Oklahoma State may not be able to finance their trip to the national tournament despite earning their AQ.
The common thought with MCLA polls is that teams are rewarded more for past performance and program prestige than actual talent. The top 25 is always littered with household name programs with 6-5 records while teams with more spotless records watch from the #25-30 range. Of course the argument is and always shall be, who have you played. At some point teams east of the Mississippi might have to say, we aren’t spending money on plane tickets to fly to Colorado in the regular season to prove our worth just so we can earn the 7th seed instead of the 12th seed and then by plane tickets to fly back to California. A post for another time.
But, there is something to be said for these MCLA teams who are at once elite and above average.
Tournament bubble teams like Colorado State and Sonoma State are financially ready to go to the tournament. It is a part of their culture, their player dues, and their fundraising. If they fail to earn their AQ, but the committee invites them with an at large bid, they’ll be able to afford to travel and participate.
Oklahoma State, as of April 27th, despite winning their AQ, cannot go because they don’t have the finances in order. They finished the regular season with an undefeated record against conference opponents. Unfortunately, you can’t look at last years record and say maybe we should be prepared for a post season run, because OSU hasn’t been in the MCLA since 2012. However, at some point this season, maybe in late February when they were 3-0 in their conference and had beaten teams by a combined score of 35-13, they should have started to think about the post season. It would be a shame for a team that has rejoined the MCLA, that has had success in the regular season, to be unable to attend the national tournament.
Oklahoma State had 15 players dressed for that game and one coach on the sideline.
(Jump ahead to 1:38:34. St. Gregory has a chance to tie the game with 2.2 seconds left. If there is a front net presence, the shot they take might go in. Or, the defender could have blocked it. We’ll never know.)
How could this have been avoided?
1) Should be fundraising throughout the year regardless of post season aspirations. More money coming in allows you to buy nice things. Film editing services. Better hotels or more hotel rooms so guys aren’t sharing beds. Food on the road. More balls. More money for coaches. All things that aren’t as sexy as a matte grey helmet, but necessary for your team to have success.
2) MCLA teams build the cost of attending the national championship into their player dues. This could be the whole cost, just the cost of playing in the first round and consolation round, or even 25% of the five day first round/consolation game trip. If the team made the tournament, they know they can go. If they didn’t make the tournament, they can roll that money into next year and dues don’t have to be as expensive. If they are a senior, they can receive that money back or it can be their first alumni donation.
3) Conferences increase player dues $15-20 per athlete. That money is than given to the AQ if the conference sends one team or spilt among the AQ team and at large teams or given entirely to the team attending for the first time regardless of AQ or at large. Would this help fund a trip in its entirety? No. Would it be helpful for a charter bus or hotels? Absolutely.
New teams don’t get rewarded in the polls and they certainly don’t get rewarded with at large bids, because the perception is they aren’t ready for the big stage in one way or another. These situations make people skeptical of upstart programs in the MCLA world. How can they not? Add Oklahoma State to the list of MCLA teams not prepared for the bright lights.
As of Thursday 10:55AM, Oklahoma State hasn’t tweeted out a fundraising link. Otherwise, it would be posted here to help get them to California.
However, they did tweet this last night:
Would love to see them take advantage of their AQ. Hope this tweet doesn’t suggest they’ve moved on to 2016.
God Bless the PCLL team that wins their AQ.
UPDATE: Oklahoma State started a Go Fund Campaign 14 days ago in preparations to make the national tournament. It has generated $75.