FOOTBALL Is Another Wave of Realignment Brewing?

dukewayne

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Following up the discussion in the Deion and Colorado thread that really deserves its' own thread. There have been some recent hints of talks stirring in the West of another possible wave of realignment developing in the coming months. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that the current College Football season is almost over, and playoff expansion plans have been finalized. If there is another wave brewing, where would that leave MT?

If, and I admit that is a pretty big if, the next wave of conference moves is drawing nigh, I wouldn't be surprised to see MT leapfrogged again. Now this is more speculation and somewhat rumor oriented, but there was some talk in recent months around the internet that some of the power FCS programs in North and Northwest were repeatedly offered and rejected FBS conference membership. From my understanding, it kind of sounded something akin to JMU. Top of FCS waiting for the right time and the best fit for conference affiliation when they do make the leap. Sort of how JMU almost instantly leapfrogged MT in on-field performance and better conference fit.

Again, if any of this stuff with Tim Brando pans out to be true, big moves out west just might trigger another pretty big wave in college football conference membership and realignment. Some of those FCS powers up on the Northern Plains and out in the Northwest just might find a pretty decent fit in a FBS conference if they so choose to make the leap. I can only hope at this point that MT isn't left holding the bag in the worst conference no one wants to be in as many other programs land in pretty decent fits.

About the last shred of hope for MT, and it's a stretch, is the announcement by McPhee of the new facilities right after being passed over this last time and rejecting the MAC. I have nothing to back this up. Actually, I lack confidence in M&M, but what if McPhee did realize there was a problem in the athletic dept that he had overlooked? Is it possible he stepped in right after he realized MT was about to be left holding the bag or worse? Did McPhee get on the phone to find out had MT announced the new facilities, some other decent conferences might have or likely will offer in the next wave? This would explain McPhee's reticence at a long-term-locked-in deal with the MAC. Then quickly, McPhee announces the new major upgrade to MT's athletic dept facilities.

This speculation of McPhee getting on the phone to other Presidents or Conference Commissioners would be consistent with his involvement in years past in college athletics on both a regional and national level. My point is that it's fairly obvious that he would have the contacts to call if he were so inclined. Any of those discussions he might have engaged would have necessarily been confidential and off the record. This would further explain why McPhee has remained silent and offered fans and alumni little on the future of MT athletics and conference affiliation. This would also explain why he rejected an offer to the MAC that almost seemed tailored made by national sports media (ahem ESPN) to usher MT and WKU into the MAC for a somewhat regional fit for long-term programs happy with mild-to-moderate success in football on Tues night and somewhat ok basketball. With MT and WKU left out of The American offers, the MAC would suddenly appear to be a pretty appealing destination compared to the dregs of C-USA and the Frankenstein media rights deal Judy has in place. This also might explain why Judy has almost seemed desperate to continue to add new members to C-USA as exemplified in reaching for Kennesaw St. Might it have been suggested to her that MT and WKU just might be bolting in the next wave?

I acknowledge that is pretty wild speculation on my part. Perhaps it is what the kids are calling "copium." At least that is what I think that means when you are in a losing position with little to no hope. Put another way, I may well be grasping at straws. It would explain a lot though. While there are hints in the sports media by a credible source in Tim Brando that talks are picking up behind the scenes, I think most would admit that another wave of conference realignment is not an if but a matter of when. Lastly, MT and WKU were picked up on the 2nd wave for C-USA after being left out of the wave a year or two earlier.

Anybody else hearing any rumblings? Will MT leadership leave MT holding the bag, or just might the newly announced upgrade to facilities make a difference for MT in the next wave?
 

Sommy

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I do agree that MT turned down the MAC offer because they wanted another shot in the next round of realignment. They made some improvement announcements and are just crossing their fingers. I think that is their current approach and the reason they turned down the MAC. They want another shot. Remember when CUSA came together several years ago, MT was not in the initial wave of additions. I think they are expecting a similar scenario.
 

dukewayne

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What is with Tim Brando?
He appears to be making the guest media rounds in the lull between the end of the regular season and before the start of the bowl season.

From what others are suggesting, Brando may actually be understating the amount and level of talks already ongoing towards the next wave of realignment. I guess we will soon see.
 
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MidTennMtneer

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I pushed for MAC at the time as I saw us as chairs being rearranged on a sinking ship. But looking back, it was the right call. We didn't have to sign away our future on a huge GoR. And now with the new CUSA media deal, we are right on par and some years above the MAC.

We would have signed away our rights beyond their media deal ending and been stuck for the next one after 2026 season. With the CUSA deal, we are free after 2027 season. We came out ahead. Not to mention what will come to be about $2-3 million to us from the exit and entrance fees.

That being said, I'm sure there were back room nods and handshakes and texts etc. Do I think McPhee already has a deal, no. Do I think he"s trying, yes. He said when we announced Build Blue "I now see the importance of facilities". That doesn't sound like someone being proactive, but reactive.

Now. CM is slowly letting Lee do more. He is handling scheduling now (worked out the Memphis FB deal) and it would not surprise me at all if he and CM are making calls being someone proactive. I still think McPhee is the main one holding us back. And I'm not sure this round in a few months will affect us. No one will be leaving the AAC unless the P12 goes in to TX, OK, or LA and all the TX schools in the AAC now literally just joined except for SMU. And we won't be in the AAC as long as Memphis is there, which by the way is just stupid.

And the B12 will most likely only take P12 schools as taking AAC schools would reduce the per school payout of the new deal.
 

dukewayne

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I pushed for MAC at the time as I saw us as chairs being rearranged on a sinking ship. But looking back, it was the right call. We didn't have to sign away our future on a huge GoR. And now with the new CUSA media deal, we are right on par and some years above the MAC.

We would have signed away our rights beyond their media deal ending and been stuck for the next one after 2026 season. With the CUSA deal, we are free after 2027 season. We came out ahead. Not to mention what will come to be about $2-3 million to us from the exit and entrance fees.

That being said, I'm sure there were back room nods and handshakes and texts etc. Do I think McPhee already has a deal, no. Do I think he"s trying, yes. He said when we announced Build Blue "I now see the importance of facilities". That doesn't sound like someone being proactive, but reactive.

Now. CM is slowly letting Lee do more. He is handling scheduling now (worked out the Memphis FB deal) and it would not surprise me at all if he and CM are making calls being someone proactive. I still think McPhee is the main one holding us back. And I'm not sure this round in a few months will affect us. No one will be leaving the AAC unless the P12 goes in to TX, OK, or LA and all the TX schools in the AAC now literally just joined except for SMU. And we won't be in the AAC as long as Memphis is there, which by the way is just stupid.

And the B12 will most likely only take P12 schools as taking AAC schools would reduce the per school payout of the new deal.
I agree, I think McPhee was in reactive mode. I can only speculate as to if Massaro was proactive and vetoed by McPhee or not. Whatever the case, it may have been a day late and a dollar short, but someone shortly thereafter woke up and announced the facilities.

In my opinion, that late facilities announcement was enough for someone to be fired.

Neither am I confident that McPhee has some sort of guarantee or even a promise, but I do hope that he has been on the phone with suggestions that if you are formally moving on facilities, you should get a serious consideration.

If not AAC, then where? I'd kind of prefer SunBelt myself, but that bridge may have been burned. C-USA 3.0 might not be too bad in basketball, but it will still be the dregs in football. Judy as commish gives me zero confidence.
 

Sommy

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Best case scenario is that Memphis goes to another conference. Big 12 or Pac 12. Which I think could be very likely, since one conference will poach the other and the remaining conference will be forced to regroup and invite new members. Memphis is attractive enough to get a look. That would potentially open the door for MT.

Bottom line, and perhaps we finally realized it, but we need to do EVERYTHING possible (which I have no faith we will) right now to restore our brand so we get a look in 2-3 years when things shift around again.

We need to hire a new marketing firm right now to promote our image. Our marketing has been terrible. It will pay dividends if we get to a better conference, because CUSA is becoming a complete embarrassment with the replacement teams. It's clearly becoming the lowest conference.
 
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MidTennMtneer

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You mentioned marketing. Lee mentioned in the Q&A that while a name change isn't on the table, streamlining the brand and being consistent is. If they are for real, they really either need a marketing firm or at the minimum use the marketing students. Involve them in creating a campaign and way to showcase MT as well as even MTSU if they choose that route. I've said for years the athletic department has failed to use business students to their full advantage.
 
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AustinLewis

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I've said for years the athletic department has failed to use business students to their full advantage.
When I was a student at MT, I didn't feel like MT did a great job communicating on-campus work opportunities. That may have changed, however.
 

AustinLewis

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McPhee was in reactive mode. I can only speculate as to if Massaro was proactive and vetoed by McPhee or not. Whatever the case, it may have been a day late and a dollar short, but someone shortly thereafter woke up and announced the facilities.

In my opinion, that late facilities announcement was enough for someone to be fired.
Everything I've read, seen, or heard from McPhee re: athletics tells me that he doesn't get it.

It doesn't matter if you are "pro Stock" or in the "fire Stock" camp, McPhee doesn't get the AD isn't just any department on campus. It's not a really expensive PE program. It's the front porch to the university. And if your front porch is in shambles & needs an update, you update it. And Floyd needed to be updated 10-12 years ago.

It took getting left out of AAC for McPhee to realize this. And that's sad.
 

MidTennMtneer

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Everything I've read, seen, or heard from McPhee re: athletics tells me that he doesn't get it.

It doesn't matter if you are "pro Stock" or in the "fire Stock" camp, McPhee doesn't get the AD isn't just any department on campus. It's not a really expensive PE program. It's the front porch to the university. And if your front porch is in shambles & needs an update, you update it. And Floyd needed to be updated 10-12 years ago.

It took getting left out of AAC for McPhee to realize this. And that's sad.
I'm just gonna put this here again. This should be McPhee's coffee video every single morning.

Sad is right Austin.

 

MidTennMtneer

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When I was a student at MT, I didn't feel like MT did a great job communicating on-campus work opportunities. That may have changed, however.
I'd be surprised if it has. When I was there we used the media truck to do FB games. Taped and played following week on MT10. Back in the old days.

Now those students are used all the time for ESPN+. Abigail reported on the sideline every game, but she just graduated. Do they have a replacement? Probably not.
But there are soooo many other programs on campus that could help athletics.

It's a win win. Essentially free ideas as far as not paying an outside marketing etc firm. Experience for the students and having them be part of something like that can create that extra connection. One that will lead to donations down the line.

Win win. Sadly there are also probably a lot of professors that don't realize the importance of athletics just like McPhee.
 

dukewayne

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Everything I've read, seen, or heard from McPhee re: athletics tells me that he doesn't get it.

It doesn't matter if you are "pro Stock" or in the "fire Stock" camp, McPhee doesn't get the AD isn't just any department on campus. It's not a really expensive PE program. It's the front porch to the university. And if your front porch is in shambles & needs an update, you update it. And Floyd needed to be updated 10-12 years ago.

It took getting left out of AAC for McPhee to realize this. And that's sad.
The leadership of MT looked woefully unprepared and failed on a colossal scale with this latest round of realignment. It still boggles my mind in the degree that they looked unprepared and seemingly clueless.

It also makes me wonder about their relationships with leaders at peer institutions. Didn't they have any friends calling them saying we all are leaving, and why haven't you already publicly announced and promoted to the the other conferences your upcoming upcoming facilities upgrades??!

Maybe others tried and McPhee wasn't listening?? It's hard for me to get out of my head the words of a guy that personally knows McPhee. About a year or two ago he said almost out of the blue to me that McPhee doesn't know how to read a room. He said he seems almost oblivious to how upset and downright angry people are regarding the direction (or lack thereof) of the university. My paraphrase of course. The point I'm speculating here, maybe others tried to communicate to McPhee about the coming wave and he simply wasn't listening?? I can only speculate.

Again merely speculating here but perhaps M&M weren't listening due to being all-in with Judy on the whole let's all stop competing and all realign for the best geographic fit?? I actually think there is some validity to that argument of G5 types widely cooperating to realign across the board for best geographic fit. The problem is that the world doesn't always work that way. It's usually just not the reality. So if you are going to pursue that course, you better have a broad openness and support for that cause before you put all your eggs in that basket.
 
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SpaceRaider

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God's Country
I'm just gonna put this here again. This should be McPhee's coffee video every single morning.

Sad is right Austin.

That tweet is great for comparison when you have a football program winning championships or playing for championships and the impact of enrollment. At the time Saban was hired at Alabama and Stockstill at MT, enrollments were not too far apart. Now Alabama has 38k in students while enrollment at MT has dropped a few thousand over the same time period.

Of course there are other reasons at work for Alabama and MT going in opposite directions, but to me and others, it all starts at MT's 'front porch' (football/athletics) and the lack of leadership.
 

MTLynn

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Anyone paying attention should realize that stooge mcphee's objective is to turn MTSU into tsu-Murfreesboro (Meharry Fast-Track).

Everything else is either secondary or entirely unwanted (name change, law school, football excellence and athletics broadcast throughout the mid-state on WMOT).
 

AustinLewis

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I'd be surprised if it has. When I was there we used the media truck to do FB games. Taped and played following week on MT10. Back in the old days.

Now those students are used all the time for ESPN+. Abigail reported on the sideline every game, but she just graduated. Do they have a replacement? Probably not.
But there are soooo many other programs on campus that could help athletics.

It's a win win. Essentially free ideas as far as not paying an outside marketing etc firm. Experience for the students and having them be part of something like that can create that extra connection. One that will lead to donations down the line.

Win win. Sadly there are also probably a lot of professors that don't realize the importance of athletics just like McPhee.
I'll share my experience looking for a student / on-campus job at MT. When I first arrived on-campus, I went around and visited various offices in the athletic office (I enjoy sports, went to MT because of MT FB, and now have a graduate degree in Sport Science) and was basically told "no, we leave our student jobs for our student-athletes."

I understand why. Having your student-athletes work on campus in your department is a great way of making sure they don't violate NCAA rules.

FWIW, I'm not hurt. Not angry.

I made it to the final round of a job with Apple. Dream job. Dream company for me. And didn't get it. I just bought another MacBook. And iPad.

And because I didn't get the job at Apple, another door open (and a pretty cool door at that).

Just sharing my experience.
 

AustinLewis

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I'm just gonna put this here again. This should be McPhee's coffee video every single morning.

Sad is right Austin.

The book Saturday Millionaire's by Kristi Dosh addresses this very point. Great book. Backed up with REAL data.

Alabama, the state of Alabama's flagship university, has improved in almost every conceivable metric because of Nick Saban's success. Academic perception is up. Admission requirements are up. Out of state enrollment has skyrocketed.

This is going to shock some folks :

People like to win.

Ya'll be prepared for UTK enrollment to skyrocket with the GameDay environment and UT trending upward again (or so it seems).
 

JohnDavidBlue

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I listened to the board meetings for a while and through that, realized who we are.

https://www.mtsu.edu/boardoftrustees/meetings/273/2022-11-15

From 11-15 board meeting...go to the 1:18 mark. I think some of these numbers have been discussed on this forum.

No questions or anything about the tv contract from the board at all. The only question from the video renders were "are there pathways to the stadium" referring to the hotel.

I just don't think Mcphee really cares. That's my impression.
 
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MTLynn

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I just don't think Mcphee really cares. That's my impression.
For stooge mcphee to stick around for 20 years, he must have some juicy incentives.

Perhaps he gets healthy kickbacks influencing games.

As in the Army game, when the team is in scoring position, stuckstill lets the clock run out, resulting in a scoreless first half.

Or every vanderbilt game under stuckstill.

Or Kermit's last game. The game was pathetic. Kermit didn't coach.
 

MidTennMtneer

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I listened to the board meetings for a while and through that, realized who we are.

https://www.mtsu.edu/boardoftrustees/meetings/273/2022-11-15

From 11-15 board meeting...go to the 1:18 mark. I think some of these numbers have been discussed on this forum.

No questions or anything about the tv contract from the board at all. The only question from the video renders were "are there pathways to the stadium" referring to the hotel.

I just don't think Mcphee really cares. That's my impression.
CM seriously said when negotiating the media contract "we took the attitude that if the revenue is flat, that could be a win".

We were the lowest FBS conference! He even said we got a 70% increase. And he was ok with the old amount?!

I do agree. Seems McPhee and the board don't consider athletics a priority. I've said before I blame less and less on CM but that remark, man.

New SAPC looks great though.
 

DisgruntledAlum

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CM seriously said when negotiating the media contract "we took the attitude that if the revenue is flat, that could be a win".

We were the lowest FBS conference! He even said we got a 70% increase. And he was ok with the old amount?!

I do agree. Seems McPhee and the board don't consider athletics a priority. I've said before I blame less and less on CM but that remark, man.

New SAPC looks great though.
Same design or has there been any new changes to the SAP
 

DisgruntledAlum

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Side note, I wonder if the school has considered selling naming rights to help generate funds. I realize any deal would not be lucrative, considering, but thinking along line of any money is better than no money.

Murphy Center would generate more than Floyd, since we are a basketball school now.
 
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MidTennMtneer

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Side note, I wonder if the school has considered selling naming rights to help generate funds. I realize any deal would not be lucrative, considering, but thinking along line of any money is better than no money.

Murphy Center would generate more than Floyd, since we are a basketball school now.
CM said the weight room and SAPC atrium have been named by benefactors. I dare say they'll name anything anyone is willing to give $ for.

I know Nissan is major NFL $, but I find it weird they don't sponsor anything for the college in the county where their plant is located. They do college as they are huge Heisman sponsors. Not even a sponsor sign in the stadium or on the graphics boards.
 
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MTLynn

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I know Nissan is major NFL $, but I find it weird they don't sponsor anything for the college in the county where their plant is located. They do college as they are huge Heisman sponsors. Not even a sponsor sign in the stadium or on the graphics boards.
Everything seems to be geared toward suppressing the football program since athletics were removed from WMOT.
 

MidTennMtneer

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Everything seems to be geared toward suppressing the football program since athletics were removed from WMOT.
While I see that sentiment, honestly I think it is more of neglect than suppressing.

And I think McPhee sees it has been neglected, and therefore we are spending $ for BuildBlue, but I think he still sees it as a reactive move. I don't think he has any thoughts nor does he have any idea of how of being proactive when it comes to athletics.
 

Sommy

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McPhee is a terrible leader and Massaro has given up. I blame them both. If they weren't both aligned, then one of them would have left a while ago.

Imagine in your job your boss was consistently running a bad program, giving you no support and you saw the image of the work you are responsible for dwindle to practically nothing. If you had an ounce of self respect and believe in a different vision, you would leave and go to greener pastures. This is why I think Massaro has just been going along with it, not pushing the issue. He's fine with it or he would quit and go somewhere else. The problem is he stayed too long and now his personal image is tarnished and would likely have to move down to a lesser AD job. So he stays.

What are the realistic options for either one of them leaving anytime soon? Will McPhee ever leave? How much longer? I would think a new President would fire Massaro in a heartbeat. And if McPhee stayed and a new AD came in, he might have a little motivation to push back on McPhee at least with some different ideas.
 

Sommy

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I know Nissan is major NFL $, but I find it weird they don't sponsor anything for the college in the county where their plant is located. They do college as they are huge Heisman sponsors. Not even a sponsor sign in the stadium or on the graphics boards.
100% put that on Massaro. It's his responsibility to recognize and convert on these things. You can't blame McPhee for that.

It's mind boggling they can't get anything out of Nissan, being right there. Massaro is old school, low energy guy.
 
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MidTennMtneer

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Why do you suppose that athletics were taken off of WMOT?
Learfield I'm betting. WMOT isn't a contract station.

Granted that is on the owners of the station, MT itself, but it wouldn't surprise me if there are some contract things there preventing the station from becoming a Learfield affiliate. And they are literally the only college firm and handle more than just the radio broadcasts.
 
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dukewayne

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McPhee is a terrible leader and Massaro has given up. I blame them both. If they weren't both aligned, then one of them would have left a while ago.

Imagine in your job your boss was consistently running a bad program, giving you no support and you saw the image of the work you are responsible for dwindle to practically nothing. If you had an ounce of self respect and believe in a different vision, you would leave and go to greener pastures. This is why I think Massaro has just been going along with it, not pushing the issue. He's fine with it or he would quit and go somewhere else. The problem is he stayed too long and now his personal image is tarnished and would likely have to move down to a lesser AD job. So he stays.

What are the realistic options for either one of them leaving anytime soon? Will McPhee ever leave? How much longer? I would think a new President would fire Massaro in a heartbeat. And if McPhee stayed and a new AD came in, he might have a little motivation to push back on McPhee at least with some different ideas.
It seems MT imported the ok with mediocrity attitude from South Carolina. The difference, state flagship university where people still attend games and the big $EC paycheck. So it was acceptable to a number of people to coast with mediocrity.
 

DisgruntledAlum

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He's fine with it or he would quit and go somewhere else. The problem is he stayed too long and now his personal image is tarnished and would likely have to move down to a lesser AD job. So he stays.
I'd rather be successful at a lesser school vs staying here and being known as the guy that helped kill it.
 
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dukewayne

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The mediocrity starts at the top and trickles down.
Oh yea, I definitely think this problem comes from "leaders" much higher up the food chain. I was just commenting on the seeming nature or culture of Mediocre-Massaro and Coach500 seeming easily and comfortably settling into long term acceptance of mediocrity right here at MT. Moral of the story type thing for future reference; be careful when considering hiring people with a substantial history where mediocrity was accepted or even embraced.

Ultimately though I was agreeing with and supporting Sommy's supposition that I have also believed for a long time. I don't know how a person in Massaro's or even Coach500's shoes could stay in place long term if his values and vision were so misaligned with the higher up leadership. It's possible if other motivating factors were more of a driving force to that individual such as maybe money or geographic location. I would only be speculating at that point though. As you, I, and most of us know, these threads are full of exactly that type of speculation. You know, the type of speculation that I've been known to dabble in a little myself.

To me, the bigger question that might be relevant: Were or are high level leadership hiring people from places like South Carolina deliberately due to the history of accepting mediocrity that seems built into that culture? I just don't have or know any inside information to provide a clear answer to that question, but I do think it is a good question.
 

ewglenn

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McPhee is a terrible leader and Massaro has given up. I blame them both. If they weren't both aligned, then one of them would have left a while ago.

Imagine in your job your boss was consistently running a bad program, giving you no support and you saw the image of the work you are responsible for dwindle to practically nothing. If you had an ounce of self respect and believe in a different vision, you would leave and go to greener pastures. This is why I think Massaro has just been going along with it, not pushing the issue. He's fine with it or he would quit and go somewhere else. The problem is he stayed too long and now his personal image is tarnished and would likely have to move down to a lesser AD job. So he stays.

What are the realistic options for either one of them leaving anytime soon? Will McPhee ever leave? How much longer? I would think a new President would fire Massaro in a heartbeat. And if McPhee stayed and a new AD came in, he might have a little motivation to push back on McPhee at least with some different ideas.
Today is my last day for my current employer for this exact scenario.
 

MTLynn

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Learfield I'm betting. WMOT isn't a contract station.

Granted that is on the owners of the station, MT itself, but it wouldn't surprise me if there are some contract things there preventing the station from becoming a Learfield affiliate. And they are literally the only college firm and handle more than just the radio broadcasts.

There isn't a radio station that is better than WMOT.

In light of this, I find it inconceivable that the administration could be so incompetent as to unknowingly hire a marketing firm that has to replace WMOT with far lesser stations.

This is corruption. Subversion. Sabotage.