Time for our own All-Star game

The news today that Division III football players won’t be able to participate in the Aztec Bowl this season only drives home more strongly the point that Division III football should have its own All-Star game.

Aztec Bowl 2006 championsThe Aztec Bowl has been fine in a lot of ways. Sure, we wish it gave more players the chance to participate, or that it were held in a place that we could get to, or that it didn’t coincide with the Stagg Bowl or the playoffs, but it did provide three things: organization, funding and a ready-made opponent (the Mexican college league’s champion).

But after ONEFA dropped the ball, we can’t expect the AFCA to be left holding the bag for another $50,000, considering that would double what they already spend. I’m convinced we could do it cheaper, and I know we could do it better, here at home.

Why should we spend all the money it takes to fly people to Mexico and deal with all the administrative hassles required in crossing the border, etc.? Why should we tell seniors who play on the Stagg Bowl teams, or sometimes the semifinal teams, that they can’t play because Mexico schedules the game when it’s convenient for them?

For the vocal minority that insists the Stagg Bowl should be played in a warmer climate, here’s your chance. Let’s put the All-Star game in a warmer climate, scheduled after the Stagg Bowl, and see how it draws. Let’s give 96 seniors the chance to participate instead of 48.

And meanwhile, let’s find that all-important $100,000. Unfortunately, that’s a significant amount of money, far more than D3sports.com’s annual budget. (That’s why we all work full-time jobs.) But if scheduled in the right location, I think we can get it done.

24 thoughts on “Time for our own All-Star game

  1. Phenomenal idea. I couldn’t agree more. Forget the Aztec Bowl. How do we get this started? I can’t imagine it would take 100k for an American based event. What if AFCA hosted it near their HQ in Waco? I would think Texas would be a great hosting spot. Maybe San Antoino or Austin? We could call it the TexMex Bowl!

  2. Here is my suggestion, I am rounding to even numbers to make it easy.

    $100000/200 teams = $500/team

    There must be a way that each d3 team can raise $500. $50 from 10 families or $25 from 20 families or $10 from 50 families. When you spread the cost across all the teams it isn’t very much. Another way would be to get a corporate sponsor or two. Nike or Coke would probably jump at it.

  3. It would be nice to get corporate sponsorship but I believe the AFCA has already tried to go down that road.

  4. The Aztec Bowl concept should not die… It would be a great thing for the best D-III has to offer to complete against one another in our own version of a Pro Bowl. East vs. West, North vs. South… whatever. The game should be played a week or two after the Stagg Bowl in a warm location or maybe a northern dome facility. This could possibily lead to more D-III players getting looked at for the professional levels; NFL, CFL, NFL Europe, Arena Leagues, etc. Something to highly consider.

  5. Having had several Saxons represent the USA in past Aztec Bowls, and the location prohibiting Alfred fans from attending, Pep would be in favor of the AFCA hosting an all-star game in the States. Perhaps the North and South or East and West could each muster an all-star band to add to the game atmosphere….a Battle of the Bands!

  6. USee, it’s certainly more possible. Couldn’t much be less possible at this point.

    I also wonder if players would be willing to raise funds to participate.

  7. I have a great idea for this, but I’m saving it for tomorrow’s ATN.

    I call dibs on my idea, no one steal it!

  8. $100K sounds close to right. You have to pay for airfare at last-second rates, have to get the coaching staffs there (which means paying them some honorarium and getting them there), pay for the stadium, hotel costs, food costs, local travel costs, etc … times 96.

    Making the players raise funds … a tough call. A lot of them are up to their eyeballs in debt already, after all, they’re at D3 schools.

    There are a lot of people that have lots of frequent flyer miles just sitting around. I’d chip in a ticket for someone but coordinating all that would be a disaster. This is something where someone needs to put out an appeal (say, AFCA?) and see how doable this might be.

    The D3football.com All-Star Game … sounds great, I’d chip in funds but somehow I doubt the boys want to take on that much of a challenge even if the funds did appear out of nowhere. Maybe AFCA would call it the D3football.com bowl if we were able to raise, say, $20K to underwrite part of the costs.

  9. What about doing it in Salem the same weekend as the Stagg Bowl? Either Friday night or even Sunday. Even though the players on the Stagg Bowl teams wouldn’t be able to participate, there would be a ton of D3 talent on display in one location over a short period of time. A real D3 showcase. Do you think ESPN could sacrifice a few hours of Texas Hold Em to show the D3 guys a little love?

  10. I think 2 weeks after the Stagg Bowl and at rotating sites would be great. The time frame would still be in the 50 day window from the end of D1 season and bowl games (what a farce!). Have it in the south one year, out west the next, up north in a dome the next. If someone had the time and talent to coordinate things, it could be done. You can’t have teams pay for it, as some teams that never produce the talent for an all-star game would complain. Then you would raise the suspicion of teams paying to get kids on the team. Players can’t pay (see note above about D3 kids being in debt – unless, of course you take only public school kids and not private – oops – thought I was on the USA South board!) :)

    D3Football.com could start a survey as to the potential of how much could be raised from fans. I’ll toss in some bucks. Sponsors can be obtained. You just need the right sales pitch. Get a president of a college to spearhead it. I vote CNU’s Sen. Paul Trible. Since he’s been at CNU they have spent $500 million in capital improvements with another $500 million planned and partially committed. That’s a BILLION dollars in a decade. He even obtained sponshorship for POMOCO stadium naming rights – $1 million. I’m sure he (or other like minded visionaries) could scrape up some corporations to dump $1 million for 10 years of All-star games! Heck – I was at the UVA UNC game this past wekeend and they have Wachovia sponsoring some things on the scoreboard – Wachovia!!!! – They need to be sponsoring jobs for their employees and secure accounts for their customers!!

    Just some ideas. And if any of these are Keith’s ideas, I stole them right out of his head.

  11. There are two matters to think about from my perspective: (1) funding sources for the game itself and all of its logistical considerations and (2) the appeal of a second DIII game to a major TV network if broadcasting the game is a goal. Regarding the first point, we need to be realistic in our expectations about external sources of funding. Prospective sponsors would require pro forma financials showing the potential ROI (that is where TV comes in). As for the second point, it would be interesting to know the profitability to ESPN of the Stagg Bowl broadcasts. Their continued coverage would suggest they don’t lack for corporate sponsors, but would a second DIII game be pushing it? For that matter, is the second point a necessary consideration to us? I just don’t know. But I love the concept and even asked Pat a couple of years ago about the possibility. I even emailed Grant Taff, the Exec Director of the AFCA, about the idea but never heard from him.

  12. As I read each comment everyone appears to agree with the concept of a bowl game after the Stagg Bowl Champship game. Everyone suggest ways to raise funds for the event. The one thing that everyone can’t agree on and how to get it done is who will spearhead it, where it will be. Hopefully when Keith provides us with his great idea tomorrow it will all be simple and easy and will become reality. I for one would love to see this happen and would definitely attend.

  13. But the winning idea is to play the game in Salem in conjunction with the Stagg Bowl, perhaps the day before. Any ticket purchased gets a fan into both games, and it provides a mixed crowd of all-stars and their families the chance to see Division III football (and hospitality) at its very best. The ten Gagliardi Trophy finalists and four regional finalists would all likely be on the all-star teams, and therefore be on hand for the presentation. Media covering the Stagg Bowl would be in the house for the all-star game and vice versa. Surely, too, it would be more cost-effective to stage a game where there already would be one. The game officials, usually from a neutral Division III conference, might even get some practice with the instant replay system, which is currently used at our level for the Stagg Bowl only.

    Of course, it’s easy to suggest some random somebody fund and stage this game. So put Around the Nation on the record offering to select the teams for the game (they’d look a lot like a pre-playoffs seniors-only version of the D3football.com All-Region and all-American teams) and donating the first $5 to the cause. (What? We’re in an economic crisis here!) I’ll even offer to set up a mandatory D3football.com Study Hall so NESCAC players can participate.

    Think about it. The best of the best, not in some random city with no connection to Division III. If we’re going to do the game, let’s do it right and put it somewhere where the D3 die-hards can turn it into a big-game atmosphere. Oh yeah, one can only hope there’d be enough hotel rooms in the Roanoke Valley.

  14. I honestly think it’s best not to overshoot our scope here. Treat it like a reward, but TV and a bowl-like location … we just aren’t going to have the audience to justify that.

    In the column I suggest that a D3 city with a ready-made crowd be willing to host. (The Gagliardi Classic)

    But I think at this stage, unless D3football.com could pull it off, which we can’t, it might be wishful thinking.

    It’s not bad to get the idea in the pipeline though.

    I think having it in Salem with the Stagg Bowl enhances both events.

    The D3football.com All-Star Game … sounds great, I’d chip in funds but somehow I doubt the boys want to take on that much of a challenge even if the funds did appear out of nowhere. Maybe AFCA would call it the D3football.com bowl if we were able to raise, say, $20K to underwrite part of the costs.

    Actually, underwriting it is the major problem. I would volunteer to coordinate it (or at least coordinate the search for someone who knows how to coordinate such things) if I thought it were truly feasible. Selecting players is the easy part. Something tells me (perhaps playing in a low-budget “all-star” game before, myself) that these things are much harder to put on than they appear.

  15. That above quote is from Ron Boerger BTW.

    I guess the problem with Salem is they’re so focused on the Stagg Bowl and making it a championship experience for those kids, would they have the time or even want to be bothered with a No. 2 event in town the same weekend?

    I think it would be a great showcase for both events, in that other players get exposed to Salem and the Stagg Bowl and the Gagliardi Trophy event and take that back to campus (plus the stars would do the clinics, etc.), and the media in town for Stagg would see the stars, etc.

  16. Also I wonder if there are NCAA issues with them being able to accept meals and plane tickets, or would it not matter if the game was filled with seniors whose eligibility was up? Or would our game get the same waiver as the Aztec Bowl?

    Pat’s idea of playing NAIA stars is interesting too.

    In the end of course we all fellowship and make something good out of it.

    The weather is not that great of a concern for me. A player whose career has recently ended gets to hangout for three days and play once more? You can put that game in Yakima, Yemassee, S.C. or the Yukon and players would be in.

  17. I have always felt that the Hall of Fame field in Canton, Ohio would be a good fit for the Stagg Bowl. Being there are some NAIA teams in that area….a NAIA/DIVlll All-Star game would draw a crowd. I did suggest this to a Canton Sports writer..his reply (not a very convincing one to me) people would consider that field to be a home field advantage to Mt. Union…..who I think played there once…1947 vs Kent State…Just my thoughts on a site…

  18. A d3 all-star game is definitely needed and a d3/naia game is a good idea. as of this year there are only a handful of all-star games for players of all divisions (SR bowl, shrine game, cactus, texas vs nation, east coast bow), most of which are played in texas with exception of sr bowl (mobile, al) and east coast bowl (petersburg, va). the east coast bowl (in its 8th year) started as a d2/d3 only game and eventually added fcs (formerly iaa) a couple years ago. having worked with their administration for a couple years they are the only game that doesnt pay for transportation and their talent has continued to improve with guys drafted in each of the last 2 games. they pay for everything else,aside from travel, and typically spend between 20,000 and 30,000 to run the whole game. since the players are finished in school and draft-eligible they are able to get transporation funded through a variety of sources: agents, college booster clubs, school administrators, local businesses that are supporters of that school and other avenues. considering the geographical location of VA, the bulk of the players drive themselves to the game. having some type of non-profit/agency that benefits from the game helps to give alittle marketing leverage, i.e. east coast bowl award local high school player scholarship money, shrine game donates portion of proceeds to shriners hospital. in my opinion, the first step to saving money would be to centralize the game so the majority of players are able to drive in…reimbursing gas money would be a whole lot cheaper than paying airfare.

  19. NAIA just picked up Russell Athletic as sponsor for its Championship. So sponsoship is do-able. Just one sponsor down.

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