No offseason for money, McNeese will spend its summer working on five areas

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, June 3, 2023

For the McNeese State athletic department, the sporting year that ended was the same in many ways and much different in others.

There was more progress made off the playing fields than on them as it turns out, setting the stage for what could be an interesting upcoming year.

As summer approaches here are five things to watch for in the coming days that could impact McNeese’s athletic future.

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Looking to play with the big boys requires funding like never before and McNeese officials said they are working hard to stake their claim to the cash.

Officials said they hoping to finalize McNeese’s names, image and likeness collective in the coming days. Sources have said the collective could be named “The Ranch” and would provide funding for players in the new world of college sports.

McNeese Athletic Director Heath Schroyer has called this a “game-changer” if it were to come about. It would give coaches an important new weapon in today’s recruiting wars.

How much money and how it will be doled out will also be affected by the state of Texas, which is working on a bill that will make it easier for schools to take part in the distribution and collection of funds.

If the bill becomes law, most college sports observers believe Louisiana would soon suit.

Press box, stadium deal

The last real remaining eyesore from hurricane damage to the athletic facilities is the football stadium press box.

There still isn’t one.

Within the next few weeks, the school is expected to show drawings and announce the new press box that will be much more than its predecessor.

It is expected to be a showcase for the university and department and is to include suites for fans.

The structure will likely have a cooperate name to go with it, which could also be part of a new stadium naming rights deal that would add money to the department’s budget.

Quarterback battle

Let’s face it, nothing is more interesting to a fan base than a battle for the top quarterback job, and McNeese has that this summer.

While it is not likely a starter will be named in the competition between Tre Simmons and Nate Glantz, this summer’s workouts will play a huge part in the decision.

The two transfers bring different sets of skills to McNeese and will have to make a connection with a new group of receivers. So these workouts will mean more than those of past summers.

While head coach Gary Goff said he doesn’t want a two-quarterback system, he may have to play both at times depending on the situation.

As McNeese found out last fall, a team can never have enough quarterbacks. McNeese played four guys there season while finishing 4-7.

Conference movement

Nothing is harder to follow each summer now than conference realignment. The next few months could be just as wild.

With so much movement expected, smaller leagues may be looking to find new teams to fill their roster of schools. This also will have a big impact on future scheduling for all levels, including McNeese if it remains a Football Championship Subdivision program.

Of course, the right twist up the ladder could be the opening the Cowboys are hoping for in a league like Conference USA. That seems the most likely landing spot if the Cowboys are to move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Then again, McNeese can’t go to that party without an invitation.

SLC expansion

Last summer Lamar returned to the Southland Conference and Incarnate Word flipped at the last minute and decided to stay in the league.

What will happen this summer is anybody’s guess. League officials have said they want to expand by at least two football-playing schools in order to make things better when it comes to scheduling.

While some want to look at solid football programs on the Division II level, others want to bring in Division I schools.

The Southland needs to make the right move here because a lot of folks are watching.