What is going on, Is WKU staying 1AA and going to the MVC or Atlantic 10 or are they upgrading to 1A by 2005 and staying in the Sun Belt or are they going to CUSA and promise to upgade Football later or are they going to the MAC . All have been suggested some even quoted by WKU's present or former staff. Take your pick The Mr. waters said they are staying and upgrading but their athletic director says no. What is the problem?
Re: Sunbelt Realignment News
« Reply #4 on: Oct 28th, 2003, 03:59am »
October 28, 2003
NCAA president Myles Brand; future of ACC and WAC
Being a prophet apparently was not a job requirement for first-year NCAA president Myles Brand. That and this report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Ted Lewis
"I would be careful to project that there will be a major ripple," Brand said in the spring when the Atlantic Coast Conference announced it was expanding by three teams. "There may or may not be. There certainly will be in the ACC and the Big East, and possibly Conference USA. But will it spread? Maybe. I wouldn't be so quick to judge."
Well, Dr. Brand, what others were saying would happen while you were withholding your opinion has come to pass -- a seismic shift that's now affecting schools that aren't yet members of Division I-A.
Sun Belt Conference commissioner Wright Waters, in an effort to keep his fledgling league viable in football, was at Western Kentucky, Florida International and Florida Atlantic this week to nail down their commitments to move up from I-AA by 2005 so that the Sun Belt can be assured of having the minimum eight members required to be recognized by the NCAA as a I-A conference.
"I don't know where this ends," said Waters, whose New Orleans-based conference lost New Mexico State and Utah State to the Western Athletic Conference this week and could see North Texas or Louisiana-Lafayette go as well. "This business is just going crazy."
By the time all of the shuffling has ended, at least seven of the 11 I-A conferences could have a different look.
That is, if all 11 are still around in two years.
If the Mountain West decides to expand by four -- WAC members Hawaii, Nevada, Fresno State and Boise State all have their hands in the air hoping to be picked -- there won't be enough I-A schools remaining in the Mountain and Pacific time zones to preserve the 42-year-old WAC, which last week lost SMU, Tulsa and Rice to Conference USA.
"You're not going to see the end of the WAC," commissioner Karl Benson said. "This league has always been resilient. We've gone through Arizona and Arizona State leaving in 1978 and the eight schools breaking off to form the Mountain West. This will be much easier to overcome, believe me."
As Benson pointed out, changing conference alignments is a constant factor in college sports. But this time it's different.
The BCS/non-BCS divide has schools falling on the wrong side of the equation forsaking old ties left and right to be perceived as being higher on the ladder.
Witness Louisiana Tech doing all it can to avoid returning to the Sun Belt, from which it left for the WAC in 2001 before Sun Belt football play began.
Bulldogs athletic director Jim Oakes apparently doesn't have the words "Sun Belt" in his vocabulary, certainly not when asked what would be the most logical league for his school. Oakes holds out hope that C-USA will come calling, or that the WAC will find the Bulldogs a Central time zone travel partner, hence the courting of North Texas and ULL.
Failing that, he's willing to stay in the WAC, even though his closest conference foe would be UTEP, 790 miles away.
Speculating usually has proven fruitless in this process, but here's my guess on how things will develop in the next couple of weeks: Western Kentucky, Florida International and Florida Atlantic will commit to the Sun Belt by 2005. North Texas will jump to the WAC, but Louisiana-Lafayette will stay put.
That puts the Sun Belt at eight football schools with Florida A&M and Louisiana-Monroe under consideration for full membership.
The Mountain West, chiefly because of indecision created by the presence of five new presidents and four new athletic directors, decides to stay put for now, saving the WAC.
South Florida joins the Big East and Marshall joins Conference USA, with Central Florida delaying a decision until after the Nov. 4 vote by the Big East on possible football-only membership. If Central Florida takes that bid, look for C-USA to go after Navy for football only, keeping Charlotte in all other sports.
And after it's over, everyone will smile, shake hands and say how proud they are to be associated with such fine institutions.
But there's a feeling out there that we've lost something in the process.
"We're doing things that are detrimental to college football," said Middle Tennessee athletic director Boots Donnelly. "Basically, it's become every man for himself. That's not what college athletics is supposed to be about."
Unfortunately, too often these days, it is. That and this report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Ted Lewis