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I'm sure there's an answer like "someone will make an exception" but I don't know what non-Notre Dame 1-A independents do if all the 1-A leagues go conference-only (very plausible) and all the 1-AA leagues either do that or skip the fall entirely (also plausible).
We know what UConn is going to do: nothing. They're not playing football this year.

 

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Do they now use this opportunity to hit the reset button?
 

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UConn already had cancelled games this year against Illinois, Indiana, Ole Miss and Maine with cancellations likely against North Carolina and Virginia. They also faced travel restrictions against remaining teams on the schedule which would mean a 14 day quarantine period. It was pointless to try and salvage what little would be left of this year and better to preserve the players eligibility and hopefully play a full schedule next year.
 

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I wonder what the impact will be on their overall athletic budget. Obviously they are still covering scholarships, but there will no be no travel (very expensive for an entire football team), they won't be paying any guarantees to schools like Maine this year, but they also will not be receiving any revenue from ticket sales or any guarantees they may have been getting from the Power 5 schools they were playing (not sure if they were home/home agreements or what they were). Course, they most likely wouldn't have been able to have spectators anyway so they save a lot of money in stadium personnel on game days.
 

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Connecticut was losing something like $11-12M a year on football recently. There's still salaries (Edsall's contact is absurd) and scholarships to be paid, but you'd think they'd save a buck or two not playing this year.

Massachusetts is the next domino to fall. They're in the same boat.
 

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Massachusetts is the next domino to fall. They're in the same boat.
They have lost a home game vs Albany and road games at Auburn and UConn. The rest of their schedule is as follows:

vs Troy
@ App State
@ New Mexico
vs Temple
@ Akron
vs Florida Int'l
vs New Mexico St
vs Army
@ Liberty

All the home games are scheduled for Amherst, not in Foxboro or Fenway Park, so at least they aren't looking at a rental fee to host games. As it stands now, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up games vs the MAC after most of those schools have lost games vs Big Ten, ACC and SEC opponents. However, are any of them willing to pay a guarantee? I highly doubt it seeing as they have lost their own money games.

In looking further into their schedule, are teams from Alabama, Florida and New Mexico really gonna want to fly to Hartford or Boston given the pandemic? For that matter, is the state of Massachusetts going to let anyone from Florida come into the state right now with their exploding numbers? Will the school itself allow any of its' teams to travel to New Mexico, the Carolina's, Ohio, Virginia?
 

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Connecticut was losing something like $11-12M a year on football recently. There's still salaries (Edsall's contact is absurd) and scholarships to be paid, but you'd think they'd save a buck or two not playing this year.

Massachusetts is the next domino to fall. They're in the same boat.
Said it before, I'll say it again...
If only there were a level-appropriate league with schools of similar profiles in neighboring states that these two teams can join.
 

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Seems as though there are some hurt feelings within the membership of the Big Ten, in particular Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. They all really wanted to play football. If other conferences do push and actually play, I wonder if there could be another wave of restructuring that impacts the highest level. Doubtful, but then again, I didn't envision West Virginia in the Big 12, Missouri or Texas A&M in the SEC, Nebraska in a conference without Oklahoma, etc. I can't imagine the bidding war that would happen should Ohio State decide they wanted to leave the Big Ten.
 

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Discussion Starter #4,409
Seems as though there are some hurt feelings within the membership of the Big Ten, in particular Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. They all really wanted to play football. If other conferences do push and actually play, I wonder if there could be another wave of restructuring that impacts the highest level. Doubtful, but then again, I didn't envision West Virginia in the Big 12, Missouri or Texas A&M in the SEC, Nebraska in a conference without Oklahoma, etc. I can't imagine the bidding war that would happen should Ohio State decide they wanted to leave the Big Ten.
I really wish that a restructuring would just happen and be done with it.......take those 40 or so schools that just want to be football factories and have them establish their own corporation. They could then strike a lucrative deal with the NFL as their farm system. Everyone knows the score on collegiate athletics.....just stop pretending and get this football shit taken care of.

I would call it Football America & do 4 ten team divisions:

Group A:

Rutgers
Virginia
Virginia Tech
West Virginia
Penn State
Ohio State
Michigan
Michigan State
Notre Dame
Wisconsin

Group B:

South Carolina
Clemson
Georgia
Miami
Florida
Florida State
Alabama
Auburn
Mississippi
Mississippi State

Group C

LSU
Arkansas
Texas
Texas A&M
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Missouri
Kansas State
Nebraska
Iowa

Group D

Colorado
Utah
Arizona
Arizona State
UCLA
USC
Stanford
Cal
Oregon
Washington
 

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I really wish that a restructuring would just happen and be done with it.......take those 40 or so schools that just want to be football factories and have them establish their own corporation. They could then strike a lucrative deal with the NFL as their farm system. Everyone knows the score on collegiate athletics.....just stop pretending and get this football shit taken care of.

I would call it Football America & do 4 ten team divisions:

Group A:

Rutgers
Virginia
Virginia Tech
West Virginia
Penn State
Ohio State
Michigan
Michigan State
Notre Dame
Wisconsin

Group B:

South Carolina
Clemson
Georgia
Miami
Florida
Florida State
Alabama
Auburn
Mississippi
Mississippi State

Group C

LSU
Arkansas
Texas
Texas A&M
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Missouri
Kansas State
Nebraska
Iowa

Group D

Colorado
Utah
Arizona
Arizona State
UCLA
USC
Stanford
Cal
Oregon
Washington
Will never happen. Just as an example, what about Tennessee? Believe me, my brother in law is from Tennessee and I’ve been to games in Knoxville, and football is HUGE. They are a major program in a down period. And no TCU, Baylor, etc....the Power 5 may create their own football Division, but it will include all or most of their existing teams.
 

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Will never happen. Just as an example, what about Tennessee? Believe me, my brother in law is from Tennessee and I’ve been to games in Knoxville, and football is HUGE. They are a major program in a down period. And no TCU, Baylor, etc....the Power 5 may create their own football Division, but it will include all or most of their existing teams.
As someone who grew up in Knoxville during their golden years, I concur about keeping Tennessee, as well as the entire Power 5 (except Rutgers) together. But if they want to break away from the NCAA for football only, I don't see a downside.
 

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Discussion Starter #4,414
Will never happen. Just as an example, what about Tennessee? Believe me, my brother in law is from Tennessee and I’ve been to games in Knoxville, and football is HUGE. They are a major program in a down period. And no TCU, Baylor, etc....the Power 5 may create their own football Division, but it will include all or most of their existing teams.
OK....make it 80 teams.....or 100 teams. I don't really care.....just get the F out of the NCAA and let the rest of us do our thing.
 

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I asked my cousin, Brian Bennett, staff writer covering mid major basketball for the Athletic, a question about conference stability in his mailbag.

What mid-major conference would you say is the most unstable and would be the most likely to be the next conference to collapse? — Matthew B.

I worry most about the MEAC.

Three conference teams will jump ship on June 30, 2021, with Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M moving to the SWAC and North Carolina Central heading to the Big South. This follows recent departures by Hampton and Savannah State as well. Delaware State was also mulling an exit before announcing this summer it was staying put for the time being. But the MEAC, barring expansion, is down to six football-playing schools and would have just eight members for basketball in 2021-22. And this week, Bethune-Cookman opted out of all sports for its final year in the league. I’m also extremely concerned that HBCU athletic departments, already operating on shoestring budgets, will be particularly affected by the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. Ironically, the MEAC might receive more attention than normal this season because Howard will have five-star recruit Makur Makur and Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern in its lineup and will be a national story to follow.

Perhaps you consider the MEAC a low-major league and not a mid-major one. OK, then next on my list would be the WAC. The league’s geography makes no sense, and it will play this year with three teams that are making the transition to Division I: Cal Baptist, Tarleton State and Dixie State. New Mexico State has dominated the conference in recent years and would probably like to seek higher ground, while Chicago State is in way over its head as a D1 program. It would only take one or two members getting poached or opting out for the WAC to lose all relevance and scramble for survival.

(Full disclosure: Matthew B. is my cousin. Nepotism is in full effect in this mailbag).
 

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I think that's an accurate assessment so props to your cousin. While I agree I think there's a night and day difference in stability. The MEAC is one away from losing possible AQ status, with no natural replacements given the HBCU nature (and no HBCUs should, nor have the money to bump up to replace them in D1). And, I only see 5 of the remaining 8 being able to find other homes in D1 conferences if there's more upheaval, leaving those other 3 to do what's probably best and go down to D2. As for the WAC, outside of the obvious with Chicago State leaving via dropping down a division or closing, I don't think it's New Mexico State that is in danger of moving. It's Utah Valley. They'd be much more attractive to the Big Sky should it lose a member (say Sacramento State moves to the Big West to be UC Davis' crosstown rival while still being able to stay in Big Sky for football).

Grand Canyon's for-profit status is going to severely limit its options. Cal Baptist while close to Big West schools, those are all public UC and CSU schools + Hawaii. Seattle makes sense in the WCC since it was a former member, and Cal Baptist could in theory even with its denominational differences, but WCC seems stable and only a BYU/Gonzaga departure probably spurs any sort of expansion move by that league. New Mexico State is basically stuck. Left out of the Mountain West/WAC merger because of University of New Mexico, it can't go there (and they'd become an average to bad basketball team quickly in the MWC I think). So, they're in the wilderness as FBS Independent, and probably don't want to do what Idaho did and drop to FCS even if they should. There was an Athletic article on Idaho losing attendance and donors because of that move. Some people want to see their team get smoked by a SEC team on the road and go 4-8 on a good year against middling FBS teams than actually better use the resources to possibly be good in FBS.

All that being said though, Tarleton and Dixie are now FCS Independent. Geographically, the core of the WAC is still a large footprint but the number of schools in Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona gives them way more options to continue to add. If they happened to lose 1-2 schools, there might be an appetite for some of those larger public/private institutions in that region to make the move from D2. And, if they have football they could maybe get themselves on the way to sponsoring it as an FCS conference, which might help NMSU consider the drop down. So, in short, it's certainly unstable for the WAC, but I think they'll be a league that continues to find a way to hang on and fend off death for a while longer.
 

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I think that's an accurate assessment so props to your cousin. While I agree I think there's a night and day difference in stability. The MEAC is one away from losing possible AQ status, with no natural replacements given the HBCU nature (and no HBCUs should, nor have the money to bump up to replace them in D1). And, I only see 5 of the remaining 8 being able to find other homes in D1 conferences if there's more upheaval, leaving those other 3 to do what's probably best and go down to D2. As for the WAC, outside of the obvious with Chicago State leaving via dropping down a division or closing, I don't think it's New Mexico State that is in danger of moving. It's Utah Valley. They'd be much more attractive to the Big Sky should it lose a member (say Sacramento State moves to the Big West to be UC Davis' crosstown rival while still being able to stay in Big Sky for football).

Grand Canyon's for-profit status is going to severely limit its options. Cal Baptist while close to Big West schools, those are all public UC and CSU schools + Hawaii. Seattle makes sense in the WCC since it was a former member, and Cal Baptist could in theory even with its denominational differences, but WCC seems stable and only a BYU/Gonzaga departure probably spurs any sort of expansion move by that league. New Mexico State is basically stuck. Left out of the Mountain West/WAC merger because of University of New Mexico, it can't go there (and they'd become an average to bad basketball team quickly in the MWC I think). So, they're in the wilderness as FBS Independent, and probably don't want to do what Idaho did and drop to FCS even if they should. There was an Athletic article on Idaho losing attendance and donors because of that move. Some people want to see their team get smoked by a SEC team on the road and go 4-8 on a good year against middling FBS teams than actually better use the resources to possibly be good in FBS.

All that being said though, Tarleton and Dixie are now FCS Independent. Geographically, the core of the WAC is still a large footprint but the number of schools in Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona gives them way more options to continue to add. If they happened to lose 1-2 schools, there might be an appetite for some of those larger public/private institutions in that region to make the move from D2. And, if they have football they could maybe get themselves on the way to sponsoring it as an FCS conference, which might help NMSU consider the drop down. So, in short, it's certainly unstable for the WAC, but I think they'll be a league that continues to find a way to hang on and fend off death for a while longer.
I'm going to take a different approach. When the current college football playoff TV contracts get renewed in 6 years, and with CBS Sports having another conference with the SEC leaving after next year, the Big XII will make some sort of move, and I can see them wanting back in the Denver market, and try to lure Colorado State from the MWC. Hawaii wouldn't want to leave the Big West for full membership, they're having a hard time with their current budget traveling to California, so I can see New Mexico being talked into letting NMSU in by the rest of the conference for balance sake. Also, Grand Canyon, with its for profit status, is throwing a lot of non-tax dollars around, improving their facilities (their soccer stadium looks like an English League One stadium), hiring ex-NBA executives to run their basketball program, and could be at the top of the WAC in the next few years.

If the WAC loses Chicago State (to either D2 or a more geographically friendly conference, which was NJIT's issue), they'll be left with seven. Utah Valley doesn't have football, so they're not as in danger of being taken by the Big Sky. And truthfully, I can see FCS newcomers Dixie State and Tarleton State being invited into the Big Sky for football affiliation, along with San Diego from the cross country Pioneer League.
 

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I'm going to take a different approach. When the current college football playoff TV contracts get renewed in 6 years, and with CBS Sports having another conference with the SEC leaving after next year, the Big XII will make some sort of move, and I can see them wanting back in the Denver market, and try to lure Colorado State from the MWC. Hawaii wouldn't want to leave the Big West for full membership, they're having a hard time with their current budget traveling to California, so I can see New Mexico being talked into letting NMSU in by the rest of the conference for balance sake. Also, Grand Canyon, with its for profit status, is throwing a lot of non-tax dollars around, improving their facilities (their soccer stadium looks like an English League One stadium), hiring ex-NBA executives to run their basketball program, and could be at the top of the WAC in the next few years.

If the WAC loses Chicago State (to either D2 or a more geographically friendly conference, which was NJIT's issue), they'll be left with seven. Utah Valley doesn't have football, so they're not as in danger of being taken by the Big Sky. And truthfully, I can see FCS newcomers Dixie State and Tarleton State being invited into the Big Sky for football affiliation, along with San Diego from the cross country Pioneer League.
For sure. Grand Canyon just hired Bryce Drew as well. He got a raw deal at Vanderbilt, but he can recruit All-Americans, they all just got hurt, and won 70% of his games at Valpo. And, they fired Dan Majerle who went 136-89 in 7 years, so I think they're pretty serious. They aren't going to be able to move anywhere else I think, so they might as well be the biggest fish they possibly can.

Other things to add:

1) Colorado State makes sense but they would be so god awful in football it's almost not worth it. I know the Big 12 balked at the LDS stuff (rich, considering Baylor and TCU) when BYU was floated around as a potential member, but I think it's worth kicking the tires on them again even though I think they are happy where they are at.

2) The Big Sky could add Tarleton and Dixie, but they already have 13 football schools (all 11 full sport members + UC Davis and Cal Poly). I sense they won't be in a rush to go to 14 or 15, especially with both of WAC schools out of their general footprint.

3) Any MWC shakeup makes New Mexico State more appealing. But in six years time with TV deals all being up I wonder: does Conference USA split in two? It's a total longshot but let's face it the league really isn't working. 14 teams, no team has come truly close to a New Year's Six bid and in basketball it's a one-bid league where its best team has a lower NET rating than Vermont. If you split off the western CUSA teams, they'd easily add NMSU since it's like 40 miles from UTEP. The eastern schools could probably provide an affiliate home for UConn and UMass. I just think CUSA as currently constructed is pretty much a failure and should be re-evaluated.
 

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I have thought that it was only a matter of time before C-USA gets shaken up again. I mean, it really is kind of a hodge podge of schools thrown together. Old Dominion is fairly isolated as with the exception of Charlotte, nobody else is really within 8 hours of them (Marshall is right around 8 I believe). UTEP, though located in Texas, is closer to Phoenix (by about 2 hours) than it is any member of their league, including the other 3 members located in Texas. The 2 schools in Florida, Florida Int'l and Florida Atlantic, are isolated from the entire league with Charlotte, not UAB, being the closest to them and that is nearly 11 hours.

This league didn't make sense from the get-go, but I gotta think after all this covid stuff and the loss of quite a bit of money, I really don't see how they can sustain this membership as it stands right now. Not sure what alternatives some of these schools really have, but most need to think long and hard about what they are trying to accomplish with their athletic departments.

With the relative success of their athletic programs and proximity to multiple league options, I would think that Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee are best situated to find new homes if necessary.
 
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I have thought that it was only a matter of time before C-USA gets shaken up again. I mean, it really is kind of a hodge podge of schools thrown together. Old Dominion is fairly isolated as with the exception of Charlotte, nobody else is really within 8 hours of them (Marshall is right around 8 I believe). UTEP, though located in Texas, is closer to Phoenix (by about 2 hours) than it is any member of their league, including the other 3 members located in Texas. The 2 schools in Florida, Florida Int'l and Florida Atlantic, are isolated from the entire league with Charlotte, not UAB, being the closest to them and that is nearly 11 hours.

This league didn't make sense from the get-go, but I gotta think after all this covid stuff and the loss of quite a bit of money, I really don't see how they can sustain this membership as it stands right now. Not sure what alternatives some of these schools really have, but most need to think long and hard about what they are trying to accomplish with their athletic departments.

With the relative success of their athletic programs and proximity to multiple league options, I would think that Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee are best situated to find new homes if necessary.
Right, to me with UConn gone, Temple is probably asking what it's doing. They have a decent football team but let's be real they are a basketball school and their fans don't really want to see them playing Tulane and ECU in hoops. A CUSA shakeup would probably benefit Temple if it meant they along with UConn and UMass could slot into associate membership with the remaining eastern CUSA schools and Temple could take the 12th spot in the Big East because I don't think Villanova would care, they'd probably love it, and college basketball would be better for it, just like it's better that UConn is back in the Big East.

In the ideal throw out circumstances and schools had the ideal resources world I think you'd re-align like this:

New CUSA West Conference: UTEP, UT-San Antonio, North Texas, Rice, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, New Mexico State (from WAC), Texas State (from Sun Belt), UT-Arlington (from Sun Belt, no FB), Sam Houston State (Southland, move to FBS), Stephen F. Austin (Soutland, move to FBS). 11 teams, 10 football. Still not a good FB conference but who cares, still very stretched out, but Texas is big and its better travel for most, sneaky good basketball conference. This is the most unlikely since I doubt SHSU and SFA are able to make a FBS jump. But, you have 8 football schools + one non-FB for 9 that can easily be put together, which is enough for a seat at the table.

New CUSA East Conference: Marshall, Old Dominion, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Appalachain State (from Sun Belt), Coastal Carolina (from Sun Belt), James Madison (from CAA, jump up) UMass, UConn, Temple (all all associate members). Add non-FB schools to fill out the rest, places like UNC Greensboro, Florida Gulf Coast or North Florida or something. I don't think this group of schools takes Liberty as a member. 11 football schools down the coast within reasonable distance which is the cost of being FBS, gives homes to the northern FB schools that won't kill their travel + a chance to be semi competitive while focusing on what's important (basketball in other leagues).

New Sun Belt: Arkansas State, LA-Monroe, LA-Lafayette, South Alabama, Troy, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee (from CUSA), UAB (from CUSA), Jacksonville State (from OVC, jump up), possibly take Liberty (Independent/ASun, truly depends how these institutions feel). Have Little Rock as non-football member. 11-12 teams, mostly similar to the current version in football and basketball, a little more concentrated in area (outside a potential Liberty add).

Western Kentucky takes Temple's spot in the American as an all-sports member.
 
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