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CBD Editorial: Is this what we want?

I don’t know anymore….Mississippi State is putting a 40 million dollar facility improvement project to Dudy Noble Field. Ok, that is fine and dandy that the Bulldogs want to redo the facility but does it really help College Baseball?

I am one of the few that believes this continues to widen the gap that has started to show in college baseball in the last 10 years. The SEC programs and a very select few ACC schools continue to build these shrines for the games while some lower level schools are just getting surviving.

Mississippi State and LSU now will never leave the confines of Starkville or Baton Rouge for out of conference games at the lower level schools in their area. Last season, Mississippi State played a grand total of two road games and those came as part of a tournament in Tuscon. LSU has already announced their 2015 schedule and play two out of conference road games including a game against Southern which is still in Baton Rouge.

The money game in the college game is just going to continue with the latest news that the Power 5 conferences are going to get their own voting rights during NCAA meetings. The general consensus is that this will lead to the Power 5 conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, and Pac-12) paying players in football and basketball.

What is really going to stop these five schools from expanding this to baseball?

What do you think about some of these issues?

  • spazaru

    I hadn’t really thought of this angle. My first reaction is why is the Gators crowd support so inferior to MS State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, LSU, etc. I feel like the Gators should have a first rate stadium, but I understand why they don’t. They can’t justify it. Onto the subject of this article, I agree. It’s not good for the overall college game. I didn’t know LSU and MS State weren’t playing more road out of conference games. That’s annoying. Florida already plays enough home games. I hope they don’t follow this pattern too. It’s going to be hard to take college baseball seriously if all the powerhouses behave this way. How can we know who the best teams are if some have a built in home park advantage. I guess RPI rewards road games and road wins now. That helps a little.

    • Florida played five road games in OOC play…3 at Miami, 1 at FSU and FGCU…

      The gap is widening between the “HAVES” and the “HAVE NOTS” even in the biggest conferences…

      • spazaru

        Yeah that’s not great. Can we count the Southern Miss and FSU games on neutral ground? Even if we do, still not great and I was at the FGCU “road” game and I can tell you the crowd was 75 percent Gator fans so Fort Myers is a home game for the Gators pretty much.

        • I didn’t include LSU’s neutral games either in my count 😉

          • spazaru

            OK, that’s fair. I almost hate being a Gators fan because I don’t like all the home advantage. I’d rather win fair and square. The only thing in the Gators defense is they have one of the most difficult schedules in the country every year. LSU and MS State’s OOC schedule was a joke last year (Holy Cross, Yale, etc). I wish there was a way for unbiased scheduling, but as you say in the article, money talks and I don’t see it ending anytime soon.

          • JE21

            MSU’s last two schedules were #2 and #19 in the country. Just how difficult do you want it to be?

            The biggest “gripe” of both schools’ OOC are charity checks to smaller in-state programs which afford a huge part of their overall baseball budgets by getting to come to DNF/Alex Box once/twice a year. So, would you cut these games out and remove that financing? And when you did, would that not, then, increase the gap that was the purpose of this article in the first place?

  • randyholloway

    Hail State.

  • Dog

    Yet other schools building 100,000 seat football temples and 20,000 seat basketball shrines is OK. Got it.

    • Besides Wisconsin, I can’t think of too many 20k seat basketball facilities built in the last 20 years…football doesn’t built a 100k seat stadium in 50 years or so

  • JE21

    So, would you contend that LSU and MSU building their monsters in the 80s was actually a bad thing for college baseball? Because the “stay and play at home” thing isn’t a new development for either. Fact is — Dudy Noble was just as awe-inspiring then as the new renderings are now — and the initial building of it set off an arms race in the SEC that forever changed the landscape and exposure of college baseball FOR THE BETTER. Fact is — those two programs have done more for the advancement of the college game than any other. LSU especially — which came on the heels of Ron Polk showing them baseball could be profitable.

    Why is it these programs’ jobs to be charity cases on the road for other programs? Why is it these programs’ jobs to “make the have nots into haves”? Fact is — college baseball is a better game with strong LSU and MSU brands — and the building of the new stadium signifies that MSU is still just as serious about baseball as it ever was — and that it will not fade quietly into the night as palaces were built all around them(literally by everyone else in the division). 100% funding on the new DNF will be private donations and ticket licenses. Zero from the SEC charity checks. So, if these schools building palaces is bad for college baseball — what is good?

    What “gap” are we talking about here? 10 years ago, the CWS was Arizona, Arkansas, Cal St Fullerton, Georgia, LSU, Miami, South Carolina, and Texas. All “haves” in the college game. So what has actually changed?

    • In the last 20 years, only two none Big-5 conference teams have won the CWS in Rice and Fullerton. The titans program year in and year out is underfunded for what they do on the field in terms of salaries and facility is nowhere near the backed of the SEC…only Mizzou has a worse facility

      • JE21

        You are forgetting Fresno. How many non-power conference teams have won basketball or football titles in that timeframe?

        It’s not Mississippi State or LSU’s jobs to fund Fullerton’s baseball program for them. It’s ALL fan-driven. The SEC cares overall because of State and LSU among a litany of other factors — making it a self-perpetuating cycle. And again, MSU’s baseball stadium is being funded 100% privately by MSU baseball fans — 50% from private donations and 50% from seating licenses in the new stadium. So, if you were going to make the argument that “SEC money is ruining college baseball” — Alabama’s new Sewell Thomas would have probably been the correct example for the article.

        There’s such a socialistic overtone to all of this that I’m having a hard time grasping. Mississippi State is the least funded of all SEC schools, with one of the smallest overall alumni bases, in the poorest state in the union, and are CONSTANTLY beaten over the head by programs with double/triple the annual income in the sports that we care about — and unfair baseball scholarship situations as well. The fact that in spite of our built-in shortcomings against our peers in the southeast, WE are building the best stadium college baseball has ever seen with our OWN(not SEC) money should be celebrated. Not poo pooed because some schools on the west coast refuse to spend the $$ to keep up with the Jones’s.

        LFL/Swayze outfields could easily be copied anywhere in the country and would bring a constant influx of fan support to these places that would build itself into a monster over a generation(just like MSU has). These places just don’t care enough for the logistics and to invest in it.

        • Exactly my point, Mississippi State should be focusing on funding academics and getting better facilities and professors…
          UConn has won a few national titles in hoops lately and they are not in the Big 5.

          • JE21

            So, your idea for the advancement of college baseball in the future is “investing in academics”? Really? Why not just say “I’m overwhelmed with sour grapes because Mississippi State just did something far better than anyone else in the country ever has”? At least then your article wouldn’t have been thinly-veiled and disingenuous.

            Mississippi State raised over $106 million for academics last year in private donations. Just what more do you want/expect us to do? Our alumni give back to the university at almost double the national mean.

            You’ve already argued for the socialism of college baseball in the article. Now you are arguing for the socialism of the earmarked private donations in Mississippi State baseball fundraising? You should have thought this article through a lot better. Actually, that applies to your overall position as well. You’ve lost a ton of respect from what is probably either your largest/2nd largest readership group. I hope the site visits this hit piece generated were worth it.

            Let me explain this to you again. MSU is building a $40 million stadium. That will be paid for with private donations earmarked for the stadium — and seating licenses inside the stadium. The stadium itself is going to make MSU profitable again in baseball. It is an investment for us — not a charity case. But, in your broken logic, you apparently think it’s better to lose money on baseball as practically all of the teams in the country do outside of these handful of big, evil SEC teams(in essence taking money away from these academics programs you are championing) — rather than investing heavily on the front end so you can actually self-sustain and make money.

            The UConn example is so outlandish that it isn’t even worth addressing.

          • UConn isn’t in this new top five group…but I guess you don’t let the facts speak for themselves.
            College Sports are in major trouble right now with these new administrative moves. The Big 5 teams will end up breaking away from the NCAA programs as they will not want to keep supporting the lower level squads when they can keep the profits to themselves. Just watch…

          • JE21

            Of all the points I made, the basketball one is the only you wanted to address? You are at a loss to that extent on the rest of it? UConn is one year removed from playing in the SEC of college basketball. Are you contending that the Big East and American aren’t actually major college basketball leagues — at least when they were a single league? That’s laughable. It’s also funny that your one example is a team that will not get left behind longterm in conference realignment and is probably the next shoe to drop. Or do you actually want to argue that they won’t be in either the B1G or ACC within the next 5 years?

            If you had “let facts speak from themselves” — MSU never gets mentioned in this little hit piece you intended as a commentary on the direction of college athletics. I know you will not address this because it totally undermines the basis of the argument — but what does MSU building a $40mil stadium on the shoulders of their tremendous fanbase have to do with administrative moves happening at the top with the NCAA? Simple answer — NOT A THING. It’s just a research failure on your part in order to draw an assumed correlation that actually doesn’t exist. We hired Populous, Janet Marie Smith, and Weir Boerner as the architects tasked with this project last year — long before autonomy was voted upon. It’s being paid for 0% by SEC, TV, or public money. So, what is the actual correlation between our palace and your autonomy position?
            You think these big 5 conferences might actually afford more baseball scholarships next? AND in the same breath, you have the gall to pretend that limiting scholarship opportunities for student athletes is actually BETTER for the college game? News Flash — MSU is surrounded by lottery states giving out over double the “baseball scholarship money” that MSU is. Ron Polk is still fighting this war to the best of my knowledge. Yet you have sour grapes because we are willing to invest into making something great even better — in a way that will self-sustain for the next generation? This is an investment that Mississippi State fans began making 30 years ago. An investment that played a cornerstone role in allowing the college game to expand to it’s current greatness and interest level(and the SECNetwork is going to blow the roof off and take popularity to levels we’ve never seen before — but that’s a topic for another day). We(MSU specifically along with the SEC) torched the path that allowed you to write these articles complaining about our wealth redistribution model. You are welcome.

          • Neither the New Big East or the AAC have been given the ability to vote with the big 5 conferences. Both the Big East and AAC are like the Big West in baseball…a one sport conference.
            What will happen is the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, and PAC-12 will break away from the NCAA and have their own baseball tournament as they will not want to share that money with the Stony Brook’s of the world.
            As recently as five years ago, some teams in the power five were not even fully funded and I am aware of ACC, and Big 10 teams they aren’t. Instead of talking about expanding a scholarship limit, we should be looking at the health of the game which isn’t as good as people think,

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