Two weeks ago, the University football team split with 16 year affiliate, the Northeast Conference. Now, they will head to the Big South. Overall, The Outlook is happy that the football team will now be accepted into the Big South Conference but the switch raises certain questions amongst the staff.
Although there is currently no concrete evidence to support it, The Outlook is concerned that the move to the Big South Conference will jeopardize the price of tuition. It is to our knowledge that the Big South Conference is composed of seven teams including MU. This means we would play three away games in the conference located in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia. Geographically, the schools in the Big South Conference are a farther distance than the schools in the Northeast Conference are. It’s possible that the football team will be traveling a farther distance for an away game than they have in the past. The Outlook wonders how the University will cover the cost of travel for away games.
Currently, the University‘s football team roster has nearly 100 student athletes. The cost to either fly or drive all of these athletes, as well as the coaches and other staff members, could total a large amount of money. Whether it is by plane or bus, the financial situation will be an impending issue.
Another factor to keep in mind when counting the numbers will be lodging. How will the University afford lodging for all those affiliated with the football team? The Outlook a lso w onders i f t he move to The Big South will cause the University to offer more athletic scholarships. And if so, we are curious as to where this money will come from. We believe that we will not be able to tell how the move to the Big South Conference will impact the University financially until the fall of 2014.
On the opposing side, this change may bring the University a chance to bring in more revenue. The Outlook i s a ware t hat attendance for campus events and sporting games could be higher. As we move to the Big South Conference and play bigger schools with a potentially higher profile, we hope that attendance in sporting events will rise and the University will begin to gain profit from the games and that would cover any additional travel costs.
In regards to the football team being dropped from The Northeast Conference, The Outlook sees both sides of the situation. We are in agreement that it was unfair for the NEC to deny the University football team from the conference without a reason or explanation, especially since MU is one of the founding members. On the other hand, we understand that the NEC does not want other Universities to drop out of the conference and come back at the school’s convenience.
In the long run, The Outlook thinks this change will help the University expand their boundaries and hopes the change will help spread their name. Being a part of the Big South Conference will put MU in contact with many schools we have never played before. This means that more people will become familiar with the University which could increase our chances of recruiting football players, as well as other athletes, from the south. The Outlook hopes that the transition to the Big South Conference will be an opportunity to advance the football program and the University in general.