Do you guys think it's about the money or about the wins? Is this story happening if EMU won 4-5 games most of the time? To whit- would anybody at EMU care if the team DID win more than they do?
I think it's about the fan support, which is about generating money, but is also about all those ancillaries that make spending money on football worthwhile, creating a community and school pride and generating deeper alumni connections and so on. In EMU's case, there isn't any fan support. None. Hasn't been for years. Granted they've sucked for years, but now you are chicken or egg. Can you recruit better playing in an empty stadium and getting beat constantly, and if you could, would it work out? Or can you get fans into seats and generate all those ancillary joys football brings to a campus if you consistently suck.
Considering they are most likely going to be in violation of this NCAA bylaw for FBS after next season (again, after being in violation for years prior to 2014's magically almost mediocre numbers):
Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a
rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 126.96.36.199]
It's only the NCAA's arbitrary application of their own rules, or a massive distribution of wealth from the University to pay for seats that no one is sitting in, that allows them to stay in FBS anyway. Attendance numbers are in the low to mid thousands for home games last year and all years but 2014, which is a very clear outlier.
Attendance numbers found here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Eastern_Michigan_Eagles_football_team
Is there anything about this program to you, other than Coach Creighton being there, that suggests FBS is the right spot for them? No fan support, a stadium ringed by a track, no recent winning history, and massive expenditures to keep the privilege of being in FBS intact. Other than vanity, and holding onto the MAC, what is the purpose of paying a lot of money to play bad football in front of no fans that largely prefer watching other FBS football teams?
Do I suggest DII? No I don't. Either drop football and change conferences, or go FCS and change conferences. In both cases the rest of your sports, which are varying degrees of competitive in DI, can stay there. You don't have to have FBS football to be a directional state university (Central Arkansas, Central CT, East TN, Eastern Ill, Eastern KY, etc..), or even a flagship state university (North Dakota, U of Delaware, U of NH, etc...). There is no shame in finding the right spot for your program, especially a spot that doesn't cause you to bleed ridiculous amounts of money that could be used to do something like educate your student body.