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Would they really have to bring their entire department up to D1? Ice Hockey is one of a few sports (men’s volleyball is another, off the top of my head) which has so few schools providing the sport that they combine D2 with D1 (ex: UMass Lowell prior to them joining AE). More than half of the WCHA is D2, that being another example.

I’m not sure Lindenwood would really have to make the full move.
 

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Would they really have to bring their entire department up to D1? Ice Hockey is one of a few sports (men’s volleyball is another, off the top of my head) which has so few schools providing the sport that they combine D2 with D1 (ex: UMass Lowell prior to them joining AE). More than half of the WCHA is D2, that being another example.

I’m not sure Lindenwood would really have to make the full move.
Maybe? It's allowed on the women's side because like NCAA skiing, it's considered an "open" division. But I'm pretty sure you have to now, and all those schools/leagues you mention were grandfathered into it as exceptions at the time in like 1999 because they'd been fully D1 in hockey previous to the cut off date.

That was when D1 college hockey was considered an "open" division, but the NCAA stopped sponsoring hockey at the D2 level (meaning they officially don't recognize a champion/don't hold a championship), and it was basically the "last chance" for schools who wanted to bump up and not be in a hockey wilderness. So, that's how the likes of Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji State, Mercyhurst and RIT plus a few of the other NE10 schools moved up, and then once the MAAC stopped sponsoring hockey, Atlantic Hockey formed in 2003 and it's where most of them ended up getting housed.

I could totally be wrong and a team can just jump up and stay D2, but I feel if that were the case we'd see more of it. I generally use Minot State as an example. It's not a big school, but it probably would be willing to throw some institutional athletic support behind having D1 hockey. They have an ACHA team that fully recruits and probably would be a pretty decent D3 team, but because the athletics department is D2, and because D2 hockey is literally only the NE10 now and six of its schools, there's no point. Conversely, D2 schools aren't allowed to drop down to play D3. None of them as far as I know offer any scholarships. It's basically ACHA just under the umbrella of an established conference. These teams can play D3 teams but they can't compete for a title because the conference they're in sponsors scholarship sports. That's why I feel like it's safe to assume the divisional status of men's hockey teams has to align with what division the school is in for all sports if there's to be any future movement.
 

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The whole can they go D1 in one sport without moving everything up was bugging me, so instead of participating in a zoom call, I was looking it up. Well, it appears I was wrong. What else is new?

So since there isn't a D2 title for hockey, Lindenwood can make a D1 men's team and in theory, they are fine. I guess since every new "D1" college hockey team in recent years has been a full D1 member already and others like Lowell and Merrimack brought the rest of their sports up, I assumed the rules it was just like all the rest who transition up/grandfather claused. I'd contend Lindenwood probably would be a decent all sports D1 member though. Good facilities, enrollment, geo, and stuff like endowments that are on par with D1s in likes of the Summit League.

Anyway, the best explanation I can find is via Wikipedia, I don't imagine much has changed and if I found an official rulebook it would state much of the same:

"Some schools have opted to compete in a sport at a higher level and are allowed to do so by the NCAA under certain circumstances. First, when the NCAA placed severe restrictions on the fielding of Division I teams by Division II institutions in 2011, it grandfathered in all then-current D-I teams at D-II schools. Apart from this, Division II members are allowed to compete for Division I championships in sports in which a Division II national championship is not contested.

In some sports, the NCAA only sponsors championships open to all member schools regardless of division, with examples including beach volleyball, fencing, rifle, and water polo. In men's and women's ice hockey and men's volleyball, the NCAA holds Division III championships, but does not hold a separate D-II championship. The NCAA officially classifies all championship events that are open to schools from more than one division as "National Collegiate", except in men's ice hockey, in which the top-level championship is styled as a Division I championship (presumably due to the past existence of a Division II championship in that sport). Division II members are allowed to compete for National Collegiate championships as well as the Division I men's ice hockey championship; in all such sports, they are allowed to operate under the same rules and scholarship restrictions that apply to full Division I members in that sport."

 

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New Haven to D1?


Probably bound for the NEC.....another regional D1 opponent in New England is good for all though.
 

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If the A-10 ever imploded.....I'm not sure where UMass or URI go. I'd love to see both in AE. URI would probably explore that option because quite frankly....there wouldn't be any other better ones to explore (CAA is on borrowed time IMO).
 

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A10 will live for a long time... they have a weird mix of schools that have no place to go but to stick together. 14 members. So even if 1/2/3/4 get poached, which is unlikely, they don’t need to add anymore. Best programs, like VCU and Dayton etc, want to get into Big East, and I don’t see it happening. May be AAC. And they see all the other midmajor conferences in east as step down. So those 14 are stuck together now... with Fordham :LOL:
 

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New Haven to D1?


Probably bound for the NEC.....another regional D1 opponent in New England is good for all though.
New Haven has had authorization from their powers that be to move up for a while now. Yet to find a home, mostly because the NEC has good, even numbers now and doesn't need to add them just to add.
 

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New Haven has had authorization from their powers that be to move up for a while now. Yet to find a home, mostly because the NEC has good, even numbers now and doesn't need to add them just to add.
Correct. New Haven fits the "NEC mold" very well and are a poor man's Sacred Heart, Bryant, and Merrimack.

Football makes them appealing to the NEC, but I just don't think the league is in a rush to add them and further dilute limited NCAA revenues. They don't add a new market with 2 existing teams (CCSU and SHU) in a small, crowded state and don't have great facilities. They have some work to do.

If needed, I'd rather see the NEC add Marist as an associate member in football.

Unless Bryant left for the MAAC or CCSU got the unexpected call from America East, I see no reason to add an 11th team to the NEC.
 

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How can schools like New Haven possibly be considering a move to D1?

Higher Ed--or rather second-tier, non-research schools like New Haven--is in for a reckoning. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more schools cut sports and perhaps move from D1 to D2 in the next few years than we see this. I just can't imagine a school of such low resources being able to pitch this to their board of trustees. I really don't get it. 5,000 students and $100 million endowment, in New England where we're expected to see significant fewer high school, college-bound seniors in the coming decades? Doesn't make sense.

That said I had the same feeling about Merrimack--how would the trustees be willing to cut academic scholarships and financial aid (which they did at MC) to fund the cost of D1 athletics? Well, the trustees did ok cuts to financial aid to funnel more money into athletics. Politically I don't see how that would ever be possible for AE schools (outside maybe Hartford).
 

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How can schools like New Haven possibly be considering a move to D1?

Higher Ed--or rather second-tier, non-research schools like New Haven--is in for a reckoning. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more schools cut sports and perhaps move from D1 to D2 in the next few years than we see this. I just can't imagine a school of such low resources being able to pitch this to their board of trustees. I really don't get it. 5,000 students and $100 million endowment, in New England where we're expected to see significant fewer high school, college-bound seniors in the coming decades? Doesn't make sense.

That said I had the same feeling about Merrimack--how would the trustees be willing to cut academic scholarships and financial aid (which they did at MC) to fund the cost of D1 athletics? Well, the trustees did ok cuts to financial aid to funnel more money into athletics. Politically I don't see how that would ever be possible for AE schools (outside maybe Hartford).
I don't disagree with your point, but I think many small schools continue to look at D-I athletics as institutional legitimacy and an actual enrollment booster.

Fact is, outside of M/W basketball, these are basically partial-scholarship funded programs. The majority of student-athletes are paying tuition and helping diversity and enrollment numbers. Football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and track teams at this level are filled with mostly non-scholarship players. Even at bigger and more financially stable AE schools, the majority of student-athletes pay tuition and fees - very few are on full scholarships.

I look at it as simply reprioritizing and reallocating existing financial aid. What's the difference if the school offers less need-based financial aid and more athletics scholarships? They only have so much $$$ to offer anyway and they are betting the NCAA exposure and label of D-I programs also increase the appeal to non-athletes. Its not a bad way of thinking, but it certainly has some risks.
 

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I want to first say that I really hope that Hartford remains in D1 and with AE. lsbal and other Hartford fans on this board deserve a better fate than the Hawks program dropping down to D3.

That being said.....AE life without Hartford possibilities have to be considered. I had posted on the Maine board that Merrimack would be a good apples for apples replacement......but someone brought up an important point about institutional profile and it totally makes sense. While Hartford is obviously "grandfathered".....I guess that we will never see anymore smallish private institutions invited to AE in the future. That obviously leaves Central Connecticut from the NEC as a strong possibility.

The CAA has to be a consideration as well. JMU holds all the cards in terms of stability.....if they left, everything probably starts crumbling. Charleston & UNCW would be gone.....they might end up leaving anyway. If the CAA falls apart......it's interesting to see where each member might end up:

Northeastern - AE/A-10/MAAC
Hofstra - MAAC
Drexel - AE/MAAC
Delaware - AE/A-10
Towson - AE/Southern
W&M - Patriot/Southern
UNCW - A-10/Southern
Elon - Southern
Charleston - A-10/Southern
 

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Correct. New Haven fits the "NEC mold" very well and are a poor man's Sacred Heart, Bryant, and Merrimack.

Football makes them appealing to the NEC, but I just don't think the league is in a rush to add them and further dilute limited NCAA revenues. They don't add a new market with 2 existing teams (CCSU and SHU) in a small, crowded state and don't have great facilities. They have some work to do.

If needed, I'd rather see the NEC add Marist as an associate member in football.

Unless Bryant left for the MAAC or CCSU got the unexpected call from America East, I see no reason to add an 11th team to the NEC.
What are "NCAA revenues" for a league like NEC? When I look at the financial statements for the public universities in the AE I don't see much for revenues anywhere.

Why do you think it is bad to have three schools in the same market in the NEC? It can't be about television. To me, the rivalries would be stoked and the odds of full houses increased. I can see how market coverage could be a TV consideration for the Power 5 but why for the NEC?
 

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Name recognition goes a long way. The lower level FBS schools have to answer the "who/where is that?" much more than the smaller state schools playing FCS football. Being a state school (non-directional, non-"at ____") in itself is a national brand, or at least has a much better foundation to build upon.
Yes, people feel that way. But that is just dumb. There are plenty of ways to build a brand outside of subsidizing half assed football with money the school could be using to do something worthwhile for students.
 

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What are "NCAA revenues" for a league like NEC? When I look at the financial statements for the public universities in the AE I don't see much for revenues anywhere.

Why do you think it is bad to have three schools in the same market in the NEC? It can't be about television. To me, the rivalries would be stoked and the odds of full houses increased. I can see how market coverage could be a TV consideration for the Power 5 but why for the NEC?
Most revenue is just the NCAA money from March Madness. Little else comes in from NEC championships, TV, or anything else. My point was, why would the NEC want to divide that amount into 11 or 12 shares, when we currently divide by 10?

As a CCSU fan, I want no part of New Haven because this league would further look like the old D-II New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) from the early 1980s.

Bridgeport (D-II/ECC)
Central Connecticut St. (D-I/NEC)
UMass-Lowell (D-I/America East)
New Haven (D-II/NE-10)
Quinnipiac (D-I/MAAC)
Sacred Heart (D-I/NEC)
Southern Connecticut St. (D-II/NE-10)
Southern New Hampshire (D-II/NE-10)
 

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Just as a reminder, the WAC will expand on July 1, 2021. Their new lineup will be (additions in bold):

Abilene Christian (Abilene, TX)
Cal Baptist (Riverside, CA)
Chicago State (Chicago, IL)
Dixie State (St George, UT)
Grand Canyon (Phoenix, AZ)
Lamar (Beaumont, TX)
New Mexico State (Las Cruces, NM)
Sam Houston State (Huntsville, TX)
Seattle U (Seattle, WA)
Southern Utah (Cedar City, UT)
Stephen F Austin (Nacogdoches, TX)

Tarleton State (Stephenville, TX)
UTRGV (Edinburg, TX)
Utah Valley (Orem, UT)

Also, it should be noted that the one school that sticks out like a sore thumb is leaving at the end of the fiscal year 2021-2022. And honestly, if Seattle left as well it would actually be a pretty decent league from a geography standpoint. It would also leave them with 12 and an easy 2 divisions: 6 schools in Texas on one side, the remaining schools on the other.

As an aside, I didn't realize that there were 7 Division I programs in Utah: BYU, Dixie State, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State, Utah Valley and Weber State. I was kinda shocked, especially when I realized it was 2 more than Colorado.

Anyway...
 
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Mentions Incarnate Word as the possible 14th WAC member, but there are facility and commitment concerns there. It's a decent sized (10k - though I suspect many commuters) Catholic school in San Antonio currently in the Southland, which would be another blow to that conference. Also says D2 West Texas A&M could be on the radar, but the school is concerned that if they move up it would damage D2 football in the region and break up the Lone Star Conference.

Mentions the Southland might try and reach out to Grambling, Southern and Prairie View A&M from the SWAC, but it's unlikely those schools accept, so they're looking at D2 schools, or just all having to go somewhere else.

The AE note is about Hartford. There's also a Missouri Valley note in there stating it would like to expand to 12 basketball playing members. Mentions Cleveland State and Murray State but also this "But two different industry insiders told me to watch for the MVC to potentially grab a school considerably outside of the Midwest. Think Texas. Think elsewhere in the South."

UT Arlington doesn't have football and is an outlier in the Sun Belt...so maybe them? Would be weird since I believe Missouri State would be the closest team. But, I think UT Arlington doesn't match with the Sun Belt long term...can probably rule out any Southland incarnation...would likely want to align with any CUSA split of its TX schools, but that's complicated with football as well.
 

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Mentions Incarnate Word as the possible 14th WAC member, but there are facility and commitment concerns there. It's a decent sized (10k - though I suspect many commuters) Catholic school in San Antonio currently in the Southland, which would be another blow to that conference. Also says D2 West Texas A&M could be on the radar, but the school is concerned that if they move up it would damage D2 football in the region and break up the Lone Star Conference.

Mentions the Southland might try and reach out to Grambling, Southern and Prairie View A&M from the SWAC, but it's unlikely those schools accept, so they're looking at D2 schools, or just all having to go somewhere else.

The AE note is about Hartford. There's also a Missouri Valley note in there stating it would like to expand to 12 basketball playing members. Mentions Cleveland State and Murray State but also this "But two different industry insiders told me to watch for the MVC to potentially grab a school considerably outside of the Midwest. Think Texas. Think elsewhere in the South."

UT Arlington doesn't have football and is an outlier in the Sun Belt...so maybe them? Would be weird since I believe Missouri State would be the closest team. But, I think UT Arlington doesn't match with the Sun Belt long term...can probably rule out any Southland incarnation...would likely want to align with any CUSA split of its TX schools, but that's complicated with football as well.
Thanks for posting that. It was a very good read. Was interesting that he noted that should Hartford leave and America East decide to replace them that the AE would be operating from a position of strength as there would be a pretty long line of schools that would like to join. I was also thinking the conference is set up rather nicely for replacement/expansion should it be necessary...a far cry from where it was when the major defections took place.

I anticipate there will be another pretty good size shift in conference alignment in the near future from all the covid fallout.
 
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Yeah, I don't think alignment is done and think a lot is going to be based in travel. Still feel the CUSA/Sun Belt teams will split and jump from one to another. Another stab at that might look like this:

New CUSA (12 members, 11 FB):

UTEP (CUSA, FB)
UTSA (CUSA, FB)
North Texas (CUSA, FB)
Rice (CUSA, FB)
LA Tech (CUSA, FB)
Southern Miss (CUSA, FB)
Texas State (Sun Belt, FB)
Louisiana (Sun Belt, FB)
UL-Monroe (Sun Belt, FB)
South Alabama (Sun Belt, FB)
Arkansas State (Sun Belt, FB)
UT Arlington (Sun Belt, NO-FB)

New Sun Belt (12 members*, all football)

Troy (Sun Belt, FB)
Georgia State (Sun Belt, FB)
Georgia Southern (Sun Belt, FB)
Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt, FB)
Appalachian State (Sun Belt, FB)
Middle Tennessee (CUSA, FB)
FAU (CUSA, FB)
FIU (CUSA, FB)
Charlotte (CUSA, FB)
ODU (CUSA, FB)
Marshall (CUSA, FB)

UAB (CUSA, FB)*
WKU (CUSA, FB)*

*I feel one of these teams could end up joining the AAC to give them 12 members.


Little Rock in the Sun Belt can head to the OVC. They don't have football but are within that footprint and with OVC losing a couple of members to the ASun, and possibly even more if the MVC takes Murray State as mentioned in the article...Also, one school rooting for a Cleveland State to the MVC: Chicago State. Now, I don't think the Horizon League would want them, but it does throw them a lifeline to get in a league that finally makes some sense for them (I think they're dropping down/out). Maybe St. Francis (PA) would be interested in that spot too. So could a few OVC teams too.
 
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