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OT: Conference Realignment

Pablo

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"The American Athletic Conference is expected to add six schools from Conference USA: Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA, sources told the Action Network.

The schools are expected to apply for membership this week and are hoping to begin play in the AAC as early as 2023, sources said. Yahoo Sports first reported the pending invitations for the six schools.

The American — which lost three schools to the Big 12, which lost two schools to the SEC — will expand to 14 schools. C-USA is now left with eight members: Old Dominion, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, UTEP and Western Kentucky.

When the Big 12 added UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU, the AAC did the smart thing: It went on the offensive."
 

Old Man

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"The American Athletic Conference is expected to add six schools from Conference USA: Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA, sources told the Action Network.

The schools are expected to apply for membership this week and are hoping to begin play in the AAC as early as 2023, sources said. Yahoo Sports first reported the pending invitations for the six schools.

The American — which lost three schools to the Big 12, which lost two schools to the SEC — will expand to 14 schools. C-USA is now left with eight members: Old Dominion, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, UTEP and Western Kentucky.

When the Big 12 added UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU, the AAC did the smart thing: It went on the offensive."
ODU needs to bail on Conference USA. I don't know where they could go to maintain 1A football, but the schools that are left, other than ODU, would be a very difficult set of teams to hate from a 757 fan base perspective.
 

Bricker

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Football's siren call claims another. What a total disaster for ODU. Not only do they stink at football, but they now are stuck on a sinking ship of a conference with even less geographic identity, if that's even possible. For as many boneheaded moves as Mason has made over the past couple decades, this just goes to show things could be much worse.
 

GMUgemini

Hall of Famer
Football's siren call claims another. What a total disaster for ODU. Not only do they stink at football, but they now are stuck on a sinking ship of a conference with even less geographic identity, if that's even possible. For as many boneheaded moves as Mason has made over the past couple decades, this just goes to show things could be much worse.

I'm guessing CUSA does the same thing as the AAC and tries to pick up Liberty, Appy State, Coastal Carolina maybe? maybe JMU makes the jump? Those would be some crappy markets they'd be adding though.
 

Pikapppatri8

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Football's siren call claims another. What a total disaster for ODU. Not only do they stink at football, but they now are stuck on a sinking ship of a conference with even less geographic identity, if that's even possible. For as many boneheaded moves as Mason has made over the past couple decades, this just goes to show things could be much worse.

Agreed - the financial impact to ODU is going to be disastrous. They are now irrelevant in both basketball and football.
 

Walter

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If SB takes two USA teams and ODU isn't one, then they are in a real bad place, especially if Marshall is one of the two. Does even JMU want to join that dumpster fire? Liberty probably doesn't.
 

Pikapppatri8

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If SB takes two USA teams and ODU isn't one, then they are in a real bad place, especially if Marshall is one of the two. Does even JMU want to join that dumpster fire? Liberty probably doesn't.

It would make no sense for Liberty or JMU to join that.
 
OP
Pablo

Pablo

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"Is There a Larger Strategy To This Move?​

A lot of people are going to notice that the only teams on their way are decidedly southern. In particular, there are three schools from Texas that could be coming to the AAC. That’s likely because of the looming threat of the Mountain West trying to poach a school like SMU from the AAC. This gives SMU incentive to stay and means there is a replacement already in the conference if the Mustangs do leave. Also, remember that the conference headquarters are in Texas now.


What doesn’t make sense is that the media deal was already going to take a hit, but jumping up to 14 teams, while presumably making less money, doesn’t make a ton of sense. You’re just diluting shares at that point, which goes against the southern media market strategy. Maybe you offer further diluted shares to new members, giving larger shares to the eight remaining schools, but that’s just a maybe.

It’s also important to remember that before the season started, the Big 12 was scared that the AAC was trying to poach its schools. Then the AAC was supposed to be raiding the Mountain West. Now, it’s six C-USA schools. This wasn’t the first plan.

Oh, and that “Power 6” campaign is absolutely dead.

The Situation for Current AAC Schools​

The current AAC schools, as in the eight schools that won’t be leaving for the Big 12, are in a tough spot. They’re going to be making less money than they did before, playing in a less prestigious conference, and with fewer opportunities going forward. The entire landscape around them is changing and if they don’t make decisions quickly, things can spiral. So, let’s look at this individually.

ECU​

The Pirates aren’t going to love Charlotte joining the AAC, as that will continue to cut into their recruiting in the North Carolina/Virginia area. However, it’s probably a good thing for the conference as a whole. Now, the best thing to do for ECU is to continuing to build and work to be one of the best teams in this new conference.

Memphis​

The Tigers desperately want to be on their way to the Big 12, but they’ll have to wait a while longer and invest in facilities a bit further. Luckily, for the Tigers, in this newly designed conference they’ll be in good shape if another round of upward realignment ever does come around.

Navy​

Ever since Navy made it to the AAC, there have been questions about their fit. After all, being a military academy can make it difficult to win against a tougher, more fixed schedule than they used to play. Because of this, there were always rumors that Army or Air Force might be on the AAC shortlist, but that hasn’t materialized. Now, you have to wonder if Navy is weighing the pros and cons to being in the AAC. That’s all speculation, though, and with Navy AD Chet Gladchuk being one of four ADs to be on the AAC expansion committee (along with USF’s Mike Kelly, Memphis’ Lair Veatch, and SMU’s Rick Hart).

SMU​

Located in Dallas and ranked in the top-25, SMU should be positioned to succeed no matter what conference they’re in. After the disaster that was rebuilding after the death penalty hit. They’d love to move to the Big 12, but there might just not be space. Keep winning and investing in facilities and hope for the best off the field.

Temple

Let’s talk about basketball and geography because they matter here. Temple, like UConn, traditionally sees itself as a basketball first school. They have a proud history there, and haven’t invested the way they need to in football. They’re also now looking at massive amounts of travel and expanded travel expenses with every other program being based in the South. It’s not unreasonable for the Owls to step away from the AAC as the decision that’s best for them.

NCAA Football: Temple at Cincinnati
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane​

A wise Tulane Twitter account (Fear the Wave) once said, “I am starting to think we never should have left the Southeastern Conference.” That’s probably true, but hindsight really is 20/20. For now, Tulane is a team that deserves better than a collapsing conference. They’re improving, investing in the program, and in one of the best cities in the country. They’re academically strong, even if they’re not historically great at football. There probably just isn’t room for them anywhere other than the AAC, unless the Big 12 wants to get crazy.

Tulsa​

Tulsa has largely been overlooked in all of the realignment discussions. They’re clearly not going to be heading to a new conference, and they seem happy where they’re at right now. More schools in Texas, and therefore recruiting trips, could help them a lot too.

USF​

In the last two rounds of conference realignment, there is likely no bigger loser than USF. They went from playing in a BCS conference, the Big East, where they had enough influence to block rival UCF from joining. Now, they’re being surpassed by UCF and will be sharing a decidedly worse conference going forward where the only other Florida school is FAU. These are mistakes that fall on their administrators and there are a lot of great fans and writers at USF who saw this coming when the school itself didn’t. That’s unacceptable."
 
OP
Pablo

Pablo

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"ODU Athletic Director Wood Selig has been a major proponent of the regionalization idea, telling the Daily News Record in Harrisonburg: “You have to ask yourself why do three Group of 5 conferences have three almost identical footprints. You don’t see that among the Power 5.”

Nearly all of the departing Conference USA members are on the edges of an already expansive conference that stretches from Virginia to Florida to Texas. It’s footprint basically covers the same area of the southern U.S. as the Sun Belt Conference and the American.

The remaining seven teams in addition to ODU are Marshall, Western Kentucky, Southern Mississippi. Louisiana Tech, Florida International, University of Texas at El Paso and Middle Tennessee.

If those current members stay, Conference USA could add FCS power James Madison (a former Colonial Athletic Association rival of ODU whose athletic director Jeff Bourne also supports a more regionalized conference) and Liberty University, which is currently competing in FBS as an independent, to bring the conference to 10 teams.

Then Conference USA’s eastern division could feature ODU, JMU, Liberty, Marshall and Western Kentucky/Middle Tennessee. Southern Miss. Louisiana Tech, FIU, UTEP and Western Kentucky/MTSU could make up a western division.

So while the conference would still stretch to Texas (about 2,000 miles from Norfolk to El Paso) and Florida (FIU is in Miami), ODU could have two much closer opponents overall in JMU and Liberty.

There are also reports that the Sun Belt, which has teams such as Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and the University of Louisiana, could be pursuing the remaining Conference USA teams such as Marshall and Southern Miss. They could also nab Liberty and JMU before Conference USA."
 

Five Two

All-American
What doesn’t make sense is that the media deal was already going to take a hit, but jumping up to 14 teams, while presumably making less money, doesn’t make a ton of sense. You’re just diluting shares at that point, which goes against the southern media market strategy. Maybe you offer further diluted shares to new members, giving larger shares to the eight remaining schools, but that’s just a maybe.
Finally, a writer talking about diluting shares. Something I think gets overlooked all the time
 
OP
Pablo

Pablo

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"Currently, it appears there are two options for Marshall: stay put in Conference USA, or possibly look to relocate into the Sun Belt Conference.

Given the television package and the future doubt of Conference USA’s viability, the Sun Belt Conference is an option Marshall is researching heavily, but it is not a cut-and-dry situation in terms of making a move."
 

GMUgemini

Hall of Famer
There are advantages to being a basketball-centric (only) conference that lives outside of the BCS cartel's reach. And by that I mean, when the MWC started challenging P5 primacy (specifically the PAC 12) they ate the MWC, when the AAC started to do the same thing, they ate the AAC. And the reason they can do that is because the cartel has shut the Group of 5 out of the BCS bowl games (and even if they make it to one, their payout is significantly less than the P5 team they are playing).

The only conference we have to worry about is the Big East, and there is a limit to how big you can make a single conference.
 
OP
Pablo

Pablo

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Old Man

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Chris Vannini
@ChrisVannini

·
1h

As first reported earlier today on @TheAthletic:
- The Sun Belt could add up to four schools
- Southern Miss, Marshall, Old Dominion, James Madison the top targets
- Plus AAC reaction, C-USA’s plans, Mountain West and MAC news.

theathletic.com
Conference realignment: As the American goes big, what's...
Conference realignment dominoes continue to fall, with the Sun Belt potentially expanding soon after the AAC raided Conference USA.
Huh. So ODU may go full circle and head back to the Sunbelt? That's interesting.
 
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Patriot8

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The best bet for ODU is to head to the Sun Belt with JMU, Marshall, and Southern Miss. That would be a solid football conference. Sun Belt is better than CUSA.

Then I’d imagine some CAA teams would have to look at their options, like Richmond, W&M, and/or Elon exploring the SoCon either football, or full membership.
 
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mkaufman1

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The best bet for ODU is to head to the Sun Belt with JMU, Marshall, and Southern Miss. That would be a solid football conference. Sun Belt is better than CUSA.

Then I’d imagine some CAA teams would have to look at their options, like Richmond, W&M, and/or Elon exploring the SoCon either football, or full membership.

I admit I don't know what "full membership" means. Would that mean that a school like Richmond would look to potentially leave the A10 in basketball (and other sports?)
 

Patriot8

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I admit I don't know what "full membership" means. Would that mean that a school like Richmond would look to potentially leave the A10 in basketball (and other sports?)
Yes. I don't know if the SoCon would allow for a football-only member to join, like the CAA does. JMU leaving the CAA in Football really hurts that conference. Richmond Football has really fallen off in recent years though, so maybe they would be content staying in the CAA.
 

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