very much prefer to remain in the ACC.  That's why I think Delany needs to destroy the ACC - probably with Slive's help - in order to land Carolina.  Some believe the Big Ten doesn't really want Duke.  Who knows?

 

Similarly, Slive would have a competitive advantage if he were to try to land FSU and Clemson, namely that he can increase the value of their already very valuable football programs by adding them to the most valuable college sports product in the country.

 

Of course, the problem is that the SEC doesn't want FSU and Clemson b/c they do nothing to increase the value of the SEC Network.  It is possible that we've reached a stalemate.  In fact, it might even be likely.  The only way I see movement is if Delany goes out and gets Virginia and Georgia Tech.  That might set off a chain reaction - Va Tech to the SEC, maybe the Big 12 expands - that could shake loose the one school (UNC) that everybody wants but that is still firmly attached to the tree.

JRsec
JRsec

 @adarpy Siive and the SEC, and Swafford and the ACC both get a large portion (in the SEC's case) or all (in the ACC's case) of their revenue from ESPN.  They aren't going to get paid enough to do what they wish to do unless ESPN agrees to it.  And a healthy ACC is probably more in the SEC's interest as a buffer against the Big 10 because their presence maintains the environment in the South that has helped the SEC grow as strong as it has.  So, why change it?

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre The defensive move I was referring to was not the additions of Maryland and Rutgers and I never really considered Penn State a threat to abandon the Big 10.  What I had in mind was the need of the Big 10 to move South to find growing markets.  It, should it happen would be an offensive move, but with a defensive motivation.  The fact that they are aware of shifting demographics and feel the need to respond is defensive in nature in that they are responding to a threat rather than initiating one.

 

Remember one thing about the SEC.  Baseball, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, Tennis, Golf, Gymnastics, and Equestrian are all sports at which the SEC excels and will provide (if marketed properly) interesting nightly events to watch in the Spring and Winter.  Add to that a growing interest in women's soccer among high school girls in the South and you have another angle to play that wasn't there a few years ago.  And, interest in college Baseball within the SEC has more than a pulse and could easily draw some numbers for midweek and weekend viewing in the Spring.  Plus it has plenty of content.

 

You are dead right about the Basketball deficit, although we do not lack in recent national titles in the sport.  But we certainly lack in depth of quality within the conference.  The interest level in basketball in the SEC is not dead, but I wouldn't call it healthy either.  The reasons for this are related to one of my responses to you below.  But in short it's hard to get emotionally invested in the players when their turnover rate is so very high among the really talented ones.  Pete Maravich and John Mengelt among others helped to build basketball in the SEC.  The many Kentucky and Tennessee greats and Dale Brown at L.S.U. and personalities like Charles Barkley and Chuck and Wes Person helped to keep it alive beyond the Maravich affect.  But the fans had 4 years to get to know those kids and buy in.  I look at what Kentucky did last year and what they lost after just one season and where they are today as an bubble team and I think my point about continuity of buy in is a vital one.  Sure Kentucky will sell out Rupp next year, but how long will it take before turnover rates of players starts to hurt their fan participation as well?  That's why I don't believe basketball is a reliable commodity upon which to build a network.  Contribute to content?  Absolutely  But, help to sustain?  Not so sure.

JRsec
JRsec

 @John at MrSEC Of course the SEC started its own consortium in 2005.  Shared research projects and lobby power are important when dealing with and obtaining Federal grants.  The point of my comment is still germane.  North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and other ACC schools already have a version of the CIC as well.  It's advantage is in the management and procurement and brokering of detailed aspects of research within its conference.  The SEC had none of that collectively prior to 2005.  The advantages of the Big 10 are not that great for schools like North Carolina and Duke.  They probably would help Georgia Tech which of course specializes in engineering and would find many avenues to partner with say a Purdue.  For schools like Kansas and Iowa State it would be a huge plus.  But again not a game changer for Texas which has its own internal state oil fund to draw from.  Delany and Slive have influence, but it is network money that make these moves possible.  Therein lie the futures of the ACC and Big 12.  Personally it would be better for the SEC for the ACC to survive.  They buffer our markets quite effectively and in the long term would be better partners for us than the Big 12.  If a buffer is lost the one to the West is not as essential now that we have Missouri and Texas A&M. 

 

"Delany might and he's got the ability to do it" should read "FOX is willing to spend to get it so Delany has the ability to do it."  Well so does the Bristol based corporate Mouse and what they decide to do will probably have more effect upon the conclusion of this realignment process than anything else at this point.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @MoKelly1 Basketball excellence is certainly more transitory.  Unlike football, it is not the case that most of the nation's top basketball players reside in a handful of states.  The SEC has an inherent advantage in football that the B1G can never hope to match.  Plus, if you can find three good players, then you have a reasonably good college basketball team.  Kentucky is down this year.  Does anybody think that will last?  Indiana is up, but it will likely lose five of the top six players on its roster this season, including two that will leave early for the NBA.  Southern football schools can lose two players early to the NFL and not feel any real effect.  Losing two early to the NBA can cripple a basketball program for a season or two.

 

The SEC's problem with schools like Virginia, UNC and Duke isn't basketball.  It's academic perception and, yes, snobbery.  I keep reading that adding those schools and Georgia Tech would give the SEC eight AAU schools.  That's true.  But it's also true that adding those same schools would give the Big Ten 17 AAU institutions.  The gap, such as it is, remains huge at 13-4.  That's a lot to overcome when it's the college presidents and trustees that will be making the decisions.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @adarpy You may be right about a stalemate, but if Slive truly wanted North Carolina he has one card to play that Delany can't.  He could offer Duke and N.C. State along with the Heels.  There's no way the Big 10 wants to do that.  Of course neither does the SEC want to do it, but they are a lot freer to than the Big 10.  I still believe the stalemate will be resolved definitively following the Maryland suit.  I think it's ESPN that is waiting to see what to do about their ACC property.  If Maryland wins then ESPN may try to shelter their best brands in the SEC, or simply pony up the cash to buy stability.  I'd put my eggs in the first basket.  It would simply be good business.  If Maryland loses then ESPN is off the hook for having to have a significantly larger payout to keep the ACC together.  Then I believe they will encourage their best brands in the Big 12 to move to the SEC and ACC.  Either way I think we wait.

JRsec
JRsec

 @adarpy Just remember in actuality the Big 10 in this latest round of realignment has only added two:  Rutgers and Maryland.  The SEC has only added two:  Texas A&M and Missouri.  I would say our additions were both proactive and strategic.  In the great scheme of realignment the SEC was the first to move to 12.  And even though the ACC moved to 14 first, the SEC was the first to move to and play with 14 out of the power conferences.  I feel like we will be the first to do the same with 16 or more.  And, I like A&M & Mizzou a heckuva lot better than Rutgers and Maryland!

adarpy
adarpy

 @JRsec Well said and very logical.  But my question still persists - why being so gentle and reactive?   If SEC can get UNC/Duke/Virginia now, why bother to worry about Big Ten?  Why worry about ESPN?  If we got UNC/Duke/Virginia tomorrow, won't ESPN knock on our door and ask for broadcasting right for next 100 years?  Being defensive just put ourselves under the mercy of ESPN and Big Ten.

But you might be right that in the end, the most powerful man in college sports is indeed ESPN (or Fox).  Slive or Delany are just chess ponies.  My worry is if Big Ten got what they want, Delany could be the most powerful guy - at that time, even ESPN/Fox will have to cave in because nobody can provide the same product (Michigan, Ohio State, UNC etc) in big-population and rich states.

Let's just think and act proactively, no more being strategic and nice.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec SEC Baseball in particular could represent a treasure trove of untapped potential for the SEC Network.  As dominant as the SEC is in football, a case could be made that it is actually more dominant in baseball.  Of course, the problem with college baseball has always been the professional minor league system.  The best college players - those who are drafted in the first round - tend to begin their professional careers in high A ball and then disappear for a year or two until they make it to the MLB.  That and the fact that top high school players often go straight to the minors will always keep a lid on the potential of college baseball.  But I agree that the SEC is perfectly positioned to take advantage of whatever potential is there.

 

I think the Big Ten has designs on making lacrosse its staple sport in the spring.  That makes sense to me.  It snowed throughout Big Ten Country this week.  Our baseball teams often have to travel to Florida for weeks at a time just to play a few games.  Lacrosse works in the cold.  And rich people in the Mid-Atlantic really like it.

 

The key to basketball content is the fans and not so much the product.  Purdue, for example, stinks this year.  But Mackey Arena is sold out for every game.  In the BTN's record breaking January, Purdue has more appearances on the network than any other school.  That's because, well, it stinks and CBS and ESPN weren't interested in carrying its lousy games.  But Purdue is a huge school that has lots of basketball fans that will watch its games despite how putrid the level of play might be.  That's what carries a conference network that is built on 3rd tier rights (a nice way of saying the crummy teams).  Chances are that Purdue will be significantly improved next year.  Its games will be on CBS and ESPN, and some other putrid Big Ten team that lost most of its best players - Indiana? - will continue to draw lots of eyeballs on the BTN.

 

I misunderstood your statement about defensive moves, but I would not call the Southern moves defensive, either.  They are aggressive insofar as they expand the subscriber base of the BTN.  Further, I would argue that all moves thus far by the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12 were aggressive.  The ACC has been defenisve.  Perhaps that is why it is the one that finds itself in such a precarious position.

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @John at MrSEC But isn't that really just reflective of the 13 - 4 advantage in recognized research universities?  And if the right mix (and I'm not saying they will) joined the SEC from the ACC that gap would be closed quite a bit.  Let's say the SEC went to 20 with Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech (just a hypothentical) that gap would close from 13 -4 to

13 - 9 and would effectively lock the Big 10 out of the Southeast.  Now such a hostile move wouldn't be good for either conference and they have a lot to gain by working together.  If the SEC decided to expand to 24 and AAU was the game there is Tulane, Rice, Texas, and Kansas to go after.  I know it gets ridiculous.  But my first point was we have to remember what is paying the bills here.  Television will demand content.  So AAU targets are important, but only is as much as they also provide content.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @John at MrSEC It's also about capacity and scale economies.  The Big Ten has an enormous advantage.  Its 14 schools combine to draw more than double the research dollars that the SEC's 14 schools attract.  That kind of scale is important even for schools such as UNC, Duke and Virginia.  The fact that the Big Ten schools are so large is another advantage because it makes the CIC consortium extremely powerful.  The Big Ten schools buy more stuff.  That kind of scale is a benefit to any institution that is considering a move.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @MoKelly1 Check out this NYT story about the UVa situation.  It seems as if moving to the Big Ten might be something about which the president and the Board of Visitors might actually agree.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/magazine/teresa-sullivan-uva-ouster.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Incidentally, in that thesis about the NCAA, I argued that it began as an effort by Theodore Roosevelt to save the game of college football and that it ended up being a means by which northern schools coerced southern schools into limiting player compensation to the price of admission and room and board.  Southern schools were already paying players - there was no rule against it - and northern schools were already snobbishly eschewing the practice.  Not surprisingly, of the 39 founding members of the NCAA, there were 12 from Pennsylvania, 7 from New York, 6 from Ohio, 3 from Massachusetts, and 2 from New Jersey.  No other state had more than one founding NCAA member institution.  The "southern" founders were UNC, U of Tennessee, and U of Missouri.  The Deep South had no representation at all in the original NCAA.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 If you ask me the whole darn society is getting way to contentious.  So much so we apparently need drones to watch over us (the law included permission for corporate drones too, can you believe that?).  Anyway, the egos, and nanny nanny boo boo are everywhere from Congress to the PTL meetings at the local middle schools.  I blame the lack of emphasis in critical thinking, reading comprehension, public oratory, discipline, and lack of participation in team sports.  Everyone always looks to national policies, defense spending, and the like to cite the downfall of our nation.  I say if it has begun it started with a gross lack of civil respect and an over abundance of narcissists.  If a child is never wrong and never disciplined, and never forced to cooperate for the greater good, then this is what you get.  I noticed the change when I was in graduate school (top 20 school) 20 years ago.  It was ridiculous.  A week ago I was having a debate with another poster I enjoy reading (much like yourself) and a third party joined in to compliment us for disagreeing with resorting to ad hominems.  

 

The two of us were a bit shocked because while having differing views we have never been rude with one another and enjoy our mutual broadening of scope by the process.  We obviously were both significantly older than the third poster.  I've even wondered if the political discourse isn't so harsh just to discourage the interested participation of the voters they don't seem to want to listen to anymore.  

 

Your point about UVa is interesting.  I converse with a UVa alum who is active there and there is some sentiment favoring the SEC.  It seems to break upon native Virginian and Government workers as a demographic.  The former being pro SEC and the latter pro Big 10.  The latter now outnumbers the former from the best I can assess. 

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @MoKelly1 Actually, I forgot about one complication with regards to Virginia.  The school president and the Board of Trustees hate each other.  The board tried to fire the president several months ago - she "resigned" due to their differences.  But the students and faculty rallied on her behalf.  She was subsequently reinstated.  Then the governor gave the board president another term.  Now stories are beginning to trickle out suggesting that the ladies are again having a difficult time getting along.

 

The board president apparently gave the university president a litany of "goals" that are to be accomplished in the coming year.  The university president responded publicly, saying that she did not appreciate being set up to fail.

 

Could these two agree on a move to a new conference?  Don't know.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @MoKelly1 That would be innovative and probably successful.  I like the idea of the broadened CIC because it would provide even greater scale to the existing members even as it opens up new opportunities for the new members.  The big state schools would be able to compete with the Ivies and MIT, Cal Tech, and Hopkins.

 

It's a mystery to me why schools like those three and Rochester, Emory and others don't form consortia that have nothing to do with athletics.

 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.  The first domino that needs to fall is the ACC.  I'm looking at Virginia and Georgia Tech.  They're gettable for the Big Ten.  If that were to happen, then the possibilities that you've discussed would be more than plausible.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 Exactly!  If the division of the ACC is between the SEC and Big 10, and the division of the Big 12 is predominantly between the SEC and PAC, although I expect the Big 10 to pick up 1 or 2 there as well, then these cross conference partnerships need to be halves playing halves of each other.  The original PAC teams playing the original Big 10 schools, the new PAC teams from the Big 12 partnered with the new SEC teams from the Big 12, the new Big 10 teams from the ACC playing the new SEC teams from the ACC.  That kind of cross conference play will make for even more intriguing post season play.  I also think it would be progressive for the Big 10 after realignment is completed (and especially if we are in a new upper tier, or no longer members of the NCAA) would open the CIC to members of AAU from both the PAC and SEC.  In other words create a Pan-CIC type organization.  At some point the research activities need to separated from the athletics.  

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @MoKelly1 I'm of the opinion that businesses always prefer to cooperate rather than compete.  Conferences aren't businesses, per se, but they really are for all practical purposes.  The academic term is "Institutions for Competitiveness" - the best graduate level course of study that I ever took.  My thesis was about the NCAA - it seemed powerful then, but that was ten years ago.  If I were to do it again, I would write about the B1G or SEC.

 

Yes, they should cooperate in a covert manner whenever possible.  Add the  Pac-12 to the mix, too.  With three major conferences, it seems to me that anti-trust concerns could be laid low so long as there are quantifiable standards that guarantee entry.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 I still pay some attention to my Indiana Pacers, likely because they were the only pro team in my home city when I was growing up.  But we're constantly reminded here in DC about the one and done phenomenon because this is where John Wall ended up after his year at UK.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 One other important point about the realignment issue, and forgive me if I've made it before, but should the SEC and Big 10 cooperate in this venture (covertly of course) and we do move to 3 twenty team conferences then the net to each conference would be just over 40 million dollars for the elimination of the ACC and Big 12.  That alone nets each member of the PAC, Big 10, and SEC 2 million more per school.  That's an incentive.  Add to this fact the money that would befall someone with the extra playoff spot and it becomes even more lucrative.  I don't think we get to this destination in the next few years, but within the decade is a definite possibility. 

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 Well that tells you how much I keep up with the N.B.A.  Thanks for letting me know they didn't sign high school kids anymore.  James was the last one that I could remember.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 I agree with you about the lack of cultural fit in regards to Virginia and Duke.  And since I don't believe that Georgia Tech really would find what it needs in the SEC as much as it would in the Big 10 and that the SEC's interest in Georgia Tech couldn't be all that great beyond its AAU status I wouldn't think much of a fuss would ensue over their departure North.  I think the two big sticking points will be North Carolina (because it is difficult to own the TV markets in the state without them) and Florida State (who with the right backing would be the only school in the mix that could threaten the SEC's prestige).  If the SEC and Big 10 cooperated on expansion into the ACC I would think a healthy compromise might be for Delany to take Virginia, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Miami (who might well be AAU in the next ballot, especially with Big 10 backing).  The SEC could pick up Virginia Tech, N.C. State, U.N.C. and F.S.U. for content and we would both stand at 18 without going to war.  

 

I do think that protecting high yield brands is going to come into play between the Networks.  That's the only reason I listened when they spoke of Duke and North Carolina to the SEC.  ESPN has Duke, F.S.U., North Carolina, as strong brands to protect.  Virginia Tech, and Clemson are valuable regional brands.  Miami still has national cache but I wouldn't place them with the first three.  Syracuse I didn't list because they aren't a factor yet, but they are certainly valuable.  I see any, or all of these as schools that ESPN may try to protect as their product.  How that plays out I don't know, but it has to be considered.  Since ESPN is more tenuous with the Big 10 than with the SEC I think the first three brands I listed will be affected by network considerations.  Virginia Tech is a new market and as a regional brand I think that gets them in as well.  The question for them is in what order and when?

 

If the SEC and Big 10 grow to 18 a piece then they both can wait for the Big 12 to either get a network (which will be extremely difficult to do for many reasons) or decide to be a part of someone else's.  They will not be able to afford to fall as far behind the revenue streams of the Big 10 and SEC as they will should those two grow larger out of the ACC.  Both the SEC and Big 10 could easily go to 20 if movement starts within the Big 12.  Larry Scott would then be able to move to at least 16 if not more.  

 

Should Delany acquire the Irish (unlikely) and Kansas to get to 20 the real interesting issue will be whether the SEC looks West at all.  Syracuse and Pitt have to be attractive at some point.  The only target to the West with enough value to be worth taking would be Texas.  Oklahoma may have waited too long to move and may not be as valuable to the SEC and Big 10 as they could have been at 13 or 14.  What they have to bring to the table may be getting close to being exceeded by the new numbers for both of those conferences and their market is really too small.  Now that kind of stuff will be fun to see play out.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @MoKelly1 I totally agree with you with regards to the NBA.  Even though it no longer signs kids straight out of high school, it didn't really help the situation much by creating the "one and done" phenomenon.  Kentucky seems to be able to play that game pretty well, but it's the only one.  And the product definitely does suffer.  Georgetown, for example, is on television here all the time.  It's a Top 5 team that can't score!  Many of its games are unwatchable.  And its one player that can score, Otto Porter, will probably be off to the NBA after this season.

 

I also agree that the SEC should rate AAU status at the top of its list of priorities.  As I've said many times, I think that institutions should build on their strengths.  For the SEC, that means expanding in areas that have lots of good high school football players and college teams with rabid fans.  Virginia Tech, therefore, should be a no-brainer.  It also happens to be an excellent school.  North Carolina State makes sense, too.  If the SEC can land UNC, then it should.  I don't see either Duke or Virginia as a good fit. 

 

Unfortunately, the conference network will make two natural SEC candidates, FSU and Clemson, not so attractive.  That's really too bad, in my view.  But I do understand it.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @MoKelly1 I don't believe the SEC can or will overcome their deficit in AAU members.  I do believe their goal might be, and probably should be, to equal or pass the PAC for second position and to close the gap on the Big 10 margin.  Time and demographics will help with the rest.  The SEC simply needs enough of those institutions to gain clout, not to own it.

 

The other problem with basketball dominance is the NBA's willingness to sign students at any grade level, and to sign right out of high school if necessary.  That, in my opinion is helping to kill interest in the sport.  The fans don't have the time to adopt the kids as somebody to follow before they are gone and that hurts with continuity of fan investment.

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