Good article on Western Kentucky’s move up to the FBS level in USA Today here. Key points:
But the school must pony up. Going from 63 football scholarships to the FBS cap of 85 will cost close to $370,000 annually. Coach David Elson’s salary is going from $195,000 this season to $250,000 in 2009, and he gets three additional full-time assistants. Summer-school expenses are rising by close to $500,000. Two or three team charter flights a season, at $150,000 a pop, will increase travel costs.
The football budget has jumped from $2.4 million in 2006 to $4.6 million this year, and Selig projects it will rise by an additional 27% — to $5.8 million — by the 2012 season.
Still, the climb is decidedly steep. Western Kentucky’s football outlay remains meager by FBS standards. Southeastern Conference member Kentucky has budgeted a little more than $11 million for the sport this year. Alabama will spend about $18 million.
Throughout this mini-series, I’ve taken a brief look at a number of components that would factor into a move to FBS. We’ve discussed the pros and the cons of leaving the FCS level. I think the entire argument can be boiled down to this:
Being a Big Fish in a Little Pond (Staying in FCS) or being a Little Fish in a Big Pond (Moving to FBS).
Even after exploring this issue, I’m still so torn on the decision. I think one of the biggest reasons I struggle with making a decision is because of how passionate I am about Appalachian.
As an alum, I’ve always felt that attending Appalachian made me a bit unique. Growing up in North Carolina, your sports page is jammed with news about Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest and to a lesser extent, East Carolina. Going somewhere different was one of the reasons I chose Appalachian. On that same note, I’ve always felt like being an Appalachian fan made me unique. Following Appalachian through a playoff run is something that fans of other football programs don’t have the opportunity to do. Of course, other people sometimes like to mock the FCS level, but I loved the chance to cheer for a potential national champion.
I’ve ended up on the field in Chattanooga for the last two national titles. The elation, the emotion and the pure joy of experiencing those wins with so many Appalachian fans is something that I’ll never forget. I wonder if I would feel the same way after Appalachian won the New Orleans Bowl or the St. Petersburg Bowl. I doubt it.
On the other hand, I’d love see Appalachian go toe-to-toe with the best FBS has to offer and when we win, it no longer be considered an unbelievable upset. I’d love to see App continually ranked in the Top 25 nationally. It would be incredible for 40,000 to 50,000 fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium to be a regular occurence on a fall afternoon in Boone. Is it possible? Maybe.
I’m sure many of who have been reading these posts were expecting me to give you a straight answer. But I don’t have a straight answer to give you. After experiencing FCS football up close and now working for a school at the FBS level, I’ve seen both the good and the bad. As soon as I think of a good reason for App to move up, I can think of a bad one immediately. I think I’m in too deep with Appalachian tradition and emotion to make an objective decision. But regardless of what happens, I’ll continue to support the Apps, no matter who we’re playing.
On August 9, 2007, the NCAA imposed a four-year moratorium on schools attempting to reclassify their divisional status. The moratorium will conclude on August 9, 2011. Programs are not allowed to begin an exploratory year for reclassification until the 2011-2012 academic year. They ARE allowed to seek membership in a new conference.
Here’s a quick snapshot of where Appalachian State athletics stands today:
On the Field
The powerhouse status of the Mountaineer football team has finally reached the attention of the national media. The win at Michigan immediately catapulted us into the national spotlight and gave a sense of legitimacy to the Football Championship Subdivision. In the last three seasons, the Mountaineers are 39-6, including a 12-game postseason winning streak. Appalachian is also the first school to win three consecutive national championships in the FCS.