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GuillermoBilletas

Eastern Michigan

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Thank you both for saying that. I don't follow college football, so I am not aware of how all of that works.

 

That said, what does an association with the FBS offer a school like EMU?

There is a revenue share with the new college football playoff where each school gets a cut of the money generated from it. This is similar to the college basketball revenue share from the March Madness TV contract.

 

So the MAC gets a share of that and they use it to fund their bowl games and to give money to the schools. Unlike prior to the college football playoff, EMU's trip to the Bahamas last year for a bowl game was not a burden for the school.

 

The MAC also has a contract with ESPN that gives them money for football (mainly played on weeknights when there is no other events going on) that is shared with each school.

 

In addition, FBS teams get paid good money for their guarantee games. For instance, Eastern Michigan just signed a deal to play a game at Wisconsin in 2021 and Wisconsin is paying EMU $1.4MM for the game. EMU typically plays two FBS guarantee games a year. They typically take $300-400k of that money to bring in a FCS team to get another home game (FBS has a minimum number of home game requirement) and a projected win.

 

So there are reasons schools are reluctant to touch football.

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Thank you, KSchlosser. I am hazy on a few of the specifics you've mentioned.

 

EMU and all of the other 129 FBS colleges and universities annually receive $2,000,000 from the FBS?

 

I don't understand how the FBS impacts travel and championships for all the sports teams. What did swimming and diving have to do with this?

 

I wasn't talking about the revenue shares from the NCAA, I was talking about the payouts from their football and basketball contracts. Pretty sure that is what OU clears from the MAC so all schools are on a similar draw unless they have negotiated more or agreed to take less. As a longtime MAC member I am assuming EMU is fully vested and earns a full share.

 

As far as the geographic footprint, the less distance you have to travel for 20 teams a year, the less money it costs you at the end of the season. Having less travel and fewer overnights is also not as hard on your student athletes as more events are single day trips meaning less missed classes and more time for study not on a bus and a degree more of student life.

 

Dropping football would probably add at least 10,000,000 per years to their athletic department but it would cost them in terms of revenue from guaranteed games (Ohio State is paying OOC teams an average of a million a game), NCAA payouts, bowl game payouts (though they have played in two 1987 and 2016), money from their conference television contract, and money from their local television and radio contracts. I would assume they would probably lose some donations to the athletic department as well. They would have to figure out what to do with the football stadium they just spent 15,000,000 plus upgrading in 2014. (They did get a 6,000,000 gift, largest ever in school history for this.)

 

If they drop football they have to leave the MAC as the conference is only allowing affiliate memberships in a limited number of sports. Their best options leaving the MAC would be to join the Horizon League or the Missouri Valley Conference which do not sponsor Division I football. Travel would be similar though probably higher and neither sponsor as many sports as the MAC. EMU would be the eastern most MVC school and I think the vast majority of those schools are private so the Horizon League may be their best option with a few sport affiliates.

 

Continuing to sponsor football and dropping down a level may cost them their football rivalries with WMU and CMU as both MAC members need wins over BCS teams to qualify for a bowl. Like most MAC schools, WMU and CMU are playing at least two revenue games in their non conference schedules to make a few extra millions. Other than a guaranteed win against EMU, that doesn't do much except give them another win, they would probably only be willing to host EMU. Worst case for EMU is never playing, but more than likely they could be playing once every few years and they would have a hard time getting them to come to ypsilanti for a home game because their is little revenue compared to a home game for WMU or CMU.

 

No matter how you look at it location of your league is important when you are concerned about your budget and revenue.

 

Maryland and Rutgers just joined the Big Ten and if they aren't playing each other every team they have is traveling west when they go on the road. Across multiple sports the costs can sky rocket if the increase of revenue does not rise proportionally. If you have to be an affiliate member in a single sport you could end up with a lot more travel then the footprint your conference offers such as when Temple joined the MAC in football or Missouri in wrestling. I think most affiliates tend to be in the fringe or olympic sports as their conference doesn't offer.

 

In the case of Temple football, they could have filled a schedule with teams within a 200 mile radius and instead traveled 800 miles every time they went on the road. Looking at Missouri their league travel for wrestling involved OSU, OK, ISU, and WVU isn't bad when you are in the 2012 Big 12 but when they add in SDSU, NDSU, USAF, UVU, Wyoming, and FSUin 2017 it would add a lot more travel and expense for a wrestling team. I don't know if they had an option to stay in the Big 12 as an affiliate but going east they can make a road trip out of duals in conference and out along the way as a member of the MAC so that could be saving them money.

Edited by KSchlosser

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Here is a letter that was shared on the MichganGrappler page, penned by Noel Dean. Noel is the football coach at Lowell (MI) High School, who has a top-notch program in the state, and has sent many players to D1 and D2 schools. He is also Dave Dean's brother and Gabe Dean's uncle. 

As I understand it, many coaches in Michigan penning similar letters to EMU Football coach, indicated the same sediments that Noel Dean states below. 

https://www.michigangrappler.com/news_article/show/900286?referrer_id=1024194

Letter from Hall of Fame Football Coach Noel Dean to EMU Football Coach Chris Creighton
 

Chris ,
 

I have to do what is right for the state of Michigan. As you know, I have coached high school football in the state of Michigan for the past 27 years. I have great respect for you as a coach and a person. You are just under the wrong leadership at the wrong time.

 

 

Your president, a guy from South Dakota obviously doesn't understand the culture of Michigan and the value us lifelong Michigan residents not only have for the sport of football but wrestling too.

 

He doesn't understand how deeply intertwined football and wrestling is in this state. Many coaches are involved in both and have sons, nephews and grand kids that participate in both.

My biggest impact players have been both football players that are wrestlers. I am always and also told to have multi athletic players. This is in stark contrast to HIS position.

 

I can't stand by and not take a stand against what is happening at EMU with the wrestling program. Wrestling contributes too much to the fabric of our schools systems in Michigan (a guy from South Dakota might not get it), but if I stick to the facts on this. wrestling is only a bone to keep people happy FOR NOW. They are coming for you next.

 

If this goes through, you and your staff will not be allowed in any one of our buildings. I won't speak for the others copied in this email but I wanted them to see my position.

 

Bottom line is, a guy from South Dakota is dumping on boys in the state of Michigan. I personally have had enough of people like this. Time to get priorities in order.

 

You are a good man but, you may be at the wrong institution.

 

Noel Dean

Edited by Holtfan

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FYI, James Smith is an Ohio native, is not from South Dakota, only worked at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD, when he also tried to shut down the NSU wrestling program.

 

PLEASE do not refer to him as being a South Dakotan, that is an insult!

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It's idiotic to ban EMU football from recruiting on their HS campus.  All that does is punish their student athletes/limit a scholarship opportunity for them.  Do they ban all other universities that don't have wrestling teams from recruiting there? 

 

This situation seems unique from a number of others that we have seen before.  Clearly EMU is having budget issues....There's anger at the coach and AD, but I hope people are actively working towards solutions that address these issues. 

Edited by Billyhoyle

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The myth of D-I football programs being "revenue" sports has been debunked ad nauseum.  At most about 20 programs make money.  Everyone looks at the "revenue" but ignores the expenditures.  Look at UM--you better damn well make a bowl game and share TV revenue when you pay one man $7 million a year to coach.  Throw in salaries of all coordinators, assistants, sports information people, trainers, groundskeepers, tutors, etc., then add in travel and equipment expenditures and teams are lucky to break even.  When I was at EMU, the team checked into a hotel for HOME GAMES (pretty common in D-I) and they weren't eating at McDonald's.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-college-football-is-forever-20170106-story.html 

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This was the letter I send to the EMU AD:

 

I was the assistant wrestling coach at EMU from 1998 until 2000, and it was the most corrupt athletic department I’ve ever witnessed.  I saw funds embezzled and NCAA rules broken with impunity as the EMU athletic “leadership” turned a blind eye (yes, the same people who lied about football attendance figures to maintain NCAA Division I-A status).  I attended meetings in which these putrid individuals joked about Dean Rockwell dying sooner so they could get his money to start an endowment for the wrestling team.  Personally, I was rewarded for my loyalty to the young men on the team and being the only member of the program to actually follow rules and act with integrity by being forced out of my job.  In short, I thought I saw the worst of EMU and naively believed the school could go no lower.

 

Now I learn of the decision to drop the program altogether, ironically after a season in which they crowned a rare NCAA Division I All-American (I coached EMU’s last D-I All-American, Mike Feeney).  What happened to Mr. Rockwell’s endowment?  Is it being moved from wrestling?  That was not Mr. Rockwell’s wish and anyone who knew Dean is well aware of this.  Why not drop sports that cost far more money to run and maintain that have not crowned an All-American? 

 

Coach Bolyard and the hard-working men of the wrestling team deserve far better than this horrid decision to unalterably devastate their lives.  The EMU athletic department should be ashamed.

 

This was his response:

 

I appreciate you reaching out and I am sorry I didn't get to your email yesterday.  I want you to know that I am ashamed that it has come to this.  Unfortunately, if I felt there was a way to save the programs in the first place we would have certainly done that.  We had 21 sports and a budget not sustainable for that many, and then the university notified us that we needed to cut even more ($2 million).  It would takes $10's of millions to save all 4 programs over the long haul.  We could probably rally and save softball and tennis for a year but not raise enough to save all of them and maintain that for years to come.  I hate this more than anyone, I don't like taking away opportunities for these great athletes and these coaches.  I believe this was unavoidable.

Coach Bolyard and his wife Amanda are friends and incredible people.  I do not take lightly what has happen to them, David doesn't deserve this, he has been a model coach and someone I am proud to work along side.  We have to make extremely difficult decisions all across campus and it effects many lives. 

 

Notice that he does not answer my questions about the endowments designated for wrestling.  I give him credit for answering, but his reply falls far short of providing a complete answer.

I realize you have skin in the game, but I though his response was much classier than your email

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..liquidated damage.... is that like spilled Gatorade??   what the ph' is up with all the fancy bull***t verbiage......... wow ...

  just do your job- build the programs don't tear 'em down......

In layman's terms, if he resigns before July 2022, he has to pay half of the remaining salary to the university as a buyout, but his buyout goes away if the school drops any sports in the meantime.

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In layman's terms, if he resigns before July 2022, he has to pay half of the remaining salary to the university as a buyout, but his buyout goes away if the school drops any sports in the meantime.

 

 

Has he indicated anytime recently that he intends to retire soon?

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EMU saying they needs "tens of millions" in an endowment to bring wrestling back.  

 

That's pretty audacious If they've actually said that, given that one was left with the program.  

 

Maybe the place to start with getting wrestling back would be to follow a paper trail to find out what actually happened to it.

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That's pretty audacious If they've actually said that, given that one was left with the program.  

 

Maybe the place to start with getting wrestling back would be to follow a paper trail to find out what actually happened to it.

How big was the endowment that was left for wrestling?

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Has he indicated anytime recently that he intends to retire soon?

Probably not, given that he's only 41 years old. That said, the contract was signed on December 12th, 2017 (a whopping three whole months ago). That, to me, makes things suspicious. Also, it's not just about him retiring, it's also about him moving schools.

Edited by SetonHallPirate

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Probably not, given that he's only 41 years old. That said, the contract was signed on December 12th, 2017 (a whopping three whole months ago). That, to me, makes things suspicious. Also, it's not just about him retiring, it's also about him moving schools.

I agree with you that it’s motivation to cut sports. I think the most interesting part of the document is the phrase saying “we don’t have any intention of cutting any varsity sports.” If that contract was only signed 3 months ago, what changed?

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I agree with you that it’s motivation to cut sports. I think the most interesting part of the document is the phrase saying “we don’t have any intention of cutting any varsity sports.” If that contract was only signed 3 months ago, what changed?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Just wondering if there's been any update on where Brendan Fenton might end up... or is he waiting to hear how the EMU situation shakes out? Ohio State, Lehigh, Minny come to mind as they may have vacancies at 125 but I don't know who is slated to fill those spots.

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Some serious crap happening behind the scenes there -- and it all starts with James Smith.

 

It'd be interesting to see the public release of emails concerning dropping the programs.

Edited by Ultraflex

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Michigan and Ohio have too many D1 football teams at public schools. Michigan has 5, Ohio has 8. Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin have 1. Indiana and Pennsylvania have 3 (PA's are 'state related' or whatever). Illinois has 2, Indiana has 3. it doesn't make economic sense for Michigan and Ohio to shovel that much money into that many athletic departments to keep all those teams competitive at the D1 level, but no administrator is going volunteer to lower the status of their school and downgrade their athletics. that would take courage and foresight. not useful qualities on your climb up the bureaucratic ladder of higher education. 

 

so EMU will sacrifice everything it can to maintain it's seat the MAC table, enabled by the NCAA that allows them to sponsor an embarrassingly few number of sports and remain D1 eligible. 

 

I don't think it's personal, I'm sure the EMU admins would prefer to live in a world where they can compete in D1 football and keep all the sports they had and then some. but they don't have to keep wrestling (and softball and swimming and tennis) and they have limited resources so they made the only decision they could, given that they are operting from the assumption that football must stay and requires more money. 

 

lost in all this is that EMU decided not to cut baseball, which costs twice as much to operate as wrestling, is in a more competitive environment than wrestling at the D1 level, and has a thriving professional level that includes minor leagues that provides high school baseball players with far more options than wrestling, even when adjusting for the number of high school participants of each sport. 

 

tl;dr EMU admins are bad at their jobs and every EMU stakeholder should be mad at them for the bad decisions they are making. 

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Michigan and Ohio have too many D1 football teams at public schools. Michigan has 5, Ohio has 8. Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin have 1. Indiana and Pennsylvania have 3 (PA's are 'state related' or whatever). Illinois has 2, Indiana has 3. it doesn't make economic sense for Michigan and Ohio to shovel that much money into that many athletic departments to keep all those teams competitive at the D1 level, but no administrator is going volunteer to lower the status of their school and downgrade their athletics. that would take courage and foresight. not useful qualities on your climb up the bureaucratic ladder of higher education.

 

so EMU will sacrifice everything it can to maintain it's seat the MAC table, enabled by the NCAA that allows them to sponsor an embarrassingly few number of sports and remain D1 eligible.

 

I don't think it's personal, I'm sure the EMU admins would prefer to live in a world where they can compete in D1 football and keep all the sports they had and then some. but they don't have to keep wrestling (and softball and swimming and tennis) and they have limited resources so they made the only decision they could, given that they are operting from the assumption that football must stay and requires more money.

 

lost in all this is that EMU decided not to cut baseball, which costs twice as much to operate as wrestling, is in a more competitive environment than wrestling at the D1 level, and has a thriving professional level that includes minor leagues that provides high school baseball players with far more options than wrestling, even when adjusting for the number of high school participants of each sport.

 

tl;dr EMU admins are bad at their jobs and every EMU stakeholder should be mad at them for the bad decisions they are making.

The AD was a baseball player. But I guess we’re supposed to feel bad for him because his team got cut when he was in college.

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