ricohill wrote: ↑
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:47 am
There are several issue with moving up to FBS.
First, Illinois State athletics since Zenger left can't raise any money. It would take real vision and leadership from the University President (nothing against Dietz, but he won't be here when this happens) and the athletic director. I don't think Dietz has any interest in this and our current AD has accomplished just about zero of the projects he wanted since he go here. So you need real change there.
Second, I don't think ISU can support FBS football. They can't draw now for FCS football or D1 basketball. You might get more interest if you bring in a Big Ten team (highly unlikely), but how many more people will show up for a game against Akron?
Third, the visibility of being a low level FBS schools brings you nothing except dept. So many of these FBS schools lose money every year. Your success in basketball is tied to how much money you spend on basketball and there is statistical data to prove that based on budgets of the teams that make the tournament. ISU is near the bottom in spending in the MVC and in the middle nationally.
I'm not in the completely drop football group, but I certainly don't want to sacrifice the resources of basketball for a football program that has had one random run to the FCS championship and not much success before or after.
Now if ISU brought in a dynamic AD and that person cleaned house to bring in real fundraisers, maybe ISU could become an NDSU or SDSU, but we are miles away from even being at their level with fundraising, facilities, and consistent success.
I don't have any inside information at all. I just watch some programs with interest here in my local area. Appalachian State jumped to FBS a few years ago and has had pretty decent success. They came very, very close to knocking off Penn State in Happy Valley this year and Miami visited the App State stadium a year or two ago. If you have ever been to Boone, NC (I have) it is really, really, really small. That they got the U of Miami to travel to their place was shocking to me. App State got smoked that year but still, a P5 program decided to travel to their stadium...why I still don't know. The big difference is that the App State program was a top-notch FCS program year in and year out and the fan base is rabid support.
I live right next to Old Dominion University and they also made the jump to FBS a few years ago but with less success than App State. The ODU team made a bowl game a couple years ago (Bahamas Bowl) but the past two years have been lean ones. The big news this year was Virginia Tech visiting the ODU campus. ODU knocked Tech off that day and it is still a mystery as to how they managed that. ODU has dumped money into the football program that they just brought back in 2009. Before that ODU was known as a basketball school, mainly women's basketball. Frankly, the addition of FBS football has brought back some interest to the school and they got quite a bit of national coverage for the upset of Tech. Has the investment paid off for the school? They seem to think so. The fanbase is pretty solid. While the team was consistently winning the stands were packed and you had a difficult time finding a ticket. With the wins getting fewer and farther between it is not the hardest ticket to find anymore.
What does all this mean for the Redbirds? Nothing really but I would say that the possibility of a P5 team coming to Hancock to play the Birds is not outside of reality. I do think the lack of fundraising at ISU is the biggest detriment. If you cant build an indoor facility in over 5 years while the team is doing well...I would not even consider it a possibility to move to FBS. All the schools that made the jump had to invest in facilities.
One last thing...the population of Boone, NC is less than 20,000. The population of Normal is less than 55,000. The population of Bloomington is just under 78,0000 and there is really nothing else around Boone for quite a distance. The enrollment at App State is about 17,000 and ISU has an enrollment of around 21,000. App State does not have a large population to draw on but it has shown it can be done but you have to be committed to it and fund it. I don't believe the powers that be at ISU are either of these, committed or willing to fund it. I like FCS football myself so I don't mind the Birds staying put but just commit and fund at this level. That is not happening or we would not be discussing the indoor facility...it would already be built!