Why the Big 12 Shouldn't Add Cincinnati

July 7, 2014 at 12:30p    by DJ Byrnes    
25 Comments

Cincinnati, as a city, has a lot to offer. Their university's football team has slowly been on the rise as well. (They're expanding Nippert Stadium to 40,000 seats.)

Yet, nobody seems to want Cincinnati in the conference. Current members of the America Athletic Conference, Gene Smith has basically said Cincinnati could join the Big Ten over his dead body.

There has been speculation Cincinnati could find a home with the Big 12 in the next round of conference expansion, but Mike Davis of Sports Politico isn't a fan of that idea:

Cincinnati’s football stadium is incredibly small for P5 standards. The issue with Nippert Stadium isn’t just its capacity, which is being expanded from 35k to 40k, but the surrounding area. Due to its urban setting, the campus does not have an abundance of space to work with for its athletic facilities.

[...]

The state of Texas is notorious for the way its public FBS schools have to compete with each other for state funding and fan support. While the situation in Ohio may not be as bad as things are in Texas, the two closely mirror each other. The University of Cincinnati is located in Ohio and thus in the shadow of The Ohio State University. The Buckeyes have a political and fan support dominance that is unusual for a state as large as Ohio.

[...]

The first reason is that Cincinnati is still just one school whose net benefit would be giving WVU a regional away game every other year. That is a very small net gain for the conference as a whole for a very big price tag that would be adding Cincinnati. The advantages of Cincinnati’s proximity to Morgantown will be seen mostly in the non-football sports, but at the same time the rest of the Big 12 will now have to take more Eastern trips to accommodate the Bearcats in all sports as well.

It's a pretty well-reasoned look at Cincinnati's uphill climb in gaining membership to a Power Five conference.

Of course, Cincinnati football will have a chance to show it deserves a seat at the Big Kids' table on September 27th, when the Bearcats come to Ohio Stadium.


25 Comments

Comments

dubjayfootball90's picture

Urban and the gang better knock 'em down a few notches...

+1 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

For the Bearcats to have any real shot at joining a large conference, they need to strike some deals to use Paul Brown Stadium and US Bank Arena (site of the infamous The Who concert, for you non-Cincy folk) on a regular basis.  Nippert and the Shoemaker Center are just not big or nice enough.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

+1 HS
DJ Byrnes's picture

Is Nippert really that bad? I've never been.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

XUbuckeye's picture

As a Cincinnati native, I've been to Nippert many times. It's a very neat stadium how it is built into the actual university, a great venue for highschool playoff games. However, the few times Nippert sells out for a UC game it's awful. Easily the least fan friendly stadium I've ever been to... On the plus side they do serve alcohol.

"So when you get knocked on your butt, get up, get over it, and then next time, kick their ass." - Woody Hayes 

MassiveAttack's picture

I think the 1992 major renovations were just done at the wrong time.  Sure they added an upper deck and press box, which brought capacity to around 35K, but didn't affect the fan experience in terms of convenience. In 2005 they got a new scoreboard and locker room renovations.  But they need to continuously reinvest to keep up.  Additionally the parking situation and exiting the game in mass are not the best.

nbshelton729's picture

Thankfully the renovations solve that problem.  They are building skywalks for the upper deck on the east side so the fans will be split between different levels of restrooms and concessions.  They are also adding more restrooms and concessions, plus those in the new press box will have access to the student union, so it shouldn't feel nearly as crowded during games.  You are right though, for the Purdue game last year, it was horrible with a field temp. of 130 and feeling like sardines.

TraSmith4's picture
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Buckeye in Illini country's picture

It is not big at all and can get cramped, especially around the concession areas when it is crowded.

It is a perfect venue though for high school football as someone else mentioned, and is cool how it is basically built into the area, whereas Ohio Stadium is somewhat separated from the rest of the university.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

buckeyebfd's picture

Nippert is more of a MAC stadium, the best word I can think for it is quiant

nbshelton729's picture

I don't think that will ever happen.  I am a UC grad and the students, players, coaches, and all athletic staff hate playing at PBS.  Nippert is not big enough, but it is certainly nice enough starting in 2015.  Heck, even most of the Alabama forums had fans that would be excited to come to Nippert.  They're argument was that is they were going to play a school like UC, then they might as well play at their real home stadium.  I have been to about an equal amount of UC and OSU games and for a 35k seat stadium, Nippert is just as loud as the shoe, mainly because of the architecture of the buildings surrounding the stadium.  There are on going discussions for UC to majorly upgrade the Shoe in a few years, but UC won't move to US Bank because the owners of that arena aren't winning to pay for much of the renovations at all unfortunately.

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

The B12 is UC's only hope. If the NCAA allows title games for conferences with less than twelve teams, it's over. Why expand and dilute the pot? It will take the B12 getting left out of the Final Four and the committee pointing to lack of a title game to get them to change. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

+2 HS
toad1204's picture

Cincinnatians will claim Nippert as a treasure with the close feel to the game and history behind the structure with expectations to be on a more competitive facility playing field with its upgrades.  However its tiny, parking is not easy, its in the hood (picture student housing complexes on N 4th between 9th and 14th on 4th ave.)  The longer they aren't in a power conference the saltier the UC kin will be.  If they do get into a P5 it will only fuel their expectations for more frequent meetings between them and tOSU.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

-1 HS
nbshelton729's picture

I can't argue with the parking and a smaller stadium, but UC is not in the "hood".  You have a lot of buildings close together around campus, but that is all decent student housing.  You have to go about a mile north or south of campus to find the actual hood, but crime on campus is almost non existent.  Its not any worse than some of the areas close to OSU.  The parking though is horrible.  OSU has one of the best parking systems possible.

+3 HS
toad1204's picture

I disagree.  If you head east or south of the campus it turns into places I wouldn't be caught in after dark.  North/ Gas Light is nice as is the new apartment complexes on MLK around the hospital.  I expect it get a little worse though, as the OTR development keeps pushing lower cost housing availability farther north.  Id also expect crime rates in Avondale and lower Price Hill to continue to increase.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+1 HS
route4buckeye's picture

Nippert sucks. Is small, and the fans don't care about the team unless they're undefeated. Don't do it Big XII.

+1 HS
toad1204's picture

My coop's (UC interns) have almost always left at half time.  Mind you they get in free, most of the time, with a student ID.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

Joebobb's picture

His reasoning for keeping UC out of the BIG 12 is pretty poor. First, his point about the Stadium and facilities is not true. UC is in the midst of a major upgrade, and they also have the ability to leverage resources in the city such as Paul Brown Stadium where needed. 5/3 is not a great facility but they are planning upgrades (there are luxury boxes on both sides of the court contrary to his assertion. The endzone area is the UCATS club). His point about OSU does not hold water either. OSU is and will always be the Alpha dog in Ohio no matter what conference UC is in. OSU could care less if UC is in the American or the Big 12 or ACC or whatever. Penn State is the Alpha Dog in Penn and Pitt will always be second fiddle even though they are in the ACC. Same with Kentucky and Louisville. In today's realignment world, TV eyeballs and recruiting are what matters and Cincinnati provides them for the BIG 12, more than most other schools do except possibly UCF.  His point about UCF is legit but that is about it. If the BIG 12 were to expand, Cincy and UCF make the most sense because they get them into 2 large markets that are closer to West Virginia, both are great recruiting markets. The big knock on UCF is that it does not have the endowment or academics that UC has which is a knock on them but they have a lot of potential. USF is UCF but without as much potential.

cinserious's picture

Why not cut ties to the (non) tradition and history and demolish that piece of shit and build a real stadium with real capacity. That return on investment will be worth it when they are in a major conference making major $$$. If they want to keep that typical Cincinnati conservative mentality about not spending for the future then F 'em! Who cares.

Gone ham, be back soon...

-1 HS
TresselourgodUrbanoursavior's picture

The history and layout of Nippert are, amongst other things, what makes it a jewel.  The stadium could reach 60k with adequate funding but there just isn't enough money to go around.  For what its worth and as someone who lives in Boston, Fenway is a piece of shit stadium with awful sight lines, but it is treasured for things other than accommodations. 

+3 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Cincinnati will get their asses kicked in the 'Shoe and it won't prove a thing.  I forget they exist sometimes.

Class of 2010.

+2 HS
thatlillefty's picture

Screw Gene Smith. Give cincy a seat at the table.

-2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

On September 27th there will be a royal beat down. White flags will be raised.

+2 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

The title has an issue - renamed:  Why Shouldn't Kentucky Keep Cincinnati?

- fixed that for ya.

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I actually agree wholeheartedly with Gene's sentiments.

 

 

+1 HS
Jpfbuck's picture

the average FBS home attendance for all teams, everyone from OSU to UC to Troy is approximately 45,200 so UC at Nippert, who averaged 31,771 last year, was almost 30% below the FBS average, that does not bode well for being a Big 5 team.

what makes that worse is that the 31,771 meant they were only on average 90% of capacity

to give an idea of schools that had higher stadium attendance, the following all drew more than the 31,771 of UC: Air Force, Army, Boise St, East Carolina, Fresno St, Navy, San Diego St, South Florida, and UCF

now ask yourself if you are the commish of the B12, would you rather be in the Cincy market or in Fresno, CA, Orlando, Tampa, San Diego etc and all of these places already have larger stadiums than Nippert.

add in that in terms of TV revenue, the Bearcats are #2 in their own market to Ohio State and they just don't have much to add

if I am the B12 I go for San Diego St as they are a sleeping giant out west, with a massive stadium in a great recruiting area and a massive TV market. SDSU would also gain considerably by being moved up to a B5 conference

+2 HS