Barnes Returns, NBA Eyes Kentucky

In what seems to be a conspiracy among men’s college basketball players, North Carolina freshman, Harrison Barnes, has decided to return to Chapel Hill, according to the Associated Press.

Barnes joins most of the top talent in the country including teammates, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, and others like Perry Jones III and Jared Sullinger. The moves have sent waves across college basketball in wake of a potential NBA lockout.  The implications of the NFL lockout has caught the eye of college basketball’s brightest stars.

The only question now is, who will join Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter? Is the NBA looking to Kanter’s former “place of residence” for answers? The University of Kentucky has two of the last guys to make their decisions in Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight. Those are two guys that teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to decide and make the jump to the NBA.

In the end, the NBA labor uncertainty may be too much of a deterrent. This year’s #7 overall pick may only be as valuable as next year’s #15 or beyond. If you’re ready though, the money is going to be better this year than next unless you are a top talent. So as Kentucky fans watched, “The Door”, the NBA may be watching there own variety on the Lexington campus.

Why OhioU Sport Management?

I’ve had a lot of posts and it was only a matter of time before I inserted a shameless plug for the institution that I currently call home.

Many high school students have a dream of working around athletes and the games that they love. It isn’t as easy as that. Sport management requires a huge time commitment and will often start out with a small pay. However, if you are sure it’s what you want to pursue…Ohio University is annually ranked as one of the top five institutions to attend for those interested in sport management. And here’s why.

The basis of the annual program rankings revolve around number of alumni and relative success. Why are Ohio University graduates trained so well?

The Ohio Sport Management group is a family. From day one, we have certain thoughts drilled in to our head. 1.) help out your fellow Bobcat, 2.) your career is likely to start in sales and 3.) do something each day to make yourself stand out. By the time you graduate, you know how to run a sports program or team from the bottom up. You create facility plans that include plotting an arena, constructing said arena and then maintaining it. Then, you design a marketing plan to promote a team or event. Finally, as a Sport Management major, we are required to concentrate our studies in business and attain a minor. Some students will go on to double major in other programs like pre-law, accountancy and marketing. The knowledge and experience that you gain prepare you for running the day-t0-day operations one day.

In addition to the curriculum, there are a number of opportunities for students to take advantage of. Each year, there is a conference in which a number of speakers around the sporting world come and talk. There are student organizations that you can join:

Sport Business Assocation

http://www.ohiousba.com/

International Sports Agent Organization

http://internationalsportsagentorganization.wordpress.com/

Each offer opportunities to learn about your potential career. There are many other ways to gain experience beyond student organizations. The Ohio University Athletic Department is open to having student volunteers. I, myself, worked in the Ticket Office where I learned to talk to people in the Ohio Bobcat Club (donations), marketing department, corporate sponsorship and much more. I also have friends that have worked with the athletic department’s marketing team, finances, public relations, media, compliance and more. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Athens. There is a beautiful campus, beautiful people and an elite education to match.

If you have any questions, you can feel free to email me at JoshEdwards.je@gmail.com.

 

100 Things to Do Before I Die (#18)

Even though I haven’t done it in a long time, bowling is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. My personal best to this day is a 164, so with a little practice…I’ll likely still never hit 200. However, if one doesn’t have goals, then what accomplishments do they have to be excited about? Bowling is a sport that is more fun with a group of friends. Bowling is a fun way to pass time rather than a sport for most people and I am one of those people. I would still like to bowl a 200+ one day without the presence of bumpers. Bumpers are the training wheels of bowling.  The batting tee for those…less experienced.

1. Spend time in all 50 states…without a terrorist.
2. Attend a BCS Title Game Featuring UK…without “the” recruiting room.
3. Go on a cruise…without Stewie Griffin.
4. Play Slamball…without LeBron.
5. Learn to Scuba Dive…without BP.
6. Take a plane ride…without luggage.
7. Eat authentic Italian food in Italy…without Jersey Shore.
8. Ride in a Limo…without the mafia.
9. Sit front row at a game of one of my favorite team’s…without Make-A-Wish.
10. Get a hot dog at the original Nathan’s…without some guy named Nathan.
11. Eating Authentic Brooklyn Style Pizza…without Jersey Shore.
12. Travel across the Atlantic to Europe…without a girl named Rose and a guy named Jack.
13. Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square…with Dick Clark.
14. Attend a World Cup game…without vuvuzelas.
15. Attend the Olympics…without the Taliban.
16. Learn to Play the Guitar…without a soundproof room.
17. Attend a Kentucky Derby…without rain.
18. Bowl a 200…without bumpers.

Big East Conference Expansion Press Release

**The following is a fake press release written within the boundaries of the assignment. Under no circumstances should the following quotations be used as they, again, were directly fabricated for the assignment.

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This post had to be removed by the user, because some people don’t know how to read the above disclaimer and I’m not about to be misquoted. John Marrinatto and the Big East have not approved any such expansion of the Big East yet.

Big East Conference Expansion

The following is a paper that I wrote last year. Our assignment was to create a major change to the NCAA landscape, so I proposed conference expansion in the Big East. The following is my analytical approach to the subject.

**It has since been modified based on input from my professor.

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Conference expansion was all the rage just a few months ago.  A few conferences (the Pacific-10 and the Big Ten) got what they wanted, while others were left waiting in the wing. One conference that didn’t jump into the mix was the Big East. The Big East has just eight members in football, while tallying sixteen in basketball.  They are currently on the short end of the spectrum as most conferences have moved to twelve teams, requiring them to hold a conference championship game.  The Big East has tossed around the idea of expansion on a couple of different occasions and it is time for them to join the party and take the first step to holding a conference championship game.  Two institutions that would likely be open to making the change include Villanova University and East Carolina University.

In this paper, I will discuss some of the implications that these institutions could face by switching to a different division or bigger conference.  As far as the NCAA’s involvement, not a lot changes because both institutions are already under the watch of the governing body.  First, we will take a look at why Villanova University makes sense as a possible addition to the conference.  Next, we will see why East Carolina University makes sense as a member of the Big East.  Then, we will talk about why it would benefit the Big East to add these two institutions.

Finally, we will discuss the implications that the additions would have on the overall structure of the Big East.

Villanova University is located in Villanova, Pennsylvania.  The Wildcat football program is currently 6-3 this season and is the defending National Champions of Division I on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level.  They are presently a member of the Colonial Athletic Association playing a number of teams along the east coast.  Villanova has been a member of the CAA since 1985.  They do not have a strong tie to the CAA conference.  The Villanova basketball team already plays within the Big East conference.

Villanova faces a few obstacles prior to being eligible to participate in Big East athletic competitions.  First, the NCAA states that a university’s football program must average fifteen thousand fans over the course of a season in a two-year rolling period.  Villanova’s current stadium, Villanova Stadium, only holds twelve thousand people (Bennett, 2010). Villanova averaged only 8,364 fans last year at their home games.  They fall 6,636 fans short on average.   The university must expand upon their current stadium or find a new playing field. Potential playing fields include; Citizens Bank Park (home of the MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies, 46,528), Franklin Field (home of the University of Pennsylvania, 52,593) and PPL Park (home to the MLS’ Philadelphia Union, 18,500).  The Big East would bring increased interest.  In addition to drawing more Villanova fans, they also draw more fans of the opposition.  A game with the University of Pittsburgh would likely sell out given the short commute.

The institution could expect some resistance from the academic faculty.  The move from the FCS to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) shows a more dedicated view to the football program.  Academic faculty would likely believe that the university’s resources could be better spent on the academic sustainability, especially if Villanova must expand on their stadium.  I would expect increased booster support.  Sports are about competition and everyone likes to believe that they can compete with the best; this is their way of proving it.  The fan base and nation as a whole will have a more appealing opinion in regards to Villanova Wildcat football. As a member of the FCS, they are overlooked and forgotten.  However, by becoming a part of the Big East conference they are better known on a national level.   As far as recruiting is concerned, Villanova stands to sign talent from a deeper pool.   The state of Pennsylvania as well as surrounding states has proven to produce a lot of talented football players.

There aren’t many equity implications in regards to Villanova’s move to the FBS.  The Wildcats should fit right in with the rest of the FBS as they do a good job of violating Title IX. While females hold the majority of the student body and athletic participants, the men hold the majority of scholarship money.  Villanova University athletic director Vince Nicastro had this to say, “I see it as being a benefit toward the women’s programs as it’s being contemplated now.” The writer, Brian Bennett, goes on to say, “the program would comply with the Title IX standards in women’s sports that would be required with the additional football scholarships (Bennett, 2010).  The move to the Big East gives Villanova University the probability of making an increased amount of money each year.  This can only benefit the other programs, including women’s athletics.  It still may not be equitable, but it would be more than they are currently getting.

Every move that is made is a business decision.  Villanova actually travels more by switching to the Big East.  Villanova traveled an average of two-hundred and four miles last season.   With the pending move to the Big East, they would travel 485.8 miles per game.   This is an additional 281.8 miles per game, which is the equivalent of a $92.09 loss per bus per game (given a charter bus functions on diesel fuel at an average of eight miles/gallon; gas was a national average of $2.64).   Villanova’s current average doesn’t include trips to face the University of Richmond (Richmond, VA) and James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA). However, the addition of those two commutes would increase the average length of a trip dramatically.  Villanova is also no longer traveling to Lehigh, Pennsylvania.  They stay in hotels in bigger markets, such as Louisville, KY, Tampa, FL and Pittsburgh, PA which means increased stay costs.  What they lose in travel costs, they save in ticket sales.  Villanova charges $15 minimum for adults and $5 for children.  On average, it is $10.  They must sell 6,636 fans on average to meet NCAA standards.  The total ticket sales are $66,360.  With the increase in ticket sales comes a need to field more representatives in the ticket office.  Additional staff will also need to be added to ensure that game day operations run smoothly.  However, in today’s college environment most universities are able to run an athletic department primarily on the backs of the volunteer work put forth by college students looking for experience and credit.

The move to the Big East brings about a bunch of added pressure and responsibility.  Coaches deal with the additional pressure and responsibility in their own special way.  That special way is known as “cashing a larger paycheck.”  When the university stands to gain more money, the coaching staff begins to expect more money.

FCS regulations restrict Villanova to having only sixty-three football players on scholarship.  However, in the FBS, schools have eighty-five football players on scholarship (Bennett, 2010).  A freshman at Villanova University’s tuition is about $55,000.  Villanova University would consume roughly $1,210,000 in tuition expenses. However, the television contract with ESPN offsets that expense.  A Big East affiliate makes approximately two-million dollars in the television contract with ESPN (Steele, 2009).  In all likelihood, that deal is renegotiated for a larger amount due to the expansion.

Outside of the athletics side of things, the university itself stands to gain increased enrollment. Believe it or not, a lot of students pick a college based on the university’s athletic programs. For example, Ohio State sees increased enrollment based on the success of their football team. I know this, because I have a number of friends who attend the famed institution based on their football history.  To be even more specific, I recently (03/30/2011) spoke to a Butler University admissions representative who said, “the number of undergraduate applications have increased approximately 40% over last year.”  As many of you are aware, the Bulldogs have seen two straight seasons end in losses in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament championship.

East Carolina University is located in Greenville, North Carolina.  The Pirates are currently 5-4 on the season, but 4-1 within their conference.   East Carolina currently calls Conference USA, home.  The Pirates are coming off four straight bowl appearances and emotional upsets over #8 West Virginia, #17 Virginia Tech and #22 Boise State.

East Carolina faces little political opposition to move to the Big East.  The Pirates have only been members of Conference USA since 1997.  Since 1997, Conference USA has seen a score of its members leave for other conferences including; DePaul University, Marquette University, the University of Louisville, the University of South Florida and the University of Cincinnati, all schools in the Big East (“Conference USA”).  East Carolina has little to no historical ties to the conference.  The move gives the Pirates a chance to renew some rivalries with their former conference mates.  I don’t foresee much opposition from faculty or boosters either.  As with Villanova, the boosters are happy to play in a more competitive league.  It doesn’t affect the level of commitment to the academic side of campus, so the faculty shouldn’t revolt any time soon.  As a member of the FBS already, East Carolina has to uphold the standards of the NCAA.  The university stands to gain more money given their affiliation with the Big East.

East Carolina’s Dowdy-Ficklen stadium already possesses the capacity to hold a Big East contender.  Just this year, the Pirates added an additional seven-thousand seats to their stadium.  The addition brings East Carolina’s total maximum capacity to fifty-thousand screaming Pirate faithful (“Dowdy-ficklen stadium).

As I have already stated, due to East Carolina already being an FBS school under the guidance of the NCAA, they are already meeting the standards to which the NCAA has set forth. Upon viewing the potential Title IX implications, I discovered that like Villanova, East Carolina does a poor job of meeting the requirements.  However, due to lack of penalties inflicted by the NCAA and other research into the priority of Title IX by the NCAA; I have determined that Title IX isn’t of great concern to the NCAA.

East Carolina stands to gain a lot financially by making the move to the Big East.  On average, the Pirates travel 902.86 miles to play a football game.  If they moved to the Big East, they would be traveling an average of 509.23 miles per game.  The move saves the Pirates 393.63 miles per game, which equates to $150.55 per game, per bus.  In their contract with ESPN, East Carolina stands to gain an additional one million dollars prior to renegotiation.  Like Villanova, they stand to gain increased enrollment and a more talented pool of applicants.  Also, while it isn’t as drastic of a move from the FCS to the FBS, the coaches still expect to be paid more money. Bigger games are played within the Big East than in Conference USA.  The bigger games draw bigger crowds.  East Carolina must hire more people to staff their ticket office and more people in general to run gameday operations.

While the move is beneficial to both Villanova and East Carolina, it also benefits the Big East.  The Big East gains some continuity by adding Villanova to their conference in football. Some of Villanova’s rivalries on the basketball court can now transfer over to the football field.  By adding East Carolina, the Big East gains a new market.  Like I previously stated, East Carolina also already has some affiliation with some of the Big East football programs, such as the University of Cincinnati, the University of Louisville and the University of South Florida.  The addition of East Carolina, it gives them an in to a very deep football recruiting ground and market.  The Big East lacks the traditional football powerhouses.  Therefore, they have no appeal to steal a team from another conference such as the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Big Ten.  Notre Dame alone makes nearly the same amount in television contracts as the entire Big East.  It would be huge for the Big East to add Notre Dame, but it isn’t mutually beneficial.  Thus, their only move is to steal a team from a lower division or a weaker conference. The move is beneficial to all of its constituents, but how does it affect the overall structure of the Big East?

The additions to the Big East leave everyone to wonder how the scheduling would work. The Western Athletic Conference was in the same position prior to the 1996 season.  They had ten member institutions.  In 1994, the Brigham Young Cougars played eight conference games.  In 1995, they played seven conference games (“1994 byu football”, 2010).  I think there should be a constant.  First, I broke the newly established Big East into two divisions, North and South.  The North division consists of the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University and Villanova University.  The South division consists of West Virginia University, East Carolina University, University of Louisville, University of Cincinnati and the University of South Florida.  Each divisional member will play the rest of the teams in their division.  They will also play two teams in the opposite division and a third divisional opponent that will alternate each season.  This setup allows the Big East to play the standard eight divisional games each season.  While not ideal, they must work with what they have.  The next step is to move to twelve teams, but that can’t happen in one bound.  The one complaint that I foresee is the separation of West Virginia and Pittsburgh.  The two play the annual “Backyard Brawl” football game each season.  Another conference recently dealt with the issue of splitting two blood torn rivals.  Amongst the Big Ten’s recent expansion southward to Nebraska, they split up Ohio State University and the University of Michigan.  The game is one of the most anticipated and hard fought games each season.

When conferences expand, it applies pressure on the other top conferences.  Originally, the Pacific 10 considered adding teams and then the Big Ten added the University of Nebraska.  It is a constant struggle to remain the leader of the pack.  Additions to the Big East in football are necessary, because football is the primary monetary driver in college athletics.  Football is the cash cow.  The Big East lacks quality football members like I said before. However, they also lack in quantity.  What they lack in quality, they can make up for in quantity.  More teams draws competitiveness and interest.  When one conference begins to evaluate their options, all of the conferences do.  The Southeastern Conference is considered the premier football conference in the country. However, even they looked to potentially add a team.  The conferences that lose members to other conferences just look to replace them.  In my example with the Big East, I said that what a conference lacks in quality, they can mask in quantity.  That is the approach that conferences such as Conference USA have taken.  They have lost a lot of members over the years, but they just replace them.  If East Carolina were to leave, then they would just replace them.  In the case of Villanova, the Colonial Athletic Association has eighteen members.  I doubt they fret over the loss of Villanova.

Over the course of the paper, I have discussed a number of the benefits and complications associated with both Villanova and East Carolina joining the Big East.  Among those benefits and complications include; travel, financial, scheduling, equity and political implications.  I think that East Carolina University and Villanova University are two prime candidates to increase the Big East’s football membership to ten.  What the Big East chooses to actually do remains to be seen.

Works Cited

1994 byu football. (2010, October 5). Retrieved from http://www.fanbase.com/BYU-Cougars-Football-1994

Bennett, B. (2010, September 10). Villanova considering big east invitation. Retrieved from http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5553575

Conference usa. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conference_USA

Dowdy-ficklen stadium. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ecupirates.com/facilities/ecu-facilities-dowdy.html

University of Nebraska approved to join big ten conference by council of presidents/chancellors. (2010, June 11). Retrieved from http://www.bigten.org/genrel/061110aab.html

Steele, P. (2009, October 22). An updated comparison of conference tv contracts. Retrieved from http://www.byucougs.com/2009/10/updated-comparison-of-conference-tv.html

*I apologize for the format. It didn’t successfully format when pasted and thus isn’t correct.

100 Things to Do Before I Die (#17)

My dad’s side of the family has lived in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky my entire life.  As a kid, my dad lived across the street from Churchill Downs and would charge for parking each year for the event. I have history with the event.  When I was a kid, my uncle and my dad took me to a horse race and I got to meet a jockey. Since that time, I haven’t missed the Triple Crown.  It is the only time of the year that I follow the sport (much like those who only watch golf when the Masters roll around.) I would love to attend the Kentucky Derby one day. It’s more about status and the atmosphere than the actual race, but nonetheless, I want to experience it. In doing so, I would want to experience it without the rain. Rain + Dirt = Mud and at an event like that, there is no place for it.

1. Spend time in all 50 states…without a terrorist.
2. Attend a BCS Title Game Featuring UK…without “the” recruiting room.
3. Go on a cruise…without Stewie Griffin.
4. Play Slamball…without LeBron.
5. Learn to Scuba Dive…without BP.
6. Take a plane ride…without luggage.
7. Eat authentic Italian food in Italy…without Jersey Shore.
8. Ride in a Limo…without the mafia.
9. Sit front row at a game of one of my favorite team’s…without Make-A-Wish.
10. Get a hot dog at the original Nathan’s…without some guy named Nathan.
11. Eating Authentic Brooklyn Style Pizza…without Jersey Shore.
12. Travel across the Atlantic to Europe…without a girl named Rose and a guy named Jack.
13. Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square…with Dick Clark.
14. Attend a World Cup game…without vuvuzelas.
15. Attend the Olympics…without the Taliban.
16. Learn to Play the Guitar…without a soundproof room.
17. Attend a Kentucky Derby…without rain.