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NCAA Approves New Attendance Policy

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NCAA Approves New Attendance Policy

D-IA teams now only have to average 15,000 actual OR paid attendance once every two years. Great news for FAU. ;D

Brand leaves playoff scenario to BCSAssociated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA will allow football teams to play 12 games per year, but it won't enter the postseason playoff fray.

The board of directors approved proposals on Thursday that would add a 12th game to Division I-A schedules – starting in 2006 – allow schools to count one victory over Division I-AA schools each year toward bowl eligibility, and loosen the requirements to qualify for Division I-A status.

"The season will not be elongated, it just means the bye week would be taken out," NCAA president Myles Brand said. "Nor will it lead to any additional midweek games.

"But I seriously suggest you take up the tournament situation with the BCS."

The Bowl Championship Series has tried to pit the two best teams in a national championship game since the system was created in 1998. The NCAA has tried to avoid the playoff debate.

One argument against a football tournament is that lengthening the season could force student-athletes to miss more classes.

Brand has supported academic reform since taking over as president in January 2003 and said Thursday that an additional football game each season won't create a problem.

Board chairman Robert Hemenway, the chancellor at Kansas, said schools could make more money with an extra game but he insisted that wasn't the only reason why the proposal passed.

"There was also a feeling that if you had another game, that it does give you some flexibility in your scheduling," he said. "A school like Oklahoma State, for instance, could possibly play a game in Tulsa or Oklahoma City and play to that fan base."

Brand said the extra money could also be used to help fund athletic departments that are losing money.

The board also adopted a resolution that strongly urged schools not to adopt the new Title IX Internet-based surveys, which the U.S. Department of Education said in March could be used to scientifically gauge whether schools must expand or create women's teams to meet demand.

"We felt that it was not true to the principles that have been in effect," Hemenway said.

The board also asked the NCAA executive committee to propose a comprehensive policy on alcohol advertising during college telecasts. Hemenway said the committee took that action after a lengthy discussion to include Division II and III events under any new standard.

On Wednesday, the American Medical Association asked the NCAA to ban all alcohol advertising. The current policy allows one minute per hour of alcohol ads and prohibits the sale or advertising of alcohol at NCAA championship events.

But the biggest winners Thursday were Division I-A football teams.

Besides the 12th game, the NCAA will allow schools to count one victory over a I-AA opponent each year, starting this fall. Previously, schools could count one win every four years.

And smaller football programs, such as those in the Mountain West and Mid-American Conferences, also got good news. The NCAA will now allow schools to qualify for Division I-A if they average 15,000 in paid or actual attendance once every two years.

Previously, schools had to have 15,000 in actual attendance.

Division I vice president David Berst said schools could also include students who attend games at a reduced price.

"I think it's a case of fixing things," Brand said. "When we went to the turnstile attendance, I think we inadvertently harmed some teams because they don't control the weather. I think that's an indication that we had the wrong rule."

The board also approved a provision that would give men's basketball coaches more flexible recruiting calendars, and another proposal allowing men's and women's basketball coaches to instruct players for up to two hours per week during the offseason.

Freshmen also will be permitted to play in preseason exhibition games and keep their four additional years of eligibility as long as they do not play the rest of that season.

Also approved was an increase in the number of scholarships for women in gymnastics, soccer, volleyball and track and field. The board agreed to grant another year of eligibility to players who were academically ineligible as freshmen but completed 80 percent of their degree requirements after four years.

The committee defeated a measure that would have allowed coaches to watch voluntary workouts.

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NCAA Approves New Attendance Policy

NCAA OKs 12th game; attendance rule eased

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted April 29 2005

College football fans, players and coaches will have fewer bye weeks as the NCAA approved a 12th regular-season game Thursday for Division I teams beginning in 2006.

The Division I Board of Directors also helped Florida Atlantic's move from Division I-AA to I-A by significantly weakening the rule requiring an average of 15,000 actual attendance per home game.

The added game translates to about $3 million in revenue for programs like Florida that can plan on a sellout crowd, and also could mean up to $400,000 for teams like FAU, which can add another guarantee game where they will get paid to be the opponent.

"This was not just about money," insisted Robert Hemenway, board chair and President of Kansas. The proposal had been opposed by the Knight Commission and the American Football Coaches Association.

The vote by the Board was 8-2 with one abstention, but is only for I-A teams. The I-AA members of the Board voted 3-0 against the added game, meaning I-AA teams will retain an 11-game schedule.

FAU and Florida International both will be helped by the decision to alter the attendance rule by eliminating the actual attendance of 15,000 per game each year and replacing it with legislation that requires an average of 15,000 in paid attendance once in a two-year period.

"This will allow us to breath a little easier because it will be a little easier to sell 15,000 tickets that get 15,000 people in the stands," said FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos.

FAU and FIU are both completing their first year of the two-year transition from I-AA to I-A and are required to meet all I-A criteria in order to move up. FIU averaged 10,095 and FAU 10,784 in actual attendance in 2004 and would have been required to repeat the first year if the rule had remained in place.

Paid attendance, which includes students who get in free because of the athletic fee they pay as part of tuition, is much easier to meet and can include tickets bought and distributed by boosters or businesses.

"We still need to drive attendance," Angelos said. "We feel that in a couple years these numbers won't be an issue because we'll have established a strong fan base."

The NCAA also added some enhancements for I-AA, by ruling that I-A teams can count a win against a I-AA toward bowl eligibility every year, instead of once every four years.

What still has not been decided is what a bowl-eligble record will be. The Board favors a winning record, meaning 7-5, but the issue will be studied because there is the possibility that not enough teams could obtain that.

Adding a I-AA opponent could help a I-A team get a seventh win.

UM Athletic Director Paul Dee opposed a 12th game, as did the Atlantic Coast Conference, but Dee plans on playing the additional game, which is optional, because he doesn't want to put UM at a competitive disadvantages.

While some schools would prefer using the additional game to host another lucrative home game that likely features a lesser opponent, Dee said the Hurricanes plan on pursing home-and-away series' against competitive Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC teams and as a last resort plans to use payout games as filler.

"To me, getting a great home game every other year is better than playing a lesser team every year," Dee said.

Ideally Dee would like to use that extra game to permanently add Florida to UM's schedule, but said he believes the Gators would prefer a seventh home game.

Dee and UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley met last July to work out the logistics of a UM vs. UF game that was tentatively scheduled to be played at a neutral site in 2008, but they decided to table the talks until the NCAA voted on the 12th game.

However, Dee left those negotiations confident the in-state rivalry would be resumed on some level once the measure is passed.

"As soon as it does pass I'm sure we'd make arrangements to get the series going on a semi-regular basis, something less than annual," Dee said. "We've always enjoyed playing them. Adding another game of that caliber makes the schedule tougher, but we think it's a think it's a game that needs to be played."

Staff Writer Omar Kelly contributed to this report. Ted Hutton can be reached at [email protected]

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