Evans on Sports Blog

Thursday, Jan 31 2013 02:42 PM

Northridge no real upgrade over CSUB for Konya

By The Bakersfield Californian

Now that a few days have passed since Cal State Bakersfield athletic director Jeff Konya pulled his name out of consideration for the Cal State Northridge AD job, let's take a look at some comparisons to the two programs.

Konya has made a big impact at CSUB in his two years in Bakersfield. The crowning achievement is getting the program into the Western Athletic Conference, even if it is a watered-down WAC. Living as a D-1 independent is too difficult and virtually impossible to develop any consistency as a program.

But this is about CSUB vs. Northridge from an athletics perspective.

Northridge advantages:

* It's a more established Div. I program, having moved from Division II in 1990 compared to CSUB's move in 2006 and full D-1 membership in 2010.

* It's a bigger school, with around 36,000 students compared to CSUB's 8,000. Student fees help fund athletics, and with more students, the support is higher.

* Northridge is in a more stable conference. Two years ago, the WAC would have been considered vastly superior to the Big West. But now, with all of the WAC defections and several less-than-notable schools joining the WAC, plus some upgrades to the Big West, the BWC has the edge now.

* More alumni because the school's been around longer. More alumni, presumably, means more donations and support.

CSUB advantages:

* Its outside fundraising potential is far greater. Northridge must contend with the big boys of the West Coast, USC and UCLA, plus scores of other 4- and 2-year colleges in the L.A. area. Bakersfield is in its own little island

* More aggressive leadership. Starting with President Horace Mitchell (the D-1 move would have never happened without Mitchell's support) and Konya's hard-charging mentality gives CSUB, in my opinion, more upside as time goes on.

* Cost of living in Bakersfield significantly cheaper than L.A. suburbia.

Northridge has been in Div. I for more than 20 years but it hasn't moved anywhere close to the D-1 elite. The Matadors have had a decent season here and there in their particular sports, but nothing special. An occasional NCAA tournament berth for a sport here and there, but that's going to happen by the law of averages if you're in a so-so conference (like the Big West has been over the years) and there's not any power program members.

I'll tell you this: It's going to be much tougher for the Northridges of the world to make it to NCAA Tournaments when programs such as Hawaii suddenly join your league.

To put it in a nutshell: I'm sure if you look 15 years to the future, CSUB will have more of a Div. I impact than Northridge has had in the last 15 years.

Konya was able to get a 5-year contract out of this, which is good for his job stability. As for buy-out questions, usually if someone wants to leave, a school won't stand in the way, so I don't see that being anything special.

I'm a little surprised Konya showed initial interest in Northridge. With some of the notable accomplishments he's overseen at CSUB since his arrival, I would figure he would have shot higher.

And maybe that will happen moving forward. Time will tell, I guess.

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