Monday, May 17, 2010

My Take On Vandy Moving to the Big Ten

While I think no one is mentioning this but Andy Katz for like 3 seconds on SportsCenter last week, here is my take on any chance of Vandy moving. But first I want to congratulate Seamus, Bobby and Stanimal. This post of mine makes 1505!!!!! posts in the history of our little blog. That's pretty impressive. And I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say thanks to anyone and everyone who checks us out, adds comments and supports our passion for Vanderbilt Sports in any way. Thank you!

Vandy Moving to the Big Ten

I’m against it for several reasons:

As David Williams mentioned we would only benefit in football. In EVERY other sport we are very competitive in the SEC. And our effectiveness would be hard to maintain if we switched

1) Baseball – from what I have heard the Big Ten is terrible in baseball. We would leave arguably one of the top 2 baseball conference to join one of the worst BCS conferences in baseball. Forget playing against LSU, UF, Miss State and Arkansas. We want to play Purdue? Or Indiana? Not to mention I think we lose Corbin to a bigger program in a better conference, which means we lose out on a lot of Tennessee talent (D price? Sonny Gray?) then they end up going to UT (ugh)

2) Basketball à we really want to sacrifice at least 2 games against UK/UF/UT in order to play Michigan or Michigan State? Can we afford to lose that ticket revenue when those games always sell out? We already have a set up with Illinois. Oh we also get to play Indiana? Whoopee!!!!

3) Golf – we are in a great position there. Why change?

4) Women’s sports à we are in a strong position in Bball/tennis/golf. Does anyone know what conference we play in for women’s lax? I know Northwestern has a great women’s lax program but are we going to move just for that?

5) Football – are we really going to get that much of an advantage. One of our main drawing points is kids get to play in the SEC against Bama, Florida, Auburn, UGA, UT, SC, Ole Miss, Arkansas. Are we going to continue to get the left over kids from Florida, Alabama and Louisiana if we are playing in the Big Ten? I think not. Which means we would take a step back talent wise (one we can’t afford) to simply play a lower level of competition. Really? That’s what our school wants to strive for? Lower the level of expectations? Awesome job Farva!

6) Money – The SEC has a HUGE TV deal with ESPN guaranteeing almost every football/basketball game is on some TV. This increases exposure and helps the teams recruit. Now I know the Big Ten network is big but I don’t think they will guarantee as much coverage as ESPN will, nor will it bring back the revenue that ESPN will. I already mentioned we would lose 3 home games in basketball against UK/UF/UT. What about football? How much revenue is generated by fans from out of town coming to Nashville for the game? Will the Big Ten travel as well down to Nashville? (HAAHAHAHA no way) This means less people at the games, less revenue in terms of ticket sales, concession sales, etc. This also hurts the city of Nashville, not just the University because people from around the SEC come into the city for the whole weekend. They get hotel rooms and go downtown; they eat at restaurants and buy tailgating supplies. I guarantee even teams that travel well like Penn State or Ohio State would be less likely to come to Nashville on a consistent basis then the likes of Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia, Miss State, etc.

7) Rivalries – we really want to sacrifice a 100 years of rivalries? To play Iowa? Indiana? Purdue? Even Michigan and Ohio State? F that.

8) Academics – what does the fact that the big ten having a better academic rep have to do with anything? We aren’t trading faculties with them. Does playing Miss State somehow drag down our academics? The money we get from our sports teams can be spent however the university wants correct? I don’t think the SEC says it must be spent on athletics? What is the benefit (academically speaking) of being in the same conference as Northwestern or Michigan? I really don’t understand this argument.

9) Travel – football and basketball already travel a lot and by air mostly. But what about the other teams? The furthest we have to go is to either Gainesville or Baton Rouge. Do we want our other teams to have to travel to Michigan? Illinois? Maybe not a huge deal in the spring and fall but can be in the winter time. What if God forbid Rutgers joins the Big Ten? That adds cost and strain to these teams, in sports where they truly are student athletes


AD said...

Well thought out and reasoned, Douglas. I agree with you, DW, and just about everybody else, in opposing VU's move to the Big Ten.

I come from Big Ten country, and I agree with your point that college baseball is not popular there. Whether this is due to the relative abundance of competitive MLB teams (Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Cubs) and of minor league teams, or simply because the college teams are bad, I'm not sure. It was just a few years ago, though, that the University of Michigan took down David Price and the Commodores in the postseason tournament.

Just grasping your nettles for you. I agree with your overall position and for many of the reasons you cite.

Anonymous said...

Doug, this article is pointless. Vanderbilt, no matter how sweet the deal, would not be allowed to leave the SEC. This is not because of contractual obligations, but because the SEC would make the deal even sweeter - no matter what.

This is fact, due to Vanderbilt being the only private university within the conference, thereby allowing the financial and business records of the conference to be kept private. The SEC cannot afford to lose Vanderbilt, no matter what the cost.

So, the point is mute. Sorry buddy.

Douglas James said...

Anonymous - I agree it would never happen but in the doldrums of college sports season that we are currently in I decided to write a post about it after hearing Andy Katz say we were a dark horse to join the big ten. But I agree it is not likely to happen.

AD said...

Given the discussion regarding the Big Ten and Vanderbilt at the national and local level, Anonymous, the point is far from mute.

Mootness is another question, however. Even if you're right that the SEC needs VU for the sole purpose of keeping the conference's records private (I've never heard of this condition, but my study of higher education and athletics under a relevant player in the broader conversation is rather limited), the SEC has not declared openly its position to keep Vanderbilt at all costs. If the issue is VU's private status-- and not the school itself-- the conference has a lot of options if VU wanted to leave. If they just need a private school, in other words, why not let Vanderbilt go and make a sweet deal for the University of Miami, for example, or take a run at Notre Dame?

I think we all reach the same conclusion, Anonymous, but I don't think your level of confidence (or your assertion that the article is pointless) is warranted.

Bobby O'Shea said...

The point is "mute"? As in, you can't hear it?

It's not that your comment is ridiculous (which it is), but that it fundamentaly misunderstands what a blog does. After all, discussing the "what ifs" is what we do.

Anonymous said...

Also, because Vandy won't win a conference or national championship next year, those issues are MUTE. Accordingly please remove all football content from the blog.

Thank you

FiveStarDore said...

Women's LAX: We play in the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC), which already has Northwestern in it. We have a rivalry with them and play them (usually twice) each season.

Football: The bowl season notwithstanding, we can't possibly get any worse in football. We average 3 wins a season over the long run, with about 1.5 SEC wins every year. In my humble opinion, winning gets butts in the seats, nothing more and nothing less. If we can get to the point where NWU is at, which is averaging 6 wins a year, with 3.5 Big Ten wins a year, that alone would make up for any loss of ticket sales from losing horribly one-sides "rivalries" with UF, Ole Miss, UK and Big Ugly Orange. Also, bowl appearances (note the plural there) help placate people, too.

Also, the Big Ten Network is apparently a money machine for the 11 member institutions of the Big Ten, so even with the incredibly sweet deals that ESPN & CBS have given to the SEC, moving to the Big Ten would make our athletics non-department richer, by a substantial margin. Acoording to Vandy's own marketing schlock, we get about $15 MM per year from the SEC for sucking at football. That's out of an annual budget of $25MM. A move to the Big Ten would probably raise our conference revenue share to $25-30MM with growth in the future as more markets open up to the Big Ten Network (you think they want Rutgers because they just love James Gandolfini?! Fugghetaboutit!)

For the record, I am opposed to us moving out of the SEC, our home and native land (why does that sound Canadian?) since time began. We are a founding institution of that conference, we are very competitive in everything except football, we have very healthy rivalries, and we can always point out to the other schools' students and alums that they go to a safety school and we are superior to them as a result.