In regard to Fort Wayne (IPFW) I posted these ideas several weeks ago--but for some reason my post never materialized on this board.
As a graduate of IPFW I had provided several pros and cons concerning Fort Wayne joining the Horizon League. But I'll just get to the meat of my thoughts to see if they actually appear this time...lol.
1. Here is a Cleveland State blog from March of 2014 with a quote from Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters "Waters said that the HL is looking at IPFW as a possible future member for joining the conference".
Link--- http://clevelandstatehoops.blogspot.com ... uglas.html
2. Since Valparaiso transitioned to the Horizon from the Summit League--Fort Wayne has gone 3-2 with Valpo, also handing them their worst home loss ever 63-46 in 2008-2009. Here is the Valpo fan forum where they are talking smack about IPFW with many of the commenters suggesting there is no rivalry between the schools...while others suggest caution...and sure enough IPFW (With an awesomely talented Frank Gaines who is currently playing summer league b-ball with the Pacers) goes off and Valpo gets beat 85-76 at the Coliseum in Fort Wayne.
It is only a 100 miles from Valparaiso to Fort Wayne (Indiana's second largest city with a population of 256,000+) down Route 30--so I feel that there might possibly be a consideration about the geographic factor related to Fort Wayne being invited to the HL.
3. Fort Wayne was 30 seconds from getting a bid to the big dance in 2014 (Losing to NDSU by 3 in the Summit League tournament played for the last several years in guess where...the Dakotas) but still goes 25-11 and defeats a MAC team in post season play.
Is the blog and quote from the Cleveland State head basketball coach just hearsay? Maybe...but it is still interesting in the way in which it was shared...matter-of-factly with other Horizon League news. Also, Fort Wayne needs to increase their athletic budget to be on the same level as other Horizon League institutions...no doubt about it.
IPFW is not a sexy name for sure....but being branded as "Fort Wayne" by the Summit League the last few seasons is certainly a step in the right direction. Remember when Milwaukee and Green Bay were UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay several years ago? These type of things take time which leads me to my last point.
As a Fort Wayne grad--do I think that IPFW is ready for the Horizon League? Probably not...still a few years away. However, from some of the smug posts on this board by Horizon League fans from other institutions who feel that the HL had written IPFW off years ago...they may want to at least get familiar with the idea.
IPFW has a ways to go in regard to perception, but from Cleveland State's Gary Waters comment it sounds like Fort Wayne is at least in the discussion. One final thought....8 of the 9 current Horizon League members once played and called the Summit League home (Only Detroit-Mercy did not)....so be gracious since you got there first...ya just never know
The Summit League is consistently becoming a Great Plains oriented conference...maybe they will pick up an eastern-based school to offset this shift and keep IUPUI, Western Illinois, and IPFW interested in the Summit (Final RPI 17 in 2014, Horizon was 14, and Fort Wayne was 118) for long-term.
Alrighty, just a few thoughts--have saved and backed-up my comments just in case--hope they post this time