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From the desk of Bill Chaves


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I wasn't sure where to put this so I'll put it here.

It might also fit under the NCAA Conferences topic, but its focus is UND so ... here it is. 

Enjoy.

Discuss. 

PS - I highlighted what I believe are key passages. 

Quote

 

January, 2021

Dear Champions Club Members,

First and foremost – Happy New Year and thank you for everything that you do to support UND and UND athletics!! After one of the most memorable years of our lifetime, we find ourselves in a new year as well as a new decade. While 2020 may have been historic for pandemic reasons, I wanted to write you a letter because I truly believe 2021 will be a historic year for intercollegiate athletics and wanted to share some thoughts with you regarding it.

My belief is that 2021’s most recent comparison historically is 1973. 48 years ago at a special meeting in Chicago institutions subdivided themselves into what is our current format of Divisions I, II and III. Previous to this alteration, institutions had been either categorized as participating in the University Division or College Division. Given some of the issues facing intercollegiate athletics as we head into this year, it has an eerily familiar feel to ’73, and with that, we may be heading for a similar reorganization.

Since 1906 when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed to reduce/eliminate deaths in the sport of football, the NCAA has always seemed to have its “opportunity” to discuss topics with Congress and in 1973 it was no different. There were “conversations” about:

  • Super conferences forming for the football teams that were regularly on television
  • Grouping more homogeneous institutions so they can solve problems that only they face
  • A senatorial bill from the Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington regarding NCAA-AAU feud and other amateur sports problems in the country

Today as we head into 2021 and more specifically the annual NCAA Convention later this month (virtually), we face what seems to be a similar type year as we have:

  • Multiple bills in Congress that pertain to name, image and likeness (NIL) for student-athletes
  • Individual states that have passed laws pertaining to NIL that could go into effect as early as this year
  • And for the first time since 1984, The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case pertaining to intercollegiate athletics – Alston v. NCAA which is related to permissible student-athlete compensation

With all of this in play, it would not surprise me if another reorganization occurs. What this will look like is a great question and truly no one knows, but given the incredible differences financially between the Power 5 conferences and all others, a different model seems to be a fait accompli.

So you may be wondering what this all could mean for us at UND. Well, in my humble opinion - because of your amazing support, our flagship status and the conferences that we are affiliated with today – I believe we are positioned very well. I still believe in the notion that collegiate athletics at its core first and foremost is a regionally based entity. Now that we are back playing regional rivals in the same conference on a consistent basis no matter what the next reorganization may look like and as long as our current conferences stay strong, we should be in great shape.

Think about what has occurred over the past 10-15 years since all of our programs elevated to Division I in 2008. We have played in two different hockey leagues (WCHA and NCHC). We will have played in three different football leagues (Great West, Big Sky, and the Missouri Valley beginning in February) as well two years of independent play in 2018 and 2019. All of our other sports have experienced independence, The Great West, The Big Sky and now The Summit League. I wanted to actually write this out because that is a lot of movement in a condensed period of time.

So how do we support our current 17 athletic programs moving forward as begin this decade? I believe it starts with identifying a vision for where all of our athletic programs are housed on a daily basis for the next decade and beyond. We hope to unveil this vision out to you all soon with the idea that we want to support comprehensive competitiveness and excellence across the board for our athletic enterprise.

We need to continue to work with and enhance all of our relationships with our partners in Grand Forks and the State of North Dakota whether it be; the state legislature, our UND community, The REA, The City of Grand Forks, The Alerus Commission, Spectra and the community at large - making sure that these relationships are as strong and robust as possible will go a long way in achieving our goal of comprehensive competitiveness and excellence across the board. It will also provide our student-athletes with the best experiences possible while at UND.

As far as issues like NIL and the like that I mentioned previously, please know that we are “on it” and monitoring the landscape and staying in tune as to what this may look like and how it may affect us at UND.

I hope that this letter provides you a brief glimpse into what could be an historic year in collegiate athletics. Thank you again for your support and please know that we are thankful each and every day for you and that we never take your amazing support for granted.

Happy New Year…

Best,

Bill Chaves

 

 

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I've read that letter probably five times now and what's sticking with me is ...

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... given the incredible differences financially between the Power 5 conferences and all others ... 

The Group of 5 (the second tier of FBS conferences: MAC, SunBelt) are not going to come out of this happy in reading that. They don't have the fiscal where-with-all of the Power 5. Frankly, many operate on budgets that look much like top half FCS schools. Thing is, if they were set in a position where their budgets better aligned to their competition they'd probably come out better off. 

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If there is a significant shake-up, I wonder if the NCAA will look at minimum sport sponsorship levels. If budgets are not great around the NCAA, mandating 16 sports where 12-15 of them are red ink in most cases, makes no sense is and is harder and harder to justify in a world of tighter and tighter university budgets. 

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"With all of this in play, it would not surprise me if another reorganization occurs. What this will look like is a great question and truly no one knows, but given the incredible differences financially between the Power 5 conferences and all others, a different model seems to be a fait accompli.

So you may be wondering what this all could mean for us at UND. Well, in my humble opinion - because of your amazing support, our flagship status and the conferences that we are affiliated with today – I believe we are positioned very well. I still believe in the notion that collegiate athletics at its core first and foremost is a regionally based entity. 

Now that we are back playing regional rivals in the same conference on a consistent basis no matter what the next reorganization may look like and as long as our current conferences stay strong, we should be in great shape.

Think about what has occurred over the past 10-15 years since all of our programs elevated to Division I in 2008. We have played in two different hockey leagues (WCHA and NCHC). We will have played in three different football leagues (Great West, Big Sky, and the Missouri Valley beginning in February) as well two years of independent play in 2018 and 2019. All of our other sports have experienced independence, The Great West, The Big Sky and now The Summit League. I wanted to actually write this out because that is a lot of movement in a condensed period of time.

So how do we support our current 17 athletic programs moving forward as begin this decade? I believe it starts with identifying a vision for where all of our athletic programs are housed on a daily basis for the next decade and beyond. We hope to unveil this vision out to you all soon with the idea that we want to support comprehensive competitiveness and excellence across the board for our athletic enterprise.

We need to continue to work with and enhance all of our relationships with our partners in Grand Forks and the State of North Dakota whether it be; the state legislature, our UND community, The REA, The City of Grand Forks, The Alerus Commission, Spectra and the community at large - making sure that these relationships are as strong and robust as possible will go a long way in achieving our goal of comprehensive competitiveness and excellence across the board. It will also provide our student-athletes with the best experiences possible while at UND."

 


________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I bolded the parts I thought were important, and I also underlined the parts that I thought could be most important.

The key question that I have is, what does he mean in his usage of the words "support", "housed", and "we" in this paragraph: "So how do we support our current 17 athletic programs moving forward as begin this decade? I believe it starts with identifying a vision for where all of our athletic programs are housed on a daily basis for the next decade and beyond. We hope to unveil this vision out to you all soon with the idea that we want to support comprehensive competitiveness and excellence across the board for our athletic enterprise."

To me, it kind of seems like he is saying that UND's conference affiliation should remain the same for a long time "no matter what the next reorganization looks like".  Given that, I don't think UND is changing conferences, because he next asks "So how do we support our programs moving forward"?  He then says that it starts with a vision for where the programs are housed.  And then he says that "we" hope to announce the vision soon.

The key word "vision" makes me think his message is in regard to fundraising, since conference affiliation usually isn't discussed until changes are set in stone.  Housing could refer to conference membership, but I think it could be in regard to athletic facilities, since he mentions support at UND and specific groups that UND works with within the community. Some of the groups are working together to redevelop Memorial Stadium, and the new building will be "housing" some amount of UND Athletics operations  (UND Athletics will occupy the entire ground level floor).  And lastly, who is the "we" that will be announcing the vision?  Is it UND and other schools, just Bill and the UND athletic department, or is it UND Athletics and a group of fundraisers or partners?  I think this announcement will be in regard to the new building at the Memorial Union site, as I don't think there has been an official announcement yet, and the athletics master plan "vision" will be updated to account for some athletic department operations moving over to that new building, which in-turn, reduces the necessary size, scope, and cost of HPC phase II. 

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Take a look at this link when you think that athletics are not important fundraisers for the universities, while most still are not positive on the balance sheet.  It is very interesting to see from this article what effect Covid had on the P5 and why they decided to play the games to try to get some money coming in without losing billions.  It is also interesting to note that there were NO FCS teams that were profitable, while only a third of the FBS teams were.  The NCAA is run by the P5 conferences, make no mistake about that.

Do Colleges Make Money From Athletics? | BestColleges

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I have a question when he references the changes going all the way back to 1973 is NCAA looking  again at the makeup number of colleges that have moved up to division 1 status in last 10 years and are they going to make changes to requirements for division 1 status for colleges and also for other divisions in NCAA.  I also think other things he said had to do with finances of athletic department going forward and i have to believe they are also looking to improve on facilities because  number of them will need updating near future to keep pace with other conference members updating of facilities in last few years.

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14 minutes ago, ND-fan said:

I have a question when he references the changes going all the way back to 1973 is NCAA looking  again at the makeup number of colleges that have moved up to division 1 status in last 10 years and are they going to make changes to requirements for division 1 status for colleges and also for other divisions in NCAA. 

I'm guessing the Power 5 conferences will get their own division. 

 

14 minutes ago, ND-fan said:

I also think other things he said had to do with finances of athletic department going forward and i have to believe they are also looking to improve on facilities because  number of them will need updating near future to keep pace with other conference members updating of facilities in last few years.

That's a pretty good read. 

 

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P5 getting their own division certainly helps to justify the WAC's FBS comments, as well as UCA's AD's comments...  would also justify Chaves need to write the letter.  Maybe MVFC will start to talk about FBS as well.

Chaves: "So you may be wondering what this all could mean for us at UND. Well, in my humble opinion - because of your amazing support, our flagship status and the conferences that we are affiliated with today – I believe we are positioned very well. I still believe in the notion that collegiate athletics at its core first and foremost is a regionally based entity. Now that we are back playing regional rivals in the same conference on a consistent basis no matter what the next reorganization may look like and as long as our current conferences stay strong, we should be in great shape."

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

With the Memorial Stadium development news, Chaves will undoubtedly have a press conference.  Any guesses on if this is what he was referring to in the email, or will he have other announcements to make?

Chaves: So how do we support our current 17 athletic programs moving forward as begin this decade? I believe it starts with identifying a vision for where all of our athletic programs are housed on a daily basis for the next decade and beyond. We hope to unveil this vision out to you all soon with the idea that we want to support comprehensive competitiveness and excellence across the board for our athletic enterprise.

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he might be hinting that with the new federal laws that having both a men's and women's bball team is one too many...same with track and field...and so forth...with Title 9 dead there is no reason to have two teams...lots of savings to be had across the board.

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8 minutes ago, UNDBIZ said:

Do NOT turn this into a political discussion.

- Moderators.

it's a discussion that's coming one way or the other...chaves still hasn't spoken on the subject. he will have to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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