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Duck

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#21 [url]

Jun 28 12 10:43 AM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

FoUTASportscaster wrote:
UTA had two types of football seasons every year in the '70's. Poor non-conference, mediocre conference. They rarely finished below third, but they also rarely finished above third. Maybe it was the fact that he competed in the SLC somewhat that kept him around.

That theory has merit. It was a mess, no doubt about it: the funding got cut, the legendary coach retired, the Rebel theme got outlawed, the stadium on campus got torn down, female athletics started to need part of the shrinking pie, OPEC, Jimmy Carter, Soviets in Afghanistan, fall of the Shah, etc. Lots happened.

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Duck

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#22 [url]

Jul 6 12 9:17 AM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

http://www.southland.org/
A last bit of Southland news. Here is the url for their updated website, which appears to be much improved.

With the addition of ORU, they are a strong 10-team conference at that level. One has to wonder how long Lamar will stick around, but the core of SFA, McNeese, Sam and Southeastern should keep the conference viable for a long time.

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Duck

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#24 [url]

Jul 6 12 9:38 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

FoUTASportscaster wrote:
What are you referencing in your list of core schools?

I guess I should have elaborated. These are schools that I consider to be pretty solid, and yet have shown little interest in moving up to an FBS-level football league.

Of course this list is subjective and you may have a different take. McNeese and SFA come the closest in my opinion. Both have been very competitive in the SLC, but appear unlikely to move to another league. I feel the same about SLU and SHS, but perhaps to a lesser degree. Five of the other six teams fall short of my definition of "core schools," either because they have only been around a short time, or I suspect they may have other ambitions. Nicholls State, of course, is in a class by itself.

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UTAMavalum83

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#25 [url]

Jul 7 12 1:15 PM

Re: "That's a Fact"

Duck wrote:
UTArlingtonMaverick wrote:
Our non-football sports were underfunded while we had football. That's a fact.
When football went away, otherwise for better or worse, the university was able to more fully-funded the other sports. That's a fact.
More money meant better results in the non-football sports.
If football is ever added, it will need to be done without bleeding the other sports dry, as was previously the case.


I'm sorry not to have responded sooner, but I wanted to clear up some potentially erroneous assumptions. First some background:

Arlington State College was a large junior college in the early 50's. Their athletic teams included football, basketball, track & field, tennis and golf, that I know of. Later on, we got swimming, baseball, and at times had bowling, rifle, pistol and fencing. Any money to pay for those programs came from football tickets sold or institutional funds. C.R. "Cheena" Gilstrap built a very competitive football program that began to win championships, culminating in the national JC championships in 1956 and 1957, when they won back-to-back Junior Rose Bowls. This athletic success served to put ASC and the ASC Rebels on the map, which in turn helped make it possible for Arlington and ASC leaders to successfully mount a campaign for 4-year status. Far from bleeding the other sports dry, football made Arlington athletics possible, and arguably helped pave the way for our current status as a 4-year university.

Despite Gilstrap's success, ASC/UTA never had enough institutional, external or ticket revenue funding to really prosper in all the sports that the college sponsored, and remember: these were only men's sports. The one major institutional source of funding that helped keep programs afloat into the late 60s and early 70s was the Student Activity Fee.

This became controversial and some campus organizations politically maneuvered to take the SAF money out of athletics. At the same time, UTA found itself embroiled in a nasty mascot controversy, anti-war protests and the introduction of women's athletic programs. So during that "perfect storm" of controversy, budget cuts and a (post-Gilstrap) losing football, the money "pie" got smaller and the demands greater. To stay at the Division 1 level, the school had to offer a minimum number of sports, which may explain why we had rifle, pistol, fencing and bowling.

We probably had barely enough funding to keep football and the other sports going on a shoestring, but I think that was typical in the SLC. Our huge disadvantage was inadequate facilities. But by 1981 we had a decent football stadium and we were putting competitive teams on the field. Far from bleeding the other sports dry, football showed some promise to rebuild the following that UTA had previously enjoyed. Right or wrong, President Nedderman decided to pull the plug on the football program after the 1985 season. Some of our most ardent supporters left and have never returned. 3/4 of the Maverick Club members refused to renew their memberships.

The decision to kill football was based on the assumption that it would never get better and that it was losing money. Killing football and swimming were regrettable decisions that have been a continuing source of embarrassment to the university, but as you have implied, it did result in more funding for the surviving athletic programs.

I just want to hammer home my point that football did not "bleed" the other sports at UTA. There would not have been those other sports programs if football had not first been successful. As for the more fully-funded nature of the other sports after football, you need to give credit to President Witt, Pete Carlon and the students who voted to set up the student athletics fee about ten years ago. If that referendum had failed, UTA may have been forced to drop to Division II or III.


Great summary, Duck.

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UTAMavalum83

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#26 [url]

Jul 7 12 1:30 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

FoUTASportscaster wrote:
Duck wrote:
[quote]The student fee was passed in the laste '90's. UTA athletics was already on the rebound by that time. The only variable that correlates with the improvement of the program is that football was dropped.

All the fee did was maintain. It did not increase funding, but merely allowed it to continue at the former level. It was in response to an ultimatum from Dr. Witt, who did not want athletics to monopolize his discretionary funding. He announced that without a fee or other external source of athletic funding, UTA would have to look at dropping down to D-2 or D-3.

Maybe this was before your time. Ask Pete about it.


I didn't say it increased funding. From a pure performance standpoint, the '90's were our peak decade in terms of highest finishes. The 2000's have seen more marquee programs make postseason appearances, both basketball's, softball and 3 of 5 baseball appearances, but we haven't finished above fourth in the commissioner's cup since 2006-7. The last time we won it was a decade ago. Prior to that, we did 3 times in the five years. Had it been awarded before that, we would have won more.

And on top of that, we were playing with a handicap in three sports, that if we would have finished last in them, we would have added ten points. However, that same handicap existed then too and we still won and would have won.

I know the politics, and it wasn't before my time, but my point is simple and the standings bear this out. We were more successful as an entire athletic program on a per year basis before the fee than after. I am not advocating for or against it, just pointing out it is not the reason for our rise in competitiveness. The only variables that dos work the dropping of football, the replacement of superior conference opponents with lower quality ones and the addition of our women's programs, though in the '90's, our men's were just as strong.

[quote][quote]In fact, the overall program has slipped more after the fee was passed than before.
Your second point is true. One of the arguments the student leaders made in 2004 for the referendum was that overall funding was going to hit a ceiling if it relied solely on student fees, and that the existing sports could not generate enough student and community enthusiasm to cause external giving to grow. It appears their predictions proved true, or perhaps there is some other explanation of why our overall funding has not kept pace with our competition.

Looking forward, I wonder if other factors like College Park Center, gas revenues and large enrollment growth will improve UTA's prospects for the coming years.

I really look forward to a time in which more than half a dozen of us give a rip about UTA athletics. We do not have even 1/25th the participation I see on the UNT, SMU or TCU forums. And there's only one thing I can think of that would change that.

I would say winning solves all of that, which aside from baseball, our marquee programs have not consistently done and certainly not on a national level. I suspect that if the men were to reach the sweet sixteen a couple of times, you would see that. SFA's most attended sport in the '90's and early oughts was their women's basketball program, not football, because they won on a national level.

I would also say moving away from a commuter school will help. I am here because I developed a personal connection to the program. Commuters do not have that kind of attachment. They come in take class and leave. On-campus housing is a benefit, as is student amenities like the MAC. CPC should help that too, but not as much as winning. Prior to the CPC, the most attended men's basketball of the prior decade and a half was a tournament game. The second, was a tournament game. Meaningfull opponents will draw crowds.

Speaking of opponents, developing a strong rivalry will draw people and bring that attachment that you mention. We kinda had that with SFA, who was usually the opponent in the most attended basketball game.

I share a similar sentiment as Ben. If this a football team doesn't win, it is more of the same. You cite UNT, but when their team doesn't win, they have a hard time attracting a crowd. They blamed Fouts, but the same thing happened in their new stadium.

If this is the case, why didn't more fans travel to Waco for the first round playoffs?

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FoUTASportscaster

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#27 [url]

Jul 7 12 4:34 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

You have to win consistently, something we are having a hard time doing lately. The previous year we were under .500. In the last eight years, we have had a winning season twice. Before that, we had one sub-.500 in five.

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FoUTASportscaster

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#28 [url]

Sep 8 12 1:14 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

In the DMN archives, I ran across this story, which I post because it gives a great synopsis of what pre-football sports had to go through.

[quote]SECOND WIND - UTA baseball program back in the running after relief help comes from football 's demise

The Dallas Morning News - Wednesday, March 18, 1987

Mark Johnson

If there was a trip to arrange or equipment to order, Butch McBroom was the man. If the baseball field needed some tender loving care, McBroom grabbed a rake or started up the mower. Then there were classes to teach, recruits to scout, paper cups to pick up from beneath the stadium benches.

"It's a seven-day-a-week job, from daylight to dark,' said McBroom, baseball coach at the University of Texas at Arlington. "I always thought basketball coaches should have to coach baseball for just one year. There's so much physical maintenance in baseball.'

Fiscal maintenance as well -- a job made tougher for McBroom when that money-guzzling machine known as UTAfootball was still coughing and sputtering. Back then, McBroom had to get by on three to five scholarships a year, plus a recruiting budget that could have been drawn from a piggy bank.

But now, Maverick baseball is no longer a one-man, no-money operation. McBroom has two assistant coaches this season, a budget that has nearly doubled in two years, a bulked-up salary and 13 scholarships -- the NCAA Division I limit. He occupies the office that once belonged to Chuck Curtis, the former head football coach. His team dresses in the old football locker room, wears new uniforms and plays on a renovated field that McBroom considers the finest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There is talk not only of UTA 's first Southland Conference title, but of a second, third and fourth in years to come.

"It's nothing but improving, that's for sure,' said John Deller, first baseman and designated hitter for the Mavs. "We're going to be bringing a lot of recruits in, and they're going to like what they see. We're going to get better talent out of the deal.'

This upsurge, however, has a bittersweet taste. To a large degree, it can be traced to the death of the school's football program after the 1985 season.

Football was the No. 1 sport at UTA even as the plug was being pulled. Since the sport was dropped, the Maverick Club -- boosters who support UTA athletics -- has gone from 900 members to 266, according to club president Ruth Davis. But football drew money as well as people, and those precious dollars have not been wasted.

"We were told that with the loss of football , there was going to be a total upgrading of all the other sports,' said McBroom, who is in his 14th season at UTA . "I know that my sport has benefited greatly from it. I'm a football fan; I hate to see it go. But I'm not going to gripe if they're going to help me out. I've toiled around here for a long time with just a shoestring to operate on.'

With that shoestring, McBroom has tied up winning records in each of the last eight seasons. Four times the Movin' Mavs have come within a game of an SLC championship.

"Now, looking back, I don't know how we did all these things,' McBroom said. "You can't have a top-grade program with just one guy, because something's going to suffer.'

McBroom did not get a full-time assistant coach until 1983, after he lost his left leg to cancer. John Mocek, a former Maverick first baseman-DH under McBroom, moved from the UTA athletic business office that year to the third base coach's box.

This season, McBroom used his additional scholarships to land a second assistant -- David Chalk, a former University of Texas and major-league shortstop. Chalk is helping out the team while working toward a degree in economics.

Both coaches help care for the field, in addition to working with the players. Mocek handles finances and scheduling. "Plus, we can go in three directions recruiting now,' McBroom said. "We can cross-check each other. All your major schools have three coaches, and it's not too many, either.'

When recruits come for a visit, McBroom can show off a field that recently got a $53,000 facelift. Arlington Athletic Center had been plagued by drainage problems since it opened in 1974, McBroom's first season with the Mavs. McBroom tried to patch things up, but standing water continued to be a standing joke.

Until football died, however, McBroom figured the project had no chance of winning approval from school president Wendell Nedderman. "They wouldn't have even listened to me,' he said. " Football was taking the money.'

Not anymore. Jim Anglea, the Rangers' head groundskeeper, turned a field that one player said was high-school quality into a 14-carat diamond. In addition, McBroom raised $30,000 for a new scoreboard and other frills. "Right now, I don't know if there's a better grass field in college baseball,' said Bill Reeves, UTA 's athletic director. "It was a bad one.'

So far, the Mavericks' first season on new grass and dirt has gotten mixed reviews.

After the loss of football forced UTA out of the Southland Conference, McBroom lined up a killer schedule that includes such powerhouses as Pan American, Oklahoma State, Louisiana State and Texas. The Mavs lost 12 of their first 14 games, but have rebounded to 10-15. Next season they return to the new-look SLC, which will lose a pair of good baseball schools in Lamar and Louisiana Tech.

The team is also fighting the same battle lost by the football program -- the battle for fan support at a commuter school. McBroom said he believes attendance is slightly up this season, and the Mavs did draw 400 on the Sunday afternoon when the new field was dedicated. Weekday games, however, can attract as few as 30 or 40 people.

"People around here are just interested in getting their grades in, and that's it,' pitcher Chris Mosley said. "A lot of students don't even know there's a baseball team.'

Help is on the way. The university and the city of Arlington will soon team up to improve the lighting at UTA 's stadium, where midweek night games could become the norm. "This will be a first for us,' Reeves said. "People will be able to come who have to work all the time.'

The future would look bright even without the extra candlepower. Initially, all of McBroom's new scholarships were divided among veteran players, leaving only five partial grants for incoming freshmen -- and two of those newcomers have already left school. As more scholarships open, more of the best local players will be looking at UTA .

"We're going to be a real solid Division I baseball program,' Reeves said. "We have the potential each year to go the playoffs. That's exactly where we want to be.'

It's also where they're expected to be. "We've got to build a winning program now,' Chalk said. "There's more pressure on the coaching staff.'

According to Reeves, UTA 's baseball budget has increased from $97,000 to $172,000 over the last two years. McBroom, however, said that most of those dollars represent scholarships and salary increases. McBroom's recruiting budget has quintupled since football died, but it's still only $2,000 per year.

"Thirteen full scholarships means nothing if you don't have the money to recruit the 13 full scholarships,' McBroom said, who called his overall budget "basically adequate.'

But he is also optimistic: "We could be a major power.'

And the demise of UTAfootball is one of the major reasons.

If baseball had these kind of handicaps during the football years, I can't imagine what the lower profile sports like tennis or cross country had to go through.

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Duck

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#29 [url]

Sep 8 12 6:25 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

As a tennis player, I can tell you we had very thin resources, but that was true of all sports, including football. We did not have any dedicated student athletics fee to fall back on, so when the revenue sports failed to bring in revenue, it was always a case of the administration having to "find" money. One big source of "found" money was the student activities fee, but starting in the late 60s, SAB, the Student Activities Board, began to exert itself to gain control over the funds and cut off the athletics department. And then we had to start up women's teams.

When a history is finally written of that era, I think Pete Carlon will deserve recognition for the way he got the debts paid, somehow preserved better funding for the surviving programs, and kept us in Division One. It has been a long journey back, but without his leadership during the last two decades, we would not be poised on the verge of the "big time," as we are now, and we certainly would not have a prayer of getting football back.

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FoUTASportscaster

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#30 [url]

Sep 8 12 7:09 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

You keep saying you were on the tennis team, but when I looked up the all-time letterwinners, I couldn't find "Duck" anywhere.

But to your point, this is why it is hard for me to tell whether the program's disbandment was good or bad. Essentially, we were Nicholls St. With an occasional team in a random program that won, but overall we were consistently the worst athletics program in the conference. Our football team was consistently better than theirs, but everything else is close. That does not sit well with me. I have a little trouble with schools that try to play at a level they can't. Nicholls should be a D-II school. The results say we should have too.

I'll have to take your word that football was underfunded. However, unlike baseball, they had the full amount of scholarships and were able to attract a lot of good players. In looking back through the DMN archives, it appeared that Coach Elliott was not able to keep his team running smooth. There seemed to be 2-4 losses every year that were lost because of turnovers, mental mistakes or meltdowns. Even the best year of the final 18 years of UTA's football program was marked by sloppy play. That loss cost them a conference championship and bowl berth. Your analogy to McCarter is solid in my opinion.

Coach Curtis, on the otherhand, got his team the second most wins in those 18 years. To me, that is significant because a new coach almost always has a losing season in the first year of a program in need of rebuilding. Regretably, the sample size of two seasons is too small to accurately judge, but considering the Southwest Conference snapped up six of our players and dozens more went to other schools, the talent was there. Arkansas St won the SLC in 1986. Their coach, Larry Lacewell says we would have won it, so my assumption would have to be that he is more like a Scott Cross, but starting with a nicer venue.

Now, however, we can compete in most sports against most mid-majors and give the upper schools a run for their money. To say where we would be if football were still around today is subjective.

If football ever comes back, it can't be at the expense of the other sports. Luckily, it was Pete's philosophy that every sport is fully funded, and my assumption is that Baker is the same way, judging by comments like the next step is to upgrade the summer sport venues. I believe that puts me in the minority, as a lot of people seem to be football at all costs (not on this board, though).

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Duck

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#31 [url]

Oct 6 12 5:42 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

I would have to agree with your assessment overall, except, as has been previously noted by others, we did not have the full number of scholarships for football. That was then. I believe we can safely put that era to bed, along with "commuter school," not enough surface-level parking, 5-1 ratio of male to female and other historical trivia.

UTA has the means to do as much or more than TSSM and many other of the D-1 upstarts. Adding football and the other new sports will enlarge our footprint, creating a huge window of opportunity for community and alumni friends to participate in and support UTA. It would be a shame to chicken out now.

And yes, I'm posting this so that all the boards will be "ducked."

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FoUTASportscaster

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Posts: 988 Member Since:07/27/11 Maverick

#32 [url]

Oct 7 12 2:15 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

According to the article about Coach Elliott's firing (DMN 11-18-83, page 3B), UTA football was at the full amount of scholarships. In the '70's, they were allowed 68, but that was upped to the max in the early '80's.

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Duck

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#33 [url]

Oct 7 12 3:19 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

You really can't trust those newspaper guys. They think UTA's colors are Blue and Orange.

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FoUTASportscaster

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Posts: 988 Member Since:07/27/11 Maverick

#34 [url]

Oct 8 12 12:14 PM

Re: UTA's time in the SLC & pre vs. post football

For what it is worth, it was an indirect quote from Coach Elliott.

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