In case you’re new to the site, this is the 4th (and final) article in a series where I discuss conference realignment related e-mails that I obtained through a FOIA request on Georgia Southern. (See: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3)
This time we’ll be looking at 2 emails, 1 from MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher and another from Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson.
This email (labeled “confidential” at the bottom) was sent from the MAC commissioner to all of the MAC athletic directors on Jan 8, 2013 @ 7:11AM. That was a full 8 days before the SDSU announced it would back away from moving to the Big East/Big West and remain in the MWC. He forecasts this development and makes some predictions on future MWC/Big East movements.
The main quote to take away is:
Based on discussions I have had with the commissioner of the Mountain West, I do not expect the conference to add other teams at this time. The Big East Conference is not expected to add any new members in the short-term. I look forward to discussing the membership landscape when we meet in the coming weeks.
Some have speculated that the MWC would think about adding a few of the following: BYU, Tulsa, Houston, UTEP, & NMSU. I still think they would add BYU if BYU wanted to come (which they don’t). As for the others, this e-mail makes me think that they’ll stand pat at 12.
As for the Big East, you would think adding more teams is a given. But this e-mail makes me think that they will wait until after a TV contract is finalized or perhaps even until next year. If the Sun Belt is waiting for the Big East to move before they move, we could be in for a long wait.
Some forget that App State could also be a candidate for MAC expansion. It makes sense if added as a package deal with say, JMU? But the MAC has been slow and steady as a turtle during this whole conference realignment shift. However, a few of their schools are in danger of being picked up by the Big East: Ohio, UMass, & NIU. They may not be able to sit on their hands forever.
Notes: After a few days of sitting on my kitchen table, my 4 year old finally got around to spilling water on my papers, so I apologize for the quality. Notice this is page “2 of 3″. I made the conscious decision to not post page 1 since it reveals who sent this to Georgia Southern AD Tom Kleinlein. It adds nothing to the discussion and since I’m not sure if they were actually supposed to forward it, I did not include it. Page 3 was just the end of the signature block.
This email is a back and forth between Georgia Southern’s AD Tom Kleinlein and Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson sent on Jan 2, 2013. The e-mail chain ends with Kleinlein forwarding it to his President saying that he will “share thoughts tomorrow”.
Kleinlein’s comments give us an inside look as to how proactive Georgia Southern is being on the conference realignment front:
I am planning to meet with my President Thursday to begin to strategize the potential move. He would like to reach out to other Presidents to gain support but wants to do it at the proper time and in the proper fashion. Do you have any particular suggestions on how to handle this from a conference perspective?
He also would like to extend an invitation to anyone from the conference who like to visit our University to get a better feel for who we are and our plans for the future.
Karl Benson replies with:
Tom – Happy New Year. With the latest Big East defection – Boise St staying in Mt West – along with other possible changes re San Diego St, SMU and Houston – my guess is that we will slow things down until a little more of the dust settles. I will be in Miami beginning Sat and will be with my commissioner colleagues – hope to be able to find out more information then. Let’s plan to connect next Wed.
This ultimately confirms that what Georgia Southern’s AD has said publically is true. The Sun Belt is in a holding pattern (or at least they were a month ago) and no formal invitations have been given. It also pretty much shows that Georgia Southern is not dealing with Sun Belt schools directly, but rather, just the commissioner. I can only assume that Appalachian State is in a similar situation, but I can’t be sure.
I know a few of you are asking “Did this show us anything we didn’t already know?” Well it does confirm what we were told was indeed the truth. Don’t underestimate the value of that. Also, it gives us a better picture of how the negotiation process works. If anything, it’s interesting.
Notes: Once again I apologize for the quality. This e-mail is page “1 of 2″. Page 2 was just the end of the signature block.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading these 4 articles on conference realignment e-mails from Georgia Southern. I had big aspirations when I started this site just under a year ago. I have tried, where possible, to MAKE the news and to find creative ways of doing that without the luxury of formal media credentials.
In the near future, big announcements will be made regarding the future of this site as I continue to try to take it to the next level. Thanks to everyone who follows the site for all of your support.
For all of the latest news on Appalachian State & conference realignment, follow me on Twitter: @AppStateNation