Thursday, June 28, 2007

I-A football reviewed again

UMass will review for what seems to be the nth time a move to I-A football. The Springfield Republican has a short article here.

The UMass football blog cautions all UMass football fans not to get too caught up in this. The topic usually generates a tremendous amount of gassing on the various message boards. The less the posters know about football, the stronger the opinions.

Some thoughts about the move:
  • It will not cost ninety-seven bazillion dollars for a new stadium. The NCAA removed that requirement years ago. Florida International went I-A with a 18,000 seat stadium
  • UMass would have to fund 22 additional scholarships. I-A is not doable with reduced scholarships.
  • UMass fans would have to hang in there for a couple of years. Whipple said "We'd take our lumps for a couple of years while we got up to speed"
  • The Big Issue in the UMass Football Blog's mind is conference availability. We would need to join a conference.
  • Current attendance is not an issue. Build it and they will come.
Can it be done? Sure, but it would need the support of the state legislature . Massachusetts has one of the most ineffective state governments in the nation. In the Byzantine world of agendas within agendas in the state legislature, UMass football is not on the list...


dennisdent said...

I agree with everything you wrote.

I've long since given up discussing this issue on message boards. It seems that its mostly the nut-jobs who know little about UMass football (its history); or just hate UMass football in general, who do most of the "discussing" on message boards.

I remember the huge crowds for games in the seventies with our traditional rivals. Once the YC added the new teams (UD/JMU/W&M/RU) the quality of the football increased, but I think it really hurt the interest of local fans. I have no doubt that games against SU, uCON, Rutgers, would increase interest in not just local fans but fans from the other schools.

I believe that in the long run all division one football programs will have to be on the same level--just like in basketball to survive. There are just too many smart sports management people at UMass that have to know this, that are trying to push the school ahead...

I saw at the last year's Navy-Rutgers game how passionate Rutgers fans have become in a short time. I real do see this happening at UMass in the future...

It just amazes me sometimes to read all the "experts" from other schools who think they know Amherst, Western Mass, UMass football, and Mass politics.

Anonymous said...

The next step that I would like to see is the establishment of a 501c (tax-deductible) booster club for football only. We need a booster club to support our football program, especially with the way Wilson wants to control funding from Boston. We need a vehicle where alumni, friends, and corporations can donate money and know it is tax-deductible and is going for our football program. I had hoped, and still hope, that Friends of UMass Football [FUF] would incorporate; however they have chosen not to do so. I believe that FUF’s charter was to support the move to IA when it was formed by coach Whipple and the Friends of UMass Football.

As an added bonus it would be another piece of the puzzle if we ever did move to IA. Today it would help our football program continue to be the best program in America.

Coach Whipple is no longer working for the Pittsbugh Steelers and might be interested in heading up this project.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what's wrong with playing in Div. 1-A playoff sub-division. The rivalry with UNH is just as strong as ever and Maine, Delaware, JMU and Colgate are getting there. On the field, I think UMass could compete and eventually do well in the Bowl Championship sub-division.

Let's be honest. UMass has a long, long way to go before they should really consider making the jump. The stadium is ok (turfs great!) but the facilities (i.e. concessions and restrooms) are average, if that.

Besides the playoff game vs. UNH, the crowds are below 12,000 all the time. Montana packs their stadium every week and their not moving up. Playing teams like Buffalo, Toledo and the like aren't going to put people in the seats. Upgrading the facilities and the "game day experience" will bring fans. More fans=more money. More money, the better the chance to move up.

Either way, I'll remain a fan for life

Eric said...

I think it would be a good move for UMass. There's a good deal of talent in the Northeast that they could rely on. The program would probably have a lot of promise.

They could join the MAC which wouldn't make the most sense from a geographical standpoint, but it would be a conference. C-USA could also be an option. It just doesn't seem like they'd go to the Big East in year 1. Or, they could just remain an independent before they turn into a program that the Big East would find attractive. They could still play in the A-10 in other sports.

Anonymous said...

Stadium size and attendance may not be an issue from an NCAA perspective, but if the objective is to join a conference it would be very important.

The Big East would like to add a 9th member who can not only become competetive, but also with an attractive fanbase that will travel to bowl games.