Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
The University of Massachusetts faculty voiced their opinion on the large budget spent on their football team, which didn't draw many fans in 2012. While they have a point, it doesn't appear to change their MAC affiliation any time soon.
A couple days ago, UMass-Amherst faculty made some waves when in their senate meeting they wanted to discuss their football team's direction of moving to the FBS, given that a faculty ad hoc committee gave a report on the subject. You can read more about the report here, but one of the Internet Operator Game conclusions drawn from this is that perhaps UMass is having second thoughts about leaving the FCS and into the MAC.
As an athletic program, they're not. In fact, the opposite may be true; some UMass prospective athletes have apparently been told by coaches that they're eyeing a move to the Big East, a recruiting tactic not unlike some Temple coaches a couple years back.
But the faculty does have a point when they raise concerns about some of the financial shortcomings in the way of attendance. UMass faculty senate secretary Dr. Ernest May said that alumni "voted with their feet and their silence was deafening" regarding the 10,901 fans who attended UMass' five home games on average.
The fact that they're playing all home games 100 miles from campus is a pretty strange idea, and even though they can bus students from one side of Massachusetts to the other, rather crippled the on-campus tradition of rolling out of bed on a Saturday, walking across the quad and going to the game. I think they should have been able to play their games at McGuirk Stadium, but apparently the facilities were not FBS-worthy, which is why they're spending millions on bringing them up to snuff. They can play games as UMass again in 2014, but not all of them.
I'm not sure what's so FBS-unworthy about the current McGuirk Stadium. The capacity is 17,000, which would make it the smallest in the MAC (Ball State's Scheumann Stadium is at 22,500), but capacity shouldn't be a deal-breaker. However, there's not much they can do it about it now. Ideally they'd burn their lease agreement with Gillette and return to campus for 2013, but perhaps for the better I am not in charge of making snap decisions about MAC football arrangements.
As for what the faculty senate's attempt to move football back to FCS, the most they could've done was pass a motion urging the school to work on a plan to exit out of the Bowl Subdivision. They didn't even have enough votes to move for a vote on the motion. But they got their voice heard, as evidenced by all the articles written about it, including this one.
And it should be known that nobody seems to be contending that the UMass football team isn't "good" enough to play in FBS. They were roundly beaten by several teams, but as far as I can tell that was never the faculty concern.