fighting muskie wrote:
I wonder if Karl Benson and the Sunbelt are just using EKU's interest in FBS as leverage on JMU and other more favorable expansion targets? They don't fit either model for successful FCS to FBS transition (those models being perennial FCS power or a start up program in a major city)
Well i guess if it works then Mr. Benson will look very smart! But i don't really see it as leverage, i see it as more of an enticement. We know that JMU wants to be in a conference that has more schools that are closer to them. We also know that SBC needs more than just one school so they are prepared when the next mass exodus happens (which it will!). If the SBC could get EKU to join then maybe they could entice JMU to join as well as accept Liberty (I know people don't like the Liberty thing, but listen). If EKU and Liberty were to join then JMU would have three schools EKU, Liberty and App State all within a 5 hour drive of each other. This would then be more appealing travel wise to JMU (who is really the school that Benson wants). Also i am not against Liberty joining. People that are against it, are against it only because they are a private Christian school and people think they will try and promote their beliefs on other members. To me this is crazy, it is no different then BYU or ND (which are also private Mormon and Catholic schools). Liberty has the facilties and are in a larger TV market and have their own TV network which is sometimes aired on MASN TV. I saw the game on MASN this week on the LSTN. So that right their is reason enough to bring them in. But if SBC could get these three schools then they could accept NMSU as full member and add NDSU as football only to make up the difference in the western division. They still might need one more school in the west but there are plenty of good options there, SHSU for example or Jacksonville State.
Travel partners for JMU should not be EKU and Liberty. If anything....Delaware and William&Mary would be much better. JMU is already used to their rivalry with these two teams. And both carry a larger market and come from a much better conference. Personally, I don't think the SBC has a very good chance to land JMU. Which leaves no reason to force feed EKU on the conference ...if they(EKU) aren't ready for the 'step up' in all respects. Is EKU completely ready for the upgrade? I would put EKU about fourth or fifth on the list for the SBC to pick up.
Also, think of it this way....if the SBC asked JMU to pick a school to bring with them....who would they choose? Where do you believe Liberty and EKU would stand on JMU's list?
And, I don't have any issue with Liberty that doesn't stem from their horrible records in fb and bb...and the fact that they hardly ever play better competition than what's in the Big South. So, please don't paint every member of the board in some stereotype regarding religion.
I do agree that the SBC should prepare itself for another group of schools to leave.