Tom Kemp and I see eye to eye on most things. However, we disagree on one item; whether or not the A10 is a mid major. He says yes, I say know. In that regard, Tom sent me this link from the Mid Majority site. Kyle Whelliston, the father of the Mid Major Basketball coverage, came out with an article in January 2008 called The Red Line. Basically he uses the athletic budget of the conference and the red line of $20 million to decide whether or not that conference is a mid major. If you take a look at the budgets, the A10 falls 6 million under the $20 million red line. In fact, conferences such as the America East and Colonial have higher budgets.
Now I have heard Kyle talk about this on chat wraps and in other articles on this. This is not new to me. Now there is one issue immediately that I have with this. Now this was from 2006-07. I would be curious to see what the budgets from 2007-08 and 2008-09 are. Here is one thing already. The A10 no longer has a football conference. The CAA took up those teams. With the exception of the America East (which I am still trying to figure out), all the other conferences that are under the $20 million red line and are above the A10 all have a football conference component.
Another key item is that we also don't know how much the teams in the A10 spend on men's basketball as opposed to other sports and as well as opposed to how the other conferences' spend money on basketball. So yes they may have a smaller budget than say the WAC, but the A10 teams on average may spend more money on men's basketball than say WAC teams. We really don't know.
But more important to me than money is history. I wrote about this history in the Spring (and I disagreed with Kyle then). The A10 has several teams that have had long legacies of great succcess; Xavier, Temple, St Joseph's and UMass. Teams that certainly would not be considered mid majors. Also, it is a conference with a long consistent history of multiple bids, which I think is a key determination in whether you are a midmajor or not (thus the WAC which does not have a consistent history of multiple bids is thus to me a mid major conference) . But the most important thing is that their own commissioner, Linda Bruno does not consider her conference a mid major. And Xavier turned down Rivals.Com's award of mid major of the week because they too considered themselves a major power in basketball (and who can doubt them after making the Elite Eight in 2007-08 and starting out 5-0 this year).
So Tom, Kyle, you are entitled to your own opinion. But I am as well. And as long as the Baker's Dozen exists, you will not see any A10 team listed in it (or at least until an A10 commissioner says they are a mid major conference :-)).
On another note, I watched Gonzaga play a terrific game against Tennessee to win the Old Spice Classic. The Zags really dominated most of the game and handled the Tennessee pressure defense really well. Gonzaga with their history may be considered by some to be no longer a mid major. And I understand that fully. But as long as they play in the West Coast Conference, a conference with a general history of being a one bid conference (last year being a rare exception with three teams in), they will be always listed in my Baker's Dozen.