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50 years ago Hayden Fry hired at NTSU


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17 hours ago, Cerebus said:

The university could have stayed 1A by expanding seating at Fouts. 

Technically no, they would have needed to expand Fouts BEFORE the NCAA passed the rule. It was all retroactive. We simply had to drop for at minimum of a few years. But, we could have returned to 1A much, MUCH faster if we'd expanded Fouts. 

Hurley was very much in favor of 1AA versus dropping football altogether or worse yet changing to Division III. He wanted scholarship football, but the Regents wanted to balance the budget AND reign in athletics after Bob Tyler was just spending beyond what he was authorized to spend. 

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12 minutes ago, VideoEagle said:

Technically no, they would have needed to expand Fouts BEFORE the NCAA passed the rule. It was all retroactive. We simply had to drop for at minimum of a few years. But, we could have returned to 1A much, MUCH faster if we'd expanded Fouts.

I was not here at the time, but my understanding comes from discussing the issue with people who were in athletics at the time, and with a couple members of the BOR who were also here at the time.

If NT had filed the waiver and then proven they had funded the aluminum seating at Fouts they would have stayed at 1A.  Other schools in our situation did that. 

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38 minutes ago, VideoEagle said:

Technically no, they would have needed to expand Fouts BEFORE the NCAA passed the rule. It was all retroactive. We simply had to drop for at minimum of a few years. But, we could have returned to 1A much, MUCH faster if we'd expanded Fouts. 

Hurley was very much in favor of 1AA versus dropping football altogether or worse yet changing to Division III. He wanted scholarship football, but the Regents wanted to balance the budget AND reign in athletics after Bob Tyler was just spending beyond what he was authorized to spend. 

 

16 minutes ago, Cerebus said:

I was not here at the time, but my understanding comes from discussing the issue with people who were in athletics at the time, and with a couple members of the BOR who were also here at the time.

If NT had filed the waiver and then proven they had funded the aluminum seating at Fouts they would have stayed at 1A.  Other schools in our situation did that. 

My speculation is this.  1-AA was chosen because it was more affordable in the short run and joining a conference with local schools cut down on the travel expenses. Joining a 1-AA conference allowed for a clearer picture of what the future expenses would look like. Going the route of purchasing the aluminum bleachers (assuming that that would work) and then staying in 1-A as an independent, besides the extra cost of materials and installation, meant a lot of uncertainties and scheduling headaches. Not to mention the larger travel expenses that could go along with that.

Hurley and/or people who were advising him might have mentioned that the students at North Texas, and many alumni as well, were not fanatic enough to be significantly turned off by our opponents in our 1-AA conference. 

After all, we never sold out the original Fouts field during the Joe Greene/Steve Ramsey era, but we did have a sell out for a big game with SFA in 1989, as well as a sell-out for the McNeese St. game in 1994.

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1 hour ago, Cerebus said:

I was not here at the time, but my understanding comes from discussing the issue with people who were in athletics at the time, and with a couple members of the BOR who were also here at the time.

If NT had filed the waiver and then proven they had funded the aluminum seating at Fouts they would have stayed at 1A.  Other schools in our situation did that. 

This demotion happened just after my time there.  I also heard/know we had the needed time and ability to file a waiver but the Administration just failed (didn't want) to do so.  We could have applied based on simply designating Texas Stadium as an alternate "home field", which is was.  But Hurley (BOR) wanted to reduce athletic spending and de-escalate athletics in favor of more academic spending.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/31/2023 at 6:46 AM, VideoEagle said:

It could have been USL, I’m not certain. I thought their stadium was big enough to qualify. There were several ways to qualify- stadium size, average attendance over a period of years, at least two games over a certain attendance in the same period, and more. The big one was being in a conference where at least half of the other schools qualified as the NCAA didn’t want to mess with conference membership. 

No, they did NOT know it was coming. The rule passed retroactively - if you didn’t qualify when the rule passed there was no period where you could qualify. All of the requirements had to have been fulfilled at the time it passed. We needed to have played most of our games at Texas stadium during Jerry Moore’s time. @Arkstfan knows the details. 

I don’t know the NT internal politics of why it wasn’t fought. I suspect part of it was the total contempt for athletics Bob Tyler created within the university. I’m told multiple administrators from Mississippi State told people at North Texas “don’t hire him.” He nearly got NT on NCAA probation for giving athletes extra benefits. It appears he knowingly spent WAY over budget which angered the Regents. Plus there were a lot of faculty from President Matthews day that wanted football as long of the coach didn’t make more than a Department Chair.
 

I’m certain, though, that just filing the waiver request would not have helped. It possible it WAS filed as the NCAA rejected all the waiver requests. 

Cajuns didn't take on the NCAA they qualified.

Remember things were WILDLY different back then.

While not common, it was not unheard of for I-A schools to play at I-AA. There were 137 I-A schools and only 16 bowl games. There were only 8 slots committed in the bowls the the 24 bowl slots were at-large, even the ACC had no guarantee of a bowl berth.

TV money was peanuts. 

Lou Holtz as head coach made just a bit more than double what Larry Lacewell made as head coach at Arkansas State. Sam Pittman makes more than six times what Butch Jones makes now.

Being I-A vs being I-AA wasn't a huge deal and don't forget UNT was coming off a 2-9 season and had played only four home games and two of those at the Cotton Bowl. Per Wikipedia, Mean Green drew 17,500 for Oklahoma State at the Cotton Bowl and 13,500 for NMSU at Fouts. 15,800 for UTA at the Cotton Bowl and 3,200 for USM at Fouts. That USM team was 5-0-1 the tie at Alabama was #6.

The year before UNT had played TWO home games. Road games to Irving for SMU and Arlington for UTA helped some I'm sure. The year before Irving twice (SMU and UTA) and three in Fouts (UTEP, West Texas A&M and NMSU).

The program was a road whore when the change came. Looking at that it's not at all a surprise there was no interest in fighting and plenty of interest in joining the Southland. Had a path to home games.

THE WHOLE DEAL WAS DIRTY.

The NCAA had setup criteria to be I-A based basically on schedule and sports sponsored but had created exceptions. Average 17,000 over four years or once in 4 years in a 17,000 seat stadium. Averages 20,000 over all games over four years or in four with a 17,000 seat stadium, Be a member of a conference where a majority of members meet I-A criteria.

What happened was to try to keep "the big boys" from breaking the TV contract they shrunk I-A to cut the number of fingers in the pie. To do that, the loophole to being I-A based on attendance became mandatory instead of a loophole to stay in.

Thing is, it wasn't the MONEY. Hard as that is to believe, the schools actually took a cut in money when the NCAA contract was blown up. Because suddenly so many games were on your TV set that had four channels the cost of an ad on the old ABC telecasts under the NCAA contract was $57,000 for a 30 second spot, under the multiplex of the CFA, Big 10 and Pac-10 making their own TV deals, ads went for $15,000. Ratings went down because no longer was there only one game on in a time slot.

The schools took a 60% cut in TV revenue. They got what they wanted. An end to the limit of only five telecasts over two years. Imagine being Texas Tech and having a great year. Your game against Texas that could determine the SWC won't be on TV, ABC already used up their limit of Texas games by carrying them against OU twice, once against Arkansas, one TAMU game and a Houston game.

They wanted more games on. They wanted to tell recruits watch our game. Come here you'll be on TV. The added exposure was worth losing a whopping $600,000.


Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Miami, and Western Michigan all fought (only Cincinnati sued) but McNeese State, Yale, and someone I've forgotten opted to go down.

Again it wasn't a bad deal, win your conference and you were guaranteed postseason play, that wasn't the case in I-A for everyone.

WHAT MADE I-AA SUCK

When the TV deal was busted, there was no longer I-AA games (mostly playoff) included. 

Then the kick in the nuts. They adopted bowl eligibility standards. Before then bowls could invite anyone losing season, winning season, didn't matter. Under the new rule, to be bowl eligible you had to beat six I-A teams. No counting I-AA. THAT was what caused Arkansas State to move. We played Ole Miss and Memphis nearly every year and neither would schedule us because of the change.

Then the NCAA starts certifying bowls left and right. Every team with six wins is playing in one, a handful of 5-7 will go, last year 20 playoff eligible teams (not counting Ivy) stayed home.


 

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