By popular demand (that's marketing-speak meaning "one person asked for it"), I'm starting a thread about Gannon's schedule this season. I don't have much to say on it because Dan Teliski, GU's Super Sports Information Director, wrote me an eloquent email the he asked me to share with the Golden Knight faithful. I think his explanation is reasonable and I hope it quells the furor raised in the comment section of the Dec. 6 post. Take it away, Dan.
Let me clear up some confusion on your blog about scheduling. The NCAA reduced the maximum number of games played in a season to 26 games. The PSAC gives us a schedule with 14 PSAC West games and four more crossover games. That brings us to 18 games and leaves us with eight to schedule. The Gary Miller Classic and Porreco Cup takes up four more games which brings us to 22, leaving us four more games to schedule.
So, in the long run, we have four games to play with this year. Everything else is set and out of our control. We elected to play a home and home with Central State because we wanted the competition. Regardless of what anyone wants to say, Central State played in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional last year and we all know how difficult that region is since we played in it for so many years. Currently, they have six teams in the top 25. In addition, the lost to Bellarmine by only four points in the first round. Bellarmine is currently the No. 1 team in the country. And you know how hard it is to make it into the tournament as an independent, so we want to play them and as an independent, they could only fit our second game in during February.
So, that leaves us two games left. And we needed one of those two games right after finals to get the team back into game mode.
That’s the schedule wrapped up in a ball. As for the other schools playing more right now, basically everyone in the league will have played 7-8 games by the end of December. So, the question is, would you rather loaded up early, then sit the entire last half of December out and go cold turkey into the conference schedule. Our spread it out and play on the 18th, the 29th and the 30th – and be in the flow already for conference play. We seem to believe the latter is the better way to go as conference play is what makes or breaks your season. Back logging a schedule to December also helps student-athletes achieve their academic goals best until Finals – which ironically are this week. The NCAA only mandates student-athletes be eligible at the beginning of each YEAR. At Gannon, we mandate our student-athletes to be eligible at the beginning of each SEMESTER. So, the first semester is much more important to Gannon student-athletes academically than 95 percent of the schools in the country.
Of the schools mentioned …
Edinboro – 15 days off before conference play (but they also played two exempt games in early November that are allowed to be played once every four years)
West Chester – 23 days off before conference play
Mercyhurst – 19 days off before conference play
Mansfield – 23 days off before conference play
Shippensburg – 27 days off before conference play
Kutztown – 23 days off before conference play
Bloomsburg – 23 days off before conference play
Indiana (Pa.) – 16 days off before conference play
Lock Haven – 26 days off before conference play
Gannon – 3 days off before conference play
I think you get my point. We play three games in two weeks after Finals, and turn around and open PSAC play four days later. Different philosophy, but one we feel works instead of taking 20-30 days off and heading into PSAC play without any recent game action.
As for home games ... we only have two non-conference road games and six non-conference home games. We feel that’s a pretty good ratio.
Finally ... as for the afternoon doubleheaders. We have three, but they are not randomly placed. The January 15th doubleheader against Lock Haven is needed because the Burger King Classic is in the Hammermill Center that Friday and Saturday night. The January 22 doubleheader against Cal is needed because it’s our Hall of Fame day with the Hall of Fame banquet that night immediately following the games. And the February 5 doubleheader against IUP is our Annual Pink Zone game and the afternoon starts fits better for all the kids, cancer survivors and other groups that attend that day.
And one side note ... full PSAC crossover play begins next year. So, the 2011-12 schedule could be even more interesting. As I mentioned the NCAA max right now is 26 games. The 2011-12 PSAC schedule includes 22 games. Add the Gary Miller Classic and Porreco Cup for the other four games – and we will have zero regular non-conference games next year.
Hope I was able to clear everything up,