ET: (Expansion Topic) Non-revenue sports

Submitted by noshesnot on June 10th, 2010 at 9:22 PM

This is somewhat directed at FormerlyAnonymous:  What kind of ramifications do expansions have on non-revenue sports?  I'm thinking about baseball and the future of the conference, and I have to believe that Nebraska would help out baseball.  Would Wisconsin finally field a varsity team?  What about if we head east and pick up Syracuse, would Michigan push lacrosse into the varsity status?  Would we want all sports that currently play in a non-Big-Ten league (hockey, lacrosse, etc.) to build a conference, even if it means fielding teams that aren't necessarily competitive at first?  Discuss.  

Comments

Big Boutros

June 10th, 2010 at 9:28 PM ^

Somebody, somewhere, mentioned that Big Ten expansion would help the case for Michigan men's lacrosse to move up to varsity status. I don't know who said it, and I don't have a link. It might be an outright lie. Sometimes I'm amazed I remember to breathe.

BlueintheLou

June 10th, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

Adding Texas and A&M would undoubtedly caused travel issues for non-revenue sports that don't get to fly the nice chartered flights. Nothing that couldn't be overcome, but it would make their lives a bit more difficult.

ikestoys

June 11th, 2010 at 12:59 AM ^

The entire budget for a sport like soccer (budget ~1 million a few years ago) is going to be less than the amount Nebraska/Texas, and that normally includes 2-3 big trips per year. Adding one more can't be that more than the extra money coming in.

This would be a big plus for soccer because the conference would have more than the 7 teams it has now... the expansion wouldn't go into Nebraska or Texas either because they don't have teams.

Obviously this will be a little different for each sport, but I have a feeling someone in the B10 has thought about this already and determined the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Wolverine In Exile

June 10th, 2010 at 9:41 PM ^

is that if the revenues increase as expected for the conference, one of the solid club hockey teams for a Big Ten school would be able to make the jump to varsity status so we could break out a Big Ten hockey conference with MSU, OSU, Minnesota, Wiscy, ND (reluctantly)... maybe Penn St, Illinois, or both?? Anyone know if Pitt or Syracuse have good club hockey teams?

formerlyanonymous

June 10th, 2010 at 9:43 PM ^

As far as baseball, Nebraska is an automatic contender every year for the Big Ten title from now on. They aren't going to be super dominant, but they will be in the top of the conference consistently. They've been in a 2 year down stretch recently, but that's after a CWS appearance. As for national pundit's thoughts, Sorenson talks it up a lot in his most recent post:

5- THE NATIONAL MEDIA MAY HAVE TO FINALLY PAY ATTENTION TO THE BIG 10.

I can’t be the only one giving the Big 10 its props. I think Nebraska joining the conference will also give it more legitimacy with other major college baseball outlets. Then again, if you want to know how good Big 10 baseball teams are, just go ahead and ask Dave Serrano and Cal State Fullerton right about now.

This will have zero effect on Wisconsin from my standpoint. Other Big XII teams didn't field baseball. This won't just suddenly make the Big Ten a super power either. It would take adding Texas and maybe Mizzou/A&M for it to be a legit contender for a baseball power conference. I'm not holding my breath. I do plan on doing a "what this expansion means to [certain sports]" post after things are official, with a baseball and volleyball emphasis. Right now, Nebraska hasn't officially announced, nor do we know if things are finished in the expansion arena. I'd rather knock it out at once.

The other big winner is volleyball. Nebraska rivals Penn State for top programs in the country. This is like adding Texas in football. It's freaking huge.

Nebraksa adds nothing for hockey for those interested. Just because Omaha has it, doesn't mean Lincoln will. That's like saying UM-Dearborn's fictional varsity lacrosse team means Michigan automatically will make lacrosse a varsity sport. It makes no sense.

With expansion east, I think it would take a few teams before we would see a Big Ten lax conference. Ohio State is the only varsity squad currently, and it takes 6 members for a Big Ten Conference league to start. Even if one was to grab Syracuse and ND, that still leaves you 2 short with Michigan jumping up to that level. 

Nebraska also adds nicely to wrestling (they won't be a Big Ten power at all), track and field, and gymnastics. Michigan and Nebraska are both gymnastic powers. Would be an interesting conference rivalry.

noshesnot

June 10th, 2010 at 10:28 PM ^

Thanks for the awesome quick analysis.  My buddies and I like to talk about dream scenarios, and his one big dream is to make Big Ten Baseball matter more than it does.  He thinks that Nebraska + Texas = $$$, to the point where Wisconsin would field a team and there would be major shifts among teams in the conference.  I slide toward the "It would make us better but not awesome" end of the spectrum.

formerlyanonymous

June 11th, 2010 at 1:09 AM ^

I think it would take Texas as well to make us closer to a power, but we still wouldn't really be a power. Add Mizzou and maybe we're talking. It's tough to say as there aren't many other 12 team conferences that can sport a power like Texas and 3-4 decent to good teams. The SEC has 8-10 very good to great teams a year. The Pac10 historically has 6-7 good to great teams. The Big XII had 7 good to great teams (only 10 teams field baseball clubs).

I'd put us comparable to Conference USA which is just outside the baseball top conferences. That's a huge jump. We're talking 12-15th best to maybe 5th to 7th if things sustain well.

Also of interesting note, the PAC10, during their preliminary talks with Colorado discussed wanting to field baseball and softball after the move. Colorado fans seem pretty enthused. Details on the Ralphie Report, a recap of their media conference call. They'd be a great addition to the landscape. I think Air Force is the only baseball team in Colorado as of now.

HoldTheRope

June 11th, 2010 at 2:41 AM ^

Good stuff as always FA. As far as baseball goes, Nebraska's last CWS appearance was in 2005, right? Looks like they had a pretty bad year this year but still had 5 guys drafted. Any specific reason for the decline? Also, are you basing your assumption on Nebraska's status as automatically a tier-1 Big Ten baseball team on the fact that the Big Ten is so bad, or is Nebraska just talented in its own right? I don't follow college baseball enough outside of the Big Ten and my home state teams (Bama and Auburn) to be able to comment. Either way, Nebraska at The Fish should be fun!

formerlyanonymous

June 11th, 2010 at 8:19 AM ^

Yeah, 2005 was their last. Their first was 2002. I'm making my assumption based on Nebraska. They are a state that takes college baseball seriously. The school and donors made a huge commitment to the Husker program in the 90s to get them on a track of playing at the CWS in Omaha more often. I almost have to assume they'll win the highest attendance in the conference consistently.

Solid program, tremendous support, recent success. All of those translate well. I imagine it could be much like Louisville in the Big East. They'll be a very strong member with the capability of making jumps to super regionals.

As far as their recent slide, they lost something like 7 or 8 pitchers from the 2007 team in the draft. That created a huge turnover problem, much like Michigan's 2008 draft class sucking out all the top talent. They were meh this year, pretty much going 1-2 in each conference series (Swept Texas Tech and swept by Mizzou). That's not a horrible year as they still managed to go 27-27, but it might be the building year to get them back to competing.

Wolverine In Exile

June 10th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

In Michigan's case, hockey is still a revenue sport, right? I believe we're one of 3 or 4 programs where hockey is actually revenue positive.... (I wanna say Boston College, North Dakota and Minnesota were the others...)

Michigan Arrogance

June 10th, 2010 at 10:08 PM ^

hockey is close enough to break even that you can call it break even. maybe makes a million in profit per year, which is pocket change in a 80M budget.

 

W hoops loses money no doubt. i think the men make a few million, even in down times.

Wolverine In Exile

June 10th, 2010 at 10:47 PM ^

I took at look at  Univ regents reports for FY10 and mens hockey has approximately $2M in net revenue ($1.8 from attendance sales-- tickets-- and no more than $400k in other revenue sources). They don't break out stats for expenses by team however in the report.. I was able to find figures for WMU and BG.. their expenses were $1.2 and $1.1M for the season.. figure Michigan is higher than that just due to coaches salaries and increased tuition rates. So I conservatively estimate Michigan is probably in the $1.5-$1.8 M range in expenses... if we're profitable, it's probably less than $100k, which is a win considering the average college hockey program runs a deficit of ~$120k /  year.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

June 10th, 2010 at 10:13 PM ^

I wouldn't doubt that if conference expansion does in fact = revenue expansion, you'll see a few new varsity teams here and there.  But they won't have much correlation to what the expansion members are known for.

psychomatt

June 10th, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

The highest ratings content for both BTN and ESPN are live games. That means the more good live content the B10 schools can create for BTN, the more valuable BTN becomes. If B10 adds a couple of national lax schools, it probably increases the probability that Michigan will upgrade its program to help create content. The same might be true of PSU in hockey or Michigan in crew. Imagine if every night, at least during the school year, you could turn on BTN and watch a couple of live conference games in one sport or another. It would be infinitely better than watching more BTN infomercials about each campus and it would generate money for the conference at the same time.

psychomatt

June 10th, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

The highest ratings content for both BTN and ESPN are live games. That means the more good live content the B10 schools can create for BTN, the more valuable BTN becomes. If B10 adds a couple of national lax schools, it probably increases the probability that Michigan will upgrade its program to help create content. The same might be true of PSU in hockey or Michigan in crew. Imagine if every night, at least during the school year, you could turn on BTN and watch a couple of live conference games in one sport or another. It would be infinitely better than watching more BTN infomercials about each campus and it would generate money for the conference at the same time.

tricks574

June 10th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

Nebraska is good. They are consistently a ranked team, and bring a few good athletes every year. They would have has 2 contenders for national tittles this year if Jordan Burroughs hadn't injured himself wrestling Michigan's own Dave Johnson. None of the Texas schools are a factor in wrestling, I honestly can't recall a single wrestler from any of the schools. Missouri is pretty good recently, they had an amazing team a few years back. 

Okie State is the best of any team out there, but they probably aren't a real option.

Bando Calrissian

June 10th, 2010 at 10:42 PM ^

FA is absolutely right.  Nebraska as an addition to the conference makes the Big 10 a force to be reckoned with in volleyball.  I look forward to seeing the Huskers in Cliff Keen, that's for sure. 

Sambojangles

June 10th, 2010 at 11:45 PM ^

How does expansion affect travel schedules, missed classes, and costs? Lincoln is like 6 hours past Iowa City, so how does our, say, volleyball team make the trip? How much strain will extra travel costs put on the athletic department budget?

noshesnot

June 11th, 2010 at 9:10 AM ^

Also, a lot of non-revenue teams don't play your traditional Team A vs. Team B on Friday at 5.  There are a lot of tournaments and gathering of teams.  For instance, in swimming, you could have 3 teams swimming at once, and at the end of it each team technically swam 2 different teams, counting as 2 wins, 1-1, or 2 losses.  Saves money on travel and site preparation.