Getting Things in Place at UTSA, Lamar and UCA
by, 02-07-2010 at 05:27 PM (6192 Views)
In the days since the UTSA announcement that they would be bypassing the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), even if that means they are an independent, there has been plenty of discussion.
One site - [url=http://www.utsatailgaters.com/]UTSATailgaters.com[/url] announced on their new section that the school's future schedule will include "Oklahoma State, Army, Air Force, Navy, SMU, and Houston, just to name a few. 2013 HOME OPENER TO BE KANSAS STATE."
Though not an official site, one can point to the fact that UTSA is an attractive destination for regional teams, especially out of the state teams who heavily recruit in Texas. The fact that San Antonio and Texas as a whole has a strong presence in our armed forces would explain the Air Force, Navy and Army connections.
UTSA's situation is a lot like North Texas. Even before the Mean Green move into their new stadium, they were able to secure a few attractive opponents to come to their current digs - armed forces schools included.
Time will tell. Though they will never play a snap of Southland Conference football, we'll make sure to keep tabs on them in this blog, since they are a SLC program as a whole and their decisions do impact the league's 11 other member institutions.
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Since we are talking about upstart programs, a look at the UTSA and Lamar recruiting philosophies show two different methods.
During their first two recruiting classes, Lamar has leaned heavily on travels. To date, over 25 players have transferred to the school from other institutions, including 20 junior college players. UTSA on the otherhand has just two transfers, one of which comes in from Penn State and the other, from Division II Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Why is Lamar taking a different route?
Head coach Ray Woodard, who comes from Navarro College, has something to do with this, as he has signed several players from his old stomping grounds. He also wants to compete from the opening kick, especially since the school decided to take a different approach to their start-up by joining the SLC in year two of existence.
If Lamar wants to not be in the cellar from year two and have to work their way up, the Lamar staff feels they need more experienced players. Woodard has been quoted as saying that the school had signed more transfers than they would in the year's ahead. Whether this comes to fruition or not will show by 2011.
The other start-up is doing things different because UTSA has more of a long-term plan with 2013 clearly circled.
The Roadrunners will have their 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes in place and on campus by 2013, when they will begin their transition to FBS in earnest.
The 2011 and 2012 schedules will feature contests against FCS and sub-Division I teams. Once the schedule turns to 2013, head coach Larry Coker will have 85 scholarship players, not be eligible for the Division I playoffs and will be two years from being a full Division I FBS member.
The 2013 slate will also likely include a heavy FBS programs as noted in the first section of today's blog. Coker is seeking FBS talent, a chance to build a program for the long run, instead of an initially trying to appease fans by being successful.
A glance around the nation shows that each of the upstart programs are handling things much differently than the other.
The two in our primary view are following the notion.
Lamar is setting a new trail by going into a conference earlier than any other, a season prior to Southeastern La's rise into the league in 2005. UTSA's path is somewhat familiar to South Florida, but that school had a conference home in all sports that they were working to. The Roadrunners are [url=http://www.collegesportingnews.com/entry.php?31-UTSA-Throws-Curveball-Announces-FBS-Plan]willnig to go up as an independent[/url] if it has to, devoid of their current all-sports home.
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Our last start-up is only a start-up as it relates to Division I, as Central Arkansas is near finalizing their move from Division II to the highest classification.
With certification by the NCAA just around the corner, UCA continued to put the final touches in place by formally releasing their new logo. Though not a major deal in the large scheme of things, this is just one more piece of the larger puzzle that shows that the school is in the 'ready' position for Division I.
"The need to refresh our logo trademarks was clearly evident,’ said UCA Athletics Director Dr. Brad Teague in a [url=http://www.uca.edu/news/index.php?itemid=2410]press release issued by the school[/url]. "We had a good deal of constituent feedback requesting a new look. We decided to develop the new logo over time, using a tremendous amount of input, with the unveiling to coincide with our reclassification to Division I.
This new logo is a nice upgrade over the previous one that represented UCA through different mediums.
The university has also covered the bases of paying for the transfer process, as private funds and corporate sponsorships will help make the transition to the new logo finalized over the next few months. At a time when financing college athletics is difficult, this eases the department's burden.
UCA is expected to be fully eligible for conference and national championships in fall 2010. Some of the school's women's sports - particularly volleyball and basketball - are already near the top of the league in competition.
Their football team placed on top of the league standings in 2008, but could not be awarded the conference title. That title went to Texas State, who advanced to the playoffs by virtue of the automatic bid.