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Money Games

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A friend of mine sent me this Article that appeared in todays' Newsday.



Playing Up Isn't a Downer



Steven Marcus


December 1, 2003


Why do local basketball teams schedule mismatches against big-name

programs? Answer: to acquire experience and money, both of which are

valuable commodities to mid-major programs.


The Hofstra men are 1-3, with losses to Georgia Tech (75-56),

Providence (69-56) and Maryland (87-72). Hofstra has no regrets.


"Now we feel we can play against anybody," forward Kenny Adeleke said.

"That doesn't necessarily mean we can beat anybody, but we can compete

for 40 minutes. The teams in our conference [Colonial Athletic

Association] aren't going to be as tough."


Senior forward Danny Walker agreed. "As players and coaches and

athletes, we always want to compete against the best," Walker said.


After beating Hofstra, Georgia Tech defeated No. 1 UConn by 16 points

and went on to win the Preseason NIT. Tech will be ranked in the next

poll. Maryland and Providence already had received points in the top 25.

Hofstra left those games with its self-respect intact - and some nice

checks. Hofstra received travel expenses for the NIT games at Marist and

Georgia Tech and picked up approximately $40,000 from Maryland.


Stony Brook University hosted perennial NCAA Tournament team Utah eight

days ago and lost by only three points after leading most of the second

half. The Seawolves will play at Utah next season for a guarantee.


"Schools like ours have to generate money though those games," coach

Nick Macarchuk said.


"We come out and play hard, and what's the worst that could happen?"

SBU forward Cori Spencer said. A bad loss that would be outweighed by the

experience, that's what.


But the value goes way beyond the guarantee. "Playing against bigger

and more athletic kids should make you better," Hofstra coach Tom Pecora

said. "I truly believe you become better by playing 'up' games." Up

next is St. John's tomorrow night; the Red Storm is 21-1 against Hofstra.


For those wondering, a softer schedule would not pad Hofstra's resume

for the postseason NIT. "Playing early-season competition like this

helps them," NIT executive director Jack Powers said. "If they lose all of

these games but do well in their conference, this will be taken into



The philosophy of playing highly ranked schools is shared by the

Hofstra women's basketball team, which recently lost, 92-45, to North

Carolina. "Sometimes you just have to take the pacifier out of the kids'

mouths and say it's about opportunity," coach Felisha Legette-Jack said.


"I think that we have to play against these types of teams in order to

find out where we are in our level of play," senior center Tara

Dilworth said.


Freshman Gigi McCollin added, "We now know that we have our work cut

out for us in order to win championships."

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It's all about the $$. I read where Oakland in Michigan is getting upwards of $50k to play at Cincinnatti, UA gets about $25k for Pitt. Initially, I didn't think it was a good idea as it was pretty much a guaranteed loss, but I looked at the numbers closer.


For the big schools, it's no big deal because it's another home game - Pitt drew over 8k fans at $10 each. They can pay UA, cover their fixed costs and still make a good profit (also they don't have $ associated with travel for a road game). So for them it's a huge win.


For Albany, think of what $25k means

- 50 new supporters donating $500 each to the athletic program

- 4000 paid attendance at the RACC (would be about 5000 total as students don't pay - that is about another BPG without the costs

- 30 recruiting trips if you assume $800 per trip (air, car, hotel...)

- 2 full scholarships for football for 1 year - total annual cost is about $13k for instate residents



it gives Brown a chance to chat up his colleagues and maybe find another 7' center that wants to transfer. It also gives Brown the opportunity to impress someone enough to play UA at the RACC one day and get a big crowd out to support the program.


Lastly, one day UA will win that game - Like Vermont vs. UCLA. When that happens, you'll get supporters coming from everywhere.


Yes, it's good for the kids to play big time opponents, but it's about the $$$.

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