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Thread: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. #1
    Champ champion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond repute
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    GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    This article puts all of the things that us WAC supporters have stated for the last month. Plus, it sounds like they have been reading this board. Hopefully, this is a sign of something good:

    Stay at home
    WAC, not Sun Belt, is where La. Tech wants to be
    Scott Beder
    May 23, 2004
    Despite Louisiana Tech's failed bid to get into Conference USA, the school remains committed to its affiliation with the Western Athletic Conference.

    When C-USA decided to take UTEP instead of Tech last month, rumors and published stories suggested that Tech might be headed back to the Sun Belt Conference - the league it left in July of 2001.

    Tech athletics director Jim Oakes, however, has been emphatic: Tech has no intentions of returning to the Sun Belt, despite the fact that Tech remains the lone WAC school in the Central Time Zone.

    "There has been some misinformation about which league we will participate in," Oakes said. "We have made it clear at every turn our plan is to remain a member of the WAC and not rejoin the Sun Belt. We have an investment in the WAC that's not only financial, but as a program."

    Many have accused Tech of letting its ego get in the way of making a common-sense move - and that may be a small part of the equation. A move to the Sun Belt could feel like a step backward after leaving the league.

    There were also some hard feelings when Tech bolted. Exhibit A was the Sun Belt's decision to pull the 2001 men's and women's basketball tournament from Tech after it had been awarded the bid.

    But more than any lingering animosity, Oakes says Tech's decision to remain in the WAC comes down to hard, cold numbers.

    According to Oakes, the WAC's revenue sharing payouts, national exposure and strength of programs outweigh - for the short term anyway - the geographic advantages afforded by the Sun Belt.

    "We feel at this time because of the revenue sharing, television possibilities and bowl opportunities, we are better suited to be a member of the WAC rather than rejoin the Sun Belt," Oakes said.

    COMPARE AND CONTRAST

    A comparison between the two leagues - compiled by the WAC - supports Oakes assertions: When the 2004 fiscal year ends, the WAC will pay out $754,415 per school. In 2003, the Sun Belt paid out $57,000 per school.

    "We have enjoyed the benefits of revenue sharing from a conference that has had a history of success in the NCAA basketball tournament, which is a large source of the conference revenue share," Oakes said.

    In the 2000-01 season - Tech's last in the Sun Belt - it received $65,670 in revenue from the Sun Belt. In the 2002-03 season Tech received $633,684 from the WAC.

    The disparity in revenue sharing helps offset the increased travel cost Tech experienced in its move to the WAC.

    Tech spent $834,825 on travel in its last season in the Sun Belt and $982,432 during the 2002-03 season in the WAC, a difference of $147,607. The WAC also pays travel expenses to the men's and women's basketball tournaments, while the Sun Belt does not.

    "You don't say that revenue sharing goes to travel, but it does help cover the cost of travel," Oakes said.

    While the WAC does in fact pay out more, it is also true that it costs more to be a member.

    Membership dues in the Sun Belt are $80,000 per year, while Tech paid $400,000 to be a member of the WAC last year. But in taking travel, revenue sharing and conference dues into account, Tech came out $100,407 better off by being a member of the WAC in 2002-03 than in its last year in the Sun Belt.

    However, Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters refuted the WAC's numbers.

    "We don't get into comparisons," Waters said. "We've seen the numbers and we don't think they're accurate and our member institutions know they're not accurate."

    MORE THAN NUMBERS

    But money is just part of the equation. Oakes said the WAC's exposure on television and the money its television contracts generate, along with the tie-ins to three bowls, make it a more attractive alternative at this time.

    The WAC has bowl tie-ins with the Silicon Valley Football Classic, the MPC Computers Bowl (formerly the Humanitarian Bowl) and the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. There is also the possibility of a tie-in with the Mobile Bowl. Tech played in the Humanitarian Bowl in 2001 after winning the league in its inaugural season.

    The Sun Belt has one tie-in with the New Orleans Bowl.

    Since joining the WAC, Tech's football team has appeared on television nine times as part of WAC television deals with Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN.

    The WAC just completed a six-year, $1 million-per-year deal with ESPN and is in the process of finalizing a new contract. The conference also re-upped deals with Sports West and CSTV.

    "Membership in the WAC has been positive for us in many different ways," Oakes said. "We have improved from a competitive level and been able to raise our name nationally through numerous national television appearances."

    But despite the positives, many challenges remain.

    The failed bid to get into C-USA exposed Tech's weaknesses - and has now given the administration a clearer picture of what it must do to make itself more attractive.

    C-USA officials cited market size, budget and attendance as the three major areas Tech was lacking.

    "There's not much we can do about (market size)," Oakes said. "But we can work on attendance figures and we can certainly improve the size of our budget."

    The Ruston market paled in comparison to El Paso, but Tech's challenge is to market itself beyond Lincoln Parish. Ideally, Oakes would like to see Tech have a presence from as far west as the Texas line and eastward to the Mississippi line, while also venturing into southern Arkansas.

    "We want to command the market we're in," Oakes said. "We want to draw, not just from Ruston, but from Shreveport and Monroe and all of north Louisiana."

    However, Tech's future may truly rest with one critical factor - attendance. More fans in the seats translate into more money and more exposure.

    Tech's average football attendance in the three years it's been in the WAC is 19,896, while men's basketball averaged 2,391 over the same time frame.

    Without a strong fan base, it will be increasingly difficult to grow Tech's budget - already the smallest in the WAC - to improve its position should C-USA or any other opportunity come calling again.

    RECOMMITTING TO SUCCESS

    One of the men charged with helping Tech improve in those areas is Ronny Walker, the executive director of advancement, who helped found Tech's Champs organization, a fund-raising arm that's independent of the school.

    Walker's goal is to get one-fourth of Tech's 60,000-strong alumni base to give on an annual basis.

    "My dream is to have 15,000 people give $200 a year (to Champs)," said Walker, on his way to a Champs fund-raising event in Tyler, Texas. "That would be $3 million a year - and then we wouldn't have to play Tennessee, Auburn and Miami (in football for money)."

    Walker is also in the process of revamping Tech's ticket pricing across the board.

    "We need to get more in line with the demographics of where we are," Walker said. "We are offering some young alumni specials and some group rates that we're marketing to businesses."

    Walker has also instituted a consistent marketing plan that was implemented last year and will be expanded this year.

    "We need to do a better job of marketing for the whole season," Walker said. "Last year was the first time we had done a theme for everything. 'Bring It On' was on everything, the media guides, tickets, the whole works."

    Walker's efforts - or the success of them - are at the core of Tech's potential growth for the future.

    "I think we've done a good job from a competitive standpoint and now we have to do a good job of marketing the program," Oakes said. "We need to increase our attendance to go along with what I know to be an improved product on the field. The challenge moving forward is to increase revenue. Really, that's always been the challenge."

    Oakes said the athletic program has grown tremendously since the football program moved to Division I-A in 1988 and now is the time for Tech to begin a new growth spurt.

    "I'm pleased with the foundation we have," Oakes said. "We have good quality programs and a strong reputation. Ten years ago, we would never have been in position to be turned down by Conference USA - and we were very close to getting the invitation we wanted.

    "We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go," he said. "The entire Tech family has to re-commit and I know we will."
    ŠThe News-Star
    May 23, 2004

  2. #2
    Super Moderator PawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond reputePawDawg has a reputation beyond repute PawDawg's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    I figured you'd like that article.

    Notice the difference in Jim's comments vs. Ronny's comments.

  3. #3
    Champ dawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond repute dawg80's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    $400K a year in membership dues? Holy moly! $932K in travel expenses? Holy crap! What will it be after 2005 and there are no more bus trips to Rice, SMU and Tulsa?

    Even if the numbers are 100% accurate, right NOW Tech is netting barely $100K more by being in the WAC vs the Belt. That will evaporate away after 2005, that's for sure.

    The question is, will our attendance benefit from annual games vs. ULL/ULM (alternating years) and UNT every other year, vs. home dates against San Jose, Nevada, New Mexico State, and Utah State? Seems to me, that after 2005, Tech's bottom line would increase by moving to the Belt. I dunno, I'm just using Beder's article as that basis, but it seems rather clear.

  4. #4
    Champ Cal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond repute Cal&Ken's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    No one thinks it is a permanent solution. We just hope to be able to hold on long enough to move forward, not backwards. Sure it will be difficult, but hopefully it will pay off.

  5. #5
    Bulldog dawgpound is an unknown dawgpound's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    The 2 main things I see from this article are:

    1. What a blow it was to not get in C-USA (Guess we already knew this)
    2. What an awful conference the SunBelt is.

    Definitely the "Caught between a rock and a hard place" applies here. However, if these numbers are accurate, it does make sense to stay in the WAC at least for a couple of years. If we were talking saving several hundred thousand dollars a year , the Sun Belt might be a better option ,but these numbers seem to be a wash at best.

    Travel costs will go up a little in 2005 but maybe not too much. Assuming UTEP and NMSU trips to be about the same price, the only increase would be trips to Utah State for all teams. If Idaho is added that would be still more. We really need UNT instead of Idaho.

  6. #6
    Champ champion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond reputechampion110 has a reputation beyond repute
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    I agree that this is not a permanent position. You are exactly right Cal&Ken!

    Also, dawgpound is right about hopefully it being a wash until better things come forward. Seeing some of these numbers should make UNT and ULL wonder if they should be breaking ranks. With the three of us close together, it gets even better.

    Having those two teams in the WAC will definitely help with expenses, but we better get off our butts and have something to offer CUSA on the next round, if those two also have the WAC name to use to their benefit. That is the only reason we were considered this round above them.

  7. #7
    Champ Cal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond repute Cal&Ken's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    I totally agree Champion. We have got to get moving. We have to make TECH the only choice next time around. We are behind, it is time to catch up.

  8. #8
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    The article would have been great if it had said that we have not good alternatives until we have a plan.

  9. #9
    2005 & 2006 Pick 'Em Champion oledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant future oledawg66's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    CUSA is not in our future. If the next round takes place in three years, UNT gets the nod over us because of "all those tv sets" in and around Denton. Next in line would probably be ULL. Or more than likely one or both of those 1AA Florida schools moving to the Belt with their much larger student bodies and urban settings. It looks like we are going to ride the WAC horse to the bitter end. Our only real hope is that after the last domino falls, the WAC will pick up what is left of the Belt and we will have regional play in the WAC with a championship game and we can turn our attention to having winning seasons instead of paying the bills. CUSA was a nice pipe dream, but to hold out hope of ever being invited to their club is foolish.

  10. #10
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    I saw something that slightly resembled a plan. Ronny atleast has a goal. He should publicize his compaign to get 15,000 people to give $200. I definitly think its attainable.

  11. #11
    Champ Cal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond reputeCal&Ken has a reputation beyond repute Cal&Ken's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by oledawg66
    CUSA was a nice pipe dream, but to hold out hope of ever being invited to their club is foolish.
    You'll just have to call me a fool. We can still get in hopefully before 3 yrs., like in 18 months.

  12. #12
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    damn oledawg that's depressing,though not so much untrue.The only benefit I see us having over ull is that we really can capitalize on N.Louisiana because it is a little far to travel to an LSU game.Even Ulala graduates are in Baton rouge on Saturday night.It doesn't matter if you're in an urban setting when your urban supports another urban.Tech can gain some ground on the Shreveport market.

    s

  13. #13
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by beaux66
    damn oledawg that's depressing,though not so much untrue.The only benefit I see us having over ull is that we really can capitalize on N.Louisiana because it is a little far to travel to an LSU game.Even Ulala graduates are in Baton rouge on Saturday night.It doesn't matter if you're in an urban setting when your urban supports another urban.Tech can gain some ground on the Shreveport market.

    s
    Some prominent doctors in Monroe who are still friends with GIannini told me that Giannini told them that La Tech will never be in CUSA as long as he is at USM. He says that he will always remember that La tech was a prick to NLU and USL when tech joined the WAC. Giannini will push ULL through before LTU

  14. #14
    2005 & 2006 Pick 'Em Champion oledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant futureoledawg66 has a brilliant future oledawg66's Avatar
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unfortunately, the CUSA officials don't seem to care who the locals support as long as there are a lot of them - ie: urban, metropolitan setting. Just look at who they have selected so far, with their large cities and relatively small fan support - Rice, SMU, UTEP. I don't see that trend in misguided thinking changing any time soon. I just don't see us becoming the darlings of the north Louisiana media, enclosing our stadium to make it look like a Div 1A football stadium, and putting 25-30,000 butts in the seats for home games in the nexst 2-3 years, all of which it would take just to get the attention of CUSA. That being said, I would be tickled to death if Cal&Ken and Champ are correct. I just think it is time to come up with a plan and to pursue other avenues.

  15. #15
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    Re: GREAT Article!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a very good article and appears that Tech leadership may be
    beginning to realize that they will not be able to rely on C-USA to
    move to the next level. Very good to see J.O. make clear Tech's
    position on SunBelt. Net revenue and national competition is much
    greater in the WAC than SunBelt. Also every other year by playing
    Hawaii on the island will enable Tech to schedule an extra BCS money
    game to help offset expenses. Tech would be better off if the WAC
    did not expand since there would only be 7 football conference games.
    Tech could schedule home and home with Tulane, SMU, and Rice to
    help build home attendence. That would leave two BCS money games
    every year plus three every other year. Basketball would only require
    7 away conference games per year vs 9 over last 3 years. Again OOC
    games with Tulane, SMU, Rice etc would help build home attendence.
    If the WAC must expand and only add one team it should be NTX
    since Idaho would increase Tech's travel expense and NTX could replace
    SMU OOC game since they are both in the Dallas-FTWorth mkt. Also the number of colleges in the WAC would not increase so much as to dilute
    the conf. sharing.

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