In mid-January, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) announced the formation of an FCS league to begin play in 2021 and the addition of five new member-institutions. Over the past six months, Collegiate Consulting worked with each of the four Southland schools that joined the WAC (Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin). The projects entailed comprehensive benchmarking analyses and conference realignment assessments.
During this process, Collegiate Consulting assessed sports sponsorship, travel considerations, conference competitiveness, institutional fit, athletic expenses (scholarships, operating budgets, staffing) and athletic sources of revenue. With current Texas members – Tarleton State University and the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley – Collegiate Consulting ascertained the WAC and a Texas-centric division would provide a viable solution for both institutions. Since the completion of our studies, all four of the institutions have received membership offers from the WAC.
Collegiate Consulting has previous experience with the institutions, having conducted a FBS Feasibility Study for Sam Houston State in 2012; an Operational Review and Strategic Plan for UTRGV in 2015 and Tarleton State’s Division I Feasibility Study in 2018.
The four schools have experienced significant success within the Southland Conference. Most notably, Stephen F. Austin has won 15 Southland women’s basketball tournaments since 1981. The four schools have a total of 12 Southland men’s basketball tournament championships since 1981. They also share eight baseball championships and five in softball.
As times continue to change in college athletics, we continue to see changes in the types of studies we are doing. At this time last year, we worked with seven our our partners on strategic plans. Now, almost all of our projects are made up of Feasibility Studies and Conference Membership Studies. As we have heard from our partners and sources in the industry, there has been a lot of talk of movement – across the country at all levels.
We have anticipated this change since we began working with the WAC 18 months ago. Since the announcement at the beginning of the month, we have seen many institutions reach out and capitalize on this market.
In last six months of 2020, we worked on 11 Feasibility Studies, 15 Conference Membership Studies and two Reclassification Studies. We expect this pattern to continue for at least the first six months of 2021.
Since November 2020, we have seen a significant amount of growth in our Twitter following and engagement. We have loved connecting with our previous and potential clients on this platform.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of this week we were hacked and no longer have access to our Twitter account. We are working to solve this problem! We are looking forward to logging back into our Twitter to continue our dialogue.
Keep an eye – and an ear – out for Collegiate Consulting Managing Director Russell Wright’s Q&A on Extra Points with Matt Brown’s podcast. Anticipated release is Friday, Feb. 19.