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Old 08-10-2019, 02:44 PM
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Smile FLIGHT SCHEDULE: FRIDAY: Part 5 of 5 w/AD Neil Sullivan

Starting Monday we'll be publishing a five-part series called "Flight Schedule" that will run through the remainder of the week, examining in granular detail the dynamics of UD men's basketball scheduling. Special thanks to VP/Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan for his open and candid conversations to better explain the processes, pitfalls, and challenges of finding opponents in a increasingly-changing landscape.

It is my hope that some of your questions will be answered and the insights will provide greater clarity on the scheduling Godzilla the Flyers try to tame. We'll discuss the past, present, future, theory, misconceptions, and then take a microscopic look at this year's schedule and explain in specificity why some things did or did not occur.










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Old 08-10-2019, 03:20 PM
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Thank you Chris, should be interesting
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:39 PM
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Chris, looking forward to it. Thank you for doing something that you, quite frankly, absolutely do not have to do.
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:24 PM
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Gotta set the VCR

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Old 08-11-2019, 06:20 PM
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I have pinned this topic so you won't overlook it. Please keep all conversations pertaining to this series in this thread so I can answer any remaining questions that might be at play and keep the discussion centered. I will post links to the articles in the top in the original post when they become available.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:01 AM
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Part 1 is now online. Click banner in original post.
Relax. Four more parts forthcoming.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:33 PM
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From Part 1-
"A power conference team can lose 12 of 13 games in the middle of the season and still be in the at-large discussion because of the strength of their league".

As in Indiana last year? The Hoosiers even being considered for an at-large last year was a crime. They even got a #1 seed in the NIT and played all their tournament games at home before they lost to Wichita State.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:27 AM
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Part 2 is now online.
Click banner in original post.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:51 AM
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Chris, thanks for doing this but so far all I’ve seen is excuses to why the schedule is what it is. I hope the next three parts get into how the admin will fix it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by TX Flyer View Post
Chris, thanks for doing this but so far all Iíve seen is excuses to why the schedule is what it is. I hope the next three parts get into how the admin will fix it.
Donít know if excuses is the term I would use. More like reality setting in. There are extremely few opportunities as clearly stated in the piece. Frankly I think UD has done a masterful job getting as much out of their non-con as they have. Last season if we beat Miss st at home and take another in the Bahamas tourney we are an at large selection. You canít ask for more than that in the scheduling dept. itís a matter of winning the right games.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by TA111 View Post
Don’t know if excuses is the term I would use. More like reality setting in. There are extremely few opportunities as clearly stated in the piece. Frankly I think UD has done a masterful job getting as much out of their non-con as they have. Last season if we beat Miss st at home and take another in the Bahamas tourney we are an at large selection. You can’t ask for more than that in the scheduling dept. it’s a matter of winning the right games.
I agree. I wasn’t sure what word to use to describe parts 1-2.

Obviously I don’t make many home games and want to know why we don’t go on the road for Q1 games more often. Many want more bang for their buck but that doesn’t apply to me.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:04 AM
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Part 3 is now published. We get deeper into the weeds on coalitions, in-state rivalries, quads, the Virginia paradox, and why UD passes on certain teams for others in the non-con schedule.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:57 AM
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I understand how difficult the scheduling is and better understand now all the roadblocks. But I also agree that there are a lot of excuses being heard. If there really was no way to do any better than the current season's out of conference offerings, then at what point do we see attendance . . . and corresponding ticket prices . . drop? I live out of state and return for a few games each season. . .I'm waiting to make my travel plans until the full schedule comes out. So far, there aren't any out of conference games worth the airline ticket price . . .

I love you, Flyers, and applaud the University's efforts, but market dynamics at some point are going to set in . . .
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by GoFlyer View Post
I understand how difficult the scheduling is and better understand now all the roadblocks. But I also agree that there are a lot of excuses being heard. If there really was no way to do any better than the current season's out of conference offerings, then at what point do we see attendance . . . and corresponding ticket prices . . drop? I live out of state and return for a few games each season. . .I'm waiting to make my travel plans until the full schedule comes out. So far, there aren't any out of conference games worth the airline ticket price . . .

I love you, Flyers, and applaud the University's efforts, but market dynamics at some point are going to set in . . .
I highly doubt it. If the Flyers continue to put an entertaining product on the floor people will fill the seats. Remember, this is Dayton basketball. We fill the arena to watch schools no one has heard of in the first four.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:06 AM
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You may be right, and I hope so. . . but at some point it gets a bit old to rest on the love of the fans . . . .AG has done a yeoman's job of making us competitive . . .or at least I THINK we are competitive . . Maui, not the home games, will show us.

AG, the players, and the fans deserve more than what we are seeing at home this year. Sorry but all the excuses in the world won't change my opinion.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GoFlyer View Post
You may be right, and I hope so. . . but at some point it gets a bit old to rest on the love of the fans . . . .AG has done a yeoman's job of making us competitive . . .or at least I THINK we are competitive . . Maui, not the home games, will show us.

AG, the players, and the fans deserve more than what we are seeing at home this year. Sorry but all the excuses in the world won't change my opinion.
No doubt we would love to have Kansas, Michigan or some other top 50 P5 school come to the arena, but these past 3 segments point out that itís not reality. I remember Jamie Dixon, coach of Pitt at the time, stating after we curb stomped his 5th ranked team, that he would never bring his team back to play at UD. This unfortunately is the mindset of most P5 schools. Add to the fact that they each average 1 away non con game per season and you can see why itís nearly impossible.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:15 AM
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Iím as disappointed as anyone with a non-con schedule that is devoid of marquee games. That said, what some call excuses are someone elseís facts. You can argue all you want that the sun sets in the east, but that doesnít make it so. Chris has done a great job here of laying out the obstacles Neil faces in building a schedule. It doesnít appear there is ANY lack of effort on his part to create the best possible path to an NCAA ticket.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:22 AM
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As always, my complaint is with the number of buy games.

I would like to see us move on to the next best option if the p5 are not willing opponents. And in today's part 3, Neil talks about being willing to drop a home game, but it is just talk, it has never happened, not even once.

Games like Colorado and SMC are great, my complaint is with back-filling the schedule with so many buy games.

With the A10 getting weaker, incredibly, we played more buy games this year than last year, stop playing so many buy games and replace those buy games with home and homes against good non-p5 teams.

And do not tell me that there are no willing non-p5 teams, just look at the schedules of teams like Rhode Island and Nevada.

I gave a list of around 30 or 40 non-p5 teams, I asked Chris several times if we called all those teams, I never got an answer.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by The Fly View Post
Iím as disappointed as anyone with a non-con schedule that is devoid of marquee games. That said, what some call excuses are someone elseís facts. You can argue all you want that the sun sets in the east, but that doesnít make it so. Chris has done a great job here of laying out the obstacles Neil faces in building a schedule. It doesnít appear there is ANY lack of effort on his part to create the best possible path to an NCAA ticket.
Agree. Some here may be conflating HOME non con schedule with an overall non con that puts UD in the best possible position for a tourney bid. With the Maui tourney, Colorado and St Maryís we have a very good start on solid resume, if we win most of these games.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TA111 View Post
I highly doubt it. If the Flyers continue to put an entertaining product on the floor people will fill the seats. Remember, this is Dayton basketball. We fill the arena to watch schools no one has heard of in the first four.

While be on the court opposing team product for home games is an issue, I would also argue attendance at sporting events is going down across the board. Even large SEC schools canít fill their stadiums for conference games. Co, if Daytonís attendance does drop, I would like to see how much Has to do with attendance across-the-board going down versus the actual opponent. As part of the Gabbett games, Ohio state is bringing in Villa nova. This should be an automatic sell out. I bet there are still empty seats. As entertainment options increase digitally, people are more apt to go to those.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:45 AM
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I am not expecting Kansas or Michigan State to show up at the arena for a non conference match up. But I would expect something better than we are seeing . . including matchups with teams that are in the same boat as us
in non p5 leagues.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:10 PM
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If you want something off the wall, how about adjusting the A10 scheduling to better favor top teams. Losses to lower ranked teams hurts big time and makes the resume awful. So, don’t allow VCU, Dayton and Rhode Island to play road games at LaSalle, Fordham, etc....

Each year, that bad loss to a low ranked A10 team hurts. There odds go down when you play at home. Makes your win loss in conference look better which helps the smell test for those who only look at number of wins.

Bottom teams only play road games against the top 4 teams until they improve their competitiveness. Might also encourage them to get their act together.

Really off the wall, but if you want the A10 to get more teams in the tournament, stack the schedule for the top.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SeasonTicketFan View Post
If you want something off the wall, how about adjusting the A10 scheduling to better favor top teams. Losses to lower ranked teams hurts big time and makes the resume awful. So, donít allow VCU, Dayton and Rhode Island to play road games at LaSalle, Fordham, etc....

Each year, that bad loss to a low ranked A10 team hurts. There odds go down when you play at home. Makes your win loss in conference look better which helps the smell test for those who only look at number of wins.

Bottom teams only play road games against the top 4 teams until they improve their competitiveness. Might also encourage them to get their act together.

Really off the wall, but if you want the A10 to get more teams in the tournament, stack the schedule for the top.
And those lower tier teams will be saying how do we improve if you are taking away our home games and the games that have butts in the most seats. I think a lot of folks are forgetting Dayton has been pretty mediocre over the last 20 years with a few bright spots... lots of middle of the pack showings.

The only way something like this makes sense to do is have divisions that teams can move in or out of based on performance criteria (not facilities), or other scheduling maneuvers like having the top teams finish the season against each other to minimize exposure to the dregs of the conference. Also, don't loose to Fordham... ever.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:15 AM
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Part 4 is now published. Click the banner on the original post for the link. Here we examine in greater detail specific opponents Dayton courted, A10 responsibility, and how completely unrelated things can mess up a good plan.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:49 AM
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I wondered how much personal relationships played into scheduling. Based on Part 4 it appears it might be more important than ever going forward. Neil may find his job will require more travel going forward to events, conferences, and fundraising golf tournaments of other programs, etc to cultivate relationships he can tap into when scheduling.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BeckysTXA View Post
I wondered how much personal relationships played into scheduling. Based on Part 4 it appears it might be more important than ever going forward. Neil may find his job will require more travel going forward to events, conferences, and fundraising golf tournaments of other programs, etc to cultivate relationships he can tap into when scheduling.
This is what I was going to come post. You can be the smartest guy in the room but you have to know how to connect with people. Neil either needs to hire someone with these connections or find a firm who can assist. It seems he just doesnít have the right connections.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:56 AM
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Great Job on these articles.

Small correction, Valpo is in the MVC now and has been since WSU left for the American.

They are going through a roster changeover (5-6 guys left the program) so missing them this year might have been a blessing.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TX Flyer View Post
This is what I was going to come post. You can be the smartest guy in the room but you have to know how to connect with people. Neil either needs to hire someone with these connections or find a firm who can assist. It seems he just doesn’t have the right connections.
Did you read the part that states he interfaces as much as anyone in the country?
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:35 AM
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[QUOTE=TA111;590732]
Originally Posted by TX Flyer View Post
This is what I was going to come post. You can be the smartest guy in the room but you have to know how to connect with people. Neil either needs to hire someone with these connections or find a firm who can assist. It seems he just doesn’t have the right connections.[/QUOTE

Did you read the part that states he interfaces as much as anyone in the country?
I talk to a lot of people as well but doesn’t mean I have any influence on them.

“Sullivan’s staff reached out to every Top-75 program in the country as well as other name-brand opponents that Flyer fans would enjoy.”

This is same as saying I reach out to the Forbes Top 500 Every year asking to be their CFO but they all decline. Sure I reached out but with no connections I need to make them think they need me
More than I need them.

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Old 08-15-2019, 11:38 AM
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Despite contrary suggestions on the board, it appears Neil is doing a good job of trying to schedule the best teams available. In the past our OOC schedule has been a strength, and last year would have been the same, we just didn't win enough. Reading the report, it appears that Neil is helping other A-10 teams in the scheduling area. A good thing to do as it helps the A-10 overall strength and by extention the Flyers.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:26 PM
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[QUOTE=TX Flyer;590735]
Originally Posted by TA111 View Post

I talk to a lot of people as well but doesnít mean I have any influence on them.

ďSullivanís staff reached out to every Top-75 program in the country as well as other name-brand opponents that Flyer fans would enjoy.Ē

This is same as saying I reach out to the Forbes Top 500 Every year asking to be their CFO but they all decline. Sure I reached out but with no connections I need to make them think they need me
More than I need them.
Come on, letís not be silly here. Most ADís who have been around a while and are active know each other. This isnít a situation where someone is reaching out with no knowledge or ďconnectionsĒ.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by UD62 View Post
Despite contrary suggestions on the board, it appears Neil is doing a good job of trying to schedule the best teams available. In the past our OOC schedule has been a strength, and last year would have been the same, we just didn't win enough. Reading the report, it appears that Neil is helping other A-10 teams in the scheduling area. A good thing to do as it helps the A-10 overall strength and by extention the Flyers.
Geez, Neil and UD are helping others in the A-10 with scheduling due to their expertise, but reading a couple of posters here youíd think they didnít anything or had any connections.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:37 PM
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I know this is focused on OOC but Chris did you have or had any discussions about H/Hs in the A10
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TX Flyer View Post
This is what I was going to come post. You can be the smartest guy in the room but you have to know how to connect with people. Neil either needs to hire someone with these connections or find a firm who can assist. It seems he just doesnít have the right connections.
I donít necessarily agree with this. Iím more inclined to think he has a lot of connections...but we are going to need to up the opportunities to interact with programs we want to schedule. Based on what Chris is reporting - which is an excellent read - itís going to take more than Neil in this effort. AG, his staff, and even Pres Spina along with the AD staff may very well have to buy those golf foursome teams and go support a schoolís golf tournament just for the opportunity to socialize with their counterparts and advance relationships on multiple levels.

In my career I was Sr VP of Sales and Marketing. My clients were large companies like ATT, Citibank, AmX, etc. the contracts we were vying for were multi-million dollars - the kind of deals that take 2-3 years to cultivate. Every year I had what I called a ďFull-Court PressĒ list. These were the 10-12 companies we wanted to do business with but hadnít been able to secure a contract yet. I then designed the game plan to ďtouchĒ that company as many times as we could that year by deploying every executive we had as many times as we could to intertwine someone from our company with someone at each of those companies. It was highly successful, resulting in more than $20 million in new business every year. It was so successful we had to pull it back some years because we couldnít grow fast enough to service the accounts.

The one critical factor here is you have to ďhave something to sellĒ that benefits the target. We had that and UD may not...Neil & Company will have to get creative and go the extra mile to lay out for each team the advantages of putting the Flyers on their schedule. They canít just run the at-large math for UD. I think we are above average on knowing the math it takes to maximize opportunities. I donít believe others are as good. For P5 schools they very well may be far behind us in this area because their conference makes it easy to get an at-large bid. An at large bid is Daytonís goal every year just in case we need it. Itís not a concern for those who ďalwaysĒ get one.

However, I think those ďalwaysĒ schools would be interested if Neil & Co could layout putting Dayton on their schedule will help them improve their seed. Thatís what will get their attention. Thatís what can turn their current response of, ďits not a good fitĒ in to wanting to make it happen. Maybe Neil is already doing this? Chris has given the fans a great look into this yearís challenges. They contacted every Top 75 plus some. Maybe itís going to take 3 or 4 contacts into each of those 75. Maybe itís going to take a multi-media sales presentation that a team of 3-4 travels to several key schools to sit down and meet and make the presentation. Itís a brave new world. Itís going to take more than same-old, same-old.

I would take everyone of those Top 75 plus all the others we tried to land this year and start building the matrix for next year. Do the math for every school as if they had accepted Daytonís offer this year. Figure out what schools would have been better off playing the Flyers ... and then make sure multiple decision makers at those schools have this information. Show them why itís good FOR THEM to schedule Dayton. I assume the math will not necessarily be better for everyone of the Top 75, but Iím confident it will be for 10-20 programs and we should be able to land 3-4 of those next year. The Flyers are going to be really good the next couple years. Use our strength of understanding the math to show these schools how we can help them get what THEY want - which is a higher seed in the dance.

And also keep pounding the NCAA to fix the scheduling challenges and recruit other schools to do the same. It sounds like Neil is doing this.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by TA111 View Post

Come on, let’s not be silly here. Most AD’s who have been around a while and are active know each other. This isn’t a situation where someone is reaching out with no knowledge or “connections”.
Not all relationships are created equal. There's a big difference between knowing someone versus having a connection with someone.

That's not saying Neil has no connections, but recognizing his limitations as one person. I don't think it is that hard to imagine that someone outside of UD could bring different connections to the table as TX_Flyer suggests. Far be it from the primary consideration, but you would hope the staff could compliment each in other in this regard.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bcross View Post
Not all relationships are created equal. There's a big difference between knowing someone versus having a connection with someone.

That's not saying Neil has no connections, but recognizing his limitations as one person. I don't think it is that hard to imagine that someone outside of UD could bring different connections to the table as TX_Flyer suggests. Far be it from the primary consideration, but you would hope the staff could compliment each in other in this regard.
Thank you for reading what Iím writing. I donít know Neil and who he has strong or weak connections with. But if you bring in a person or firm solely for scheduling you can narrow the candidate list with a smaller scope of duties. This will allow Neil to continue to work the metrics and his contacts and potentially bridge a gap with those he canít make progress with.

In response to another poster, if Neil is helping other schools so much then donít complain when they get the P5 H/H series and we donít.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TX Flyer View Post
Thank you for reading what Iím writing. I donít know Neil and who he has strong or weak connections with. But if you bring in a person or firm solely for scheduling you can narrow the candidate list with a smaller scope of duties. This will allow Neil to continue to work the metrics and his contacts and potentially bridge a gap with those he canít make progress with.

In response to another poster, if Neil is helping other schools so much then donít complain when they get the P5 H/H series and we donít.
If you are refering to me. I haven't complained once about other teams schedule. In fact I complain very little about the Flyers, I leave that up to you and a few others. However, as they say, I will defend to the death your right to do so.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:29 PM
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It's unfortunate that some people are, or being accused of, being judgemental on the quality of the job Neil is doing. I suspect Neil is doing an excellent job, and everything he can, and that almost everyone appreciates that. What some are suggesting is to think outside the box on different approaches, like a consultant. It is very hard for most of us to take that kind of approach, because it makes us look weak or wrong, but it is really the opposite. This is not about right or wrong, or competence. Maybe Neil is already involving other people and understands he needs to do things differently going forward. I hope so.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by UD62 View Post
If you are refering to me. I haven't complained once about other teams schedule. In fact I complain very little about the Flyers, I leave that up to you and a few others. However, as they say, I will defend to the death your right to do so.
I couldn’t remember who it was when typing but I was replying to you and TA.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:37 PM
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It sounds like we need a volunteer team of alumni and supporters of the program, across the country, to represent the Athletic Department, to glad hand the administrators at all of these universities.

It's outside the box thinking. And it may not help. But it can't hurt (as long as the volunteers know their roles and stay in their lane and don't try to negotiate deals!).

I'd volunteer some of my time to help the Athletic Department. Even for fundraising activities that could enhance the university's reputation amongst its peers.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GoFlyer View Post
I am not expecting Kansas or Michigan State to show up at the arena for a non conference match up. But I would expect something better than we are seeing . . including matchups with teams that are in the same boat as us
in non p5 leagues.
I agree.

Part 4 indicates that we are targeting top 75 teams and teams from the MWC, A10, AAC, and WCC. IMO, that is much too narrow of a scope if we are talking about adding 1 or 2 more non-p5 home and home series per year. We are likely only going to be able to get around 2 of these top 75 games per year, outside of exempt tournaments, like we did this year, due to the fact that it sounds like there are no other top 75/aac/mwc/wcc/a10 teams that want to play us.

We are going to have to start targeting maybe the top 100 or top 125. Q2 road wins top out at #135.

I would rather do a home and home with #90 and #100 than play 2 buy games. You may get lucky, #90 or #100 might have an usually good year(s), that can and does happen.

I am not blaming this on not having the necessary connections, or Neil not trying hard enough. There are likely over a hundred other teams out there trying to land the same opponents as us, connections can only do so much. And it sounds like Neil is working very hard.

I hear little talk of targeting teams #76 and worse for home and homes, IMO, that is likely our only option at this point in terms of getting more home and homes.

Also, I would not be opposed to a winnable one-way road game.

Chris, have we offered one-way road games?

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Old 08-15-2019, 05:08 PM
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Yes. We will play a one way road game at Kansas if Kansas agrees to play us. They dont, and not enough non mechanized dates to care anyway.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:33 PM
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An impression...

I intend to hold my thoughts until all five segments are posted. But, I can't resist commenting now re one thing that I think is telling.

In a few of the posts right above "contacts" and "connections" are discussed. I believe Neil has made as many "calls" as is humanly possible. But, here we are, the UD Flyers opening a "new" Arena after a $70+ million renovation....and opening we've known about for a long time.

And we are unable to land a marquis opponent for the opening game? In spite of the "million" phone calls the UD AD doesn't have one "friend" he can call for a real favor?...no "chips" to play?....not one "debt" that needs to be repaid? After all that effort he comes up empty. Wow!

As others have said, phone calls and contacts are not "connections", not real "ins" as far as the AD community is concerned. The results suggest that UD has no real clout at all....we needed a favor and couldn't get one, anywhere, after ~ 2 years trying?

Our effort is 110%; of that I'm confident and appreciative....very appreciative. But there is something troubling about the lack of real payoff...which the Arena opening game suggests to me.

(More later with at least one new idea.)
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:44 PM
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Iím through part 4. This is very interesting stuff. Iím still, however, looking to understand Neilís thought on 2 for 1 deals. Both the kind where we only get 1 home game and the kind where we get 2 home games. Yes, UD may need to give up some revenue from a couple of those crappy buy games...
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TX Flyer View Post
Thank you for reading what Iím writing. I donít know Neil and who he has strong or weak connections with. But if you bring in a person or firm solely for scheduling you can narrow the candidate list with a smaller scope of duties. This will allow Neil to continue to work the metrics and his contacts and potentially bridge a gap with those he canít make progress with.

In response to another poster, if Neil is helping other schools so much then donít complain when they get the P5 H/H series and we donít.
You totally missed the point. Other schools have apparently come to Neil and UD for help because of their knowledge and expertise.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TA111 View Post
You totally missed the point. Other schools have apparently come to Neil and UD for help because of their knowledge and expertise.
Then I missed your point and will reread the post.

Iím not doubting Neil knows how to manipulate the data. I just want to be able to take advantage of what he does find. There is no shame in using your expertise and involving someone else to utilize theirs is my point.
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:55 AM
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Interesting that for A10 H/Hs Neil values A10 finish versus more opportunities for higher quadrant wins

That would be the one thing in the logic presented in these articles that I would question
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:23 AM
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The final installment in the 5-part series is now posted. Click banner in the original post. Discussion focuses on Maui scheduling, data gathering, decompression windows, and some final thoughts and expectations.
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
The final installment in the 5-part series is now posted. Click banner in the original post. Discussion focuses on Maui scheduling, data gathering, decompression windows, and some final thoughts and expectations.
Chris,
Thanks for the work in putting together this series. Very informative and enlightening. It addressed most of the concerns I've had even though I was aware of some of the behind-the-scenes data mining and horse-trading that goes on to pull together a schedule. But I'm also like a lot of the rest of us, an alum and decades-long season ticket holder who always wants what the big boys have. We'll get there, and this year will be the start of that.

Go Flyers!
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:06 AM
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Outstanding Series

Thanks for all the hard work Chris, Neil and staff. In Neil we trust. Go Flyers!
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:35 AM
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Great job Chris. I particularly enjoyed the rescheduling efforts used and the Mich St connections to get a much higher rated team in the arena. This is a much more complex matter than most people realize.
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by OSU Flyer View Post
Interesting that for A10 H/Hs Neil values A10 finish versus more opportunities for higher quadrant wins

That would be the one thing in the logic presented in these articles that I would question
It's a balancing act. He's trying to get the right balance of best schedule that allows them to compete for the top of the league.

If we have the best NET rating in the conference but finish 5th, I'd bet a good chunk of coin that the NCAA committee won't dig deep enough into the schedules to realize what happened. Instead, they'll take the easy way out and assume the NET rating is an aberration.

This is where UD would need to be proactive and point it out to the committee. My guess is the committee will still conclude, "It's just the A-10. Should have won more."
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:09 AM
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Financial Commitments. Not!

I am always disturbed when I hear about "financial commitments" to support the athletic department. We have a golden goose that very, very few other schools have....and those other schools manage to produce teams that are competitive with UD. Rather than milking the men's BB program to support the rest, I suggest using more of it as an "investment" that helps us achieve our main goal...getting to the NCAAs "more often than not", i.e., about six times in a decade.

When you make the Dance to earn money. When you win games you earn even more money. The right OOC schedule helps us toward that goal.

While men's BB is a major source of department funds, it provides less than half the cost of UD's athetics budget. Rather than thinking of men's BB as a cash machine that lowers the burden on the University, I suggest we think of it as an investment vehicle that can be used to better our chances of making the NCAAs.

Here's an idea for doing that:

We have great difficulty getting desirable opponents to play H/H series. Some, we hear, were right on the fence but then the deal fell through. Let's try to look at it with the perspective of the fish we almost reeled in; but that got away. What might have changed the dynamic. (Not thinking of Power 5 schools.)

For a school like Loyola, just as an example, a H/H deal with UD is not a level playing field. We'll put 12000+ in the Arena and they will draw maybe 4000-5000 at their place. Suppose we were to offer a level financial playing field, i.e., we say, "We'll share revenue with you...50-50 based on combined average attendance of both schools.

That means, of course, that UD will make a payment to the opponent since we'll draw 5000 or more fans. Total attendance for both games might be 18000, let's say, an average of 9000 per game. In which case UD pays Loyola the equivalent of 3000 or so fans. We lose some revenue and Loyola gains revenue. But the point is, to persuade that "desirable opponent" to play us H/H we've enticed them by leveling the financial playing field.

Perhaps the cost to UD would approximate the cost of a "buy game". But that is an investment toward our ultimate goal...an OOC schedule that gets us to where the real pot of gold is, the NCAAs.

Maybe we've tried things like this. If not, I suggest that we use our financial advantage such that the opponent on the fence wants to play sat the Arena.

Think about it.
___________
One more thought on the "connections" issue: Eric Spina was at Syracuse for nearly 30 years, the last ten as Vice Chancellor and Provost. Not only does he know the SU president, AD and Jim Boeheim....he knows them personally. And Spina couldn't call in a favor and get SU to play at the Arena? Whew!

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Old 08-16-2019, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TA111 View Post
Great job Chris. I particularly enjoyed the rescheduling efforts used and the Mich St connections to get a much higher rated team in the arena. This is a much more complex matter than most people realize.
I liked the insights into this too. Swapping Delaware St for Charleston Southern is about as unsexy as it gets in terms of scheduling. But its actually very significant.

It would be nice to lean on that MSU connection for a game...
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by UACFlyer View Post
I am always disturbed when I hear about "financial commitments" to support the athletic department. We have a golden goose that very, very few other schools have....and those other schools manage to produce teams that are competitive with UD. Rather than milking the men's BB program to support the rest, I suggest using more of it as an "investment" that helps us achieve our main goal...getting to the NCAAs "more often than not", i.e., about six times in a decade.

When you make the Dance to earn money. When you win games you earn even more money. The right OOC schedule helps us toward that goal.

While men's BB is a major source of department funds, it provides less than half the cost of UD's athetics budget. Rather than thinking of men's BB as a cash machine that lowers the burden on the University, I suggest we think of it as an investment vehicle that can be used to better our chances of making the NCAAs.

Here's an idea for doing that:

We have great difficulty getting desirable opponents to play H/H series. Some, we hear, were right on the fence but then the deal fell through. Let's try to look at it with the perspective of the fish we almost reeled in; but that got away. What might have changed the dynamic. (Not thinking of Power 5 schools.)

For a school like Loyola, just as an example, a H/H deal with UD is not a level playing field. We'll put 12000+ in the Arena and they will draw maybe 4000-5000 at their place. Suppose we were to offer a level financial playing field, i.e., we say, "We'll share revenue with you...50-50 based on combined average attendance of both schools.

That means, of course, that UD will make a payment to the opponent since we'll draw 5000 or more fans. Total attendance for both games might be 18000, let's say, an average of 9000 per game. In which case UD pays Loyola the equivalent of 3000 or so fans. We lose some revenue and Loyola gains revenue. But the point is, to persuade that "desirable opponent" to play us H/H we've enticed them by leveling the financial playing field.

Perhaps the cost to UD would approximate the cost of a "buy game". But that is an investment toward our ultimate goal...an OOC schedule that gets us to where the real pot of gold is, the NCAAs.

Maybe we've tried things like this. If not, I suggest that we use our financial advantage such that the opponent on the fence wants to play sat the Arena.

Think about it.
___________
One more thought on the "connections" issue: Eric Spina was at Syracuse for nearly 30 years, the last ten as Vice Chancellor and Provost. Not only does he know the SU president, AD and Jim Boeheim....he knows them personally. And Spina couldn't call in a favor and get SU to play at the Arena? Whew!

UAC-The article mentions that UD picked up some of the Charleston Southern costs to entice them to come to the arena. Also, it has been reported in the past that UD not only paid St. Marys to come to the arena, but also paid St Marys to play at their place. It would seem Neil is willing to open the checkbook when needed and prudent.
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:47 AM
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Good start, but,..

Originally Posted by ud69 View Post
UAC-The article mentions that UD picked up some of the Charleston Southern costs to entice them to come to the arena. Also, it has been reported in the past that UD not only paid St. Marys to come to the arena, but also paid St Marys to play at their place. It would seem Neil is willing to open the checkbook when needed and prudent.
But is it enough? In my opinion we should be willing to pay an opponent that we want to play, that can help us, as much, indeed more, than we would pay a "buy game" opponent that doesn't help us at all.

I don't know what a buy game cost these days...I'll guess $100, approximately. If that's close, why hesitate to pay a really desirable opponent, to whom finances matter, $250K? I'll bet the examples you cited aren't close to that level.

Do we want to get to the NCAAs or not? UD's attendance revenues may well be the one and only advantage we have. Why not use it and worry less about supporting the rest of the athletics department?

Instead of analyzing box scores going back decades, how about researching the finances of desirable opponents? (Even Power 5 schools lose money; but a few hundred K means little to them.)

An example re understanding opponents financial circumstances. If Neil picked up the phone and called UConn's AD, Dave Benedict, saying "Dave, play us a four game H/H series and I'll pay you $1 million", Benedict would hang up and start reserving rooms at the Dayton Marriott. Why? UConn athletic dept is in a desperate situation...$20 million to switch conferences, possibly another $10 million owed to a former BB coach, all three revenue sports lose money, and an annoyed legislature wondering where the money will come from. UConn is being paid $1million to play a FB game at Clemson in 2021.

Now I understand that the $1 million figure is ridiculous. But, would $250K do it for a two game H/H series with UConn? Maybe. Dan Hurley knows all about the Arena and would not be scared off.

More probable, other privates athletics departments (even some BE schools) are not flush financially, Those on the fence re scheduling UD may be persuaded if the price was right. And we have the resources! Remember, the goal is the NCAAs. You earn money when you make the Dance...with the potential for much more if you win.

I am suggesting that if it can really help toward our goal, the NCAAs, opening the checkbook alone may not be enough. To get an opponent or two that we really want, that can do us some good, a more generous approach is warranted...an offer that's hard to refuse. I doubt if we're close to that point.

Attendance of nearly 13000 puts us in a class by ourselves among non P5 schools...a strong financial advantage....most likely our only advantage. We should use it. College athletics is about money. If we succeed payback comes from the NCAA checks.
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We have been told the scheduling landscape has changed dramatically. It has been explained in detail. That means we have to change. The strategy that has worked so well in the past has to evolve in a significant way to accommodate the new situation.

We will succeed so long as don't lose sight of the ultimate goal...regular NCAA appearances and the financial payoff that will mean.

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Old 08-16-2019, 01:01 PM
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UAC, I like your thinking. Another thought I did not see discussed in the article is this.
Full disclosure, this may have been how we landed Indiana state. Can we offer our football program as a sort ofÖ Sacrificial lambÖ To get a basketball team on our home schedule? Iím thinking about teams like Villanova, Middle Tennessee, basically any non-Mac And especially one AA teams. Why do we play Duquesne every year? Can we get rid of that game and play at a Villanova or even Yukon since they are so bad, if that means we get them to the arena?
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:14 PM
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Chris,

Truly excellent work here and the best deep dive I've seen into the Flyers. This is the type of info that Flyer fans don't get often
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyerferd View Post
UAC, I like your thinking. Another thought I did not see discussed in the article is this.
Full disclosure, this may have been how we landed Indiana state. Can we offer our football program as a sort ofÖ Sacrificial lambÖ To get a basketball team on our home schedule? Iím thinking about teams like Villanova, Middle Tennessee, basically any non-Mac And especially one AA teams. Why do we play Duquesne every year? Can we get rid of that game and play at a Villanova or even Yukon since they are so bad, if that means we get them to the arena?
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Teams like Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois and others have used their football teams as bargaining chip

The issue for UD I think is that outside Villanova the FCS (1AA) schools aren't great at basketball.

Definitely an idea worth considering but scanning over the FCS conferences I don't see many consistently good basketball programs

I've seen ESPN and others mention the success of VCU, Gonzaga, Xavier, etc is that they don't have scholarship football
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyerferd View Post
UAC, I like your thinking. Another thought I did not see discussed in the article is this.
Full disclosure, this may have been how we landed Indiana state. Can we offer our football program as a sort ofÖ Sacrificial lambÖ To get a basketball team on our home schedule? Iím thinking about teams like Villanova, Middle Tennessee, basically any non-Mac And especially one AA teams. Why do we play Duquesne every year? Can we get rid of that game and play at a Villanova or even Yukon since they are so bad, if that means we get them to the arena?
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Originally Posted by OSU Flyer View Post
Teams like Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois and others have used their football teams as bargaining chip

The issue for UD I think is that outside Villanova the FCS (1AA) schools aren't great at basketball.

Definitely an idea worth considering but scanning over the FCS conferences I don't see many consistently good basketball programs

I've seen ESPN and others mention the success of VCU, Gonzaga, Xavier, etc is that they don't have scholarship football
You have to remember, that we do not offer scholarship football either. So that limits us to who we can realistically play in football that can leverage us a basketball game. The upper level FCS is really the best we can do when it comes to playing football games against. The only real decent school who we have played in the past that would be nice to leverage a game with is Georgetown. The rest of the realistic targets are schools in the MVC, NEC, the CAC. Honestly, that is a whole lot of blah when it comes to basketball.
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:12 PM
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Adam Tschuor, UD's Sr. Associate AD posted this pic of Neil during one of their 'war room' scheduling sessions:

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Old 08-16-2019, 09:51 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to put this together and for providing a window into our scheduling challenges.

One thing that either I missed or was not addressed is getting potential home and home series games on national TV. My understanding is that the top programs want to be assured the game will at least be on an ESPN network or else they won't schedule a home and home series (or a neutral site game for that matter). CBSSN and NBCSN may not cut it for some programs, particularly because of the limited number of households those networks reach. For example, I doubt the UC/Ohio State series would have happened last year without a guarantee the game would end up on ESPN.

Does the current A-10 TV contract help or hinder us in that regard?
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Old 08-17-2019, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by springborofan View Post
I’m through part 4. This is very interesting stuff. I’m still, however, looking to understand Neil’s thought on 2 for 1 deals. Both the kind where we only get 1 home game and the kind where we get 2 home games. Yes, UD may need to give up some revenue from a couple of those crappy buy games...
I appreciate all the effort that Chris put into this, but but there were a lot of questions from the questions thread that went completely unanswered. Oh well...


http://www.udpride.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33170
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:10 PM
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Which questions were not answered?
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Old Yesterday, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ud2 View Post
I appreciate all the effort that Chris put into this, but but there were a lot of questions from the questions thread that went completely unanswered. Oh well...


http://www.udpride.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33170
Our AD has let Chris into his inner circle, and afforded him time that only comes when he is sure he won't get blind sided by the privilege. Chris covered an incredible list of subjects and Neil accommodated him.

Surely you spoke with sarcasm and should have put a happy face next to your response.
I have been following the Flyers since the '50's and never have I ever seen an AD open up with the candidness that Neil afforded Chris. Show some class.

Do you really think that there were not some subjects that were strictly not allowed to leave the room?
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Alberto Strasse (Today), Bill McPeek (Yesterday), m21eagle45 (Yesterday), Runnin' Rebel (Today), TA111 (Yesterday), The Fly (Yesterday), UACFlyer (Yesterday), UDGutter2 (Yesterday)
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Old Yesterday, 01:46 PM
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