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MAC’s Move

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  • pembrookburrowsIIIpembrookburrowsIII Summer Orientee
    Marshall has not spurned the MAC twice. 

    The first time, the MAC unceremoniously kicked Marshall out of the MAC for poor facilities and a football recruiting scandal. 

    Twenty-five years later, the MAC welcomed Marshall's return, and a few rivalries between Marshall and Miami, Marshall and Ohio, and Marshall and Toledo flourished. Charlie Coles used to love playing at Marshall and often kept a running dialogue with their fans during games. Marshall's return was also a catalyst for other MAC football programs to step up their competitiveness in the 90's. But this time Marshall chose to leave the MAC for CUSA in 2005.

    Maybe the third time would be the charm. BTW - the current athletic director at Marshall is a Miami grad.
  • MooreHawkMooreHawk Senior Barfly
    There is a reason that Liberty had to threaten to sue the NCAA so that they could get a waiver to move up to FBS without a conference. Maybe the weakened C-USA wants them now but I doubt the MAC would.

    Think about the money. I don't think there is any team the MAC could add that would offer more than it would cost in increased travel and a diluted media deal.
  • RedseaRedsea Wealthy Alum
    I think Marshall was kicked out once and left once- but the point remains that a 3rd time probably isnt lucky
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    edited October 19
    Perhaps “spurned” was too strong a word. But so is “unceremoniously”. When expelled from the conference they were involved in a cheating scandal and did refuse to upgrade their facilities. Fairfield Stadium was an often muddy municipal field Marshall shared with Huntington High and Huntington East. They dropped down to 1AA and had success. They eventually yearned to go 1A again and petitioned the MAC for re-admission. Then - with great ceremony - they left the conference for CUSA. And the current “interim” AD is a Miami alum.

    Let them stew in their own CUSA juices.
  • El13El13 Wealthy Alum
    The MAC needs to get to 16 teams, so my pick would be WKU, MTSU, JMU and ODU. Would consider Marshall again if one of those don’t join, but feel like they shouldn’t get another chance.

    Sunbelt will add the others and build another 16 team conference. A few others get pillaged by P5 and AAC and we have eight 16 team conferences.
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    edited October 19
    Why would any of those four teams and their fan bases want a steady diet of Midwest teams (nine of which are in Ohio and Michigan) and a New York team? And why is imperative that the MAC get to 16 teams?
  • 96Skins96Skins Havighurstite
    To address both posts above - I’d agree with El although JM is FCS they don’t act like it (outdraw prob most/all of MAC). Prefer Marshall for previous rivalry/proximity sake or Liberty for competitive reasons. And to Nes -theyll need a spot, so their fans would be happy with a stable league and regional schools to play rather than the far flung CUSA. ODU is a hike, but WKU and MTSU are easily drivable. I believe those programs would strengthen the league and add value to revenue opportunities.
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    The points made that they don’t want to join the MAC and that Liberty, as a doctrinaire private religious university, is not a good fit for the public universities that compromise the MAC seem to be lost on a few folks.
  • Cincykid3Cincykid3 Wealthy Alum
    There are now reports (unconfirmed of course) that USM and Marshall are headed to the Sunbelt. We shall see...if true C-USA is truly dead in the water....the MAC could pick off a program or two if they so desired.
  • 96Skins96Skins Havighurstite
    Nescacdad said:

    The points made that they don’t want to join the MAC and that Liberty, as a doctrinaire private religious university, is not a good fit for the public universities that compromise the MAC seem to be lost on a few folks.

    Not to be argumentative, but what difference does it make wether a school is public, private, religious, etc? I used to think it did but today this is only about sports- there’s no BIG10 / IVY BS partnership here. It’s a sports league that is fighting for success on the field and in the bank acct.
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    Not surprised at that news. Marshall has ALWAYS considered itself a southern team. Back in the day, their band played Dixie and they waved Confederate flags. They were always a cultural mismatch for the teams in the MAC. I’m still not certain why people feel the MAC needs to add teams. The only two CUSA schools that make any sense to me might be WKU and or MTSU.
    Cincykid3 said:

    There are now reports (unconfirmed of course) that USM and Marshall are headed to the Sunbelt. We shall see...if true C-USA is truly dead in the water....the MAC could pick off a program or two if they so desired.

  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    Here’s a Marshall focus article about what Cincykid3 mentioned. I had forgotten that both MTSU and WKU had bolted from the Belt to CUSA. That probably casts a big chill on what would be their rather obvious preferred path of retreat to the Belt as CUSA continues to unravel. That may leave the MAC as their only conference membership option. Louisiana Tech, FIU and ODU would appear to be the odd men out if that happened.


    https://www.wvgazettemail.com/sports/marshall_university/marshall-weighing-options-from-apparent-c-usa-shakeup/article_07499831-cacc-5901-935b-7bb4035e1eff.html
  • DICKDICK Wealthy Alum
    I think the most important point has not been mentioned.  Our league has a nice TV package with ESPN and our league gets a nice share of money every year from the Division 1 playoffs.  Those shares are divided 12 ways and I believe together those 2 sources  have been averaging around 2- 3 million dollars per team each year.  Our league also gets a cut from the NCAA basketball tournament each year.  I think those shares are also divided 12 ways, but we might give an extra share to the teams who win games in the NCAA.  Anyway, any expansion means we have to divide our shares from those 3 big payouts 14 ways or 16 ways instead of 12.  There would have to be a great team coming into the league who could cause our league revenue to make a huge jump ( that means winning more NCAA tournament games or getting our conference rated higher than other G-5 conferences in football or getting ESPN to give our league even more money than they do now or else every team would be getting quite a bit less money).

    I do not see any of these possible teams being high profile enough to raise our revenue enough.  So expansion would lose us lots of money every year.  The only expansion I could see is if somebody left our conference and we wanted to replace them.  Then the schools that you have been discussing might make sense.  Do you really see an advantage to us to be playing James Madison or Old Dominion or Middle Tennessee State instead of Kent State or Western Michigan?Those schools also add a lot of travel expense ( think all sports here) and make it harder to go to away games.  We had lots of fans at EMU a couple of weeks ago and will have quite a few in Muncie on Saturday.  Financially none of this makes sense.  
  • MazMaz Senior Barfly
    The question underlying the expansion idea is “what does expansion add?” There are at least a couple of answers, each of which come with their own downsides (in addition to the point Dick makes). You can add geography, which can build broader recognition for the conference - which could improve recruiting and future TV deals and the like. But, that probably increases travel costs. You can also add quality - by bringing in schools who will raise the competitive bar for the rest of the conference. But, if you assume that the incoming schools would be better than most MAC schools, why would they want to come to the MAC unless it is just a temporary step?

    JMU and ODU are attractive because they would deliver the DC, Richmond and Norfolk TV markets, raising the coverage of the league substantially. For both FB and BB, the Norfolk/NN/Chesapeake/VA Beach area (in particular) is a terrific hotbed for recruiting. Yes, it would make travel longer, but not by a crazy amount. Would it be any worse than any other conference? The Big10? SEC? ACC?

    Honestly, though, I don’t see the MAC doing anything aggressive. It’s just not in the conference DNA.

  • RenmancoRenmanco Wealthy Alum
    While the MAC is basically an athletic conference, it is also a business. My concern, using the business analogy, is that you lose while standing still while others are moving up by "making acquisitions to expand their markets and strengthen their brands by adding fans and, in turn, building a better case for more revenues from the various TV packages available."

    It appears also that the MAC is closer to Conference USA (a failing operation) than it is to the Sun Belt (a rising business). The MAC also appears closer in quality of play, fan support, etc. to the Missouri Valley Conference (which is an FCS business). The MWC and AAC (despite recent announced departures but augmented pretty fast by supposed additions which add/ keep choice markets) are now the prime G5 businesses.

    The MAC may get 6-7 Bowl invites but, in truth, these are almost exclusively lower tier games with a limited followings and payouts....not exactly a recipe for success.

    Apologize for the vent....now I feel better.
  • hawklbackerhawklbacker Havighurstite
    Nescacdad said:

    The points made that they don’t want to join the MAC and that Liberty, as a doctrinaire private religious university, is not a good fit for the public universities that compromise the MAC seem to be lost on a few folks.

    but think about how we can finally offload all that under carbonated soda now....that could be a windfall!
  • Cincykid3Cincykid3 Wealthy Alum
    edited October 20
    I don’t really see the MAC making a move, either. For the many good points raised, perhaps it would not be a wise financial decision to do so.

    We may see WKU and MTSU come to the MAC with a request to join if C-DOA implodes, but in looking at our divisional set up, it would appear difficult to come up a reasonable East-west (or even north-south) divisional split.

    If we do even consider expansion, two eastern teams like JMU etc might make more sense from the perspective of MAC media coverage plus it’d be easier to add two teams to the eastern division and have Miami or another school could move the west.
  • hawklbackerhawklbacker Havighurstite
    While the MAC is basically an athletic conference, it is also a business. My concern, using the business analogy, is that you lose while standing still while others are moving up by "making acquisitions to expand their markets and strengthen their brands by adding fans and, in turn, building a better case for more revenues from the various TV packages available."

    It appears also that the MAC is closer to Conference USA (a failing operation) than it is to the Sun Belt (a rising business). The MAC also appears closer in quality of play, fan support, etc. to the Missouri Valley Conference (which is an FCS business). The MWC and AAC (despite recent announced departures but augmented pretty fast by supposed additions which add/ keep choice markets) are now the prime G5 businesses.

    The MAC may get 6-7 Bowl invites but, in truth, these are almost exclusively lower tier games with a limited followings and payouts....not exactly a recipe for success.

    Apologize for the vent....now I feel better.
    following the lead of your business analogy...i think it will come down to how the % Allocation of "revenue" from the University goes down....adding members that dilute the revenue share would cause the % allocation to go up....unsustainable imho.  and some of these schools could require air travel to all away games, higher expense and higher % allocation.  this would have to be offset by an increase in the league monetization, which is their achilles' heel

  • QuinoaburgerQuinoaburger Wealthy Alum
    DICK said:

    Do you really see an advantage to us to be playing James Madison or Old Dominion or Middle Tennessee State instead of Kent State or Western Michigan?Those schools also add a lot of travel expense ( think all sports here) and make it harder to go to away games.  We had lots of fans at EMU a couple of weeks ago and will have quite a few in Muncie on Saturday.  Financially none of this makes sense.  



    Say what you will about the merits of conference expansion, but I don't think travel is a major issue for any of the potential members being discussed. Travel time from Oxford, per Google Maps:

    1:31 Ball St
    2:52 Bowling Green
    3:07 Toledo
    3:11 Ohio
    3:27 Marshall
    3:44 EMU
    3:50 Akron
    4:05 WKU
    4:07 Kent
    4:30 WMU
    5:29 MTSU
    5:33 NIU
    5:36 CMU
    6:52 Buffalo
    7:43 James Madison
    10:23 Old Dominion

    The only expansion candidate being discussed that's dramatically beyond the scope of our existing travel is ODU, but they're still well within the bounds of a modern D1 conference and they also seem like the least likely candidate.
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    Dick, Maz and Renmanco have made high quality contributions to this discussion. It has to make economic sense to the MAC before it makes sense at all. The MAC has kept travel costs down and fan interest up by limiting its footprint and being primarily a bus league. CUSA expanded by adding far-flung schools who were not natural rivals and morphed into a costly fly league. They’re paying the price now. The MAC was also the pioneer conference in playing lucrative mid-week TV games. The bottom line, as has been mentioned, is that the business model either needs to add revenue or at least be revenue neutral to make any sense. The MAC does not presently NEED to expand simply because other conferences are.
  • RedseaRedsea Wealthy Alum
    edited October 20

    DICK said:

    Do you really see an advantage to us to be playing James Madison or Old Dominion or Middle Tennessee State instead of Kent State or Western Michigan?Those schools also add a lot of travel expense ( think all sports here) and make it harder to go to away games.  We had lots of fans at EMU a couple of weeks ago and will have quite a few in Muncie on Saturday.  Financially none of this makes sense.  



    Say what you will about the merits of conference expansion, but I don't think travel is a major issue for any of the potential members being discussed. Travel time from Oxford, per Google Maps:

    1:31 Ball St
    2:52 Bowling Green
    3:07 Toledo
    3:11 Ohio
    3:27 Marshall
    3:44 EMU
    3:50 Akron
    4:05 WKU
    4:07 Kent
    4:30 WMU
    5:29 MTSU
    5:33 NIU
    5:36 CMU
    6:52 Buffalo
    7:43 James Madison
    10:23 Old Dominion

    The only expansion candidate being discussed that's dramatically beyond the scope of our existing travel is ODU, but they're still well within the bounds of a modern D1 conference and they also seem like the least likely candidate.
    But we are the most southern school in our league- add time to every other school in the league for WKU and MTSU

  • QuinoaburgerQuinoaburger Wealthy Alum
    Redsea said:

    DICK said:

    Do you really see an advantage to us to be playing James Madison or Old Dominion or Middle Tennessee State instead of Kent State or Western Michigan?Those schools also add a lot of travel expense ( think all sports here) and make it harder to go to away games.  We had lots of fans at EMU a couple of weeks ago and will have quite a few in Muncie on Saturday.  Financially none of this makes sense.  



    Say what you will about the merits of conference expansion, but I don't think travel is a major issue for any of the potential members being discussed. Travel time from Oxford, per Google Maps:

    1:31 Ball St
    2:52 Bowling Green
    3:07 Toledo
    3:11 Ohio
    3:27 Marshall
    3:44 EMU
    3:50 Akron
    4:05 WKU
    4:07 Kent
    4:30 WMU
    5:29 MTSU
    5:33 NIU
    5:36 CMU
    6:52 Buffalo
    7:43 James Madison
    10:23 Old Dominion

    The only expansion candidate being discussed that's dramatically beyond the scope of our existing travel is ODU, but they're still well within the bounds of a modern D1 conference and they also seem like the least likely candidate.
    But we are the most southern school in our league- add time to every other school in the league for WKU and MTSU



    For MTSU:

    1:48 WKU
    5:29 Miami
    6:04 Ball St
    7:31 Ohio
    7:57 Bowling Green
    8:04 Toledo
    8:35 Akron
    8:41 WMU
    8:43 EMU
    8:46 NIU
    8:52 Kent
    9:45 CMU
    11:34 Buffalo

    A bit of a trek, but it seems doable if you're smart about how you align the divisions. For context, this is what Buffalo's current travel looks like:

    3:22 Akron
    3:23 Kent
    4:44 Toledo
    4:56 Bowling Green
    5:28 EMU
    6:03 Ohio
    6:52 Miami
    7:17 Ball St
    7:19 WMU
    7:40 CMU
    9:39 NIU
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    edited October 20
    OK. Here’s what expanding the MAC to the south and southeast would probably do to Miami’s annual schedule. There would be one trip to eastern Virginia every year and one trip to the Nashville market. We’d only see each one of our northern brethren once every four years or so. It would almost completely disrupt Miami’s 75 year long MAC football traditions. Read ‘em and weep Gung-Ho expanders!


    EXPANDED MAC

    NORTHERN Division

    Buffalo
    Akron
    Kent
    Toledo
    Central Michigan
    Western Michigan
    Eastern Michigan
    NIU

    SOUTHERN Division

    Bowling Green
    Ball State
    Miami
    Ohio
    Middle Tennessee
    Western Kentucky
    James Madison
    Old Dominion

    Sample Annual Miami Schedule

    At Buy game
    UC (Victory Bell)
    Buy Game /FCS or FBS G5 OOC
    Bowling Green
    At Western Kentucky
    Ball State (Redbird Rivalry)
    At Old Dominion
    Middle Tennessee
    At MAC North crossover
    James Madison
    At Ohio
    MAC North Crossover


  • profholt82profholt82 Wealthy Alum
    To say that standing still hurts you in a changing business world may be true sometimes, but look at the massive changes in the college football landscape over the past 20 years. It's crazy how many conferences have added and dropped schools and restructured themselves. The MAC has been a beacon of stability amidst it all, and I'd say that has worked out just fine for them.

    C-USA has been musical chairs since the begining, and I think we're better off than them financially and with overall respectability. I suppose the AAC would be considered our second closest competitor conference in this region, and while they're likely more prestigious, we shouldn't forget the fact that without short-sighted expansion chasing, they wouldn't even exist. The Big East was a BCS conference, but their mismanagement and ridiculous expansion choices caused them to implode. They're the extreme example of what can go wrong when trying to keep up with the Joneses in the conference realignment game.

    I don't know what the MAC will do in this latest game of musical chairs, but if they do nothing at all, I think they'll be just fine. The 12 school footprint covers enough ground to reach enough potential recruits and a sizable fanbase/tv audience, yet the travel costs aren't unfeasible. Couple that with a fair number of bowl deals and a decent TV deal compared to rival conferences in the region, and it seems unnecessary and risky to rock the boat. I guess I just don't see the benefits of adding new mid-major schools outweighing the negatives of expanding the travel footprint and diluting the bowl and tv money. The MAC has a good thing going, so why screw it up?
  • muredhawks22muredhawks22 Havighurstite
    I don't think expanding is necessary, but if we were to expand, I would take a long hard look at JMU.  I think they would be a nice addition.  The key would then be to find one other school to pair them with.
  • Bash_RiprockBash_Riprock Wealthy Alum
    The MAC don't need no stinkin' expansion. 
  • redhawk11redhawk11 Wealthy Alum
    The biggest mistake the MAC made was allowing some of these schools to half ass it in football. It unbalanced the divisions and how did the conference benefit? We should have made those schools join completely, with a large buyout, or don't let them join at all.
  • NescacdadNescacdad Wealthy Alum
    edited October 20
    Agree, redhawk11 - UCF, Temple and UMass simply used the MAC. Leaving us paid off for UCF. The jury is still out in Temple and UMass has definitely crashed and burned. Partial memberships only make sense in some Olympic sports. That’s why the rather compact geographical footprint is important to the budget conferences. If you can’t or won’t commit in all or most sports you shouldn’t join a conference and that conference shouldn’t accept you.

    redhawk11 said:

    The biggest mistake the MAC made was allowing some of these schools to half ass it in football. It unbalanced the divisions and how did the conference benefit? We should have made those schools join completely, with a large buyout, or don't let them join at all.

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