Why FCS Schools Need To Be Very Concerned About Full Cost Of Attendance

Start getting used to the term "full cost of attendance", or, as many who are obsessed about college sports are calling it, "FCOA".

In January, the eighty schools of the "Power 5" FBS football conferences voted 79-1 to allow its members to offer additional money above the cost of a scholarship - up to the "full cost of attendance" of the school.

It's been legislation that the "Power 5" schools have wanted to enact for years, surviving an embarrassing legislative loss when the rest of the NCAA's membership voted in 2011 against the original proposal crafted by NCAA president Mark Emmert and many members of the Power 5 leadership.

It led to the Power 5 asking for autonomy over the rest of the NCAA's membership to all them to enact their own legislation for themselves, without a vote by the rest of the membership.  

Now, as the Power 5 wanted all along, FCOA is here.

Sadly, it's still every bit as complicated - and unbalancing - as the many critics of FCOA feared.  And at the FCS level, it seems like the strategy is to simply hope and pray that nobody decides to implement it for their own athletic departments.

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Posted in Atlantic 10, Big South, CAA, FCS, Football, Full Cost of Attendance, Patriot League, Power 5 | Leave a comment

Who Will Open Lehigh’s Football Schedule in 2016?

It all started when I heard that the three-time defending FCS champions, North Dakota State, are looking for a new home opener in 2016.

"NDSU is back in the business of looking for a football game," the post says.  "That’s after the news we broke yesterday that Western Carolina had bought out of its 2016 date in Fargo, instead scheduling a game against East Carolina for September 3rd, 2016. NDSU was scheduled to host WCU on September 1st."

Any good Lehigh fan might then ask: are the Mountain Hawks available for a game in Fargo on the first weekend of September in 2016?

The official answer is we don't know, because Lehigh hasn't officially posted a 2015 football schedule yet, let alone a 2016 schedule.

But that doesn't stop us at Lehigh Football Nation from taking a peek at potential foes for a 2016 road opener - including some exciting names.
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Posted in 2015, 2016, Andy Coen, FBS, Football, Future Football Schedules, Joe Sterrett, Lehigh, North Dakota State | Leave a comment

Lehigh’s Class of 2019 Announced – The Full Story of Signing Day Now Told

What a day.

Signing Day has become an event across the nation, and for Lehigh it's no less of a celebration than anywhere else in the country.

People dressed as Teletubbies, people brought their dogs, and there was even suspense.  (And that was just on my Twitter timeline.)

Lehigh announced a mammoth-sized class - an eye-popping array of 31 names - with recruits coming from the Big Sky, California, the South, and our local area of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, too.

I tried to tell the story through the many links and pictures on my timeline via Storify.

Enjoy it all below the flip.

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Posted in Andy Coen, Class of 2019, Football, Lehigh, National Signing Day | Leave a comment

The Tone Deafness of Penn State President Eric Barron Is Deafening

New Penn State President Eric Barron (Nabil K. Mark, AP)/Morning Call
Penn State president Eric Barron certainly made an impression yesterday.

A few months ago, Barron said he would review the Freeh report, the one requested by Penn State's board of Trustees in the wake of the revelations against Gerald Sandusky and was used by the NCAA as a justification for unprecedented sanctions against the university.

Evidently, his report is in.

Today, he said that the Freeh report "very clearly paints a picture about every student, every faculty member, every staff member and every alum. And it's absurd. It's unwarranted. So from my viewpoint, the Freeh Report is not useful to make decisions."

His tone deaf comments continued.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of shoes that have to drop. You could argue that public opinion has found us guilty before the criminal trials," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind what was completely and totally wrong was the notion that this entire alumni base, our students, our faculty, our staff, got the blame for what occurred."

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Posted in Eric Barron, Freeh Report, Gary Schultz, Graham Spanier, Penn State Football Scandal, Sandusky, Tim Curley | Leave a comment

Terror In Europe Hits Close To Home

I know what it's like.

I know what it's like to be living in a city where terror lives and breathes, a place where terrorists do plenty to put civilians in harm's way.

More than ever this is the scene playing out in Paris, London, Brussels and other places in Europe following the Charlie Hebdo murders these last couple of weeks, with word of hacked websites, copycat crimes, police crackdowns and foiled terrorist plots.

But these are not unique times.

As an American who lived abroad in the late 1970s and 1980s, I was there, too.  I know what it's like.
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Posted in 1980s, American School of Paris, Charlie Hebdo, Living Overseas, Paris | Leave a comment

Message to FCS Schools: The Playoff Experience Is What You Make Of It

When you think of FCS playoff success in the 2010s, you have to think of the most successful current program playing FCS football over the last four years: North Dakota State.

The Bison's three national championships speak for themselves, and if you count their impressive playoff run in 2010 as well, their four-year record in the playoffs is as impressive as Youngstown State's and Appalachian State's runs in the last thirty years.

In 2011, the Lehigh football team saw the Thunder Dome (or, if you prefer, the FargoDome) up close, and saw what home advantage can do in the playoffs.  The 24-0 win wasn't the most impressive performance by the Bison ever in the postseason.  However, the hallmarks of the North Dakota State home-field advantage, in the form of false starts and timeouts for the visiting team, were very evident in Lehigh's gameplay that afternoon.

Today I'm taking a look at the process of determining seeds and bids to the FCS playoffs, and I found a system where a different schools have different expectations of the what the playoffs can offer.

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Posted in Athletics Departments, FCS, Finances, Football, Lehigh, North Dakota State, Playoffs, UNH | Leave a comment

2014 Saw All Of Division I Football Break Into Cliques

You may remember the genius of Groucho Marx, the bespectacled Marx Brother with the grease-painted eyebrows and mustache.  One of my all-time favorite films, Horse Feathers, featured Groucho, Harpo, and Chico on the football field (actually the Rose Bowl), representing their "school" in a particularly important game.

But it's a particular quote of his that seems to summarize Division I football perfectly, at both the FCS and FBS levels.

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

Division I has never truly been a large tent of equal schools.  It was a division that counted as members Texas (whose athletic budget is as large as some small nations), Mississippi Valley State (whose entire athletics budget is about the size of what the University of Texas pays for socks for its athletes) and Marist (who doesn't even spend any money on athletics scholarships for its football athletes).

But 2014 was a year of true soul-searching in athletics, where a whole lot of schools decided they didn't want to belong to the Division I club that accepts them as members.
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Posted in 2014, FCS, Football, HBCU, Lehigh, MEAC, Playoffs, SWAC | Leave a comment

Dreams Of Sports Illustrated Still Dance In My Head

I remember, growing up, having the covers of Sports Illustrated on the wall.

Growing up outside of the county, Sports Illustrated for me was a vital link back home, to America.  It allowed me, a stranger in a country not my own, to stay connected to the sports I otherwise would have lost contact with.

Back then, I pored over the weeks-old issues, reading accounts of games that were long in the past.

I'd read pieces by Frank Deford and Rick Reilly - my only link to an active sports culture back home.  (That and Armed Forces Radio on the short-wave made me feel American.)

They kept me engaged, connected, in a world where American football was just that - American - and sports in general had a different emphasis.

Those days feel very far away, coming up into this Christmas season - an era away.

And my boyhood dreams of appearing one day in Sports Illustrated, too, still seem very far away - and different.
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Posted in Football, Grantland, Lehigh, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Sportswriting | Leave a comment

LFN’s 2014 Mountain Hawk Recruiting Christmas List

The 2014 season is over, and recruiting has been very much underway for the Lehigh football program.

If you mosey on over to the Lehigh Sports Forum, you can get a list of all the unofficial recruits that head coach Andy Coen and the rest of the coaching staff appear to have secured commitments for the class of 2019.

I always look at the Lehigh football program's recruiting season as a list to Santa.  If I was running the program, what would I want to see under Lehigh's tree?

In order to do that, we need to see what Lehigh has coming back in 2015, and what we need for the future, and what better place to get that than some of the biggest fans of the program?

(And you don't even need to work on your ground game to do it.)
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Posted in Andy Coen, Christmas Wishes, Defense, Football, Lehigh, Offense, Recruiting | Leave a comment

2014 Season Report Card

It's been hard to put the season into words.

Believe me, I've tried many times.  Many postings trying to summarize what happened, what is happening, and where to go from here.

In the end it was easier to think of the season as a report card.

It's a cliche, I know.  I was trying to avoid going there.  But in the end, it was the only way to really put the final word on the 2014 season together.  Going into the season, there were expectations on this team.  The report card is the place where the analysis is done on the performance of the team.

Below the flip, check out the analysis.  (Warning: it might not be pretty.)
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Posted in 2014 Season In Review, Chris Leigh, Colton Caslow, Football, Lehigh, Nick Shafnisky, Pierce Ripanti, Troy Pelletier | Leave a comment