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15K rule likely WILL NOT be implemented


15K rule likely WILL NOT be implemented

Posted by Space Raider on the Sun Belt board.

Excerpt from a college football article in the New Orleans paper

-A Reprieve Likely

Remember that pesky requirement that was due to go into effect this fall, that Division I-A schools must average 15,000 in attendance at football games? Well, it looks to be going by the wayside, or at least the number will be reduced.

The I-A status of as many as 20 schools could have been affected if the rule remains in place.

"There will not be a recommendation," said David Berst, the NCAA's vice-president for Division I. "We just want the (NCAA Division I Board of Directors) to look more carefully at the provisions and provide some instructions about they think is appropriate."

According to NCAA statistics, 11 schools averaged less than 15,000 last season. Another nine were between 15,000-19,000. Two other schools, Florida International and Florida Atlantic, which are scheduled to move to I-A and join the Sun Belt Conference in 2005, were at less than 10,000.

And that's announced attendance – not actual people in the stands, which the new rule requires.

"What we're hearing is concern on the part of some schools that attendance is not a proper measurement of a I-A school," Berst said. "It's more a measure of your marketability, and there are some places you aren't going to get 15,000 even for free."

When the rule was passed three years ago, the stated intent was to stem the flow of schools from I-AA. But promised enhancement to the I-AA playoffs haven't materialized, and schools continue to want to move up.

Unstated was the belief at the time that a I-A playoff was inevitable, and that a flood of schools moving up would only mean slicing the pie thinner. But the presidents have pretty much made it clear that won't happen anytime soon, so there's no reason to keep the club so exclusive.

If the rule is allowed to stand, schools not hitting 15,000 would be on probation for one year. Two years in a row would mean "unclassified" status. Among other things, that could affect schools conference membership and prevent opponents from playing enough I-A foes to be bowl eligible.

"Obviously, there were some unintended consequences," Berst said. "And there are lot of schools with great histories of competing at the highest level who would be in jeopardy."

With seven of the nine current Sun Belt schools in jeopardy, including his own, it's not surprising that Middle Tennessee president and Board of Directors member Sidney McPhee is in favor of repeal.

"We'd love to have a full stadium," he said. "But for some schools, circumstances – mainly how successful you are – make that uncontrollable. There should be standards for being in I-A, and this one sounds good in concept. But ultimately it will have an adverse effect."

The repeal also has the tacit approval of NCAA president Myles Brand.

"There is some discomfort with the rule, and it's legitimate," he said. "We want to make sure the people in I-A really belong there, but the best way to do that may be in terms of scholarships."

Scholarship minimums – 200 or $4 million worth, with at least 76 in football – already is one of the other provisions of the new rules, as is a minimum requirement of at least 16 sports. Earlier this year, the board reduced the number of required home games against I-A opponents from five to four for the next two years.

"The thinking seems to be that financial contributions and not marketability should be the benchmark for I-A," Berst said. "The board is going to sit down and think through all of this."

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15K rule likely WILL NOT be implemented

I've been whistleing that tune for several months now. When they came out with that proposal, the immediate response was to look at the CURRENT teams who would suffer along with the "red-Headed" step children(FAU and FIU).
There are some basketball power schools who would not take too kindly to the NCAA slapping their football bretheren around.
The obvious thing for the NCAA to do is to relax/change/modify the rule for a more realistic approach.

The sticking point is all about sharing the money! They complain about letting new schools into D1-A, yet they turn around and create several new bowls ???
Does all of these bowls make BIG dollars?!?!
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