In case you’re new to the site, two weeks ago I filed a FOIA request with both Appalachian State and Georgia Southern for any documents pertaining to conference realignment. On Fri, I received Georgia Southern’s documents, which were essentially 50+ pages of e-mails. First, I posted an e-mail from Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson which showed a map of a potential expansion plan for the Sun Belt. Next, I posted a document from Karl Benson which listed all of the potential candidates for Sun Belt expansion.
Today’s papers raise more questions than answers, unfortunately. Below are five pages of e-mails between top administration officials of Georgia Southern and New Mexico State (NMSU). Initially, they are between GSU’s President, Dr. Keel, and NMSU’s Athletic Director, Dr. Boston. They schedule to meet in Atlanta at a steak restaurant on Nov 4 @ 6PM, to discuss “confidential” conference realignment info. Dr. Boston also schedules to bring one of his staff.
The third page is perhaps the most interesting, since Dr. Boston gives a vague description of what they will be discussing at this meeting:
Brooks, Look forward to a productive working dinner..We will forward you materials for your info and review highlighting our thoughts and those shared with us confidentially from the Commissioner..PS..President Manuel Pachceco of NMSU will call you in the future to discuss our strategy and share you my role and empowerment in the process..I felt that was important for you to hear..Mckinley
Here are the actual scanned e-mails:
You’ll notice page #5 is a completely separate e-mail, sent after the meeting, that was planned in the first 4 pages. It says “1 of 2″ but the 2nd page was just a signature block so I didn’t include it. It is dated Nov 14 and begins from NMSU’s Dr. Boston to GSU’s Dr. Keel, essentially congratulating him on the hire of a new Athletic Director. But then they reflect on their “confidential” meeting in Atlanta a little bit and plan a new one in New Mexico.
As I mentioned during our visit in Atlanta, we looked forward to you all visiting with us here in the South West and doing some planning our joint efforts to secure membership in the Sun Belt. We will suggest some options for you and Tom [GSU's AD] to consider. Look forward to seeing you again. McKinley”
Then GSU’s President responds with:
I have briefed Tom [GSU's AD] on our recent conversation and the developing collaborations between Georgia Southern and New Mexico State. I have asked Tom to reach to you, and he should be getting in touch with you shortly. Please know that Tom speaks for me and Georgia Southern, so please feel free to share freely with him. I am copying Tom on this email. We look forward to having the opportunity to meet with you again in person soon. Until then, best regards. Brooks
So once again, very few details. Some of you may be asking “who cares?” Well it establishes the fact that Georgia Southern and NMSU are working together, and for me it raises some interesting questions.
Question 1: What was so important and confidential that NMSU’s Athletic Director felt the need to fly from New Mexico to Atlanta to discuss? It couldn’t be done via e-mail or phone? It wasn’t to see GSU’s facilities because apparently they never left Atlanta.
Question 2: Why does GSU care whether or not NMSU gets in the Sun Belt? They aren’t geographically close to one another, nor are they some sort of package deal. Are they just coordinating because it couldn’t hurt? Or do they have some sort of real plan to work together?
Question 3: Why are there e-mails between GSU and NMSU, but not a single e-mail between GSU and Appalachian State? Is it because App/GSU coordinate via phone & in person? Is it because GSU didn’t release those e-mails to me, for whatever reason? Or is it because Appalachian State isn’t being as proactive as GSU or NMSU? Who knows? But one thing is for sure, App State wasn’t invited to any of these confidential meetings. (Not cool GSU, we like steak too ya know.)
If anything these e-mails are interesting to read. They will be even more interesting if somehow NMSU and GSU are the one’s added and not Appalachian State. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed a small inside look at the conference realignment process. Stay tuned because I still have 1 or 2 articles worth of documents that are worth mentioning. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments.
Don’t forget, for the latest conference realignment news make sure to follow me on Twitter: @AppStateNation