Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section)

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Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section)

Post by Bay Area UMie » Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:26 am

Two very relevant questions the search committee should ask every candidate interviewing for the Chancellor’s position in Amherst…

Question #1:

“As the newly appointed CEO and campus thought-leader, how would you logically, strategically, and tactically respond if you inherited an active, 11-year old campus initiative best described by the following:
1) The initiative has absolutely nothing to do with the University’s stated core mission of providing affordable education, conducting applied research or serving the people of The Commonwealth,
2) The publicly stated objectives supporting the initiative’s launch 11 years ago-positive cash flow/financial self-sustainability within 5 years and favorable national media exposure- have not been, nor will be realized anytime in the foreseeable future,
3) Annual operating expenses for the initiative have consistently exceeded revenues requiring a yearly subsidy from students and taxpayers of approximately $10-$11m with no end in sight,
4) Total expenditures/subsidies to date exceed $150m (including $35m in debt for capital improvements) with no upper spending limit established,
5) The school’s “brand” has been severely diminished and heavily mocked in the national media when discussing the initiative, including a clever, derogatory play on the name “UMass” that has taken hold nationally thanks to the wide influence of the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” located in Bristol Conn,
6) The most successful participants in this endeavor are concentrated within 5 “power” conferences. These conferences distribute annual revenue streams to each member school in the $50m-$150m range -largely due to conference affiliated media rights payments, distributions from conference members participating in major bowls, and from booster contributions and ticket sales,
7) The “home field” venue on campus is woefully inadequate leaving the school at a competitive disadvantage-capital costs for a minimally adequate upgrade will probably run in the $100m-$150m range, increasing annual financing charges on initiative debt from $2.4m currently to ~$8m-$10m,
8.) Over the 11-year period, the school has recorded the lowest absolute win totals and win percentage rate of all 125 participants in this endeavor-the next closest poorly performing competitor has 50% more wins (31 total wins) over the same period. A Boston sports writer who most think is an annoying, incessant campus critic recently pointed out that the school has only won one game in 11-years vs an opponent that had a record above .500 in the FBS division,

9) Careful measures were taken to selectively schedule “cupcake” opponents in the lowest competitive quartile to try to favorably effect on-field results. Unfortunately, these desperate scheduling tactics have consistently failed to improve on-field results,
10) Attendance at initiative events, the best proxy measure of student, community and alumnae interest outside of survey data, is best described as “empty seats abound.” The initiative has failed to meet minimal paid attendance baseline levels (15k) established by the NCAA for nine straight 2-year rolling periods. Forcing the school to adopt what the Wall Street Journal derisively calls “boostering” methods including buying tickets outright to artificially, but legally meet the NCAA’s 15k benchmark,

11) The school has cycled thru 4 different program leaders in 11 years, indicating that the performance problems are not merely traceable to game plan schematics, player motivation or on-field execution but are inherently much deeper and structural in nature,
12) The probability of receiving an invitation from a reputable conference that is an appropriate geographical and cultural fit is extremely remote. Poor on-field performance, inadequate facilities, a geographic footprint located in a region with limited fan interest and virtually no historical legacy in upper level college football as well as operating in a small Nielsen DMA media market (Springfield is ranked #116 nationally) dictates that the school is not a desirable destination for conferences looking to expand membership. Consequently, critical outside revenue streams (ie non subsidies) needed to support the program and put us on a par with the top FBS competitors are limited in scope. Our primarily non-subsidized revenue sources are limited to game appearance fees, ticket sales and very small media rights fees.

13) The school did seek strategic guidance from outside sources about managing the initiative back in 2013. The advise sought was not from experts specializing in the collegiate sports management industry like the legendary strategic consulting group McKinsey & Co or from a world renowned sports economist like Andrew Zimbalist who is conveniently located down the road at Smith College. But, the school opted to approach some Public Policy ThinkTank called “REMI” in Washington for strategic and tactical advice…here is some of the delusional (now laughable) strategic opportunity assessment a Junior Economist published in the REMI report presented to the UMass Athletic Council (dated 2/20/13)…


“This long---­‐‑term strategy may be difficult to plan for currently due to the constant reshaping of college football conferences, but an opportunity is possible with two large conferences: the Big East and ACC. The Big East is the most logical route for UMass, especially considering the new television deal for the conference will earn them Around $25 million from either NBC or ESPN.ix Temple recently made the jump from the MAC to the Big East to increase their share of conference revenue and to fortify regional rivalries. This move would accomplish both goals for UMass as well. A move to the ACC would tie in a regional rivalry between UMass and Boston College and help the conference make up for the recent loss of Maryland to the Big Ten.”



Now that you understand key specifics about the initiative’s history and the current status of the operating conditions the school faces-what are your thoughts?”



Question #2:


Is the University’s stature, strategic mission and brand better served by dedicating precious resources to pursue football conference membership with the likes of Arkansas State, Georgia State and Florida Atlantic. Or is our strategic mission and our national brand profile better served by deploying those same resources to elevate our teaching standards and broaden our research activities to qualify for and seek an invitation to join the Association of American Universities (AAU) whose 64-members-including Brown, Duke, Michigan, Yale, Tufts, UCLA and Ohio State among others?


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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by minutefanjsf » Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:53 am

The easiest way to get into AAU is to merge the medical school and The flagship.

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by ZooMass84 » Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:57 am

Bay Area UMie wrote: Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:26 am Two very relevant questions the search committee should ask every candidate interviewing for the Chancellor’s position in Amherst…

Question #1:

“As the newly appointed CEO and campus thought-leader, how would you logically, strategically, and tactically respond if you inherited an active, 11-year old campus initiative best described by the following:
1) The initiative has absolutely nothing to do with the University’s stated core mission of providing affordable education, conducting applied research or serving the people of The Commonwealth,
2) The publicly stated objectives supporting the initiative’s launch 11 years ago-positive cash flow/financial self-sustainability within 5 years and favorable national media exposure- have not been, nor will be realized anytime in the foreseeable future,
3) Annual operating expenses for the initiative have consistently exceeded revenues requiring a yearly subsidy from students and taxpayers of approximately $10-$11m with no end in sight,
4) Total expenditures/subsidies to date exceed $150m (including $35m in debt for capital improvements) with no upper spending limit established,
5) The school’s “brand” has been severely diminished and heavily mocked in the national media when discussing the initiative, including a clever, derogatory play on the name “UMass” that has taken hold nationally thanks to the wide influence of the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” located in Bristol Conn,
6) The most successful participants in this endeavor are concentrated within 5 “power” conferences. These conferences distribute annual revenue streams to each member school in the $50m-$150m range -largely due to conference affiliated media rights payments, distributions from conference members participating in major bowls, and from booster contributions and ticket sales,
7) The “home field” venue on campus is woefully inadequate leaving the school at a competitive disadvantage-capital costs for a minimally adequate upgrade will probably run in the $100m-$150m range, increasing annual financing charges on initiative debt from $2.4m currently to ~$8m-$10m,
8.) Over the 11-year period, the school has recorded the lowest absolute win totals and win percentage rate of all 125 participants in this endeavor-the next closest poorly performing competitor has 50% more wins (31 total wins) over the same period. A Boston sports writer who most think is an annoying, incessant campus critic recently pointed out that the school has only won one game in 11-years vs an opponent that had a record above .500 in the FBS division,

9) Careful measures were taken to selectively schedule “cupcake” opponents in the lowest competitive quartile to try to favorably effect on-field results. Unfortunately, these desperate scheduling tactics have consistently failed to improve on-field results,
10) Attendance at initiative events, the best proxy measure of student, community and alumnae interest outside of survey data, is best described as “empty seats abound.” The initiative has failed to meet minimal paid attendance baseline levels (15k) established by the NCAA for nine straight 2-year rolling periods. Forcing the school to adopt what the Wall Street Journal derisively calls “boostering” methods including buying tickets outright to artificially, but legally meet the NCAA’s 15k benchmark,

11) The school has cycled thru 4 different program leaders in 11 years, indicating that the performance problems are not merely traceable to game plan schematics, player motivation or on-field execution but are inherently much deeper and structural in nature,
12) The probability of receiving an invitation from a reputable conference that is an appropriate geographical and cultural fit is extremely remote. Poor on-field performance, inadequate facilities, a geographic footprint located in a region with limited fan interest and virtually no historical legacy in upper level college football as well as operating in a small Nielsen DMA media market (Springfield is ranked #116 nationally) dictates that the school is not a desirable destination for conferences looking to expand membership. Consequently, critical outside revenue streams (ie non subsidies) needed to support the program and put us on a par with the top FBS competitors are limited in scope. Our primarily non-subsidized revenue sources are limited to game appearance fees, ticket sales and very small media rights fees.

13) The school did seek strategic guidance from outside sources about managing the initiative back in 2013. The advise sought was not from experts specializing in the collegiate sports management industry like the legendary strategic consulting group McKinsey & Co or from a world renowned sports economist like Andrew Zimbalist who is conveniently located down the road at Smith College. But, the school opted to approach some Public Policy ThinkTank called “REMI” in Washington for strategic and tactical advice…here is some of the delusional (now laughable) strategic opportunity assessment a Junior Economist published in the REMI report presented to the UMass Athletic Council (dated 2/20/13)…


“This long---­‐‑term strategy may be difficult to plan for currently due to the constant reshaping of college football conferences, but an opportunity is possible with two large conferences: the Big East and ACC. The Big East is the most logical route for UMass, especially considering the new television deal for the conference will earn them Around $25 million from either NBC or ESPN.ix Temple recently made the jump from the MAC to the Big East to increase their share of conference revenue and to fortify regional rivalries. This move would accomplish both goals for UMass as well. A move to the ACC would tie in a regional rivalry between UMass and Boston College and help the conference make up for the recent loss of Maryland to the Big Ten.”



Now that you understand key specifics about the initiative’s history and the current status of the operating conditions the school faces-what are your thoughts?”



Question #2:


Is the University’s stature, strategic mission and brand better served by dedicating precious resources to pursue football conference membership with the likes of Arkansas State, Georgia State and Florida Atlantic. Or is our strategic mission and our national brand profile better served by deploying those same resources to elevate our teaching standards and broaden our research activities to qualify for and seek an invitation to join the Association of American Universities (AAU) whose 64-members-including Brown, Duke, Michigan, Yale, Tufts, UCLA and Ohio State among others?
You're the greatest Bay Area UMie!!!! Some day, some day we'll win another football game......God willing!!!!

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by m626t » Sun Nov 27, 2022 11:53 am

IMO, Bay Area Umie has provided us with one of the most well considered, thought provoking posts I have read on this board.
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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by Floyd » Sun Nov 27, 2022 12:44 pm

Too much reading and thinking for a Sunday
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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by McKinney » Sun Nov 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Bay Area UMie wrote: Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:26 am 

Question #2:


Is the University’s stature, strategic mission and brand better served by dedicating precious resources to pursue football conference membership with the likes of Arkansas State, Georgia State and Florida Atlantic. Or is our strategic mission and our national brand profile better served by deploying those same resources to elevate our teaching standards and broaden our research activities to qualify for and seek an invitation to join the Association of American Universities (AAU) whose 64-members-including Brown, Duke, Michigan, Yale, Tufts, UCLA and Ohio State among others?
Assume UMass tries to recoup its annual spend on football and related expenses (~$15.7M budgeted in FY22).

$4.9M comes from organic revenue (guarantees, media, ticket sales, donations, etc.) that dries up if you drop football. So really we only have $10.8M university subsidized funds that maybe we can reallocate to other projects. You have to service the debt on facilities, even if they drop football, so $8.7M.

$5.4M of expenses are scholarships for football players and additional scholarships for female athletes. Does UMass reallocate the athletics scholarships to another form of aid/tuition discount? Even so, this money is already going to school expenses. You can't use this to improve faculty salaries any more than it's already paying.

So we're left with $3.3M to put into projects aimed at elevating UMass into the AAU?

But UMass currently charges students a $2.4M athletics fee budgeted for football. Do they put that fee towards "AAU aspiration projects", or do they maybe use this to reduce cost of attendance by $50 a semester (that's probably eliminated anyway by rising costs in other departments).

I'm not saying UMass should put good money after bad. Nor am I saying they shouldn't aspire and invest towards AAU membership. Despite how outlandish the football spend may seem, in my estimation, there's not much juice to squeeze by dropping or dropping down.
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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by InnervisionsUMASS » Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:00 am

^

Whatever juice there is left to squeeze would likely get removed from the budget by the legislature anyways. I honestly don't understand why people think that dropping football will all of a sudden open up millions upon millions of dollars to other sports or academic programs... it's baffling.


FBS Football isn't going anywhere (nor should it), and while the results on the field so far have been a failure, the move has not been. It's been a smarter financial move for the U vs being FCS, it has helped support women's athletic scholarships, and while I won't sit here and try to claim (like some) that our FBS team has helped improve the stature of the University over the last 10 years, our FBS team has done nothing to hinder the rise in stature of the University.
Last edited by InnervisionsUMASS on Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by TruBluMaroon » Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:43 am

1 question: What do you think of Max Page? 😁

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by Jack » Mon Nov 28, 2022 10:05 am

InnervisionsUMASS wrote: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:00 am ^

Whatever juice there is left to squeeze would likely get removed from the budget by the legislature anyways. I honestly don't understand why people think that dropping football will all of a sudden open up millions upon millions of dollars to other sports or academic programs... it's baffling.


FBS Football isn't going anywhere (nor should it), and while the results on the field so far have been a failure, the move has not been. It's been a smarter financial move for the U vs being FCS, it has helped support women's athletic scholarships, and while I won't sit here and try to claim (like some) that our FBS team has helped improve the stature of the University over the last 10 years, our FBS team has done nothing to hinder the rise in stature of the University.
^ Excellent points !!

And btw - I don't consider questions about the football team to be something that the future chancellor must have answers for during an interview. :roll:

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by Bay Area UMie » Mon Nov 28, 2022 7:33 pm

minutefanjsf wrote: Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:53 am The easiest way to get into AAU is to merge the medical school and The flagship.
Excellent point-we need to assign you a position on the Board of Regents!…if we merged with the Med School and included Worcester’s annual $280m research budget within UMass Amherst expenditures for pure and applied research, our total research budget would exceed $500m annually surpassing a critical threshold level that basically puts us in the top 50 cohort group…BU is a member of the prestigious AAU and their annual $550m includes medical/dental school research expenditures (source:2020 National Science Foundation). Let’s get it done!

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by Old Cage » Mon Nov 28, 2022 8:09 pm

^ Don't I remember a story earlier this year that said Nebraska was kicked out of the AAU in part because it's medical school was distant from the main campus?
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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by Bay Area UMie » Mon Nov 28, 2022 8:11 pm

InnervisionsUMASS wrote: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:00 am ^

Whatever juice there is left to squeeze would likely get removed from the budget by the legislature anyways. I honestly don't understand why people think that dropping football will all of a sudden open up millions upon millions of dollars to other sports or academic programs... it's baffling.


FBS Football isn't going anywhere (nor should it), and while the results on the field so far have been a failure, the move has not been. It's been a smarter financial move for the U vs being FCS, it has helped support women's athletic scholarships, and while I won't sit here and try to claim (like some) that our FBS team has helped improve the stature of the University over the last 10 years, our FBS team has done nothing to hinder the rise in stature of the University.
“FBS Football isn't going anywhere (nor should it), and while the results on the field so far have been a failure, the move has not been. It's been a smarter financial move for the U vs being FCS…”

Ok, when people make assertions about financial or quantitative matters they typically accompany their claims with evidence/reasons based on hard data not some abstract claim that we are expected to accept at face value as a given. Let’s start with your “it’s been a smarter financial move for the U vs being FCS” comment. I challenge you to back up your claim with some comparative financials-sources included. Looking forward to hearing back from you. I am very curious and open minded about this claim, but I need to be convinced. I have seen numerous people make this claim that operating within the FCS is more costly, but no one seems to provide any data to support their position. Feel free to caucus with “Jack” since he is so adamant that your comments are “excellent.”

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by minutefanjsf » Mon Nov 28, 2022 8:16 pm

Old Cage wrote: Mon Nov 28, 2022 8:09 pm ^ Don't I remember a story earlier this year that said Nebraska was kicked out of the AAU in part because it's medical school was distant from the main campus?
Over ten years ago they were kicked out of the AAU. It coincided with their move to the Big Ten. The medical school is in Omaha (50+ miles from Lincoln) and has a different administration than the University. It’s about the same distance from Amherst to Worcester. The distance alone wasn’t the only reason.

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Re: Two Questions Every Candidate for the Chancellor’s Job Should Answer (yes, this post belongs in the football section

Post by eldonabe » Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:35 am

Jack wrote: Mon Nov 28, 2022 10:05 am
InnervisionsUMASS wrote: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:00 am ^

Whatever juice there is left to squeeze would likely get removed from the budget by the legislature anyways. I honestly don't understand why people think that dropping football will all of a sudden open up millions upon millions of dollars to other sports or academic programs... it's baffling.


FBS Football isn't going anywhere (nor should it), and while the results on the field so far have been a failure, the move has not been. It's been a smarter financial move for the U vs being FCS, it has helped support women's athletic scholarships, and while I won't sit here and try to claim (like some) that our FBS team has helped improve the stature of the University over the last 10 years, our FBS team has done nothing to hinder the rise in stature of the University.
^ Excellent points !!

And btw - I don't consider questions about the football team to be something that the future chancellor must have answers for during an interview. :roll:

With this I agree, athletics in general may be on the agenda, but the football program should not be the focus of a Chancellor's interview.

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