Forums Summit League News Realignment/Expansion

This topic contains 54 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Pios2 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #1197

    Pios2
      • Total Posts: 55

      SIU Edwardsville – Would be a nice travel partner for Western Illinois, probably limited motivation to leave Ohio Valley.
      Eastern Illinois – former member and natural rival for Western Illinois but probably little motivation to leave Ohio Valley Conference.

      SIU-E is my personal “dream addition”, but like you said…may not be interested in moving from the OVC. They don’t have football to deal with, they’re one of the few state schools that hasn’t been shrinking much lately (they’ve actually had more students than SIU Carbondale the last two years). They’re only about 2 3/4 hours drive from Macomb, so it’s a fairly close opponent for us. They are really close to St. Louis and the STL airport is ~25 minutes down I-270, so transportation is fairly easy.
      EIU is also a solid addition for us…we used to have a HUGE rivalry with them in basketball. Of our single-game attendance records, #1, #2, and #4 were all against EIU (in the early ’80s). We do play them nearly every year in basketball anyway, but it’d be nice to have that set as part of the conference schedule. They also already participate in the Summit for men’s soccer and swimming & diving and were full members from ’82-’96.

      Like you said though, neither have much reason to want to move from the OVC, and with EIU, they’d have to figure out what to do about football.

      Chicago State just has no business having DI athletics at all. Their basketball teams (M&W) went a combined 5-56 last year (women’s team has a total of 3 wins over the last 3 years). They have fewer than 3k students and are trying to play in the WAC where they have regular long trips to the west coast and southwest region. Honestly they should just drop to NAIA and play in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). It’d save a ton of money and they’d be a lot more competitive there.

      Would be nice to get WIU a natural rival, but I’m not sure how big the league wants to be. What do you see as an ideal size for the league? Completely agree on Chicago State. That is baffling to me..

      #1199

      STLawson
        • Total Posts: 4

        Would be nice to get WIU a natural rival, but I’m not sure how big the league wants to be. What do you see as an ideal size for the league? Completely agree on Chicago State. That is baffling to me..

        Chicago State has a huge amount of political pull compared to their # of students and alumni. They’ve got a few powerful legislators that really pull for them to stay where they’re at.

        Ideal size?…honestly I don’t know what the best size is for a conference is regarding the “olympic sports”. I’ll have to defer to those of you who pay more attention to that stuff. In football, at the FCS level, probably 9 teams. Every team plays everyone else in the conference, doesn’t skip anyone, and gets 8 conference games. That leaves 3 in a regular 11-game year (4 in the odd 12-game year like this year) for non-conference matchups and money games with FBS teams.

        For something like basketball and some of the other sports, it’s good to have something of a “travel partner” school, right? So if, for example, Denver has to make the trip to South Dakota, they can hit up both USD and SDSU in a Thursday and Saturday of the same week, saving a trip back and forth.

        Admin of LeatherneckNation.net
        Alumnus/Employee/Fan of Western Illinois University
        WIU Marching Leathernecks - 1996-2000

        #1201

        Pios2
          • Total Posts: 55

          Would be nice to get WIU a natural rival, but I’m not sure how big the league wants to be. What do you see as an ideal size for the league? Completely agree on Chicago State. That is baffling to me..

          Chicago State has a huge amount of political pull compared to their # of students and alumni. They’ve got a few powerful legislators that really pull for them to stay where they’re at.

          Ideal size?…honestly I don’t know what the best size is for a conference is regarding the “olympic sports”. I’ll have to defer to those of you who pay more attention to that stuff. In football, at the FCS level, probably 9 teams. Every team plays everyone else in the conference, doesn’t skip anyone, and gets 8 conference games. That leaves 3 in a regular 11-game year (4 in the odd 12-game year like this year) for non-conference matchups and money games with FBS teams.

          For something like basketball and some of the other sports, it’s good to have something of a “travel partner” school, right? So if, for example, Denver has to make the trip to South Dakota, they can hit up both USD and SDSU in a Thursday and Saturday of the same week, saving a trip back and forth.

          How do they have so much political pull? Do they have a decent law school that pumps out these future legislators? Sounds like they are pretty reliant on their alumni legislators.

          Good point on the football schedule. Something I don’t really think about as a Denver fan. Do you think Fort Wayne leaving helps or hurts WIU? I really appreciate your input as this is informative

          #1210

          STLawson
            • Total Posts: 4

            How do they have so much political pull? Do they have a decent law school that pumps out these future legislators? Sounds like they are pretty reliant on their alumni legislators.

            Good point on the football schedule. Something I don’t really think about as a Denver fan. Do you think Fort Wayne leaving helps or hurts WIU? I really appreciate your input as this is informative.

            Law School – nope, none to speak of at CSU (our CSU, not Colorado State), although I’m sure some of their grads have gone on to law schools elsewhere. Other schools in the city have good law schools…U of Chicago (like 4th nationally), Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, John Marshall (which recently was absorbed by U of I – Chicago). CSU started as a teacher’s college on the outskirts of the suburbs, but in an area that has now become part of the actual city of Chicago. Over time, the % of students has become increasingly african american, to the point where there’s been a debate as to whether or not CSU should be considered a predominantly African-American institution (that’s an official designation), similar to the HBCU’s. A big part of their “pull” came from former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones who previously represented a district that bordered CSU’s campus, and who’s late wife was a CSU graduate. Their convocation center and basketball arena is named after Emil and Patricia Jones: https://www.gocsucougars.com/sports/2013/6/18/GEN_0618130504.aspx?id=74
            Jones is now retired and the district is represented by his son, Emil Jones III, who also attended CSU and Robert Morris College.

            Back in the 1950s, CSU opened a few branches around the city which eventually split off and became Northeastern Illinois University. NEIU now has almost 3 times as many students as CSU and at one point actually had DI athletics in the Mid-Con Conference (which was later renamed the Summit League) until 1998, when they completely discontinued their athletics program. They now only offer club sports.

            Other than the occasional mention of “here’s what I think they should do” in various editorial articles around the state, I haven’t seen any talk of closing CSU, despite the extremely low graduation rate, and the fact that their enrollment has dropped to under 3k (they had a freshman class of like 80 students at one point a couple of years ago). My personal feeling (which means pretty much absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things) is that they need to merge the boards of trustees for NEIU, CSU, and Governors State (another Chicago area public university) as well as some of the administrative functions so they can better coordinate which schools offer what programs and stuff. Chicago State and Governors State are only about 45 minutes apart along the same Metra (rail) line…so it wouldn’t be too hard for teachers to have classes at both campuses.

            As for sports, CSU remains DI in the WAC, but is not good. The most recent seasons for all of their team sports are: Baseball 10-41, Men’s Basketball 3-28, Women’s Basketball 2-28, Women’s Soccer 1-12 (still ongoing, but they’ve scored a total of 6 goals over 13 matches so far this season…3 of them in their one win), Women’s Volleyball is currently 4-14. NEIU only offers club sports, and GSU joined the NAIA in 2015.
            Being a Denver person, I’m sure you’re well aware of the “spread” of the WAC. GSU plays in the NAIA Chicagoland Collegiate Conference, which makes a great deal of sense for a small school in the Chicago area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicagoland_Collegiate_Athletic_Conference
            Personally, if CSU wants to keep sports, I feel like they should move to the NAIA, reduce some of their scholarship commitment, and join the CCAC. It would save a TON in travel costs, probably bring more fans to their home games (since they’d practically be in the same city/suburb area as more than half of the conference), and going NAIA would give them more flexibility in terms of scholarships and overall athletic funding. Alternate option, drop to DIII and join the CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin).

            Anyway, enough about Chicago State. As for the departure of Fort Wayne, I don’t think it really makes a big difference to WIU considering who we’re adding. We drive just about everywhere anyway (nearest airport is like 90 minutes away). Fort Wayne is around a 6 1/4 hour drive from Macomb, but we’re bringing back UMKC (4 1/2 hour drive) and adding the University of Saint Thomas (6 1/2 hour drive), so in proximity to other schools, it’s around the same, and if it strengthens the conference overall, then that’s fine. Like I mentioned earlier, I’d love to have someone like SIU-E who is quite a bit closer…although we play them fairly often in quite a few sports anyway…same with Eastern Illinois.

            My dream scenario (that I realize is never going to happen) is for WIU to join the Missouri Valley. We are in the same football conference with most of the teams, and the geographic center of the conference is literally ~40 miles from Macomb (if you added back in Creighton it’s within the same county as Macomb).
            My slightly more likely dream scenario (still highly unlikely to happen) is for WIU to join the Horizon League. We’d be the western edge of the conference footprint, but much closer to some schools, with IUPUI and UIC both fairly close.
            That being said, I don’t have a problem with the current Summit League. We are the only remaining founding member, and we’re starting to build some history with the Dakota schools, especially since we also play football with them. If things keep moving west, travel costs might be more of an issue, but right now, the much bigger issue for us is state funding (or lack thereof). If that comes back and increases even back to what it was 10 years ago…we should be fine. If it stays where it’s at now though…honestly I’m not sure how long we can sustain sports at the DI level.

            Admin of LeatherneckNation.net
            Alumnus/Employee/Fan of Western Illinois University
            WIU Marching Leathernecks - 1996-2000

            #1222

            summitfans
              • Total Posts: 132

              Here is a pretty good podcast from Midco about St Thomas and the landscape of the Summit League:

              #1223

              Kiyoat
                • Total Posts: 164

                Here is a pretty good podcast from Midco about St Thomas and the landscape of the Summit League:

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                Great podcast! That link is hidden in the tweet, so here it is again:
                LINK

                it is 45 minutes, so here is a table of contents:
                0:00-11:30 – Paying Athletes
                11:30-25:30 – St Thomas expansion
                25:30 – 36:30 – Summit Geography/Stability/expansion
                36:30 – 40:10 – Summit Basketball frontruner teams MBB and WBB
                40:10 – 43:30 – New UND Basketball Coach

                #1306

                Pios2
                  • Total Posts: 55

                  How do they have so much political pull? Do they have a decent law school that pumps out these future legislators? Sounds like they are pretty reliant on their alumni legislators.

                  Good point on the football schedule. Something I don’t really think about as a Denver fan. Do you think Fort Wayne leaving helps or hurts WIU? I really appreciate your input as this is informative.

                  Law School – nope, none to speak of at CSU (our CSU, not Colorado State), although I’m sure some of their grads have gone on to law schools elsewhere. Other schools in the city have good law schools…U of Chicago (like 4th nationally), Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, John Marshall (which recently was absorbed by U of I – Chicago). CSU started as a teacher’s college on the outskirts of the suburbs, but in an area that has now become part of the actual city of Chicago. Over time, the % of students has become increasingly african american, to the point where there’s been a debate as to whether or not CSU should be considered a predominantly African-American institution (that’s an official designation), similar to the HBCU’s. A big part of their “pull” came from former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones who previously represented a district that bordered CSU’s campus, and who’s late wife was a CSU graduate. Their convocation center and basketball arena is named after Emil and Patricia Jones: https://www.gocsucougars.com/sports/2013/6/18/GEN_0618130504.aspx?id=74
                  Jones is now retired and the district is represented by his son, Emil Jones III, who also attended CSU and Robert Morris College.

                  Back in the 1950s, CSU opened a few branches around the city which eventually split off and became Northeastern Illinois University. NEIU now has almost 3 times as many students as CSU and at one point actually had DI athletics in the Mid-Con Conference (which was later renamed the Summit League) until 1998, when they completely discontinued their athletics program. They now only offer club sports.

                  Other than the occasional mention of “here’s what I think they should do” in various editorial articles around the state, I haven’t seen any talk of closing CSU, despite the extremely low graduation rate, and the fact that their enrollment has dropped to under 3k (they had a freshman class of like 80 students at one point a couple of years ago). My personal feeling (which means pretty much absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things) is that they need to merge the boards of trustees for NEIU, CSU, and Governors State (another Chicago area public university) as well as some of the administrative functions so they can better coordinate which schools offer what programs and stuff. Chicago State and Governors State are only about 45 minutes apart along the same Metra (rail) line…so it wouldn’t be too hard for teachers to have classes at both campuses.

                  As for sports, CSU remains DI in the WAC, but is not good. The most recent seasons for all of their team sports are: Baseball 10-41, Men’s Basketball 3-28, Women’s Basketball 2-28, Women’s Soccer 1-12 (still ongoing, but they’ve scored a total of 6 goals over 13 matches so far this season…3 of them in their one win), Women’s Volleyball is currently 4-14. NEIU only offers club sports, and GSU joined the NAIA in 2015.
                  Being a Denver person, I’m sure you’re well aware of the “spread” of the WAC. GSU plays in the NAIA Chicagoland Collegiate Conference, which makes a great deal of sense for a small school in the Chicago area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicagoland_Collegiate_Athletic_Conference
                  Personally, if CSU wants to keep sports, I feel like they should move to the NAIA, reduce some of their scholarship commitment, and join the CCAC. It would save a TON in travel costs, probably bring more fans to their home games (since they’d practically be in the same city/suburb area as more than half of the conference), and going NAIA would give them more flexibility in terms of scholarships and overall athletic funding. Alternate option, drop to DIII and join the CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin).

                  Anyway, enough about Chicago State. As for the departure of Fort Wayne, I don’t think it really makes a big difference to WIU considering who we’re adding. We drive just about everywhere anyway (nearest airport is like 90 minutes away). Fort Wayne is around a 6 1/4 hour drive from Macomb, but we’re bringing back UMKC (4 1/2 hour drive) and adding the University of Saint Thomas (6 1/2 hour drive), so in proximity to other schools, it’s around the same, and if it strengthens the conference overall, then that’s fine. Like I mentioned earlier, I’d love to have someone like SIU-E who is quite a bit closer…although we play them fairly often in quite a few sports anyway…same with Eastern Illinois.

                  My dream scenario (that I realize is never going to happen) is for WIU to join the Missouri Valley. We are in the same football conference with most of the teams, and the geographic center of the conference is literally ~40 miles from Macomb (if you added back in Creighton it’s within the same county as Macomb).
                  My slightly more likely dream scenario (still highly unlikely to happen) is for WIU to join the Horizon League. We’d be the western edge of the conference footprint, but much closer to some schools, with IUPUI and UIC both fairly close.
                  That being said, I don’t have a problem with the current Summit League. We are the only remaining founding member, and we’re starting to build some history with the Dakota schools, especially since we also play football with them. If things keep moving west, travel costs might be more of an issue, but right now, the much bigger issue for us is state funding (or lack thereof). If that comes back and increases even back to what it was 10 years ago…we should be fine. If it stays where it’s at now though…honestly I’m not sure how long we can sustain sports at the DI level.

                  Solid insight. Very well informed. Personally, I wouldn’t want Western Illinois to go anywhere. I am hoping the turnover slows down over the next decade so that we can continue to build on the rivalries that are forming.

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