Week one just completed — well for CUSA, there is still a game to play in CFB. There were some thrilling games (UTSA, FAU) and some awful blowouts (UNT, Rice) and some in between. Instead of putting the regular updates here on this site, CR is now going full-steam on the newsletter. It is a bit easier to get out to you, without all the usual social media advertising. This one is free, but the next ones will be paid. Heads up.
CUSAREPORT as a site, and entity is winding down. We will publish the newsletter regularly and occasional post here on the Dotcom version through the end of basketball season, but that’s it. Barring some ridiculous change in circumstances the end of the current iteration of CUSA is the end of CR. We enjoyed our time. There were some interesting sights and sounds and lots of cool people.
CR was unprofitable, and encountered some difficult situations. We weren’t (and aren’t) extremely well funded up front, instead relying on the support and dollar of the CUSA fan. I had my doubts about a league-focused site, but I still see the value in it. Those who run or work for team-specific sites are aware of the waxing and waning of attention commensurate with the program’s focus. Too often that means some dreck posted in the name of chasing clicks. I have never cared for a list breaking down some arbitrary ranking of cornerbacks in the summer months. There are interesting stories to be had, and interesting analysis to be done. I mean beyond those found in a given program. CUSAREPORT was originally conceived as a pathway for those with that knowledge and interest and talent to share it with a discerning audience. The idea was that there were enough monied, interested fans across the fourteen or so programs that would keep the site afloat, and keep up some good coverage flowing.
CR was on its way up for a bit, adding some subscribers and we were able to pay contributors. We experimented with some models. Those included more frequent coverage with a patron-like set up and a split paid/free article set up. On the podcast side, we tried having guests, and then tried weekly solo-shows. It was difficult to balance the investment in time and effort with the response. A business concern has to spend some cash to get some cash. Between some personal life changes (moving, new job, expanding family) and some world changes (pandemic), the risk/reward profile changed. Add to that the changing conference roster and it just doesn’t make as much sense to continue as it did previously.
This league is entertaining, and interesting, and there are people that care passionately about it. Some lasting memories are watching UAB celebrate in Murfreesboro and watching Brent Stockstill cry after. He cared. The CUSA tournament is always quality stuff, and seeing the hurt on the losing squads, and the absolute joy in the winnings squad’s eyes is incredible. They all cared. That made it compelling.
Our access to all of the world’s entertainment has changed our relationship with local stuff. It isn’t good or bad, but different. I can watch the world’s best soccer players and with two clicks check out Middle Tennessee get dominated by James Madison. It absolutely changes my relationship with both. You can listen to the worlds’ best music — and some of the best music ever recorded — easier than getting up and going down to the local music bar. That changes your relationship to music. You expect better and perfect and are less willing to tolerate the local band working on their art. It is harder to do the routine to go to the local stadium and spend your dollar on State U when you can see future NFLers in HD on your phone. It is harder to watching Middle when I can watch Man City.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t entertainment to be had. CR went to Columbia, MO and Denton, TX for a couple of CUSA games and the experience was largely the same, just with different attendance figures (20K difference or so). There is more friction in getting in the car, paying for parking, walking up a hill, and finding a seat on a muggy night in September than there is to be comfortable at home and flip through options. I don’t remember all the Saturdays I spent on the couch, however. I do absolutely remember the times I went trudging through some stadium. Factor that into your life choices, friends.
There will always be people who care and want to share that passion with others. I like Go Tech Please Don’t Die. I liked the UAB blogs when they were more regular. I like some of the podcasts. Being the strange person I am, I will happily pay for more of that, and also more and better smart coverage of the league and things I care about.