Friday, May 11, 2012

One Last Argument

Here’s the deal…

The arguments are getting old.

The ACC apologists like Chadd Scott, whom I actually respect and enjoy his articles, can’t seem to grasp what’s really going on with their beloved ACC.

They can’t accept that the Big 12 could be an attractive option for cash-starved institutions in the ACC. 

And I can understand why. Last year the Big 12 was on the brink of collapse. We all thought that Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were headed to the Pac 12.

It didn’t happen, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

Now a year later and the Big 12 is solid, bound together by a grant-of-rights that will make sure everybody stays put and plays nice. They have a new commissioner, a new TV deal that will likely surprise everyone with the actual numbers, and a new found sense of cooperation.

And they’re on the hunt -- hungry for new TV markets and armed with the shared goal of eclipsing the vaunted SEC for the title of best damn football conference in the land.

This is not last year’s Big 12.

But ACC apologists can’t shake the stereotype of a dysfunctional Big 12 held together by spit and prayers.

So it’s no surprise they’re about to get blindsided.

The first argument they use is academics. “I’ll give you three reasons why FSU would never join the Big 12 – academics, academics and academics” they argue.

I wrote yesterday about how conference affiliation doesn’t affect academics or the research money a university receives.

Today I’ll go one step further and tell you the one thing that can harm both academics and athletics – money.

Florida State University  is good example. The state of Florida hasn’t escaped the economic downturn and the support provided to state schools like FSU isn’t as generous as it once was. As a result state schools are forced to increase tuition to cover the shortfall.

Just last month Florida Governor Rick Scott, no relation to Chadd Scott I hope, voted a bill that would have granted both FSU and UF the ability to raise tuition at will. 

Does it sound like FSU is in the position to financially support an athletic department that’s losing money?

ACC apologist don’t seem to understand that endowments and state funding are intended to support the academic mission of the school. It’s possible for schools like FSU to divert funds from one account to another and use those funds to supplement their athletic department but academics suffer as a result.

FSU is in a tough spot. Faced with the prospect of a reduction in state funding and a budget deficient of $2.4 million in the athletic department they are forced to choose between academics and athletics.

I wonder how those parroting “academics, academics, academics” will react if money intended for academics programs instead goes to cover up weak leadership in the ACC?

How is the ACC responsible for the shortfall at FSU you ask?

How is it that the ACC, the conference that boasts the footprint with the greatest population density, has the worst TV contract of all the major conferences?

Consider this ACC fans... Iowa State, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, WVU, Kansas and a host of other schools earn more from TV revenues than FSU, Clemson, VPI, Maryland, Miami and Georgia Tech. 

Now tell me who is responsible?

ACC apologists also forget the link to on the field performance and donations. Have a good year on the gridiron and donations are likely to increase – have a bad year and donations decline.

Let me repeat the salient fact… have a bad year and donations for academics and athletics decline and both suffer.

The link between academics and athletics at a major university is undeniable and to give only once side of the argument without stating the other is inexcusable in my opinion.

Another popular argument is that ACC schools have such large endowments that the TV money doesn’t matter.


The argument that TV money doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme doesn’t hold much water either.

North Carolina’s higher education system suffered a budget reduction of $1 billion last year that had many at UNC calling for reductions in athletic spending to cover the shortfall. As a result UNC reduced the athletic department’s budget and I’m told football took the brunt of the funding cuts.

The point is that institutions like FSU, UNC and WVU would never use endowments to support intercollegiate athletics and when outside funding (i.e. state funding) is reduced athletic departments are the first to feel the pain.

ACC apologists like to argue the fact that the gap between the ACC and Big 12 TV revenues isn’t that much.

Effectively ACC schools will receive $16 million per school for those media rights.

Early reports on the Big 12 contract have them at about $20 million but don’t be surprised if the number is in the neighborhood of $22 million when its released.

That’s a gap of between $4 and $6 million without factoring in the additional money the Big 12 will receive from a championship game.

And it doesn’t count the value added of the addition of new TV markets from expansion.

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that the Big 12 receives the same $2 million bump the ACC received from adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Now the gap is between $6 million and $8 million.

Now tell me with a straight face that TV markets in Florida, South Carolina, Maryland or Georgia aren’t worth more than those in Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

When everything is said and done the real gap could be greater than $10 million per year – without factoring in what FSU or Clemson could get for their own T3 rights on the open market.

Travel expenses you say?

WVU estimated only an increase of $1 million for travel for all sports.

How much would that travel budget be reduced if the Big 12 had an Eastern Division?

The last argument ACC apologists use is that the ACC is a much easier path to the BCS playoffs.

Not if some type of RPI is used.

Let’s compare two teams with equal records from the ACC and Big 12. Both are conference champions and both have a 12-1 record. The Big 12 team has played a tougher schedule and has an RPI of 4. The ACC team has an RPI of 25.

Guess which one goes to the playoff?

Just like in basketball the RPI just doesn’t grade your schedule; it also takes into account the schedules of all the teams you have played.

The RPI is unforgiving -- one member who underperforms and has a bad loss can drag down every member of the conference.  And, to make it worse, a weak schedule full of cupcakes can drag down the conference.

Even ACC apologists admit that Big 12 football is superior to ACC football. So which conference do you believe will have the higher RPI year in and year out?

Yet the decision to leave or not will be made based on simple economics. 

FSU is in financial trouble and they’re not the only one. I’m told that both Maryland and Miami have significant funding issues and the new ACC TV contract didn’t do nearly enough to give them the financial boast they needed.

Enter the Big 12.


I don’t really see the point in countering all the arguments made by ACC apologists who can’t put aside their bias and take a look at what’s really happening.

A resolution will be quick. If any ACC school is going to jump it will have to be before the ACC’s August deadline for notification of intent to withdraw.

We’ll know one way or the other by the end of July,  if FSU and Clemson don’t jump by then its not happening. 


  1. Well because of that read I am now stupid. I mean a blogger calling out another blogger. Except original blogger uses his name and has actual sources. This guy wont put his name out there, because he is wrong just like the WVU to SEC crap he and other WVU fans fabricated.

    I would encourage you to use your actual name, so if and when you are wrong again. You can have all you credibility taken from you. Yet again because you hide behind a stupid, fabricated name you have non to begin with.

    Keep it going, this is good. People like you make WVU and its fans the laughing stock of America.

  2. I could delete your comment but I won't. Your entitled to your opinion and I'm willing to wait it out and see what happens in two months. Otherwise I expect you to be civil and add something to the dialog instead of spouting vitriol.