Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE
Chicago State has a major announcement coming Wednesday. The MAAC presidents meet Friday to discuss possible expansion plans, with two schools already rumored to be on their way. Will the nuclear reactor of conference realignment stop before we are all covered in the fallout?
Don't sleep on conference realignment; it isn't over yet. It is just not going to be focused at the highest levels of college football and basketball.
And that begs the question why bother?
A tweet from Chicago State athletic director Dan Schumacher on Monday was a pretty good indication that the Cougars are headed somewhere. There is a press event scheduled for Wednesday to confirm it.
All of the WAC faithful believe this is just the latest move to prolong the life of the conference, a league that has had more turnover that the head football coaching job at the University of Tennessee.
That follows on the heels of rumors that the MAAC will grab Quinnipiac, Monmouth and possibly Wagner out of the Northeast Conference. Which then would have implications in New England as the Northeast looked to solidy itself once again.
Our heads won't stop spinning anytime soon.
The real question here is 'why bother?'. The WAC is doing everything in its power to stay alive for what reason? Tradition? That ship sailed quite a while ago.
There is no football to help buoy the ship any longer. The basketball money is pretty much tied up in the automatic bid that the league is fighting to hold onto (leading to absurd moves like Grand Canyon reclassifying). If that goes, or the NCAA decides to pull its waiver policy for the league, what then? These teams will be traveling thousands and thousands of miles with little to show for it, and very slim chance of ever seeing the floor in a tournament game.
Chicago State might have been better staying in the Great West, its scheduling coalition with teams like Utah Valley and NJIT. While it is prime pickings for leagues like the WAC, at least it had an automatic bid to the postseason, albeit at a lower level of competition.
Are things that much better in the WAC, where they will get to be set upon by the Kentuckys and Indianas of the world to the tune of a 50-point defeat?
I am not sure the travel and the headaches, and any amount of money is worth it just to say you made the NCAA Tournament with a league that is a shadow of the greatness it once had.
No, this makes no sense.
The situation with the Northeast and MAAC is even worse. There football is a minor thought, although one that could be of concern here (Monmouth's team would be without a home if it moves). This is all about standing in the pecking order.
The Northeast will almost have to go out and grab someone else's teams. That could mean NJIT finally gets a conference invite. That could mean that the America East becomes a target, especially if football is involved. Could the Colonial -- still hungry for teams after only grabbing Charleston out of the Southern Conference -- and Northeast fight it out over what is left in New England?
It won't be long before one of these conferences just has to call it quits, fold up and die. We are looking at the WAC doing everything possible to climb back up the mud-laden hill it is on. We are looking at the America East conference opening its eyes wide and seeing the wolves circling.
They are the most vulnerable, but with the way things are going, it isn't hard to believe that it could happen to any of the conferences out there. Teams jumping ship two and three at a time leave a lot of these leagues vulnerable to the vultures that just want to pick the scraps, quality be damned.
More will come on Friday after the MAAC school presidents meet to decide their move. It probably won't be adding in the control rods to stop this entire realignment process from overheating, and possibly melting down.