fighting muskie wrote:
If the Horizon is indeed courting Belmont I think there will be serious competition from the MVC. If the MVC decides to dip into Dixie for UAB then Belmont would be a perfect partner. An MVC with the basketball powers of Wichita St, Norther Iowa, Belmont, and UAB would be pretty solid versus what the Horizon has to offer. If that were the case then I expect that NKU is the back up option.
On a side note, Horizon expansion and the UAB situation have the potential to create some interesting shake ups. Belmont making a conference move alone would cause the OVC to seek a replacement--if they want a football school that could mean someone like WIU (Summit) or a Big South school. This could spread to changes in the MVC, Horizon, OVC, Summit, A-Sun, and WAC not to mention C-USA and the SBC. If I'm the A-Sun or WAC I'm incredibly worried because they are at the bottom of the pecking order and are dangerously small as it is. The A-Sun have members like NKU (to Horizon) and Lipscomb (to OVC to replace Belmont) that could leave putting them in dangerous waters. If a Midwestern league like the Summit is in need of members then Chicago St and UMKC are as good as gone putting the WAC in jeopardy. If both were to happen then I suppose the two leagues might be able to temporarily merge with the remaining members acting as eastern and western divisions.
MVC is very imposing over the conferences in the region, but both them and the Horizon are at a sort of crossroads for their future. It's not the football issue (since MVFC is separate and Horizon doesn't sponsor the thing), but institutional type, location, and devotion to basketball that make their next moves pivotal (assuming MVC moves).
We've seen how arbitrary the D1 conference hierarchy can be. There's no guarantee that a conference makes a move that others see as a misstep, strengthening another conference that isn't seen as strong. Kind of like the Summit and AE have survived the WAC, MVC, Big Sky, CAA, Patriot, and SoCon movement.
I don't think the Horizon gets it wrong not taking Belmont ahead of NKU. There's a chance the Horizon takes Belmont, only to see something like the A10 did when it got Butler for a season or two, where MVC takes Belmont and maybe someone else out of Horizon (Valpo?). Belmont becomes a rental, and the Horizon has a mess trying to replace two programs when they only just went through a search to fill one spot.