Let me start off with saying that I commend you for what you have done over the past month in addressing the injustices in College Football. While I may not have agreed with how the Athletic Review was handled and we might not see eye to eye on everything (as you stated in the open forum on athletics I believe, "reasonable people don't always se eye to eye on everything")
in terms of the Tulane Athletic Situation,
I applaud you for what you are doing right now.
The BCS has created a great disparity between universities and conferences and has turned "college athletics" into "minor league teams." Even if Tulane was in a BCS conference
I would still feel this way. There is nothing more thrilling than a #12 seed beating a #5 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament or a school such as Rice winning the College World Series.
These things can, and often do, happen in every college sport other than football. I hope you and your compatriots do not rest until a suitable
NCAA football tournament that gives all Division 1A schools a chance to compete for the national championship is implemented and in place. This is the only fair way to determine a national champion.
But let me talk to you now about a situation
at home, with our beloved university and its athletic department. As you can tell by the numbers of tickets purchased, community support, and number of dollars already given to TAF and the athletic endowment, the Tulane fan base has been re-energized. Alumni, fans, and the community as a whole are excited about Tulane Athletics again.
Our football team, lead by Mewelde Moore and
J.P. Losman, receives national exposure every day on various web sites, TV programs and magazines.
And you and the cause you are leading are also drawing favorable national attention to our school. This favorable attention and our renewed fan support could not come at a better time, as the landscape of college athletics has been changing by the day, starting with what the ACC has done over the past few months. It is only
a matter of time before the other conferences follow suit.
I perceive Tulane to be an outstanding, academically superior, national university with competitive athletic teams that are making great strides, and are close to being as successfull athletically under the outstanding guidance of Rick Dickson on the national level as the entire University has been academically. Therefore I believe Tulane should be a member of an athletic conference with universities of similiar stature.
There are only three conferences that I consider would meet this criteria. They are, in no particular order, the Pac 10 (with universities such as Stanford, Cal-Berkley, UCLA and USC), the Big Ten (with universities such as Northwestern, Michigan and Illinois) and the ACC (with universities such as Duke, Wake Forest, North
Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech).
Now, I know the Pac 10 and Big Ten would never work geographically and I must admit that if more regionalized conferences such as the Big 12 and SEC came along I would love for us to get in there (and those conferences have many fine academic institutions too such as Texas and Vanderbilt), but it's the ACC that I see us having the best fit.
What a great group of schools this would be for Tulane to align itself with! In the company of Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia is where I would want Tulane to be. Add the other schools in the conference have excellent academic reputations (I believe none are lower than Tier II schools in the latest US News & World Report University Rankings).
Nationally, membership in the ACC could do wonders for our University, not just our athletic department, and its national reputation would be enhanced by being in such elite company. You may have concerns about our travel costs and other schools may have concerns about coming to New Orleans, but no travel for Tulane would be greater than many of the journey's we are now making to other Conference USA schools such as Depaul and Marquette.
As far as travel considerations go, although
New Orleans is outside of the ACC's existing footprint, it has a major airport, easily accessible for every school to get to, and no trip to New Orleans would be any farther or longer than the trip already is or wil be to Miami, Tallahassee or Virginia.
Monetarily, Conference USA paid us roughly $1 million last year while the ACC paid each of their schools $9.7 (and that number is certain to grow with the new round of TV contracts that will be negotiated after the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech plus an ACC championship game). That almost $9 million increase in conference revenue would more than cover our current athletic deficit.
As for the ACC, they would add another national research university (which I understand is what many schools in the conference want to add to support their academic reputation after adding Miami and Virginia Tech); a Top 50 school with a climbing academic reputation.
They also get the city of New Orleans and its Top 40 television market (an important factor for upcoming TV contract), and what better venue could there be in which to host an ACC Championship game than the Louisiana Superdome. Every school in the conference would make New Orleans their "road trip" of the year. Think of the fans that would come to the Superdome to see the Mighty Green Wave of Tulane face Miami or Florida St. or Virginia Tech, etc. Think of the fans who would fill the New Orleans Arena or a new Tulane on-campus basketball arena to see the Greenies face Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Wake Forest. Turchin Stadium would be sold out when Tulane hosts Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida St. and Miami.
President Cowen, it has come to my attention that this opportunity is actually under discussion! I'm sure this is something which you are aware of. There is legitimate support within the ACC for Tulane to become their 12th member. I, as a
double alum (just got my second degree in May) and someone who loves this university more than almost anything in the world, am asking you, our
University's President and Spokesman and Leader, to take the lead for our University and help make this happen.
We need your help, the help of the head of our University, to make this happen. The energy, time, wisdom, and drive that you have put into your crusade against the injustices of College Football and the BCS is again to be commended, but please take this same energy, time, wisdom, and drive that you have for that cause and use
it for the cause of your own university as well. Please use those gifts to make the push for the ACC, something that can better not only our athletic department, but the national image of our University as a whole.
I have read in the papers about the WAC and a your comments to Ted Lewis about a regionalized conference. Please understand Dr. Cowen, that the WAC is largely comprised of schools that we share almost nothing in common with (other than Rice and maybe SMU. But Fresno State? UTEP?) and it
is certainly not regonalized. On the other hand the ACC is regionalized and those are schools
we share many things in common with besides athletics.
Now, I have no problem with Conference USA and
if a modified version of Conference USA is where we end up, so beat it. But the ACC is worth the try. I believe Tulane should settle for being
second best in anything. Tulane is a school that prides itself on being one of the best Universities overall (academics and athletics)
in the nation. Now is the time for us to strive to align ourselves with Universities that share this same self-perception.
I am asking you to lead that cause. Mayor Nagin, Councilman Batt, Senator Hainkel, etc. all made promises to Tulane and its athletic department
during the review process. Let's get them behind this. Let's get the Hotels, Restaurants and tourism industry of New Orleans behind this.
Tell them to think of the increased business
they will have, as fans from Universities such
as Maryland, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Clemson and Georgia Tech come
And an ACC championship game or the ACC basketball tournament would bring in just as many people as the Sugar Bowl and SEC basketball tournament. Let's get the entire city and state
But President Cowen, it starts with you. If you aren't behind our University campaigning to move to the ACC, why should anyone else be?
When I was growing up, my Father always told me "Son, all you can do is ask. The worst thing
they can do is tell you no." President Cowen, I am asking you to get behind this and do everything you possibly can to get Tulane into the ACC. The worst thing the ACC can do is tell you no.
Thank you for your time and continuing dedication to our beloved school.
Freeman School of Business Class of 2000
Tulane Law School Class of 2003
Men's Tennis 1996-2000
Team Captain 1999-2000