ON SOUTH CAROLINA

I was going to wait until Wednesday’s GBU to talk about this, but I think there’s enough rattling around in my brain on the subject for me to give it a post of its own. Navy will be playing at South Carolina in 2011. Initial reaction:

OK, I know I’m usually the one leading the charge with the whole “reasonable schedule” thing, and my initial response to scheduling Ohio State was, shall we say, tepid. Scheduling SEC teams, even of the middle-of-the-pack variety, doesn’t seem like the greatest idea when the next 6 games (for now, at least) are TCU, Air Force, at Rutgers, East Carolina, at Notre Dame, and at SMU. That said, as someone who finds the best part of football to be the coaching duel, Navy-South Carolina is a dream game. The thought of a Niumatalolo-Spurrier showdown makes me all tingly. I mean, this is what makes college football so much fun, right? You’d never see a matchup of contrasting styles like this in the NFL, mainly because the most “contrast” you’ll see in the NFL is between teams who pass 50% of the time and those who pass 55% of the time. Yes, I know that his South Carolina stint hasn’t exactly been the second coming of Spurrier’s fun & gun Florida heyday. And yes, Spurrier might not even be coaching by then. But the possibility is too good to pass up. Getting almost a million dollars out of the deal isn’t so bad, either. At least on the surface.

I’m not about to complain about NAAA being handed a $950,000 check, but having just agreed to a home-and-home series with Ohio State that paid even more, it’s hard not to wonder if NAAA is scheduling these money games because they need to. Consider:

  • The economy is in the crapper. Athletic departments are adjusting however they can, whether it’s by taking the bus instead of flying, or no longer printing media guides, or whatever else they can think of. Cuts might be avoided if you can find new ways to raise money.
  • Without a big-name neutral-site game in Baltimore to drive season ticket sales (Maryland, Notre Dame), and with bad weather pretty much every week, football attendance was down in 2009.
  • NAAA has two new mouths to feed.
  • CBS extended its contract to broadcast the Army-Navy game, but the game had to be moved back a week to make it palatable to them. There really isn’t anywhere else for the game to go now. NAAA will need to find other revenue streams if the Army-Navy golden goose dies.

So are there cashflow problems in Ricketts Hall? No, according to SID Scott Strasemeier:

Strasemeier said the nearly $1 million payout had nothing to do with athletics director Chet Gladchuk’s decision to schedule South Carolina. Rather, recruiting was the primary consideration as the program will receive significant exposure in the south as a result.

“This is a great game against a quality opponent in an area in which we recruit heavily,” Strasemeier said. “We have 13 players from South Carolina and North Carolina on the current roster so clearly those two states are very important in terms of recruiting. This game will pay huge dividends down the road by exposing Navy football to a region of the country that has great high school football.”

The last time I saw Coach Johnson speak in Jacksonville, he stressed how important it was for Navy to schedule games against Florida schools for recruiting purposes. Since then, Navy has scheduled two games with Florida Atlantic. The Carolinas are another important recruiting area for Navy, and while Duke and Wake Forest are regulars on the Midshipmen’s schedules, South Carolina reaches a whole different audience– one that reaches beyond the Carolinas and into Georgia and Florida as well by virtue of the Gamecocks’ SEC membership. I doubt that getting paid for a regular road game like it was the Las Vegas Bowl had nothing to do with the decision, but I do believe that recruiting was the primary motivator. Besides, even in this economy, some athletic departments are raising more money than ever. Conventional wisdom doesn’t always apply.

The addition of South Carolina makes 2011 a pretty challenging schedule, but hopefully it’ll be worth it.

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18 Responses

  1. Now on the flip side of this–does South Carolina get >$950,000 in gate receipts, TV money, and whatnot from “buying” this home game? I guess the answer must be yes since they were willing to make the deal, but I wouldn’t think SC has all that much money to throw around compared to the big boys of the SEC. I know conference revenue sharing plays a big part in things, so they benefit from the success of the rest of the conference, but a middle of the pack school like SC can’t be raking in the kind of money that Florida, Alabama, or LSU are making…right?

  2. Williams-Brice stadium seats 80K. If they average $35 per ticket, that’s $2,800,000.

  3. I would venture that USC does quite well. The Gamecock Club, parking, Cock-a-booses all provide nice revenue for the school. Their facilities are top notch.

  4. pretty much the same payout that Boise is getting for making a September 2011 visit to Ole Miss … (although I do wish we could swap with the Broncos)

  5. “Their facilities are top notch.”

    Actually, USC has some of the worst facilities in the SEC. This is one of the reasons Spurrier has not been able to recruit that great. Since Spurrier has been to USC he has been on a rampage to improve the facilities and they have gotten better but they are still sub SEC standard.

  6. 80K stadium – I have no idea if they fill it every week, especially when they play teams Wofford & UAB (2008), Fl Atlantic (2009), and Furman & Troy (2010) but I believe they can expect a pretty good crowd when Navy shows up in 2011. They should have a few people drive down from Annapolis, drive up from Jacksonville, and at least one driving over from Alabama.

  7. Last year, South Carolina was 18th in the country in average home attendance with 75K+ per game. Pretty much everyone schedules cupcakes.

  8. My comment was directed more at a given teams ability to draw a crowd and not at their football strength (although I recognize the two tend to be related). Some people have noted that as Navy has improved, it may be more difficult to find high caliber teams willing to play us. Who wants to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and be embarassed at home? Navy continues to offer a variety of selling points, not the least of which is a national following. We put fans in the seats (thus recaping the money paid to us) and we often get picked up by a TV outlet, thus earning the home team more money and recognition. (The recognition part goes down when we win the game.)It’s great being a Navy fan!

  9. It would appear that South Carolina draws a crowd no matter who they’re playing.

  10. The exposure in SEC country could be very beneficial. CSS sports, local chanels in the south, SEC football shows, even my own local paper and TV station’s local football show will make mention of this game bacause its South Carolina and Spurrier. It will be an interesting game to kick off SCs home season. The ’84 game will be mentioned many times. I happened to be at the game, one of just a handful of ventures back to Annapolis while I was on active duty. Picked the right game to come back for…didn’t even buy tickets ahead of time. SC fans that I sat around were very gracious, stunned, but gracious. This could be a fun game to watch but the SC team in 2011 should be strong and Navy will have a new QB to start the season.

  11. Gamecocks and soon to come the Gators….I like it.

  12. Gators? Mike’s future schedule shows us playing “Florida” in 2012 and 2017 but it is Florida Atlantic and they are the Owls.
    I also note that we play “Alabama” in 2011, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 – but it’s Troy, USA (U of South Alabama – come to the Redneck Riveria; hopefully the oil will be gone by 2014), and UAB.
    I’m sure that many of the long range games on Mike’s list may still be in the pending stage, but I like the variety.

  13. i assume you’re kidding, since my schedules don’t say that…

  14. It’s a wish full thought Dave…Since I have many Gator fans as friends.

  15. Mike – I just clicked on your “Future Navy Football Schedule and it shows
    2011 – Nov 12 – Troy
    2012 – Nov 10 @Troy
    – Florida Atlantic – no date shown
    2013 – South Alabama
    2014 – @ South Alabama
    2015 – South Alabama
    2016 – @ South Alabama
    – Alabama Birmingham
    2017 – @ Florida Atlantic
    – @ Alabama Birmingham
    You tell me. Is this still accurate?

    • As far as I know it is… But if that’s what you meant, you might want to rethink your usage of quotation marks.

  16. I’m just happy to have Navy play anywhere within reasonable driving range. Having them come to “Alabama” is great. I strongly agree with your past comments supporting the variety of teams we have and will face.
    As to the improper use of quotation marks – Fleming wasn’t teaching English when I was there.

  17. lololol

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