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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Killer Mashup

On the college football front, I've been keyed in to conference alignment talk. Recent developments in DCI have me wondering about their touring and event structure. What happens when you put the two together?

Interestingly enough, I was thinking about the concept of conferences in DCI a few days ago, before the latest news came out. While nothing is operationalized, the 23 World Class corps actually fit rather neatly into three conferences. Consider:


East
Bluecoats
Boston Crusaders
The Cadets
Carolina Crown
Glassmen
Jersey Surf
Spirit
Teal Sound

Central
Blue Stars
The Cavaliers
Colts
Crossmen
Madison Scouts
Phantom Regiment
Pioneer

West
The Academy
Blue Devils
Blue Knights
Cascades
Mandarins
Pacific Crest
Santa Clara Vanguard
Troopers

While what separates World Class corps from Open Class corps is their ability to sustain a nationwide tour, the use of these conferences could allow even the World Class corps to tour primarily regionally (while still staying on the road, leaving Open Class to weekenders), as an opportunity to preserve fiscal resources in tough times, while still traveling extraregionally for major competitions and big regionals.

What does this do to the proposal from The Undersigned (what will be my new denotation of the seven corps who put forth said proposal)? The could actually be worked into this structure. Their elite designation--essentially, attempting to create a BCS in DCI--would give them additional opportunity but also additional burden. These corps would be obligated to appear at the majority of competitions in their region, making their tour schedule more demanding. In addition, They would also be required to participate in x number of out of conference matchups in each of the other two regions. The Undersigned split out quite nicely between the regions--two each in the Central and the West, and three in the East--allowing for each show to potentially have 3-4 "BCS" corps at each show.

Is this punishing The Undersigned for their stance? Yes and no. It is giving them both additional opportunity and additional responsibility. Their choice to enter into this agreement is based upon those seven corps' recent and historical success. Their argument, though they may not voice this explicitly, is that they are the corps who put butts into seats; an argument with which  I can't say I disagree. This is an opportunity for additional service to the Association as a whole--something they claimed in the press release--as well as the opportunity to serve themselves, potentially commanding higher cuts of shows at which they appear. 

This does, unfortunately, create a BCS-like dichotomy among the World Class corps, where The Undersigned are the members of the auto-qualifying conferences and the other 16 World Class corps play the role of the other five conferences who are essentially shut out from championship competition. For the fun of continuing the analogy, Open Class = FCS. Occasionally a Boise State may emerge (Blue Stars?) or a BYU, with past championships before the current structure (Madison?) but by and large the rich will get richer and the rest will get left out. 

While at face value, I'd never advocate to create a new system to emulate the BCS, might it actually make sense in this case? For all of its flaws, never can it be said that the BCS doesn't make a ton of money--it's the primary reason university presidents and ADs hesitate to ditch it outright. And money is something that DCI and its member corps could use. And with representation from The Undersigned at each show, coupled with the fan-friendly experience the press release suggests, the real winner in all of this could be the fans. Finally, a potential good use for the BCS!
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