Thursday, March 26, 2015

Could Missouri Valley Expansion Affect UNO? "Frank the Tank" Thinks It Could

Back when college realignment first started churning, one of the best sources of information was Chicago-based lawyer/blogger "Frank the Tank".  He was the guy who called Nebraska to the Big Ten long before anybody else did - even when guys like Chip Brown didn't believe it.  He's always been a good read, and this week was no exception.

One of the topics was Missouri Valley expansion.  Contrary to some speculation, Wichita State isn't leaving the Valley; while they play basketball at a major level, the school and it's other athletic programs aren't a good match with other conferences.  So no, Creighton fans... the Shockers aren't going to be invited to join the Big East.
But with Alabama-Birmingham looking like a candidate to join the Valley (due to dropping football), the Valley may be looking to add a twelfth school to maintain an even number of teams in competition.  Frank speculates that Loyola, UIC, and Valparaiso may be candidates to join the Valley.  That, in turn, creates openings in the Horizon League membership...and that's where UNO comes in.

Quote Frank:
This prospect of MVC expansion might be why the Horizon League commissioner has already said that it’s in the “active phase” of expansion and the league would likely expand in the near future. The Horizon League has already been interested in schools like Northern Kentucky (currently in the Atlantic Sun) and Belmont (an Ohio Valley Conference member) and the conference may need to also backfill in the event that it gets raided by the MVC (which could put Summit League schools such as Nebraska-Omaha into play).
Hmmm...  Who's in the Horizon League today? Cleveland State, Detroit, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Oakland (the school in Detroit, not across the Bay from San Francisco), Illinois-Chicago, Valparaiso, Wright State, and Youngstown State. (Yes, the home of the Fightin' Pelini's and Tressel's...)

Not exactly a great fit for UNO over the Summit League, which features schools in the Dakotas and Denver along with Western Illinois, IUPUI, and Indiana-Fort Wayne, in terms of regional play. But it could be an upgrade in prestige.

(And in case the football and wrestling guys ask, the Horizon League doesn't sponsor those sports either...)

1 comment:

Jacob Ehresmann said...

Frank the Tank doesn't seem to know that Loyola is already in the Missouri Valley Conference.