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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2003 7:29 am 
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Turnover time: Billikens do not belong in MVC
Bryan Burwell

Not often, but every once in a while, folks have been known to change my mind.

Whenever I write a column, well-intentioned readers bombard me with all sorts of dissenting opinions, all meant to persuade me to come around to their way of thinking.

They try sincerity ("Hey you idiot ...").
They try subtlety ("Dear Bryan, you're an idiot ...").

They try curiosity ("Mr. Burwell, did you know that you're an idiot?").

And my personal favorite, of course, is when they try flattery ("Of all the idiots I have ever read, you sir are the biggest idiot of them all.").

And like I said, every once in a rare, rare while, sometimes it works.

Today I am changing my mind.

The other day I wrote that the big dream was over for St. Louis University's athletic department. I believed it was time to forget about the fanciful vision in the back of the minds of all the folks at SLU, who thought the fallout from the Atlantic Coast Conference's expansion would somehow turn into a golden opportunity for the Billikens.

I believed they had no chance of getting a call from the Big East, and that when the dust settled in this wide-sweeping conference realignment, it made little sense to go to the Atlantic 10.

My mind was made up. SLU needed to stay in the down-scaled Conference USA or think regionally and go to the Missouri Valley.

I was wrong, and with the help of several letters from SLU supporters, not to mention some excellently persuasive intelligence from several anonymous college basketball wise guys, I have changed my mind.

If you look carefully at what is happening in the landscape of big-time college basketball, SLU has to think big-picture when picking its next conference affiliations.

Whatever they do now should be viewed like the first moves in a chess match.

The ultimate goal in this chess match for the Billikens is to be among college basketball's elite class. The goal of becoming a consistent national championship contender might be a little out of reach, but not the goal of being a legitimate player on the NCAA stage. Being in the MVC, which is a mid-major conference in every respect, will not serve SLU well in that pursuit.

The fact is, even though the Big East decided to bypass the Billikens in the latest expansion, a lot of smart people in college athletic circles say the Big East is not finished reshuffling.

Ultimately, there is a strong belief the Big East football and basketball schools will split at the end of the conference's existing television contracts.

And then the Big East will go back to its hoop-crazy roots and recreate a basket-ball super conference.

So the smartest thing SLU can do between now and then (best guess on the split is about a three- to five-year window) is to make sure that whenever the Big East split does happen, the Billikens are positioned to be considered a highly attractive addition to the newer, bigger Big East.

Playing in the Missouri Valley probably won't accomplish that.

Playing in the Atlantic 10 will.

The A-10 is a better basketball league than the MVC. The power ratings for the A-10 have been consistently higher over the past 10 years than the MVC.

They've received 32 NCAA bids during that span, while the MVC has received 16 in the same period.

I think I talked about travel being an issue in the A-10. But what's the difference for SLU going from C-USA road trips to Tampa, Charlotte, East Carolina, Houston and New Orleans to A-10 trips to New York, Philly and Washington?

The simple fact is, the dream isn't over now. It's just beginning.

With a new on-campus arena and top-rated recruits on the way, coach Brad Soderberg and the rest of the folks at SLU believe they can dream mighty big dreams.

Those dreams work out a lot better in the A-10 or Conference USA.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:10 am 
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Charlotte leaving CUSA looking more likely

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/sports/colleges/university_of_north_carolina_-_charlotte/7016300.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 12:49 pm 
A-10 Basketball
SOUTH
Dayton
Xavier
St.louis
Charlotte
George Washington
Richmond
Duquesne
Western Kentucky
NORTH
Temple
St.Bonaventure
St.Joseph's
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
Fordham
Lasalle
Delaware


A10 Football

NORTH
New Hampshire
Massachusetts
Maine
Northeastern
Rhode Island
Hofstra

SOUTH
William & Mary
Richmond
Western Kentucky
Delaware
Villanova
James Madison


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 1:44 pm 
Western Kentucky will never be in the A-10 so long as it retains its current "mission" (i.e. Northeastern schools and private schools, peripheral or otherwise). North Carolina-Charlotte would be a BIG exception, but still somewhat permissible because of the Charlotte market and other considerations that WKU simply cannot account for....


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:25 pm 
I disagree, They already came to us once for membership a few years ago and the would be getting the 1AA football champ along with a basketball record better than anyone in the A-10 right now.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:03 pm 
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I'm not sure who is the best fit for the Atlantic 10, but conference names and old regional missions are out and have been out for a while. The A-10 is not atlantic and not even 10. WKU is certainly as worthy of consideration. I believe UNCC will definitely be added, St. Louis should hope they are added. Perhaps the conferences will realign their names too! 8-)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 9:43 am 
"I disagree, They already came to us once for membership a few years ago and the would be getting the 1AA football champ along with a basketball record better than anyone in the A-10 right now."

...

Can we get a date on when exactly the Atlantic 10, approached Western Kentucky--a public school located in rural Kentucky near the Tennessee border and in the Central Time Zone--an invitation?

Also, the A-10 could care less about your football program when they issue invitations, as only 3 teams in the "A-10" (Yankee) Football Conference are actually A-10 members. Somebody needs to check Linda Bruno's ego, and have them change the name. The Missouri Valley Conference maintains its own I-AA football conferences (scholarship and non-scholarship) but neither uses the name "Missouri Valley Conference" despite the fact that 5 of 6 long-time members of the Gateway Football Conference are also members of the Missouri Valley Conference.

If the A-10 actually considered football programs in offering membership invitations: a) Fordham would not be in the Patriot League; b) Villanova would probably not be in the A-10 (former all-sports member); c) Duquesne and LaSalle would not be in the MAAC; d) Dayton would not be in the PFL; e) Delaware would probably not be a member of the CAA. The A-10 could care less about football, they just want the (trivial) name recognition and the voting power that comes with being classified as a I-AA conference.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 1:48 pm 
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Atlantic 10 to add Charlotte, St. Louis and Boston University?

http://www.gwhatchet.com/global_user_elements/printpage.cfm?storyid=506520

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Last edited by Quinn on Fri Oct 17, 2003 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:49 pm 
"I'm not sure who is the best fit for the Atlantic 10, but conference names and old regional missions are out and have been out for a while."

In case you didn't notice, I put the word "mission" in quotes, but arguably there is an implicit m.o. for most conferences unless driven by some major goal that concerns the very future of the conference itself. The ACC is expanding to assure a spot in the next round of BCS talks and capitalize on latent instability in the Big East to procure regional football programs. The Sun Belt keeps expanding and expanding to ensure that it will have enough I-A teams to be considered a I-A conference for NCAA voting purposes. When faced with the prospect of losing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Patriot League relented and admitted American (and allowed them to retain athletic scholarships) and allowed Holy Cross, and others, to begin re-offering athletic scholarships.

Look at the numbers in the current A-10:
all 12 schools are in the Eastern Time Zone;
9 of 12 schools are verifiably private institutions;
7 of 9 private schools are Catholic;
5 current members admitted since 1993 are private;

-while Saint Louis is private and located in the Central Time Zone, its closest conference opponents (Dayton-Xavier) are about as close as North Carolina-Charlotte's (Richmond/George Washington) would be; also, SLU would become the 10th private school, the 8th Catholic school, and would be added to the conferences "Jesuit" contingent (contains Fordham, maybe others)

-Western Kentucky would be an anomaly of anomalies in the A-10 and is not all that much more accessible than Saint Louis would be, especially when you consider "market" implications

If you don't believe my "implicit mission" theory, look at what has been happening in the A-10, Atlantic Sun, Big West, and Southern conferences in the last few years as contrasted with events in the ACC, Mid-Con [shudder], Sun Belt, and WAC (no theory however will ever be able to explain the 16-team WAC concept, but the East-West balance scenario is somewhat plausible under the circumstances following the creation of the Mountain West Conference)

Consider the following:

A-East: "academic" schools that have continuously offered scholarships in contrast to nearby Ivy and Patriot schools

A-Sun: small, southern religious schools (original TAAC concept moved eastwards three decades later)

Big West: UCs and Cal-States

SoCon: equal mix of publics and privates

WAC: equal mix of "East" and "West"

West Coast: West Coast privates

Obviously every conference has its "outliers" (e.g. Pacific in the Big West, the public schools of the A-Sun, waiting on the further development of their football programs--UCF, FAU, TSU or otherwise "homeless" like ETSU and GSU).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 1:50 pm 
Atlantic 10 Update
By Brian Costa

The Atlantic 10 will likely invite four schools to join the conference within the next several weeks, GW Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz told The Hatchet Today.

With the Big East reportedly set to extend invitations to four Conference USA schools, the A-10 met this week and has developed a expansion plan.

While league officials still declined to comment on specific schools they are looking at, the A-10 is reportedly considering the additions the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Saint Louis University, Boston University and Western Kentucky University.

A-10 Commissioner Linda Bruno said that expansion has not been finalized and no offers have been extended but did say that it could be as many as a four team addition.


A-10 3 Division Alignment

SOUTH
Dayton
Xavier
St.louis
Charlotte
Western Kentucky

CENTRAL
George Washington
Richmond
Duquesne
Temple
St.Joseph's
Lasalle

NORTH
Boston University
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
Fordham
St.Bonaventure


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 3:14 pm 
Back in the early to mid 90s when the A10 exanded, the A10 extended an invite to WKU, but WKU declined, due to terrible terrible leadership. I am sure this can be verfied by many people.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:45 am 
Replace Western Kentucky with Butler.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 1:20 pm 
Butler is the proverbial "big fish in a small pond" who did not become successful until after the core of the MCC/Horizon (e.g. Dayton, Evansville, Marquette, Saint Louis, Xavier) left. Also refer to Valparaiso (Mid-Con), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Utah State (Big West), and TCU football (WAC/C-USA).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:52 pm 
AP • ATLANTIC 10: Atlantic 10 presidents will conduct a conference call Nov. 4 to discuss the potential additions of Charlotte, Saint Louis, Boston U, and Western Kentucky. The call is scheduled the same day that the Big East presidents are meeting in New York and are expected to vote to invite Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and DePaul. Such a move would leave Charlotte and Saint Louis as the only two basketball-only schools remaining in Conference USA. At the same time, the Sun Belt, WKU's Conference is losing members to the WAC. A-10 commissioner Linda Bruno said the league is "reviewing membership issues."



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:13 pm 
Jack, that article is not correct. Someone seems to enjoy editing articles and putting them on here. Western kentucky has NOT been mentioned in ANY A10 expansion articles.

The correct article link is below:

http://www.enquirer.com/xavier/2003/10/28/wwwxu1a.html

WORD TO THE WISE, don't trust an article unless their is a link to it.


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