Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why FCS Schools Need To Be Very Concerned About Full Cost Of Attendance

Start getting used to the term "full cost of attendance", or, as many who are obsessed about college sports are calling it, "FCOA".

In January, the eighty schools of the "Power 5" FBS football conferences voted 79-1 to allow its members to offer additional money above the cost of a scholarship - up to the "full cost of attendance" of the school.

It's been legislation that the "Power 5" schools have wanted to enact for years, surviving an embarrassing legislative loss when the rest of the NCAA's membership voted in 2011 against the original proposal crafted by NCAA president Mark Emmert and many members of the Power 5 leadership.

It led to the Power 5 asking for autonomy over the rest of the NCAA's membership to all them to enact their own legislation for themselves, without a vote by the rest of the membership.  

Now, as the Power 5 wanted all along, FCOA is here.

Sadly, it's still every bit as complicated - and unbalancing - as the many critics of FCOA feared.  And at the FCS level, it seems like the strategy is to simply hope and pray that nobody decides to implement it for their own athletic departments.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Who Will Open Lehigh's Football Schedule in 2016?

It all started when I heard that the three-time defending FCS champions, North Dakota State, are looking for a new home opener in 2016.

"NDSU is back in the business of looking for a football game," the post says.  "That’s after the news we broke yesterday that Western Carolina had bought out of its 2016 date in Fargo, instead scheduling a game against East Carolina for September 3rd, 2016. NDSU was scheduled to host WCU on September 1st."

Any good Lehigh fan might then ask: are the Mountain Hawks available for a game in Fargo on the first weekend of September in 2016?

The official answer is we don't know, because Lehigh hasn't officially posted a 2015 football schedule yet, let alone a 2016 schedule.

But that doesn't stop us at Lehigh Football Nation from taking a peek at potential foes for a 2016 road opener - including some exciting names.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Lehigh's Class of 2019 Announced - The Full Story of Signing Day Now Told

What a day.

Signing Day has become an event across the nation, and for Lehigh it's no less of a celebration than anywhere else in the country.

People dressed as Teletubbies, people brought their dogs, and there was even suspense.  (And that was just on my Twitter timeline.)

Lehigh announced a mammoth-sized class - an eye-popping array of 31 names - with recruits coming from the Big Sky, California, the South, and our local area of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, too.

I tried to tell the story through the many links and pictures on my timeline via Storify.

Enjoy it all below the flip.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Tone Deafness of Penn State President Eric Barron Is Deafening

New Penn State President Eric Barron (Nabil K. Mark, AP)/Morning Call
Penn State president Eric Barron certainly made an impression yesterday.

A few months ago, Barron said he would review the Freeh report, the one requested by Penn State's board of Trustees in the wake of the revelations against Gerald Sandusky and was used by the NCAA as a justification for unprecedented sanctions against the university.

Evidently, his report is in.

Today, he said that the Freeh report "very clearly paints a picture about every student, every faculty member, every staff member and every alum. And it's absurd. It's unwarranted. So from my viewpoint, the Freeh Report is not useful to make decisions."

His tone deaf comments continued.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of shoes that have to drop. You could argue that public opinion has found us guilty before the criminal trials," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind what was completely and totally wrong was the notion that this entire alumni base, our students, our faculty, our staff, got the blame for what occurred."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Terror In Europe Hits Close To Home

I know what it's like.

I know what it's like to be living in a city where terror lives and breathes, a place where terrorists do plenty to put civilians in harm's way.

More than ever this is the scene playing out in Paris, London, Brussels and other places in Europe following the Charlie Hebdo murders these last couple of weeks, with word of hacked websites, copycat crimes, police crackdowns and foiled terrorist plots.

But these are not unique times.

As an American who lived abroad in the late 1970s and 1980s, I was there, too.  I know what it's like.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Message to FCS Schools: The Playoff Experience Is What You Make Of It

When you think of FCS playoff success in the 2010s, you have to think of the most successful current program playing FCS football over the last four years: North Dakota State.

The Bison's three national championships speak for themselves, and if you count their impressive playoff run in 2010 as well, their four-year record in the playoffs is as impressive as Youngstown State's and Appalachian State's runs in the last thirty years.

In 2011, the Lehigh football team saw the Thunder Dome (or, if you prefer, the FargoDome) up close, and saw what home advantage can do in the playoffs.  The 24-0 win wasn't the most impressive performance by the Bison ever in the postseason.  However, the hallmarks of the North Dakota State home-field advantage, in the form of false starts and timeouts for the visiting team, were very evident in Lehigh's gameplay that afternoon.

Today I'm taking a look at the process of determining seeds and bids to the FCS playoffs, and I found a system where a different schools have different expectations of the what the playoffs can offer.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Saw All Of Division I Football Break Into Cliques

You may remember the genius of Groucho Marx, the bespectacled Marx Brother with the grease-painted eyebrows and mustache.  One of my all-time favorite films, Horse Feathers, featured Groucho, Harpo, and Chico on the football field (actually the Rose Bowl), representing their "school" in a particularly important game.

But it's a particular quote of his that seems to summarize Division I football perfectly, at both the FCS and FBS levels.

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

Division I has never truly been a large tent of equal schools.  It was a division that counted as members Texas (whose athletic budget is as large as some small nations), Mississippi Valley State (whose entire athletics budget is about the size of what the University of Texas pays for socks for its athletes) and Marist (who doesn't even spend any money on athletics scholarships for its football athletes).

But 2014 was a year of true soul-searching in athletics, where a whole lot of schools decided they didn't want to belong to the Division I club that accepts them as members.