Originally Posted by EastVanMark
Yes, you are correct that US schools get money from broadcast deals and sponsorship. However, if they were to join the NCAA, they too would get a slice of that money so that would not be a big issue.
Also, you cannot compare the local schools to ones in the US that have been collecting huge money for over a century now. And BTW, those schools' athletics programs support themselves and don't touch a penny from tuition revenues and in fact as i pointed out earlier, some even contribute money to non athletic aspects of the schools.
For a Canadian CIS school, they would aim to be a mid-card level of athletic program to compete with such schools such as Boise State, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho etc. In no way, shape, or form would they ever dream about competing with Florida, USC or Ohio State in either football or basketball. However, for sports such as hockey, UBC at least with their sparkling new facility, would be able to step right in and be a national championship competitor.
With all that being said, it would still be better for Canadian schools to help create a better CIS rather than becoming just another program among the 100's found in the NCAA. But when the powers that be at the CIS refuse, then they have little alternative. When the shitty NCAA Div. 2 becomes an alternative for you, then that tells you all you need to know about the current state of post secondary athletics in this country.
And yes, a system such as the one found in Australia would also work just fine in developing better athletes, but I would wonder which politician would want to be the one to stick his/her head in the proverbial political noose to request the millions needed to fund such a program.
As an American and something of a student of the business of collegiate Athletics in the US, I think this is a really, REALLY bad idea for SFU and UBC short term (5-20 years); potentially a decent idea long term (30+ years).
DI Hockey only, OK. That would be Pretty good if you could get in. Everything else just sounds really, really bad.
Division II is crap level American competition. No one follows it. The travel will likely be worse than it is in CIS = more expensive.
The schools may be successes at that level but the cold reality is no one cares about that level of competition on either side of the border.
Financially, it is not likely that either school will make a profit or even break even at that level. You don't make the NCAA tourney playing at DII, which means you don't make money in Basketball. Now schools like West Texas A&M draw 10-20K for football games and do a fair job of breaking even/making a profit at the DII level, but your footprint will be bigger and I question whether UBC can draw even 10K to watch a US football game.
Playing Dixie State or Emporia State is not going to bring the fans out in Canada and name US DI schools aren't chomping at the bit to play DII schools that are nearby --- let alone those in foreign countries. Strength of schedule is important in basketball and playing DII schools drops your strength of schedule --- something that could keep a bubble team (say a big name school like Washington or California or even a dog like Idaho) out of the NCAA tournament --- how NCAA DI schools make money in Basketball.
Now in a best case scenario after say 25 years, moving up from DII to full scholarship DI, and spending literally $300M+ of todays dollars on sports MAYBE SFU and UBC could be good candidates for PAC 10 membership --- but that includes HUGE assumptions --- the first being that your move to DII doesn't kill your athletics programs.
Stay in the CIS. Raise hell to reform CIS. Don't give up on Candian sports. With some simple reforms the CIS could be a more consistently profitable for most of it's members than the NCAA is for it's members.
People look at the NCAA Division I FBS/FCS models and think it is 100% profit for all member schools. This is not the case. Sports are run as loss leaders in the US to advertise universities. NCAA Division I schools do generate huge revenues and alumni contributions, but the business model is absolutely garbage and most of those universities spend more than they make. There is no indication that the NCAA has any desire to make financial solvency for the majority of their members' athletic programs one of their future goals.
The top 20 or so schools at the DI FBS BCS level (football with 85 scholarships+ tons of sports offered) draw 60-110K fans per game and are mostly profitable based off of those enormous gate revenues, TV numbers those fan bases generate, and BCS and large football bowl game revenue. Their athletic budgets range between $65-110M per year. The middle to lower half of FBS BCS schools draw mostly from 35-60K (with annual athletic bugets in the $35M-$65M range) and are spending money beyond their ability to take it in to keep up with the top schools. They are losing money, but their universities spend the money to make up the shortfall to stay in the public eye and retain their affiliation with the BCS powers.
Schools in the Division I FBS who aren't members of the BCS still have to offer the same number of sports and the same number of football scholarships, but their attendances range from 7K to 44K. (Their athletic budget generally range from 10 -40M annually). These schools are chasing BCS membership so they have to continuously pump money into their facilities to try to make their programs seems BCS quality. The middle to top end of the Non-BCS level COULD be financially profitable, but because of this race to get into the BCS (or at least move into better conferences with more TV money) they often are not.
Schools in the Division I FCS level (0-65 football scholarships) have smaller expenses with budgets ranging from $2-$23M. Their football attendances range from 2K per game to 22K. They are NCAA Tourney afterthoughts. They generally don't have FBS or BCS dreams so the top 5-10 programs are profitable, but those that are usually profitable off of large football attendance. Additionally, the playoffs at the FCS level are financial losers, costing more money than they bring in. I cannot see either Canadian school drawing 15-22K a week for football that profitablilty at the FCS level requires.
Division I-AAA (non football) is a more reasonable option. Your costs to become a top I-AAA school would amount to building up a $12-25M per year athletic budget. Maybe you could talk the privates-only WCC into letting you play in their conference if you had say a $20M budget as a (non-football) basketball school as an (academically) high profile add?
Now would the CIS let you keep football in the CIS in that scenario? Would you want to?
Division II is a lot cheaper than any of the above. You can play with athletic budgets in the 2-4M range, but again, no one cares. Athletics are in many ways a means of putting your best foot forward. If UBC wants to be known in the US as a peer to Dixie State, then go ahead. I will say, I am shocked that the University leadership is allowing their athletic leadership to make plans to drag down their brand like this.
Just a really, REALLY bad idea, IMO.
IMO, UBC, SFU, and the other two universities need to be a lot smarter about this and rather than insisting on scholarships accross the board --- as if that is some kind of magic bullet that will suddenly dramatically improve all candian athletics to the NCAA level and bring out huge fan attendance and university endowments--- they need to instead be pushing for a more modest and a lot less expensive option --- IMO, full scholarship CIS men's basketball only. Pushing for 100+ scholarships to be added to the bill of every CIS school with an expectation of success is totally unreasonable. Adding 10-12 scholarships with the potential that the sport may pay for them in short order and potentially yeild a profit, may be a lot easier sell.
IMO, there are only 3* cash sports potentially available at the CIS level: Canadian football, Hockey, and Basketball. (And IMO Canada has too many Hockey competitors for CIS hockey to become a TV sport or uniformly well attended). Looking at the CIS site, CF and BB appear to be the best attended sports at the CIS level as well as having the best TV potential (IMO. CF in the CIS is by far the most popular sport. Ignoring outliers like Laval, Toronto, and York, CIS CF programs generally draw in the 2K to 8K range in Canada, while other CIS sports top out in the hundreds per game. There are no Canadian pro or semi-pro basketball leagues competing for TV dollars).
Basketball is a lot cheaper to ramp up than football and likely might have better TV legs. Even at the 2nd tier US basketball schools (say #15-80 out of the 340 DI BB programs) most of those basketball programs expenses range from $2-8M. In Canada, with the smaller scale of arenas and their costs, non-scholarship women's basketball, smaller coaching staffs, and lower staff salaries (even after a CIS BB upgrade), that number might TOP out at 1/4 to 1/3 of that annual outlay. It is a very workable scale for canadian athletics to begin a transformation to a breakeven financial model.
* Edit: Down the road scholarship CIS BASEBALL might be a real winner. For today there simply is not enough fan potential to make it the CIS's signature sport.