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No. Colo. -- A lesson in how to NOT move up!


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Not that I went looking for negative print on UNC, but it seems the Denver media is taking their turn beating on UNC.

Denver Post

And what of the state's Division I-AA program?

In Greeley, the University of Northern Colorado's transition from Division II has been awash in disgrace. The murder charge against punter Mitch Cozad, while perhaps a legal reach, and the misbehavior of other football players led to a Sunday meeting of coaches and players with a displeased UNC president Kay Norton.

Granted, it's risky to link the off-the-field conduct problems with the Bears' move from Division II football to Division I-AA. Yet it remains unfortunate that Norton couldn't turn the clocks back a few years in the athletic department Sunday morning and reverse the decision to be in Division I for all sports after NCAA rules forced schools to make a choice.

In football, where the Bears won consecutive Division II national championships in 1996 and 1997, the program still isn't close to reaching the Division I-AA scholarship limit of 65, and UNC is the Big Sky Conference's doormat. There is no reason to believe that can change anytime soon.

This is the season to forget.

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NCAA President Myles Brand is obviously well aware of the growing pains the University of Northern Colorado athletic department is experiencing, saying those pains are common among schools that join a higher level of competition and that such a move up to a higher division is usually "not a good idea."
UNC athletic administrators have been extremely forthcoming about how tough it will be to compete at a higher level, but they are willing to stay the course.

Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton met with a strong UNC contingent last week and offered ways to absorb some of the financial burden the Bears face.

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  • 3 months later...

UNC reports $604,000 deficit

The University of Northern Colorado athletic department reported Friday a $604,000 loss for this fiscal year, but athletic director Jay Hinrichs detailed a plan to have the department financially stable in three years.

This would be a significant difference from the previous three fiscal years.

Combined with the university's reported $536,000 loss from the 2004-05 and 2005-06 fiscal years, the UNC athletic department has lost a total of $1.14 million in the last three years.

And check out some of those related articles that are listed at the bottom.

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  • 7 months later...

UNC on track to winning?

From August 28th:

UNC just needs to raise enough money to land in the middle of the conference in terms of athletic budgets ($8.7 million) and spend any new funds it raises on practical expenses like a new weight room, improved locker room facilities and recruiting budgets across the board. ...

The Bears will be a step closer to that point next year. After cutting $400,000 to balance its budget this fiscal year, UNC will receive a combined $1.1 million from the Big Sky, the NCAA and Purdue University for a guaranteed football game next season.

According to Hinrichs, that will allow the Bears to operate with an athletic budget of about $7 million. But as nice as that will be, $7 million moves them up just two spots in the pecking order.

If Big Sky athletic budgets remain where they were in 2006, UNC would move ahead of Weber State ($6.0 million) and Eastern Washington ($6.6 million) into seventh place. The Bears would still trail Portland State ($7.6 million), Idaho State ($8.1 million), Northern Arizona ($9.9 million), Sacramento State ($10.3 million), Montana State ($11.3 million) and Montana ($12.7 million).

And while the next fiscal year will be less rocky without the extreme cutbacks the athletic department had to make this year, the Bears will still face some challenges. Hinrichs said it will take the department a decade to pay back the $1.14 million deficit it accrued during the last three years.

Realistically, the Bears are probably only a couple of years away from that level of funding and competition.

Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is closer than we think.

Two weeks later from the same columnist:

Bears' futility hitting bottom

There have been reasons given. Excuses have been offered.

But as much as I accept some of the propaganda presented to explain why the University of Northern Colorado football program has struggled so much the last two seasons, I can't get past the divide between the University and its fans regarding the acceptable amount of casualties incurred in the transition to Division I.

The university preaches patience through a rough time so many other programs have endured. Fans want to know when the move will pay off.

The hope is, eventually, that the J-curve will reach its negative apex and start to climb out of the darkness. The problem with that, following a 31-0 UNC loss Saturday to Division II Chadron State, is the pit appears bottomless, yet patience, often blind, is still being asked of the fans.

I'm here to tell you time is running out.

At the end of the day, results are the bottom line. No matter how catastrophic the changes have been from moving from Division II to the Division I Football Championship Subdivision, those results have been ugly.

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