Thanks to all the Lions fans who submitted questions for this edition of the Lions Roar Q & A. LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens was kind enough to answers questions for the week.
Earlier this month, the West Coast Conference announced the 2020/21 men’s basketball conference matchups. In its press release, the conference designated the 16-game home and away opponents for the upcoming season based on a Conference formula including the 2018-19 & 2019-20 team NET rankings, last year’s West Coast Conference tournament seedings, and a spring survey of the league’s 10 head coaches. What criteria is considered in the spring survey of the league’s coaches and how much of an impact does the spring coaches’ survey have on the final conference schedule?
The coaches portion of the formula is subjective, essentially a spring pre-season poll. Based on the formula we would have had to be picked for 6th place or higher to move into the 8th spot. The formula utilized for scheduling has not been made public, therefore I am not comfortable sharing it. The three factors are not weighted equally, with NET receiving the most weight.
For the first time that anyone can remember, LMU will not host a men’s home game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in conference play. Over the last 10 years, attendance has averaged over 3,500 fans, and the Gonzaga game has served as the Lions’ marquee matchup over the last several seasons. What is the financial impact to LMU Athletics as a result of losing the home matchup under the 16-game conference format?
Any time you lose a home game against a Top 5 opponent, it has ramifications. We have done a good job maximizing the Gonzaga game through pricing and using the game as an anchor for our mini-plans. During my two seasons here, it has represented close to 30% of our overall men’s basketball ticket revenue.
Does the WCC take into account the loss of revenue for any member institution as a result of losing its home game vs. Gonzaga and its resultant impact on the respective athletic budget?
As a conference, we agreed to the current scheduling format. It is a matrix with pre-determined matchups based on where you rank based on the formula. We finished in the 9th spot, which does not host Gonzaga. Gonzaga plays the 10th team on the road.
As a follow-up, has the time come for the WCC to return to a full 18-game conference matchup given the national stature of the conference? What is the catalyst for a return to a full WCC conference schedule?
I support us going back to the full 18-game schedule. The conference has improved from the time this structure was implemented. We were a three-bid league this past season and the schools within the WCC continue to invest and improve. We would have to approve it as a league for the schedule to change.
How many LMU student athletes have expressed interest in returning as fifth year seniors whose 2020 spring competitions were canceled, and what is the financial impact in terms of scholarship expenses and sport operating costs (meals, travel, medical expenses, etc.)?
We will have at least ten seniors that will be coming back for an additional year of competition. We were able to utilize existing and fundraised scholarship dollars. There will be some additional costs that our coaches have budgeted for.
Last month, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins wrote in a New York Times editorial that he doesn’t see any way that Notre Dame Stadium will be able to host as many fans as it typically can during the upcoming season. In a worst-case scenario, what does social distancing look like for LMU athletics and particularly sports that play in enclosed Gersten Pavilion?
The worst-case scenario for any collegiate sport is playing without fans, similar to some of the professional sports that are planning to return to play. We are diligently preparing for as many scenarios as possible, as we continue to work with campus and Los Angeles County for a safe return.
If you have questions for LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens, Head Coach Stan Johnson, Iggy the Lion or anyone else in the LMU family, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to get them answered for you.