Skip to main content

Water Cooler: The Collegiate Cash Drop

Sometimes, I wonder what I'm going to write about the world of FCS on a Friday afternoon.

But then, an idea drops in from out of the sky.

Almost literally.

That's after I discovered, thanks to Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated,  of Georgia State's effort to buy fans get students and fans to show up at a football game featuring a nationally-ranked opponent in FCS facing off against your 0-5 team.

That's to have - get this - a halftime drop of cash.

The Facebook promotion to my left is no joke.  No joke at all.  At halftime, Georgia's Own Credit Union is going to be dropping $10,000 cash from the rafters in order to booster attendance at their game against nationally-ranked New Hampshire this weekend.

It's probably not the dumbest idea in all of sports, but it's certainly up there.

This sort of promotion has been tried before - in minor league baseball, where a cash drop of a much, much smaller scale ended up with a boy being hospitalized.

Today we hear about another harebrained promotion, one that ended badly over the weekend—the West Michigan Whitecaps dropped $1,000 from a helicopter and had kids on the field scramble for the money. Predictably, one 7-year-old boy ended up in hospital after being trampled. Team officials don’t even sound fazed. Says one coolly: “It’s for fun and games. This is why we have everybody sign a waiver.”
One can only imagine the potential issues from a drop from the rooftops of the Georgia Dome, with college students (ostensibly) in attendance.  (Let's hope they sign a waiver.)

Mr. Staples had a different question:
I was curious as to whether Georgia State basketball post players, who would have an obvious cash-grabbing advantage because of their height, wingspan and leaping ability, could participate given the NCAA's rules against extra benefits. So I asked John Infante, a former athletic department compliance officer and the author of the essential Bylaw Blog, for an interpretation. Infante wrote that since the cash drop is open to any student, then it would not qualify as an extra benefit for a Georgia State athlete. To all those grabbing for the cash, good luck in the scrum.
What's a bit more troubling, though, is the idea that Georgia State feels like they need to rely on dangerous gimmicks to boost their attendance numbers.

The Panthers, in their last year in the powerful CAA, are starting the transition to the non-BCS world of bowl football starting next season, eventually to end up in the Sun Belt Conference.

At least part of Georgia State's case for moving up to FBS involved their market, according to a blog posting by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when the Panthers' FBS feasibility study came out:

Because the university has more than 30,000 students, more than $16 million of its $22 million in the revenues listed in the report come from student  fees. He said that financial support is an important plus, outweighing the barbs of those who have asked why Georgia State would conduct the study so soon after starting football. Athletic director Cheryl Levick has declined to comment on the study.

“The quality of competition doesn’t matter at all,” she said. “The market drives it more than the on-the-field product.”

 Evidently it's a market that, um, hasn't really caught on to the delights of Georgia State football. 

While the (often-ignored) attendance minimum to become an FBS school is 15,000, Georgia State's last game at the Georgia Dome drew 9,476 - not a bad number for FCS, but well under the amount the NCAA "requires".

That 0-5 Georgia State feels showering their students with cash to attend games is not an image that will leave the Panthers easily as they enter the world of FBS.  In fact, it's such a bad idea it seems to transcend the promotion and highlight the sheer madness of it all.  I mean, who wants to play the team whose attendance was so bad they had to pay the students to come, almost literally?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…