BcS to senators: Mind your own business

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Roughly two and a half months ago, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, sent a letter to BcS executive director Bill Hancock seeking clarification as to, among other things, how the cartel organization distributes revenue derived from their non-playoff system of determining a national champion.

Thursday, Hancock and the BcS responded to the March letter, and let’s just say that their response likely won’t have Hatch/Baucus calling for the Justice Department dogs to be called off anytime in the near future.

In the first paragraph of Hancock’s letter, the director, basically, tells the senators that they should mind their own business when it comes to college football.  And, if they really wanted the information sought in the initial letter, all they had to do was Google “Bowl” “Championship” “Series” “official” “website”.

I am writing in response to your March 9 letter about the Bowl Championship Series (“BCS”) arrangement. While I appreciate your interest, I believe that decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress. Of course, as you can imagine, we are always happy to talk about the benefits that the BCS has brought to this vibrant game, and we welcome this opportunity to provide additional information to you. Please note that much of the information that you have requested is available at http://www.BCSfootball.org and was provided to members of Congress during hearings last spring and summer.

(You can almost smell the smarm seeping through your screen at this very moment, can’t you?)

Hancock then went on to address the senators’ main point of contention, the distribution of revenues derived from the BcS.

On more than one occasion, Hancock noted that the non-automatic qualifying conferences — Mountain West, WAC, MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA — had decided to pool all of the money so graciously given to them by the benevolent BcS and divide it amongst the five non-AQs.

The Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain WestConference and Western Athletic Conference (the “non-AQ conferences”) have elected to pool their revenue and distribute it under a formula that they have developed. That is solely their decision. The non-AQ conferences have the details of this arrangement. …

Your made reference to discrepancies in news accounts; those probably are related to the revenue-distribution plan that the five non-automatic qualifying conferences have adopted. …

If it qualifies automatically for a BCS game, a team from a conference without annual automatic-qualifying status will bring approximately $24.7 million (18% of net revenue) to its conference next season. A team from an automatic-qualifying conference will bring approximately $21.2 million net to its conference. The funds are distributed to the conferences, which then allocate their shares of the revenue according to their own revenue-sharing agreements.

Of course, that $24.7 million is divided amongst five leagues and nearly sixty schools, while each automatic qualifying conference receives $17.7 million — $22.2 million if two schools receive BcS bids — to split up amongst anywhere from eight to 12 schools, which I believe is the point of contention for Hatch and his supporters.  And I don’t believe the Utah senator will care that it was the five non-AQ conferences that decided to divvy up the BcS money this way; his point is the inequity in how the funds are initially disbursed.

Hancock also decided to use Hatch’s own Utes as a way to drive home the BcS’ message, that it’s the five non-AQs that are screwing themselves, not the BcS.  And that, without the the utter grace the BcS bestowed upon their lowly institution, Utah would’ve been playing in a lower tier — re: lower-paying — bowl game during their undefeated run in 2008.

For example, if the University of Utah qualifies for a BCS game in the 2010-11 season, it will earn for its conference approximately $24.7 million which, under the agreement among the Mountain West and the other four non-AQ conferences, would then be divided among the five conferences. The Mountain West certainly could keep all $24.7 million within the conference, or Utah could keep it all. The decision to share the revenue–and how to allocate it–was made, not by the full group of 11 BCS conferences, or by the six conferences that have earned annual automatic qualification, but by the five non-AQ conferences.

An example worth noting is that, if the BCS had not existed, Utah probably would have played in the Las Vegas Bowl in the 2008-09 season. Because of the BCS, the Utes played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl instead. The payment from the Las Vegas Bowl was approximately $900,000; for participating in the Sugar Bowl, the Mountain West’s share–after the five conferences divided the revenue–was $9 million. Obviously, the difference is significant.

The letter went on to say blah blah blahblah blah blah…

If you so desire, you can read the letter in its entirety right HERE.  As for myself, I feel the need to kneel before some porcelain.  Pardon me…

Michigan State, Washington round out future schedules with Utah State

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Needing to fill a single spot in some future schedules, both Michigan State and Washington have come calling to the Mountain West for an opponent. Utah State was happy to oblige.

Michigan State will host Utah State on September 1, 2018. The Aggies will travel to Washington on September 19, 2020. For their travels, Utah State will collect $2.9 million between the two games, according to FBScheduels.com ($1.4 million from Michigan State, $1.5 million from Washington).

The Big Ten and Pac-12 each use nine-game conference schedules, leaving three spots open for non-conference games. The Big Ten requires all conference members schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent (the Pac-12 has no such requirement of its members at this time), although exceptions are made. Utah State, as a member of the Mountain West Conference, would not satisfy that requirement for the Big Ten, but the Spartans already have a road game against Arizona State (Pac-12) on the schedule in 2018. Michigan State and Arizona State will play again in 2019 in East Lansing. Michigan State also has future power conference matchups with Notre Dame (2017, 2026, 2027) and Miami (2020, 2021). Michigan State will also play BYU in 2020 in Provo.

Washington has future power conference matchups with Rutgers (2017), Auburn (2018, in Atlanta), and Michigan (2020, 2021). The Huskies will also face Mountain West Competition from Fresno State (2017), Hawaii (2019), and Nevada (2027).

Utah State will face power conference opponents on the road in 2017 (Wisconsin, Wake Forest), 2018 (Michigan State), 2019 (Wake Forest, LSU), 2020 (Washington), and 2021 (Washington State). Utah State will also host Washington State in 2020 as part of a home-and-home deal. Utah State also has an annual series against BYU running through 2020.

Old Dominion hopes to “hit the ground running” on new stadium project

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Some fans of the Old Dominion football program may be getting a little impatient with the progress (or lack of) in the development of the football stadium, but Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig says things are coming along nicely and progress will start to be seen soon enough.

“Once we get the architects engaged, we’ll figure out what $55 million will buy in 2019 dollars,” Selig said, according to The Virginian-Pilot. “Then we’ll have an idea for how much additional money needs to be raised to support the project.”

Old Dominion is planning on tearing down Foreman Field at the end of the 2018 season and rebuild it with modern seating and amenities. The $55 million project remained on the books in the Virginia budget in February, allowing the university to move ahead with their plans. The first step is finding an architect to take on the job.

Because Old Dominion’s football stadium is among the smallest in the nation and will remain so even after the rebuild and renovations, the entire project is expected to move fairly swiftly once the work actually begins. Old Dominion isn’t building a grand football palace, so any concerns over the lack of updates on the stadium should be calmed.

If nothing else, the concerns raised about the lack of updates on the stadium renovations may just mean Old Dominion has some eager fans excited about the future of the program.

Baylor interim president to Texas senators: “We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor”

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Texas senators are taking aim at Baylor University and are hoping to persuade the university to be more open and transparent despite being a private university.

Baylor interim president David Garland faced criticism from senators during a hearing with the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday regarding the coverup of rape accusations found throughout the football program in recent years.

“We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor,” Garland said to the committee. Unfortunately for Garland, that was far from enough to sway the senators on the committee from playing nice with him and Baylor University.

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for a minute,” Senator Kel Seliger replied, according to The Texas Tribune. “I don’t buy that for a minute. I think that is exactly what was going on.”

The exchange between the interim president at Baylor and the senator came during a hearing regarding a state bill that requires any school receiving more than $5 million in Tuition Equalization Grants from the state to comply with open records and open meetings laws in the state of Texas. Baylor, being a private university, believes it should not have to comply with the bill, which would open up the doors to more information regarding Baylor’s handling of vile accusations within its university and athletics department.

The exchange comes a day after Baylor moved to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 52 rapes over a three-year period occurred at the university.

If you thought the ugliness around the Baylor situation was going to be limited to athletics, you thought wrong. This is clearly a state-wide concern and battle now. And things are always bigger in Texas, right?

A&M-UCLA opener in 2017 moved from Saturday to Sunday

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Grab your calendars as there’s been a change to your opening(ish) weekend college football agenda.

Texas A&M road trip to UCLA is one of a handful of high-profile games that will help launch the 2017 season Labor Day weekend.  The game, which will be played at the famed Rose Bowl, had been originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2.  However, it was announced Wednesday that the game will be pushed back to Sunday, Sept. 3.

The game will kick off at either 7:30 or 8 p.m. ET, with the actual time being determined at a later date.

This year’s game will serve as the back-end of a home-and-home series between the two schools.  The Aggies claimed a 31-24 win over the Bruins in overtime last season in College Station.

The 2017 season will actually commence the weekend of Aug. 26 with five games featuring FBS teams, including Stanford against Rice in Australia and Colorado State opening their new on-campus stadium against Oregon State.  The first full weekend kicks off the following Thursday — Ohio State-Indiana highlights that day’s lean slate — and continues with a handful of games the next day — hello Colorado-Colorado State, Washington-Rutgers and Utah State-Wisconsin among others.

The first full Saturday features the likes of Alabama-Florida State, Florida-Michigan, West Virginia-Virginia Tech, LSU-BYU, Louisville-Purdue, Cal-North Carolina, Maryland-Texas and South Carolina-North Carolina State squaring off Sept. 2.

A&M-UCLA is the only Sunday game, while Tennessee and Georgia Tech will close out the weekend at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Labor Day night that Monday.