"A Vision Thing"
By Jon Ralston
"When Aggiesports contacted me this week to contribute to this Big West column I had to put some serious thought into the emphasis or philosophy of the column. My decision, rather than try to be an expert providing my analysis of current teams, games, and players, I'd rather put out bigger ideas to provoke thought and hopefully discussion, in a word discussion Vision.
It has been said that Vision is a picture of the future that one wants to create, and that Vision is the vehicle for bringing purpose into the realm of acts and commitments. So with that in mind, I've dubbed my column, "A Vision Thing." This begs the question, what is the purpose or vision of the Big West? The answer to that question is quite unclear, which of course has delivered us to our current disorganized state.
Based on the decisions that have lead us to our current state, it appears to me that the purpose and vision of the Big West conference is to provide a home for California State and UC school, period, with the exception of my beloved Pacific. There seems to be no desire to achieve excellence nor to break any new ground. This current philosophy, as a result, has driven all non-California institutions to seek membership elsewhere since it appears that USU and Idaho do intend to strive for excellence and as a part of that
plan they must find a solution that addresses their desire to excel in football.Having seemingly achieved its' half hearted vision to become an All-California Conference in the near future, where does the conference go from here? Nobody seems to know, there is no Vision.
Dare I suggest a new Vision for the Big West Conference. That the conference strive to become a Top-10 Men's & Women's Basketball Conference, a Top-5 Women's Volleyball Conference, a Top-5 Baseball and Softball Conference, that the conference require all members to sponsor Men's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Water Polo, and that member institutions succeed from the MPSF to create a Top-5 Men's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Water Polo conference. A conference that has member institutions that compete for the Sear's Cup. A conference that has member institutions that compete for National Championships in the sports just mentioned, and a conference that in the next 20 years sponsors DI-AA non-scholarship football as a step towards re-establishing it's football presence.
Sure this seems unrealistic, but that is what a vision tends to be until it becomes reality. There are issues that need to be overcome, namely budget issues, facilities, scheduling, public relations, and recruiting just to name a few. But if this conference is to go anywhere, it first needs a vision that the conference administration, university presidents and athletic departments, and fans and alumni of each respective institution can strive towards its' attainment.
Future columns will address ways in which we, as fans, can help initiate the process towards the attainment of this vision.
Until next time, Think Big!!!
Comments, Questions, Suggestions, Hate Mail!, send me an email at
Question of the Week:
"If you were to replace Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell, what 3 things would you do to change the "image" of the Big West?"
Here is what some of you had to say!
"The Corvette that the Big West used to be has been carefully and lovingly downgraded to a Yugo at the hands of Mr. Ferrell. This is a conference that had a National Champion in B-Ball just a few years ago and had teams ranked year after year. Now it's considered a high-water mark for a team in the BW to simply get votes. It's sad".- Vadryn
"Be more active promoting the conference and its' schools. Why not host all the message boards, post the collection of newspaper articles about the conference schools on the BW site, host web casting or radio broadcasts, email newsletters, etc" – UCR ‘95
"Having a separate BWC Football conference. And, than going back to a divisional format of teams. Eastern & Western" – Poly Pete
"Stop trying to make the Big West the all UC and
"Revert to 8 teams until we can get a good base INCLUDING teams outside of CA. NAU and maybe
"Stop using the
"Fire everybody working in the BW office right now. Especially those bozos who can't update the website in a timely manner. Stop having the BW tourney since it's not a money maker. Win and you're in!!! This also helps the chokers from that state school in south orange county. Have a set of standards for all facilities. Maybe something like for basketball, 4000 seats. Half of which have to be chair backs. A certain lighting requirement. Stop having games in caves like CSF. Require lights for baseball and softball and soccer.
"Minimum Arena Requirement for basketball. Probably nothings screams "small time" louder than the 1600 seat CSUN gym. Put up or get out--give 5 years or so to come up with a new arena, minimum seating of 5,000 or so. This would affect UCR, CP, CSF, & CSUN. Improved handling of tv exposure. More tv exposure of course would be a + but even working within the limits of the current contract, they do a horrible job. Careful planning should be given to home games, making sure that the students are in session and not in finals. Bad teams should not be given tv exposure, you have to earn the right to get on tv. Rivalry games should be aired if possible. Better & more creative advertising to assist the individual schools in improving attendance." – GauchoFreg
"Arrange a preseason Big West v. major conference (PAC-10 perhaps?) challenge. The top two or three Big West teams from the previous season each play a major conference opponent in a one day regionally televised event at either the
"1. Dump the conference tournament until there is more interest in the conference. The top ranked team must go to the Big dance. That team has already proven to be the most consistent winner in the conference as opposed to whatever team happens to have a great weekend but did poorly or second best earlier in the season. Eventually after interest increases, hold tournament at a better / more respectable venue such as
"1) Redesign the website. There should be a weekly column by the commissioner about issues concerning college sports and the Big West conference. There would be an ask the commissioner section where questions can be asked of the commissioner and their staff. Games throughout the conference would be archived on the conference site. The Big West radio
show would be produced, broadcast, and archived on the site. Weekly teleconferences with coaches would also be recorded and archived on the site. Weekly chats with one of the coaches from each team in the conference would be held on the site. The idea would be to increase communication between the conference administration and the fans. Knowledgeable fans are
good and loyal fans. 2) The format for the Big West Tournament would be changed. The contract with the
A Look Ahead:
Cal Poly @
Cal Poly @ UCI
UCSB @ UCI
CSUN @ UCR
UOP @ UCR
"In Your Face Game of the Week" UCSB @ UCI
UCI must hold home court against UCSB who badly needs a win on the road against a championship contender. Here's what two rabid fans have to say about the upcoming contest:
In the right corner: GauchFreg
"UCSB 67 UCI 64, or a similar score will be read on the morning of January 31 by Big West fans. With UCSB finally playing to their strengths of outstanding guard play & outside shooting, the Gauchos are able to negate the hot hand of
In the left corner: kjsmith
"While the Gauchos do have a talented frontcourt, they do lack a "true" center. UCI's Adam Parada may not be a truly consistent big man, but if he can stay out of foul trouble and get good positioning under the rim, he can be a force the be reckoned with. We are still waiting for the first breakout game from him this year. Can UCSB afford to double team Parada? You guys could not even beat a traveling team from
Our Mascot is better (Plus Peter was in Maxim Magazine, was that Gaucho-man in Maxim?)
Good thing you guys get to play
Thanks to everyone who participated in the weeks Big West Breakdown! Special thanks to rAggie, No33pc, GauchoFreg, JonRalston, zzzza, and kjsmith!
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Problems? Something you'd like to see in next weeks Big West Breakdown? Email AggieSports at