I was watching tonight's BTN preview of Penn State with Dinardo & Co. The last segment featured an interview with B1G Commissioner Delaney, in which he was asked about the status of integrating Rutgers and Maryland into the conference.
Delaney responded by saying that integration of the two new schools was going well, and concluded his remarks on Rutgers and Maryland by saying this:
"And we have a couple of interesting announcements over the next couple weeks on some other big events in the metropolitan area, not quite ready to disclose, but to tease a little bit."
Do any of you have ideas what this could mean? Based on the context (immediately after discussing the B1G's two new teams), I immediately thought he was hinting at expansion of the conference by adding two more schools in the "metropolitan" (New York I suppose) area. But could he be referring to some announcements regarding bowl games in the New York metro area? "His" and "hers" mascots with Brooklyn accents?
Someone please offer a suitable internet conspiracy theory. My creative juices are running low.
In his recent comments, Ohio’s president Gee reveals a fear far more interest than his highly publicized insults. He was defensive when discussing the possibility of Cinci to to the B1G. He said: “We want (Cincinatti) to be an Ohio State city. They’d have to take (athletic director) Gene (Smith) out and shoot him to let Cincinnati into the Big Ten.”
But if Cinci is really so bad, then why does Gee need to be so defensive? Here's my guess
First, Cincinnati has a more than respectable athletic history. It has 2 NCAA BB titles; Ohio has one. it was actually Cincinnati—and not Ohio—that played the first FB game in the state (in 1888). Even though it is in the Big East, it still produced 35 All-Americans and more than 90 NFL players Also, from 2009-11, Cincinnati had 33-7 record and went to BCS bowls 2/3 years. By contrast, the great Ohio had a 17-10 record . It was ineligible for a bowl in 2012, lost one in 2011, and had its record expunged in 2010.
It also sounds a bit hypocritical when Gee claims he wants B1G schools of “like-minded academic integrity,.” He just uses the argument to rule out schools that would provide him with regional competition:likeLouisville, Kentucky, or Cincincati. Indeed, this Ohio President who supported a corrupt FB coach –and who constantly embarrasses the school--hardly appears motivated by reputation. And at least Cincincati’s has a president that students can respect: a medical school professor who had appointments at Johns Hopkins, the University College London, and Harvard Medical School.
Granted, Cincincati’s academics, even under their recently appointed president are still a work in progress. Yet, is its academic status really all that far from Ohio’s? Both admit 2/3 of applicants. Both have comparable avg SAT component scores (550 Ohio, 500 Cincinatti). And Ohio now is the only state school with the advantage of being in the B1G. .
So, what would happen to Cinci if they had a similar advantage? Maybe it would raise their profile and make them even more competitive, both on and off the field. Why? ”In fact, Cincinnati is truly a major league city, with the NFL Bengals and Cincinnati Reds. Its tri-state area is the corporate headquarters of at least 9 Fortune 500 companies. It’s a top ten Fortune Magazine city. With concert facilties, big-name entertainers and an Octoberfest surpassed only by Munich, it’s #7 on Esquire’s list of "Cities that Rock." By contrast, the only “rock” in Columbus is the one in Gee’s head.
Gee will argue that the addition of Cincinatti, would not expand the B1G media market. Yet, Cincinnati sits at the border of three states,so it does expand the B1G market southward. Indeed, what Gee is worried about is that Cincinnati would put the squeeze on his own school—sitting as it does between Cincinnati and Michigan. In addition, he’s worried that Ohio would finally have an instate rival: much like UM –MSU, Pur-Ind, NW-Ill. So, even if Ohio built a wall to prevent recruits from leaving the state, it could lose them anyway. Indeed, Cinci’s Tuberville could become a much bigger thorn in Ohio’s side than Dantonio ever was for UM.
Certainly, Cinncinati does pose problems. As an east division B1G addition, it could further the imbalance. It's also lacks the same media and academic appeal as Duke, Va, or NC. Yet, if the B1G ever wants to include a school that will increase competition in Ohio. and extend the B1G toward the southern Midwest, then Ohio may have something more to worry about. And more worries are something that Gordon Gee does not want.
I started this as a response to the diary by maizeonblueaction, but I figured it would get more play on the main board. I'm interested to find if anyone cares to defend the B1G acquisition of Rutgers and Maryland. I feel like cable contracts with the BTN are not the end all, be all factor as to whether our forray out east will be successful.
I'm not as sold on BTN bound TV sets being the sole reason to branch into populace areas. Sure, that's a huge focal point for now, but it's not the only thing. When speculating on decisions, there is a general trend to underestimate those who come to said decisions. It's easy to poke holes in most arguments, as there are very few 'no-brainers'. Sure, there are stupid people everywhere, but by and large the people who have cash to back up their decisions have proven themselves in some facet. It is presumptuous to assume that a rag tag group of message board patrons have out-thunk a group of people who make insane amounts of money to assure that even more insane amounts of money and power are retained by said group.
I can list a few other items that should not be overlooked in the event that TV channels are no longer bundled. These are listed from the perspective of CFB, but can also apply to other sports in some cases...
1. Recruiting. This is not to be undersold. Higher population equates to more talent that can be swayed into staying home. In this instance, the Nebraska coup was a net drain on the conference. Sure, Nebraska will hold onto some of their recruiting territories in Texas and out west, but most of their kids will need to be cherry picked from the midwest. We have one more heavyweight eating from the same piece of pie. Conversely, New Jersey and Maryland are hot states for football recruiting. Though the schools may be lightweights, they've brought more pie to our party! In a way, bringing them into the fold helps mitigate our fat uncle Nebraska. ( I swear this is the last time I analogize high school recruits to pie. It's creepy.)
2. Word of mouth. Even if we can't edge our way into the TV sets of the entirety of Baltimore, DC, and the greater NYC area, getting our foot in the door creates a starting point. If mouths start talking about the Big 10 in those areas, they have the power to spread our gospel like a targeted plague. You can even speculate that if Rutgers and Maryland benefit from the status of being in the Big 10, they will be able to raise the profile of their teams and compete on a national stage, bringing even more relevancy.
3. Lamestream media coverage. I despise the term. But the mainstream media will parrot what it thinks is best for self preservation. When ESPN sees that the large demographics are now more tuned into B1G interests, it will cater to that demand. More curious eyes means more exposure. More exposure means more curious eyes. I guess this dovetails with number 2 on my list, but it stands as a potential point. The antithesis of this is the NHL. It is, by all means, a great product. But Bettman and lockouts and unwarranted expansion that dilutes the product caused a lot of casual fans to turn away. Now, ESPN couldn't take enough pay to touch the league, which threatens to further nichify the sport.
4. Access to coastline. In the event of Civil War II breaking out between the B1G and the SEC, any military person recognizes the basic need of coastline. Nobody likes to be landlocked. Laugh now, but crazier shit has happened.
There has been a lot of talk about the sense, or nonsense, of adding Rutgers and Maryland to the B1G in 2014 from a purely athletic point of view (verdict: non-sense), and also from a BTN TV market point of view (verdict: debatable). Whether the strategy will pan out or not, the consensus seems to be that this was all about adding TV dollars and sets, and any future expansion should be viewed through the lens of TV markets and how they may affect BTN revenues. While all this discussion has merit, it misses an important aspect of conference expansion. The impact of expansion on the ability to influence the allocation of federal research dollars to the B1G member schools has monetary implications that dwarf the potential for increased athletic dept. revenues. Whatever the designs of Jim Delaney are as the head of an athletic conference, I think conference expansion decisions are occurring well above his head, and seem to be driven by university presidents with research dollars in mind. When you consider the figures, it’s easy to see why. According to a 2010 NSF report (Link), universities and colleges received $32.5 billion dollars from the federal government in support of science and engineering research, with roughly 60% of that money going to Association of American Universities (AAU) members. That the AAU gets a big slice is not too surprising, as the AAU is a who’s who of research universities, but it also operates a powerful lobbying arm that works to ensure that its members get significantly more money from the federal government than the average school.
The Council for Intercollegiate Cooperation (CIC) is what makes AAU membership so important for B1G expansion targets to possess. B1G membership is synonymous with CIC membership, with all B1G schools plus University of Chicago being members of the CIC. With the exception of Nebraska, all CIC members are AAU members (and Nebraska was an AAU school at the time the B1G voted to add it as a 12thmember, only loosing membership in 2011). CIC members share research resources, but more importantly, they also form a powerful subgroup within the AAU. This is where conference expansion and the AAU come together. Adding established AAU members can increase the CIC’s powerbase within the AAU. With $20 billion dollars in annual research dollars at stake, it only takes a little extra power to put a billion a year in extra research dollars into CIC hands, a figure four times the revenue of the BTN. With this in mind, I wanted to put together a research dollar influence score that could be used to rank the attractiveness of existing AAU members to the CIC via B1G expansion.
In theory, federal agencies use a non-partisan peer review process to allocate research money (think national academy of science). However, the reviewers who serve on agency committees come from the very universities they are tasked with allocating money to. Strong representation on these committees provides one means for the CIC to influence where federal research dollars go, so a stronger CIC from a purely academic research reputation basis means more opportunity to direct dollars back to the CIC. One component of my research dollar influence score is then formed by taking the annual Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankingsscore for each AAU member as a percentage of the sum of all scores. Unlike US News & World Report, the Times ranking is explicitly based on faculty research reputation. This gives each school a measure of relative academic clout within a group of heavyweights. It’s good to think of the research score like a recruiting team score. A school like Harvard is like USC’s class this year, full of five stars but a smaller overall size, while an Ohio State is like Texas A&M, not so loaded at the top end, but it makes up for it in class size. The Ole Miss of the group is Johns Hopkins, because not unlike recruiting, when it comes to federal research dollar allocation, it’s good to have powerful boosters, and Johns Hopkins has some of the best boosters in government.
In practice, pure political favoritism exists, and can significantly influence where research dollars go, over and above what a straight peer review would dictate. In a 1996 study, a university of Illinois professor found that as much as 40% of federal research dollars are allocated on the basis of congressional constituency bias, with appropriation committee membership having disproportionate effect (Link). That senators and congressmen work to make sure their state institutions (both public and private) get a more than fair share of the pie should surprise no one. Therefore, the second component of my research dollar influence score comes from measuring the percentage of total AAU congressional and senate representation a school represents. Unlike a peer reputation score, this second dimension is not purely additive (adding a Pittsburgh does nothing to increase the government influence of the CIC, since Penn State already brings access to Pennsylvania’s representatives and senators).
The average of these two relative power scores is what I’ll use as a research dollar influence score. The max score is 100%, and would represent the entire AAU acting as a whole, and the score for each expansion target represents the value of forming an alliance with that target. Before looking at expansion targets beyond Maryland and Rutgers, let’s apply the research dollar influence score to the AAU to see how power is distributed. Chart?
|AAU Subgroup||Govt Influence||Peer Review Influence||Combined Influence|
|CIC + UMD, RT||37%||22%||29%|
|PAC 12 + CA||23%||23%||23%|
|Ivy + MA||23%||19%||21%|
|ACC + Maryland||22%||9%||16%|
Before adding Maryland and Rutgers, the CIC held a slim edge over the PAC 12 and Ivy League, with that lead narrowed when other CA and MA schools are lumped in with the PAC 12 and Ivy League, respectively. The ACC runs a respectable fourth, though replacing Maryland with Louisville hurts, while the SEC and Big 12 wield little influence. CA, NY and MA are powerful standalone states from a peer review influence score, but fall short on government influence. This is true even of CA, which has 53 congressional reps, but still only 2 senators, while the combined CIC footprint brings in 95 congressmen and 16 senators. When Maryland and Rutgers join in 2014, the CIC adds another 20 congressional districts and 4 senate seats. Also, peer review influence is additive, and while neither Rutgers nor Maryland is at the level of a Michigan, they are solid additions. The combined effect is to create a noticeable power gap between the CIC and its west coast and northeastern rivals. As an added bonus, Rutgers and Maryland both have senators sitting on the appropriations committee, with the senior senator from Maryland being the chair. Even if it doesn’t make you feel any better about it, maybe at least now the real value of adding Rutgers and Maryland becomes clear.
Turning to expansion targets, I’ll stick to existing AAU members, with a few exceptions. I list Nebraska and Syracuse as they are schools that only recently lost AAU membership, and may very well regain it. I also list Florida State since it is a school that has potential to obtain it, and is located in a congressionally rich state. John Hopkins is on the list because there have been rumors that the B1G might add it as an associate member in lacrosse. Just so we’re clear, if Johns Hopkins does become a lacrosse only member, it’ll be because of the CIC, not lacrosse.
|AAU Member||Govt Influence||Peer Review Influence||Combined Influence|
Missouri isn’t leaving the SEC, but this chart shows why the B1G was happy to limit raiding of the Big 12 to Nebraska, which wasn’t that exciting as a CIC addition, but was a legit premium football brand. It also explains why Jim Delaney dropped his unrequited love affair with Notre Dame for one with Texas faster than a teenage girl changing boy bands. After Texas, Florida State and Syracuse would be attractive additions, but they only have AAU potential, not current membership. FSU might have a strong enough football brand to add, but I don’t think it’s a given that the B1G would take them without AAU status. With it, Florida State would be the clear top next choice. This leaves Georgia Tech, Duke/North Carolina, and Virginia as targets, with Syracuse and Florida State in play only if the B1G goes to 20 and can afford to take a gamble.
Finally, the last chart shows how the relative influence of the CIC within the AAU compares after successively adding Rutgers and Maryland, then Georgia Tech, UVA, and Johns Hopkins, and finally UNC and Duke. The power shift is significant with each addition, and it could very likely mean an increase in research dollars to the CIC that exceeds current BTN revenues to the conference; 500 million to a billion dollars wouldn’t be a stretch.
|AAU Subgroup||Govt Influence||Peer Review Influence||Combined Influence|
|CIC + UNC, Duke||44%||29%||36%|
|CIC + GT, UVA, JH||40%||26%||33%|
|CIC + UMD, RT||37%||22%||29%|
|PAC 12 + CA||23%||23%||23%|
|Ivy + MA||23%||19%||21%|
I’ve highlighted the research dollar influence gain by pursuing an expansion strategy that cannibalizes the ACC. Of course, the benefits of expanding the footprint into ACC territory in terms of adding possibly lucrative TV markets and of strengthening connections to fertile football recruiting grounds also must be considered, and when taken together with the research dollar picture, makes it clear why the B1G is set on taking a big bite out of the ACC, and why the ACC is fighting the Maryland defection as hard as it can. Without a massive exit fee, the ACC is as good as dead.
On final parting thought. The question of why it would be necessary for the CIC to use the B1G as a vehicle for expansion, and why it couldn’t just expand without the athletic associations is one that is best answered by the Iran nuclear program. The façade of an athletic motivation for the expansion provides the plausible deniability the CIC needs to increase power without creating any outright rifts in the AAU. It provides the means to strengthen alliances without being overt about it.
(Sorry about the horrible formatting of the tables. This is my first post, and I haven't figured out how to make it look slick yet.)
General discussion thread, but some interesting points. First, on the B1G Expansion, Barry Alvarez candidly said that Penn State was thinking of leaving the B1G (no idea why, the B1G doesn't have an exit fee, as schools make more money in the B1G than they can elsewhere) and the additions of Maryland and Rutgers were somewhat to placate PSU.
Barry also said that an additional school was interested, but told "No thanks" due to academic concerns.
This according to multiple people on Twitter.
Also, with Butch Jones out at Cincy, MSU DC Narduzzi is their leading candidate.
Also, this picture was tweeted out by (EDIT, a FAKE account, but still, in my heart I believe that's a picture of him) Brett Bielema about growing up on a Pig Farm