fighting muskie wrote:
The Horizon does not have the power to pull a school out of the OVC especially not a football school like Murray St. Belmont's eyes are on a conference like the Atlantic Ten--normally this would seem like a stretch but they are in proximity to a major airport, would bring a decent sized tv market, and pair well geographically with Davidson. Belmont just needs to show that their success has sustainability and for the Big East to decide to expand again and grab from the A-10.
I think that a more realistic group of schools to consider would be NKU, Bellarmine, IUPUI, IPFW, WIU, and Robert Morris. My personal preferences would be IUPUI, IPFW, and NKU. The Horizon was built upon traveling pairs and would result in a pretty neat and tidy set up
East-- Youngstown St/Cleveland St, Detroit Mercy/Oakland, Wright St/NKU
West--IUPUI/IPFW, Valpo/UIC, Milwaukee/Green Bay
NKU brings you the Cincinnati area and IUPUI brings Indianapolis back into the mix.
The Presidents of the Horizon League have already said they do not want anything to do with IUPUI or IPFW. Now LeCrone, who lives in Indy where the HL offices are, may have a different viewpoint...but the Presidents are in charge.
You mention that the Horizon League doesn't have the power to pull a school out of the OVC. I mentioned earlier that Murray State probably won't come because of football and they are a founding member of the OVC. The only true "power" in "pulling" a team from a league is that team's willingness to be a part of a league that is twice as powerful as their current league. The OVC is normally ranked in the mid-20's, while the Horizon League's average rpi is 12. Granted, we want to be better, but it's kinda tough to break past a bunch of BCS schools. We currently are 13 this season, two spots behind the MVC and one behind the MAC, which is having an abnormal breakout season. So if Belmont wants a chance to be a part of a league that has big markets (like they are), is not bogged down by football (like they aren't), and is only a 2.5 hour flight to the farthest team (Green Bay), then the Horizon League is the choice. Oh, and did I mention that the Horizon is about 12 or 13 notches above the OVC. With Belmont they would enhance the chances of the HL becoming a consistent 2-bid and possibly 3-bid league.
Robert Morris will be out because they don't have baseball. Even with the addition of Oakland we are still at the minimum 6 teams for the NCAA Automatic Qualifier, so the next team(s) has to have baseball.
WIU is a team in no man's land. They are difficult to get to and would make a travel partner for no one in the league. They are not on the HL's radar.
At one point the Horizon League did have eastern teams (not including Wright State, Cleveland State and Youngstown State) La Salle (3 years) and Duquesne (1 season). So it's not that much of a stretch that it couldn't happen again. La Salle, in all likelihood, probably won't make that move. They are in a nice place in the A-10 right now.
At the moment, NKU seems like the sure thing to get the HL to 10 teams. 11 & 12 will be a wait-and-see crapshoot.