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Date Posted: Wed, July 06 2005, 22:21:17
Author: Duck
Subject: Re: Great article about i-aa football...see what you think
In reply to: 91 's message, "Great article about i-aa football...see what you think" on Mon, June 06 2005, 9:42:03

You're right - This is very good stuff.

Enjoy I-AA, now
Otto Fad, CFAA/I-AA.com
Jun 5, 2005, 22:38


“War’s over man, Wormer dropped the big one.”

-- Daniel Simpson 'D-Day' Day, in Animal House (1978)


I-AA supporters, it’s over.

The move to stabilize-and-enhance I-AA football is dead. Sorry, Cedric, but to paraphrase John Blutarksy, there go seven years of effort, down the drain.

Legitimate, robust standards for I-A institutions are simply not going to happen. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has made clear their intent through several recent and in-progress actions.

In lieu of I-AA enhancements, the Board has enacted legislation better characterized as I-A appeasements. A few years hence, they will become known as I-A inducements, at least for a significant percentage of those who currently occupy the upper echelon of I-AA football.

It is now clear that the Board’s desire to avoid sentencing even a single I-A program to involuntary reclassification has driven its legislative agenda concerning I-A and I-AA football.

The problem is that this short-term appeasement of non-BCS I-A programs will lead to more tumult in Division I football. While ensuring that San Jose State and Buffalo retain their I-A status, the Board has created an environment that will further destabilize I-AA, and lure more programs to I-A.

The Board’s collective actions have lowered the price for participating in the NCAA’s top subclassification, while providing top I-AA’s little incentive to remain in I-AA.

Actions intended to improve I-AA and other proposals under consideration are primarily aimed at lifting the majority of I-AA that resides below the ultra-competitive, full-scholarship automatic bid playoff level.

Neither expanding the number of seeded teams in the I-AA tournament (which will happen this fall), nor expanding the tournament field (which is being discussed) serves I-AA powers.

Division I’s New Math

The Board has changed the premise of the I-A feasibility equation. Henceforth, it would be irresponsible for any program running at a full 63 scholarships to not consider upgrading their perceived status and NCAA representative standing, when it only costs a few dollars more.

Had the Board elected to make “I-A” mean something, this would not be the case. However, the Division I football outliers -- once the non-BCS I-A programs -- are now the high-scholarship I-AA programs.

Below them are two Division I groups with a better deal.

The non-football I-AAA’s enjoy cheap Division I membership in all other sports, and they are statistically BETTER represented in NCAA governance issues.

Then there are the I-AA’s fielding football programs on the cheap, with annual operating budgets as low as $500,000, who can claim the same status (in the eyes of 99% of the public and sports media) as the guys who are spending over $3 million annually.

Above them are non-BCS I-A’s, some of whom spend significantly LESS money on athletics, yet who have a higher perceived status and better representation in the NCAA governance structure.

Taken together, these developments clearly indicate that the niche currently occupied by the Georgia Southern’s, JMU’s, Montana’s, Delaware’s, McNeese’s, etc., will soon feel pressure to critically consider their NCAA status.

Top I-AA’s will be forced to decide between upgrading a little to I-A status, or downgrading a little to remain competitive in I-AA, in a fiscally responsible manner.

It won’t happen this year, but absent widespread economic catastrophe or an about-face by the Board, we will soon see another rush on I-A. Western Kentucky will be first, but I-A may swell by as many as two dozen more programs in the coming decade.

Unlike previous I-A migrations, entire conferences will move to I-A in the new environment created by Board actions. The Big Sky and Colonial (nee A-10) could be the first two leagues to make the jump.

Other I-AA leagues are more heterogeneous and could be torn apart by the draw of cheap I-A status. In any event, expect major realignment in I-AA as the effects of the Division I Board’s actions are realized over the next few years…

***There's lots more....***

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