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Four Southland Schools & Southern Utah Joining WAC


Old Titan

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Old Titan

Big splash in a couple of small ponds:

Still trying to figure out what this means for the future of UND hockey...¬†ūüėČ

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Also UCA to the ASUN.........adding Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word destroyed the Southland

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  • 3 weeks later...

So glad ORU rejoined the Summit.  The Southland had been a fairly stable conference prior to ORU joining, but wow they have a real mess on their hands now.  The rift between the old guard Texas schools and the LA schools/Houston Baptist/Incarnate Word about lack of commitment to improving athletics must have been significant.  The WAC is now more competitive than the Southland but the travel will certainly be more expensive in the WAC for the old guard TX schools.  The WAC commissioner has to be lauded for improving the respectability of their league.

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Depressing. 

I think about Valpo, IUPUI, and Oakland (a D-2 team when we first played them) to the Horizon. Southern Utah and several Southland schools to the WAC. I mean, just about every school over the past 10-15 years has left us in the dust, aside from Western Illinois.

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TrueBlue82
On 12/28/2020 at 1:02 PM, oruvoice said:

Depressing. 

I think about Valpo, IUPUI, and Oakland (a D-2 team when we first played them) to the Horizon. Southern Utah and several Southland schools to the WAC. I mean, just about every school over the past 10-15 years has left us in the dust, aside from Western Illinois.

I would question whether the Horizon, Southland, or the WAC is a significantly better conference than the Summit, so I don't know if any former conference school has truly "left us in the dust".  I would rank them in order as Horizon, Southland, WAC - and the only one that I might consider to be a step above the Summit would be the Horizon - and not by much.

That said, an upgrade in conference affiliation will always be a challenge for ORU, as there are two inherent hurdles that hinder ORU's upward mobility.  The first is that ORU is a small, private, faith-based university with a small endowment - and each of those attributes could be a "deal-breaker" in the minds of other university presidents and conference commissioners.  The second hurdle is geography.  Tulsa is located on the FRINGE of most mid-major conference's current footprint and not in the MIDDLE, so it is not a good geographic/travel fit for any conference.  In fact, the ONLY mid-major conference where the city of Tulsa is within the current footprint of conference members is the American, and we all know our chances of joining TU in that conference (technically, with the addition of Southland schools and with Chicago State, the city of Tulsa is within the footprint of the WAC, but that's because the WAC is a hodgepodge of schools which is already a geographic/travel nightmare with a footprint that covers most everything west of the Mississippi).  Conferences where Tulsa is close to (but still outside) the current footprint include the Valley, Southland, Sunbelt, Conference USA, SWAC, and OVC.  And, ORU isn't even a good geographic fit within the Summit, as we are the southern tip of the footprint (at least the addition of UMKC has made ORU less of an "outlier").  Culturally and geographically, I think the Summit is as good a fit for ORU as any of the others mentioned, so I don't see any movement unless the Valley were to call - and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

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I would put the Horizon clearly above the Summit. And, the Southland and WAC a little better. But, maybe I'm wrong? 

At this point, I'd just like to start being competitive in the Summit. Other than baseball, we have won very little since we rejoined the league. 

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TrueBlue82
4 hours ago, oruvoice said:

At this point, I'd just like to start being competitive in the Summit. Other than baseball, we have won very little since we rejoined the league. 

On this point, I am 100% in agreement with you.

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theeagleman5

Amen!...we cant even win baseball anymore...ūüė¨‚öĺūüė≥

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  • 2 weeks later...
ORUJason

The Summit is better than the Southland now because the Southland  just lost several of their better teams.  The Summit is better than the WAC because the WAC is a hodge pudge of geographically distant schools with very little history together.  The Summit looks much more stable than either of the other conferences.  The Dakota schools and ORU (usually) are fairly competitive members and that core of 5 competitive schools with a history and decent geographical footprint form an important core for other schools to build around.  

Once St. Thomas is added, I suspect they will quickly become a competitive member of the Summit as well and will strengthen the cohesiveness of and exposure for the Summit League.  The Summit League will then have a presence in: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, Kansas City, Tulsa, and Omaha.

The Southland will only have 8 teams left as Central Arkansas is likely headed to the Atlantic Sun Conference.  The remaining Southland schools are: McNeese State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and New Orleans.

The WAC does have exposure in Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles (if you count Riverside CA as a part of LA), but the distant geography will probably keep the WAC in a current state of transition that may eventually lead to 2 separate 8 team conferences (right now there will be 13 teams in the WAC).  Football ties may be enough to keep the WAC together as one conference, but it will still be inherently unstable.

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