Grand Canyon (GCU) invited to join WAC. Will compete in Division 1 athletics in 2013

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Hadashi no Gen, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

  2. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    A couple more points about GCU in the WAC:

    (1) Schools that move up from Division II to Division I are "on probation" for 4 seasons. So GCU will be competing in the WAC starting in 2013-14, but they won't be "full members" until the 2017-18 season. GCU won't be eligible for NCAA postseason play until then, even if they win a WAC championship. So for example, they won't be eligible for the NCAA basketball tournament -- no matter how well they play -- until the 2018 tournament.

    (2) The WAC is still on life support, even with the addition of GCU, and there is no guarantee that the conference will survive until 2017-18. The WAC will definitely have a 2013-14 season, but after that there are some big question marks.

    College athletic realignment has been all too common lately, and unfortunately, the WAC is pretty much at the bottom of Division I in this regard. One more wave of realignment could wipe them out; if they lose any more members, there simply aren't any other unaligned Division I schools to bring in as replacements. They can try to pull schools up from Division II (like GCU), but that doesn't help in the short term, because it takes several years for such schools to become full members, as noted above.

    If the WAC collapses, then GCU would have to either find another Division I conference to admit it, or else compete as a Division I independent. Both options could prove difficult.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Even at a for-profit university athletes remain indentured servants, denied a portion of the very profits they create. (And no, scholarships don't cut it any more than you going to work only to receive tuition reimbursement benefits.) Thanks, NCAA. Keep up the good work.
  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Realistically, how profitable are GCU's athletic programs?

    Currently GCU plays at the NCAA Division II level, where there is little media revenue or fan interest. All NCAA Division II and III athletic programs run at a financial loss: the revenues that they generate are much lower than the cost to operate them.

    If Division II athletic programs are unprofitable, then why does GCU -- a for-profit insitution -- have them at all ? Presumably, the sponsorship of college athletics provides intangible benefits that make the school more attractive to prospective students. In effect, the athletics are a marketing expense.

    The move to Division I won't change this. It's true that some (not all) Division I football and men's basketball programs are profitable. But there is no football at GCU, or in the WAC generally. If the GCU men's basketball program is successful at the highly competitive Division I level -- and achieving such success will probably take years -- then there is a chance that it will eventually be profitable. In that case, they can use the men's basketball profits to subsidize the inevitable losses from their other Division I programs, which will include things like women's basketball, baseball/softball, men's/women's soccer, men's/women's cross-country/track, men's/women's golf/tennis, men's/women's swimming/diving, men's/women's volleyball, etc. None of those other programs make money at any NCAA school.

    So GCU is not going to profit directly from its athletic program -- on the contrary, the athletic program is an expense. The marketing benefits that they get from sponsoring college athletics may be real, but they are also intangible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012
  6. makana793

    makana793 New Member

    Most of the schools in the WAC have transitioned to the MWC. The WAC is essentially trying to infuse other schools to keep the conference going. Will it survive? Probably not. At one time the WAC had some fairly decent teams in football: AF, San Diego State, BYU, CSU, etc. But hey times are changing.
  7. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    For 2013-14, the WAC has seven "full" members: Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle, Utah Valley, Texas-Pan American, Cal State Bakersfield, and Chicago State. They need seven full members to qualify for the NCAA tournament, so they are OK for that year. Grand Canyon will be the eighth member, but they don't count because they are moving up from Division II, which means they will be on probation until the 2017-18 season.

    For 2014-15 and 2015-16, the WAC has only six full members, because Idaho will be leaving. However, the WAC has a waiver from the NCAA that allows the conference to be tournament-qualifying with only six full members, for two years. So they could apply the waiver for those two years.

    For 2016-17, the WAC has a problem. They currently don't have a seventh team lined up, because GCU won't count until 2017-18. Their 2-year waiver will have been used up in 2014-15 and 2015-16. There are currently no unaligned Division I schools to recruit, except maybe New Jersey Institute of Technology, which is not a geographic fit; NJIT is probably looking at other conferences in the northeast. If the WAC can't find another school, they could theoretically ask NCAA to extend the 2-year waiver for an additional year, or to let GCU off probation a year early. But there is no assurance that the NCAA would agree.

    And this scenario assumes that the WAC keeps all of its current members (other than Idaho). But New Mexico State may be looking to leave as well; they want to play football, which the WAC no longer sponsors. If there is more realignment in the future, then a spot could open up for NMSU in a football-playing conference. If that happens, then it's hard to see how the WAC can find enough Division I members to stay viable.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012

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