Friday, March 30, 2012

The WAC is drifting away

Travis Detheridge in The Longhorn (the Texas Arlington student newspaper) has a column up all about the present and future of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Do take a read as TA is waiting for any other shoes to drop and not exactly expecting a lengthy stay.

It's fairly certain that Utah State and San Jose State are next in line to exit, at least in regards to the MWC, whose Commissioner Craig Thompson didn't recently trip to Logan and San Jose for recreational purposes.

The unknown is when.

PTW's bias (or inelasticity, take your pick) is eternally looking through basketball-colored goggles when it's football that hogs the driver's seat and owns the fast lane.

We want to see New Mexico State basketball and Idaho hoops come along and also want to view how Coach Mike White continues to resurrect his Louisiana Tech program. However, it does make geographical and financial and therefore undeniable sense -- since operating costs are only going to rise -- for schools to adapt into more regional territory alliances.

One matter we always find odd (please send along an explanation if one exists) is the offering of a large television market as a prerequisite for interest. The WAC added Seattle and Denver for basketball, a pair of good sized population centers but a key question is just who (or really how many) people in those areas will be watching games on television, therefore being subject to the advertising? Or even showing up in person? We are unaware of any Chieftain or Pioneer hoops mania in circulation, not even as startups.

Also, there are surely a number of reasons for the disparity but why the cavernous difference between base salaries for Steve Alford at New Mexico ($1,089,000) and Marvin Menzies at New Mexico State ($280,500)?

Yes, the former has a more storied history (alongside some NCAA warts) but each falls into the category of one of the two top state educational institutions in the Land of Enchantment. Is there more state money pipelined to Albuquerque than Las Cruces? The former has 887,000 in population according to the last census while the latter is around 100,000, 200,000 in the surrounding county -- so is it simply the difference in the surrounding fanbase? New Mexico draws around 14,500 a game versus less than half that for the Aggies so there's a major money differential. Anything else? Inquiring minds would like to know.


J.D. Benavidez said...

Most of us from Cruces will say Albuquerque gets all the state government benefits. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. But that is the perception.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that the "former has a storied NCAA history. UNM has never advanced past their second game in the NCAA tournament. Their BUILDING has a storied NCAA history, thanks to North Carolina State and the late Jim Valvano, but the Lobos have never lived up to their hype.

Anonymous said...

UNM is the flagship university for the state. Everyone wants to be a Lobo.

Anonymous said...

Denver drew 5,000 fans per game last year at Magness Arena.