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Votes looming on schedule, expansion

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:48 am
by BestOfBreed
Interesting article mostly about expanding the basketball schedules but does touch on expansion. ... =11/7/2006

Votes looming on schedule, expansion
Tuesday, November 07, 2006


SoCon Basketball

Trying to avoid a conflict with the Orange Bowl, Wofford and Elon moved their men's basketball game from Jan. 3 to Dec. 20. That gives the Terriers and Phoenix three Southern Conference games before the new year - one fewer than every league team may play next season.

Trying to facilitate scheduling and improve NCAA Tournament seeding, the SoCon is considering increasing its conference basketball schedule from 18 games to 20, possibly as soon as the 2007-08 season.

Athletic directors will vote on the proposal Nov. 13, one day before presidents of the league's 11 schools decide whether to give the green light to expansion.

The SoCon increased the men's basketball schedule from 16 to 18 games for this season. But some members schools are still having difficulty finding home games against Division I opponents.

"We can't get mid-major teams to come to our place," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "Scheduling is just a joke. It's a joke. I can go to Cincinnati and South Carolina and DePaul and those places tomorrow, but you want games where you've got a fighting chance to win, and to improve your RPI. It's just hard to get home games. Playing 20 league games, at least you assure yourself 10."

A 20-game schedule would almost certainly force schools to play four SoCon games before New Year's. But, as commissioner John Iamarino points out, it also allows every school to play every other school twice - something that doesn't happen under the current format.

"Proponents look at that and say, it's two more winnable games, and two more home games for everybody. And some of our schools have trouble getting home games," Iamarino said. "And it's fairer, because everybody plays everybody the same number of times."

Of course, that's assuming the SoCon remains an 11-team league. The conference's expansion process could finally get the go-ahead Nov. 14 in a meeting of league presidents. One proposal is expanding to 14 schools, which would require the addition of three new members.

Coastal Carolina, now in the Big South, has made no secret of its desire to move to the SoCon. But could the league find three new members? "I think we could," Iamarino said.

If the presidents approve expansion next week, the next step would be site visits by the league's executive committee. A prospective new member would need the OK from eight of the current 11 members to get in, a vote that won't come until at least June.

Coaches should know much earlier than that whether they'll be playing more league basketball games in 2007-08, a move that could help teams improve their RPI. Last year's champion, Davidson, was a No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"It does make it easier from a scheduling standpoint, and it puts more weight on what you do in conference play," Appalachian State coach Houston Fancher said. "Ultimately, that's what matters most for us anyway. So why not play more conference games if, when all is said and done, that's what determines whether you go to the postseason."

Reach David Caraviello at

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:59 am
by Eyes of Old Main
All this sounds good to me. I like the idea of more league games, but it might hurt the prospects for keeping the longstanding rivalry between the Terriers and Toccoa Falls going. A tougher schedule would be good, though it might hurt the win total a bit, particularly as Wofford tries get over the hump of not having a winning seaosn since moving up to D-I.

As for expansion, I think looking at a move to 14 makes more sense than 12 since you never know what's going to happen and a few extra teams add to the mix. First I'd see if ETSU could be brought back, even if they didn't have football at first or ever again. Then maybe bring in Coastal Carolina and one other Big South/OVC team. My vote would be Jacksonville State, but distance would probably kill that. Besides that, I guess VMI or Presbyterian would be the choices. Just so long as it's not Charleston Southern, Liberty or Gardner-Webb.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:30 pm
by Ruckus
To heck with schools that don't have football.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:50 pm
by Eyes of Old Main
Ruckus wrote:To heck with schools that don't have football.

I'll sort of agree with you there, Ruckus. I don't have as much against the schools that never have played (Greensboro and C ofC), but I think Davidson should have to play with the rest of the conference or get out. After all, the they have already been voted out of the SoCon once.

Either you compete or you don't, and Davidson can not realistically use the "lack of money" fall back since they have more students, more alumni, and an endowment that dwarfs Wofford. If the Terriers can manage to compete, then so can the Wildcats.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:49 am
by TDOG21
Losing Davidson and C of C would kill basketball in the SoCon. Those two teams are routinely the two best mid-major basketball teams in the South. They give our conference some credibility. Additionally, I would rather have Davidson not playing football, than include the diploma mill by the sea (Coastal). Losing quality academic schools from the conference will only make it tougher on Wofford. It would create a situation where not only are we under funded, but also at a disadvantage because of academics. We need to add comparable academic schools to the conference such as William & Mary, Richmond, VMI, etc.

Additionally, why/when was Davidson voted out of the conference?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:39 am
by Eyes of Old Main
TDOG21 wrote:Additionally, why/when was Davidson voted out of the conference?

Davidson was voted out for not playing football with the rest of the schools. I'm not sure of the exact years, but it was around the mid-80's. They were gone for 3-4 years and then asked to come back and were accepted.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:57 am
by Eyes of Old Main
TDOG21 wrote:Losing Davidson and C of C would kill basketball in the SoCon. Those two teams are routinely the two best mid-major basketball teams in the South. They give our conference some credibility. Additionally, I would rather have Davidson not playing football, than include the diploma mill by the sea (Coastal). Losing quality academic schools from the conference will only make it tougher on Wofford. It would create a situation where not only are we under funded, but also at a disadvantage because of academics. We need to add comparable academic schools to the conference such as William & Mary, Richmond, VMI, etc.

I'm not saying anything about C of C or Greensboro because they don't have football. Davidson does and schooses to play at a lower level than their potential dictates because they don't want to make the effort to compete that other small schools like Wofford and The Citadel do. That's why I want them out.

As for the academic situation, Davidson helps the conference there, but do you really think and institution widely nicknamed "the College of Knowledge" is helping? Furthermore, if the SoCon chooses to go only with smaller, private schools, there is a big risk that the bigger state schools will leave. GSU and Appalachian routinely grumble about not having schools similar to them in the conference.

While I am not crazy about Coastal Carolina the institution, I do recognize that they are trying to get better, spending money on their athletic programs, and have growing fan support. That signals a program on the rise and that's the type of school the conference should be interested in.

As for being at a disadvantage because of lower academic standards at other schools, that was more of a problem in D-II than in I-AA because of the NCAA's across the board D-I standards. That's a big reason why Wofford moved up. Besides, under the current memebrship, I would say Wofford has the toughest or second toughest academic standards among the football schools (depending on how you compare us to Furman) and we have generally competed pretty well over the last 5-6 years.

But, you may be right in a broader sense, because almost all our other athletic programs are bottom half of the league at best. Although, I think that has more to do with funding (and Wofford's willingness to put lower expectations on some coaches) than standards.

As far as that goes, Wofford's concern with "how" you win as opposed to "how much" you win may be a bigger cultural differentiation between us and some of the other schools as anything because do you really get the impression that GSU fans care if their players learn valuable life lessons, make grades or end up with good jobs to support their families? I know I don't.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:32 am
by Eyes of Old Main
Were there ever any public (or "off the record") comments as to how these votes went?

Just curious if we are looking at moving into expansion mode.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:22 pm
by The Cats
Eyes of Old Main wrote:
Ruckus wrote:....Davidson can not realistically use the "lack of money" fall back since they have more students, more alumni, and an endowment that dwarfs Wofford.

You are correct on the "lack of money". Check out the top five 2005 Athletic Budgets in the SoCon. Guess who is #4 and who is #5?

1. $13,360,518 Furman (SOCON) Greenville, SC

2. $9,113,012 Chattanooga (SOCON) Chattanooga, TN

3. $8,281,173 The Citadel (SOCON) Charleston, SC

4. $7,758,153 Davidson (SOCON) Davidson, NC

5. $7,594,896 Appalachian State (SOCON) Boone, NC

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 11:14 am
by i77cat
Davidson doesn't need a "lack of money" argument for not playing football. That isn't it at all. We have tons of money and would see a huge upturn in donations if we resumed playing scholarship football. Our alumni would love it. But the administration and faculty are infatuated with the high academic rankings. I can't foresee Davidson making the changes in the admission department that would be required to field a competitive scholarship team. I'm not, by the way, arguing that there are not enough very smart football players out there. What I'm saying is that we'd have to adopt policies that even the strong non-scholarship programs use (the ability to red-shirt athletes for development, giving coaches "slots", letting athletes know about their admission status promptly). The facilities upgrades wouldn't be a problem (well, we'd have to build adequate parking).

As to increasing to 20 conference games----No, please God, No!!! It would help the bottom feeders in the conference to get D1 games, but it would saddle the better teams with 2 more games against a conference filled with RPI nightmares. I fully expect to see the conference add 3 members. One will be a football school to get the football-playing members back to 8 conference games. The other 2 will be basketball-only schools. For basketball, we'll have 2 7-team divisions. We'll play 12 games in the division and each of the teams in the other division once for a total of 19. The new complaint will be, "It isn't fair that we have 9 home games and so-and-so has 10." However we do it, we all have to get rid of the non-D1 games and find ways to schedule decent programs. We have to get rid of the mentality of using men's basketball as the prostitute for the athletic department budget pimp. It won't be easy.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:06 am
by Eyes of Old Main
As I suspected, Davidson's situation is more "we don't want to" than "we can't". It's convenient that such concern is placed on adjusting standards a little bit to accomodate football when they obviously are for other sports such as men's basketball.

I understand the thought that non-scholarship football lets the academic side of the institution act more like it wants to; after all, Wofford chose to move up to I-AA instead of moving down to D-III. Staying in D-II was not an option due to the lax academic requirements. I think the argument centers more around "looking like a big-time academic school", but that doesn't hold much water since the Ivy League competes at the scholarship level with little difficulty and academically-oriented schools like Tulane and Vanderbilt are able to deal with major conference schedules.

As for the scheduling, I agree that SoCon members should not schedule non-D1 games, but I think they hurt the conference RPI much more than losses to major conference teams since those wins don't count at all. But saying that more conference games hurts the better teams is ridiculous. When was the last time the SoCon got an at-large NCAA bid? Unless you think you can get an at-large bid, RPI doesn't matter except for seeding, but realistically the conference tournament champ is looking at a 14 or 15 seed irregardless.

In my estimation, Davidson wants to have it's cake and eat it too. Not playing football to somehow make itself look "more academic" while being so concerned with the RPI of the rest of the conference is both arrogant and offensive. Basically, what has happened is that Davidson feels it is easier to compete in basketball since fewer players are involved and they will position themselves to do just that since hte SoCon leadership is so concerned with having their academics and basketball success that they will not be held accountable for their lack of participation.

If Wofford doesn't mind having its generally weak basketball program get thrashed at the D1 level, Davidson shouldn't mind having its football program thrashed at the I-AA football level.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:45 am
by BossTerrier
I think we've come to expect being mediocre at best in every other sport for the sake of being competitive in football. It's time alumni start recognizing that the "wow, we really can compete" mindset has got to go. Is everyone satisfied with the poor performances of our sports outside of football? If you look at the combined records of all our teams except football since joining D-I I bet we've won no more than 30% of our games. I for one don't really care as much about soccer or volleyball (although I competed in Cross Country and Outdoor track so I like to see minor sports succeed), but baseball and basketball should be able to pull off a winning season one out of every four or five years. Men's basketball has not had a winning season since 1994. 12 years ago????? I'd like to know other's thoughts on this?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:19 am
by Ruckus
You're preaching to the choir, Boss. As a former football and baseball player, I am truly sickened to see the state of our competitiveness in baseball (and basketball for that matter). We set the school records for wins my junior year (which has now been eclipsed by one other team) against baseball teams that were every bit if not more competitive than SoCon teams. While I understand the challenges, it would seem that once in a while we could have a winning record at least. I am very very disappointed in the direction of both programs to say the least. If anything, we should be MORE competitive in the sports requiring LESS money/scholarships. It just doesn't make sense.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:16 am
by Eyes of Old Main
Guys, this is just the cold underside of the "Wofford Way" pillow. Just like Davidson has chosen to undercompete in football, Wofford's athletic department (or maybe the administration in general) seems to have decided that athletic success should take a back seat to having coaches that are "on board" with the the College's philosophy and are nice guys. I'm not saying Wofford should seek to win at all costs, but a little more fire could be a good thing.

Wouldn't it be nice to have our coaches contacted by bigger schools for jobs because they were winning big? That would mean that we are winning, garnering attention nationally, and running good programs. That should be the goal across the board.

While I knew Coach Young while I was a student and like him very much I am beginning to wonder about the direction of the basketball program. I am not advocating a change now, but in the next 1-2 years if things have not progressed (ie: winning record, even if its 16-14, and fewer SoCon blowouts), I think the time will be right. The fact that we haven't had a winning season since I was a student is hard to fathom considering we were rolling along quite well (even qualifying for the D-II tournament once) prior to moving up.

I don't know about baseball, but I know it's been forever since we've had a winning season there too. Maybe even back to before I was a student.

Bottom line is, the athletic department doesn't have the resources to compete every year in all sports, but you would think that this dog should have it's day every once in a while. A winning record in most sports at least once every three years and cosistently finishing in the middle of the SoCon pack instead of on the bottom shouldn't be that hard. I'm not sure what it would take to do that, but in my estimation, part of the respect problem our football program seems to always be hurt by is created by our apparent apathy towards the rest of our programs.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:29 am
by woffordgrad94
I agree totally with most of what has been said in this thread. There's no excuses for not being able top at least be competitive in baseball and basketball- a lot of "academic" schools do. I think Rice won the National Championship in baseball. I think the problem is our coaches. If this basketball team has another losing season in the SoCon, which right now appears VERY likely, then Young should be replaced. And as far as Traylor goes, someone PLEASE tell me why this guy is still at Wofford. I have sat in the stands at baseball games and heard parents complaining about him, and we have had quite a few transfers from the program. Not to mention he finishes at or near the bottom of the conference every year.