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Coming soon to football field near you: Three tiered D1

We actually have this outfit ... wearing it right nowSome guy over at CBSSports.com has seen the future of college foozball, and he can’t decide if it is good.

It’s all due to the move by some esteemed BCS conference to stop pretending to sponsor amateur athletics and just pay the football players already. Bidding war!

What could possibly go wrong?

Depends on how you like your foozball. You want I-AA, I-A or super-dooper I-A? Cause that’s where this train is headed.

Then again, that’s unofficially we have now. But the pay-to-play plans has suddenly put everyone on notice, including guess who.

Guys like Charlie Cobb.

In case you are wondering, in 2010 a total of 32 of the 120 Division I-A teams averaged less in home attendance than Appalachian State. In fact, 23 Division I-A schools averaged less than 20,000 in attendance last season.

“When we look at the WAC, the MAC, the Sun Belt and the others we compare very favorably to what they are doing,” Cobb said. “So we decided that if things change dramatically we need to be prepared.”

Cobb said there are a number of schools like Appalachian State who have had very good success at the I-AA level and who wonder where they need to be if there is a major upheaval in the college football landscape. For example: What if the BCS schools split from the rest of Division I-A? What happens to rest of the division?

“I like to look at the math. And when you look at the math, we are a lot closer to East Carolina [a member of Division I-A Conference USA] than East Carolina is to the ACC,” said Cobb.

So there’s a great possibility that within five years App State will basically be FBS under some grand realignment. The BCS will officially become an NFL minor league, while the rest of I-A is mixed with the best of FCS into a new FBS. The remainder stay in I-AA.

Got that?

Is this just a hypothetical? Of course. Would it be controversial? Extremely.

But ask yourself: Why are all these conferences getting these incredible, long-term TV deals? Why are Delany and Slive floating the trial balloon of expanding scholarships? What’s the end game?

We can guess.

49 Comments

  1. stressn

    May 26, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Well alrighty then.

  2. SpeedkingATL

    May 26, 2011 at 5:54 am

    It's almost that way today with the BCS being the tail that wags the NCAA dog. Just follow the money…..

  3. JMcCray

    May 26, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Huh. So that's what Midwest looks like.

  4. appfantoo

    May 26, 2011 at 6:32 am

    +1 JMcCray

  5. carbine

    May 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

    How 'bout that Jiffy-Pop hat?

    Seriously, this is what I've been saying for a couple of years now. Most of the boys in the 'big boys' league aren't really big at all, and never will be. If we move up, we'll just be another one of those boys.

    If this split does occur though I definitely think that we should be in the new, 'non-professional' level of FBS. I just hope they institute a playoff system once the BCS 'semi-pro' guys have moved on (and taken their bowls with them).

  6. bcoach

    May 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    My best guess is that if this happens there will no longer be an FCS. I would guess that FCS will be folded into FBS or what would then be just Div 1 and there will be Div 1, 2, and 3. The pros would just be a separate league. If they go to paying players either they will leave the NCAA or we will be starting another governing body. It would be very difficult for the NCAA to govern both. You either have principles or you don't. I believe in my heart that it would wreck collage football. Just my opinion

  7. Counterpoint

    May 26, 2011 at 8:12 am

    "Some guy" is Tony Barnhart and he knows a thing or two related to college football as he's covered it and specifically the SEC for years. He was originally on ESPN College Gameday (in the spot now served by Desmond Howard).

    He sometimes get a little too-SEC focused for national coverage but his credentials are not "some guy on the internet"

  8. MikeM

    May 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I predict the current NFL will fold from labor disputes and the teams will be picked up by the current BCS schools. This will happen in……2013.

  9. Dr. Gonzo

    May 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I believe there was episode of South Park last night about this…

  10. The rock

    May 26, 2011 at 9:14 am

    If there is an elite conference and App moves to the tier below that, wouldn't we be in the same place we are now? Feeling inadequate because we aren't competing on the highest level?

  11. DRM

    May 26, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I wouldn't think so, not if a paid division is the only level above us.

    There are about 66 total schools in the BCS conferences. Maybe half those are consistently competitive within those leagues. Last season, there were about 122 FBS schools and 125 FCS teams.

    If the top 35 – 40 schools were plucked from the present BCS to form some new, paid-to-play NFL minor league, FBS would be left with roughly 82 teams. It should be pretty easy to find 18 present FCS schools that could compete with those 82, "second tier" FBS teams—compete on the field, I mean, not necessarily in terms of facilities or finances. Using these hypotheticals and suppositions, a feasible outcome of realignment might be a 40-team paid players super league (with four appropriately defined ten-team divisions); a 100-team FBS league, consisting principally of existing FBS teams (including some from the present BCS leagues) plus the very highest caliber present FCS teams; and an FCS division with around 105 – 110 teams. Existing DII and DIII schools would probably be completely unaffected.

    Such an arrangement would allow for openly compensating those players who, in majority, are really in college only because they aren’t allowed to go straight to the pros, not for the purpose of being educated or to do anything beyond pretending to be “student athletes.” In my opinion, it is reasonable to compensate those players given the revenue they help generate for their schools, as long as we stop pretending that they're really students. In addition, a realignment such as this should result in more parity, and therefore more competitive “amateur” football in the remaining FBS and FCS divisions and leagues, top-to-bottom.

  12. Crew

    May 26, 2011 at 10:11 am

    One note – App is not closer to ECU than ECU is to the ACC. I sure hope that Cobb does not have a degree in math because he would make us math majors (I have a BS,MS,PhD) look bad.

    I am not for sure why many on here feel the need to down ECU. Even if you do, please be honest and acknowledge how a situation truly is. Competition-wise (right now), they beat App 10 out of 10 times in football. That is not the case with ECU and ACC teams.

    Financial-wise, App is not even close.

    This is not to say anything bad about App; it is simply being realistic.

    I think Tony B. has some good points though.

  13. appfantoo

    May 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Crew – you are out of your mind if you truly believe that ECU would beat us 10 out of 10 times in football .. and, realistically, math has nothing to do with that.

  14. DRM

    May 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

    On the surface, Crew, that makes sense. But you're assuming you know exactly what "math" Cobb referenced. Whether by design or by error, his statement is pretty ambiguous, so much so as to be difficult to unequivocally support or refute.

  15. AB

    May 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

    The second tier in the article would be what 1-AA was suppossed to be when it was created. Cost containment division football. The only losers in this three tiered system are the top programs in the MWC and CUSA like Boise St. and UCF.

    Why Army and Navy they aren't going to pay players?

  16. snaggy

    May 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

    No friggin' way ECU beats APP 10 out of 10 times in football! No friggin' WAY!

  17. Crew

    May 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

    AB – I agree. I have often said that maybe the lower level FBS teams should move to FCS. Well, under this new model, that is exactly what is happening.

    DRM – I do not disagree about the ambiguity of Cobb's statement. I just fear that it makes App. look bad when Cobb throws blanket statements out there that can easily be refuted.

    Also, look at this link. It seems that App. is not the only school having students "pony up" for athletics. In this case, it is to pay the salary of the coaches.

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug

  18. SteveBehrFromthePape

    May 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Spring prospectus is out. Anybody want to talk about the team we currently have?

  19. rick

    May 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

    In1978 when the NCAA forced SSouthern Conference along with teams like Richmond, W&M, to step down to the 1aa … It was said it was the" greatest thing that could happen " It was but after 35 years the landscape has changed…. and is still changing. to have all the teams evaluate their future.

    As one who attended the 3 FCS championships.. we would think " It does not get anybetter than this" well if UMASS , Del., JMU, AppSTate, etc were to leave … FCS would become like the old NAIA…

    I see this shake up of the landscape as an AWESOME thing … that if Cobb plays his card …opps our cards right… This could be a even brighter day for Mounaineer Football!!!!!!

  20. Jm18668

    May 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    The ASU ECU comparsion comes down to finacial resources. ECU is one of the athletic models that ASU has looked at in determining whether to make a move. It's certainly not a knock on ECU, but a realistic comparison between where a team financially stands in CUSA vs ACC. Looking at the athletic revenue ASU isn't that far off from ECU. The CUSA TV deals and gate receipts are the largest difference.

  21. Appmansam

    May 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Saying that ecu beats App 10 times out of 10 right now is absolutely absurd. That guy must have an ECU diploma (and the typical intelligence of an ECU grad)

  22. Crew

    May 27, 2011 at 3:50 am

    http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/d47a560045aad

    Average Attendance for 2010 – App. (25,715) and ECU (49,665)

    Those are the official numbers reported to the NCAA, not some bogus numbers that get tossed around (like 28,000 to 30,000 for App).

    Those numbers combined with them (ECU) having significantly more alumni and donations lets you know that App. is not anywhere close to ECU financially.

    As far as App. beating ECU in football, that didn't happen a couple of years ago. Outside of Wake many years ago, when was the last time App. beat an ACC team? When was the last time ECU beat an ACC team in football? I am basing the 10 out of 10 on history. The UM win, while great, was lightning. It is highly improbable that lightning strikes twice in the same place.

    Go ahead Appmansam, call names and degrade other universities b/c your opinion differs with someone else's opinion. My App. degree taught me to look at all viewpoints instead of taking a myopic approach.

  23. appthunder90

    May 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

    crew

    well, if you think ecu would beat app 10 times out of 10 then you're welcome to that opinion. but dont base it off of 1 loss to ecu. which in actuality.. the score was 24-29. is that score definitive enough to release a verdict that Either team would win 10 out of 10? not in my opinion. at least with those squads anyway. if im not mistaken.. we were on our backup qbs? now im not going to be the one preaching "if armanti played we would have won" but im just saying.. if we had had the starter in, whether that had been cadet presley or edwards at the time.. i think Perhaps the game could have unraveled differently. now thats my opinion, i will agree that maybe ecu might beat us 6 times out of 10 . but their defense is lacking in a big way. they let Navy hang 76 points on em, and they play in the same division. lasat time i checked, noone has ever hung 76 points on appalachian.

  24. clayton

    May 27, 2011 at 4:24 am

    I think the App to ECU to UNC thing Cobb was talking about was about finances. Our athletics budget is about $16 million, ECU's is about $30 million, and UNC's is about $70 million. He should have used the SEC (but that doesn't register as much in NC) where budgets exceed $100 million.

  25. AppAMan

    May 27, 2011 at 4:36 am

    The writer doesn't understand the gap between the top 5-7 FCS programs (not in terms of W's & L's, but facilities, attendance and funding) and the rest of the pack. No way most of those (FCS)schools have the ability to invest the dollars to be competitive at even a slightly higher level. Especially when you consider many of them are in favor of reducing scholarship numbers. I'm glad to see this finally taking shape. I have long held the belief there are three distinct levels of football programs within D-I. I don't have the illusion ASU belongs on the same stage as the BCS guys, but the program is at a much higher level than all but a very few FCS schools and on par with, or above, most FBS schools outside The Mtn West and top level CUSA schools.

  26. AppAMan

    May 27, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I believe this statement is not so much about competitiveness and attendance, but fund raising, facilities, and corporate revenue. However, even in those areas ASU lags far behind the Pirates. It’s just the Pirates are even farther from the ACC schools. The BCS TV contract pours millions of dollars into the bank account. Dollars, not W’s & L’s, is what separates the men from the boys. IMO, he still shouldn’t have said it because it will surely be misconstrued by most people who read it.

  27. DRM

    May 27, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I could be incorrect, but I believe Army and Navy already pay for everything–for all their students, not just athletes or football players.

  28. Crew

    May 27, 2011 at 5:13 am

    My spouse got her BS at App. She has 3 Masters; one from ECU. We have been informed that the atheletic budget for ECU is $43.2 million. The athletic budget for App., from what I understand, is closer to $13.8 million.

    Now, I think that App. is better off than many teams in the Sunbelt, MAC, etc. I just do not think that App. is as close to ECU as some on here think.

  29. appthunder90

    May 27, 2011 at 7:42 am

    crew

    my response had nothing to do with finances.. it was in response to the ecu beats app 10 times out of 10. of course they have more finances.

  30. DRM

    May 27, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Speaking of the pre-season prospectus (as Mr. Behr did above), the two-deep chart reflects the following:

    O-line starters are mostly seniors. Back-ups are mostly freshmen or sophomores. Only one offensive lineman, back up Dufort at RT, is heavier than 285 pounds.

    Projected starters at M, X and Z receiver are all sophomores. Quick, at Y, is the only senior wide-out. Two of the four projected starters are less than six feet tall, as are two of the four projected back-ups.

    Jackson is the projected back-up at QB—no surprise there, I guess.

    Cadet is projected to start at RB, to be backed up by Baker, another senior. Cadet is also projected as KO and punt returner.

    D-line projected starters include one freshman (Corbin, 6’-6”, 300 lbs), two seniors (Wylie and Witte) and a junior at rush end, either Rizor or Tanyi. Back-ups are mostly freshmen or sophomores.

    Tanyi, Wray, Kimbrough and Grier, all juniors, are projected starters at LB. Back-ups include mostly freshmen and sophomores, plus junior Lloyd and senior Brewer.

    Gainey is projected as a starter at corner, with soph Rodger Walker as his back-up. Sophomore Blalock is projected to start at FS ahead of junior McDuffie. Among the two-deep DBs, only Barnes, a freshman, is taller than six feet.

    All in all, it seems a typical App roster–reasonable experience at starter, lots of youth at back-up, smaller physically than most opponents, not only FBS but also FCS teams.

  31. Crew

    May 27, 2011 at 8:52 am

    90 – I know that you were responding to the 10 out of 10. We just disagree; I am ok with that. I hope that you would be right though.

    My financial response was to someone else.

  32. Zen

    May 27, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Crew, you are wrong. Here are the numbers.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/ncaa-finan

    2009/10 Expenditures on athletics in millions

    ASU – $16.18

    ECU – $30.47

    ACC average – $61.91

    That means the gap between ASU and ECU is $14.29

    and the gap between ECU and the ACC is $31.43

    As a percentage, ASU spent 53% of what ECU spent. ECU spent 49% of what the ACC schools spent.

    So a very strong case can be made that CC's vague statement is correct.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, the ACC averages are for the public institutions only for the year 2009/10. The 2008/09 number was used for Maryland as their information wasn't available in the 2009/10 list. Using "best guesses" from searches of the four private schools, the total ACC average would probably change no more than 1%

  33. JM18668

    May 27, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Zen, thanks for the numbers for the financial comparison. If ASU was to move to FBS and you adjust the revenue for conference split for TV (We actually pay to be on TV now), bowl appearances, and adjust for larger guaranteed payouts for football (UM,VT, UGA) the difference is less than $10 million per year.

    ECU has a signifigantly larger donor pool and a much better funded Athletic Booster Club. If we want to move up and don't want those additional fees onto the students this is one area where we will definately have to make up signifigant ground.

  34. Crew

    May 27, 2011 at 9:52 am

    OK, let's assume that website is correct. Then, App. is losing approximately $300,000 per year and ECU is making approximately $2 million per year.

    I looked at NC State, and they are making approximately $4 million per year.

    I do not see how App. losing money puts them closer to ECU, than comparing ECU to NC State (which both are making money).

    That's "bottom-lining" it…but thanks Zen for saying how wrong I am.

  35. bcoach

    May 27, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I keep hearing that we pay to be on TV but if i look at the site there is revenue for TV and radio but no expense for TV. Can't both be true.

  36. clayton

    May 27, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Look past the bottom line. ECU (like App) supplements a significant portion of their budget with fees. Student fees double contributions in Greenville (its a worse ratio in Boone). Contributions double student fees in Chapel Hill.

    In all honesty, ECU is in better shape than most non-BCS schools. But, they still have a long way to go.

  37. JM18668

    May 27, 2011 at 11:49 am

    bcoach

    The Southern Conferences is the one that pays for the TV contract for football. It's not directly paid by ASU.

  38. Appthunder90

    May 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Bcoach,

    We do pay to be on sportssouth, but that money is fronted by the socon. Its around 400,000. We as a school don't have to pay for it but the conference does

  39. Appthunder90

    May 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Crew,

    I can agree to disagree.

    But honestly, if starting qb played the ecu game back in 09 do you think we might have taken that?

  40. Zen

    May 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Crew,

    Why the change from a "budget" argument to a "profitability" argument?

    Was it because you were wrong? Or was it because I was right?

  41. Appthunder90

    May 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Bcoach,

    I think the idea behind "we pay" vs We get paid for tv is opportunity cost, but I'm not sure. I know the cusa teams all get a payout for the tv deal but I don't know exactly how the socon pays or where it gets it's funding from. I guess all the schools help pay a prescribed amount

  42. Crew

    May 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    90 – Injuries are part of the game, and the better teams know how to play when they happen. With that being said, if AE had been playing, a win would have been a definite possibility.

    What about now without AE?

    Like I wrote earlier though, I definitely hope that you are right regarding this.

  43. bcoach

    May 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks guys. It is always stated on here ” we pay to be on” and I knew that was not true.

  44. appthunder90

    May 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    like i stated earlier, i wasnt going to preach that armanti would have won it all. im just saying the starter. he could have played, but obviously jerry moore didnt want to risk ae over a game that

    a)doesnt count for the playoffs
    B) doesnt count for a conference championship
    c) exists for an fbs payout

    do i think we could win it now?

    possibly. of course nothing is definite. but i surely do not chalk it up as an immediate loss. our guys know how to play when the going gets tough. ecu is just not the cream of the crop. are they a step up from samford, the citadel and prespy? absolutely. but they are not the holy grail, and also nothing i want to model this program after

  45. bcoach

    May 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    90

    I am pretty sure they thought we paid. Could be wrong.

  46. appthunder90

    May 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    bcoach,

    do we pay like an annual due or anything similar for socon affiliation?

  47. carbine

    May 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Seems like there's been quite a changing of the guard over the last couple of seasons. This could be a sort of 'rebuilding' year for us, as it looks like a lot of younger players will be counted on to step up quickly. I'd like to think that our recent strong recruiting classes (or so they are reported to be) means that we'll see some emerging stars this year.

  48. HUMAN BEING

    May 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I am telling you we are going to the "Big East". All is going to change and we are going to be in the Big East in a new looking conference. I was talking to someone the other day and he said he was hearing the same thing. (ECU/App/Georgia Southern/Marshall/ODM/Richmond) Rumors are that some FBS Schools/Conferences are going to sign (Agree) to play a playoff. TV Contract for the playoffs is suppose to be split by all agreeing conferences. This is also suppose to be with a major network(NBC)who is agreeing to air games Friday Night and All Day Saturday and Saturday Night on many of its cable channels. It will be like FCS just better competition week in and week out with out the big 4 conferences. NBC is losing Notre Dame and are trying to replace it with something. BIG East is going to get raided to form 4 super conferences. BIG EAST IS GOING TO HAVE TO ADAPT. They are going to be the one left out.

  49. Appthunder90

    May 31, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Human being,

    As exciting as that rumor sounds and as much as many would like to believe it, it's a rumor. I don't see anything like that shaking out anytime in the foreseeable future.. But I would love to be proved wrong

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