May 24 / Todd

Last Post on Realignment*

With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Rob thankfully pointed out earlier this week that JMU will, in fact, be taking the field for football this fall regardless of their future conference affiliation.  At least for me, it was a great wake-up call.  The last two summers, once the final out of the baseball season was recorded, we’ve struggled to post for May and June.  In the end, we’ve enjoyed ourselves immensely with serious debates over Luigi’s vs. Gus’ and Puddleduck against everything circa 1997.  And of course, we’ve spaced out posts over the summer previewing the Dukes upcoming gridiron opponents and occassionally other high-profile FCS programs.

Needless to say, this year we’ve had no trouble finding content or wading into controversial, and purely speculative, opinion pieces.  And while the pageviews are nice and we’re glad our 11 readers seem to be enjoying a lively comments section, the truth is we’re both a little over all of this conference talk.  JMU appears screwed for the time-being.  And everytime I hear some report from some podunk paper on Twitter announcing some ridiculous, barely accredited “university” is under consideration for the CAA it makes me want to vomit (actually it makes me want to cry a little but I just didn’t want to admit that).  So that said, we’re just going to bring up one more point to consider and then hopefully move on for a few weeks in the absence of new hard news about JMU’s future.

We’ve covered financial risk, media markets, travel insanity, the medium and long term college football landscape, our alternating hatred and jealously of ODU, and of course the “academic standards” email we all got from JMU’s AD Jeff Bourne.  And really, “academics” is the last bastion of the true scalawag when you’ve already told your constiutency you’ve been actively looking to move to FBS.

But I got to spend last weekend hanging out with our one “insider” friend from JMU.  And she got me thinking about something I really hadn’t considered in all this craziness.  ODU is joining CUSA.  CUSA does not even sponsor four of ODU’s current sports, including long-time ODU strongsuits Wrestling and Field Hockey.  I have no idea what ODU is planning to do with their orphaned sports (drop them, ineffectively beg to keept them in the CAA, move them to some two-bit nonsense conferece like the Big South) and I really don’t care.  And the truth of the matter is I probably wouldn’t care for JMU either if we were in that position.  But it is kind of insane to think about that.  Even when considering the MAC, there’s no doubt for some of JMU’s sports, that conference would actually be a HUGE step backwards in terms of national credibility.  And that’s just for the sports they actually have.  Our soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and track programs have all enjoyed very solid “high mid-major” status.  So while after further consideration, I’m just not sure I can buy the academics argument, this is definitely another fly in the ointment of my best-laid FBS plans and it nearly brings us back to where we were at this time last year: Be Careful What You Wish For

*Last post on realignment – for a little while.


8 Comments

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  1. Dukie95 / May 25 2012

    I didn’t think academics was used as an excuse for any action or non-action by JMU.

    “There are numerous examples of CAA schools whose values closely align with those of JMU. This list includes, among others, such institutions as William & Mary, Delaware and George Mason. These are schools with which we choose to be aligned because they share our commitment to academics and excellence in all sports, not just one or two”

    While I do agree that there’s a lot of “be careful what you wish for” here – when one considers all sports – but I don’t think it’s fair to say that JMU is using academics as an excuse.

  2. hi / May 25 2012

    If a sport that no one watches takes a “huge step back in national credibility”, does it matter? I’m sure ODU would love to drop whatever sports they’d have to drop due to those sports generating no money or audience in the first place.

  3. LD / May 25 2012

    We never played football against them while I was in school. There basketball team was mostly decent while ours sucked. I don’t consider them an academic rival so at the end of the day if we lose a women’s basketball rival good. The easier for us to get to the dance the better.

    ODU is not even ranked by USNew College rankings. JMU is #6 in the south.

    I don’t know what that means except that I just don’t give a sh*t about them staying or leaving…

  4. DukeFan91 / May 25 2012

    Is it still a big step backwards for those sports if a couple more schools leave? Comparing the CAA across the board today to these other conferences has some value, but what we really need to be considering is what is the CAA going to look like ina few years?

    Frankly, the one program that pulls money out of my pocket (and quite a bit of it too) is the football program. This may not be PC but I frankly don’t give a crap about the women’s lacrosse team or the men’s soccer team or the swimming and diving team.

    Being fourth fiddle in Virginia (or worse if Liberty jumps) will leave us in a pretty bad spot recruiting-wise. If the football team stagnates, my interest will wane and before you know it, I’ll have something better to do on Saturday afternoons (note the empty yellow seats in the Convo for the men’s hoops games and compare it to the heyday of the late 80’s / early 90’s).

    That’s the potential for apathy the administration ought to be thinking about. Not many people join the Duke Club for the Track and Field team.

  5. LD / May 29 2012

    Will JMUSportsBlog be in attendance for the US national team vs Brazil on wed night???

  6. Rob / May 29 2012

    Don’t think so LD. You making the trip up? If they play anything like they did on Saturday, I could regret not getting tix.

  7. LD / May 30 2012

    Can’t do it. Would love to go but need to get my couch and DVR ready for Euro 2012.

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