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Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
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TripleA Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-08-2017 10:52 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Can anyone recall for me why the Great Midwest Conference formed?

As I recall the Metro had just lost South Carolina and Florida St but why did Cincinnati and Memphis feel the need to bolt and join the Midwestern Catholic schools and UAB?

Did it have something to do with a feud with Louisville?

I couldn't recall the details, so I asked around at Memphis. Before the Great Midwest, the Metro tried to become a Super Conference:

The Metro was active too, commissioning Raycom in early 1990 to do a study on the viability of adding football to the conference and expanding. Raycom’s report was very encouraging and led the Metro athletic directors to pursue a 16-team “Super Metro” conference in which all 16 teams would play basketball, but “only” 12 would play football. The Super Metro would have included West Virginia, Pitt, Boston College, East Carolina, Syracuse and others with Metro members Cincinnati, Florida State, Louisville, Memphis, South Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Tulane and Virginia Tech. The league that would quickly become a football and financial powerhouse. In May of 1990, Raycom presented their information to the Metro athletic directors during the Metro’s yearly meetings in Destin, Florida. The Metro ADs left the meeting enthused and committed to building the Super Metro.

But the Super Metro concept had a number of problems, other than its obvious unwieldy size: Florida State, one of the lynchpins of the Super Metro, wasn’t interested. During the summer of 1990, FSU was wined and dined by the ACC and the SEC, and despite having pined for SEC membership for years, the Seminoles were impressed enough with the ACC’s presentation that in September of 1990, the Noles announced that they were leaving the Metro to join the ACC as the ninth member of that league, starting in 1991.


http://virginiatech.sportswar.com/articl...1978-1990/

Then So Car went to the SEC. Louisville still wanted to make an all sports conference work, but UC and Memphis could never come to an agreement, b/c UL supposedly insisted on a bigger share of revenues.

So UC and Memphis finally gave up, stayed indy in football, and formed the Great Midwest with DePaul, Marquette, St. Louis and UAB.

The Metro was left with 4 schools, and UL finally joined the GMC in 1995. Then a lot of them eventually morphed into CUSA.
(This post was last modified: 09-09-2017 10:57 PM by TripleA.)
09-09-2017 10:57 PM
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CardinalJim Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
Louisville and Florida State are the reason an all sports Metro Conference never happened. Louisville didn't want to share basketball revenue because Florida State didn't want to share football revenue. It's as simple as that.

That disagreement could have probably been worked out given time. Unfortunately for The Metro The ACC, SEC and Big East were not going to let that happen.

As a side note, most Louisville fans didn't want to join CUSA either. Ecspecially those of us that had been working for almost a decade to build a football program. We lost Coach Schnellenberger because he knew you couldn't win a national title playing in CUSA and that was always his goal. Fortunately for Louisville football fans our administration saw it differently.

As for The Great Midwest being founded it had nothing to do with Metro Conference football. Memphis and Cincinnati wanted to build a basketball centric conference in the Midwest. Louisville stayed in The Metro with Southern Miss and Tulane because our administration felt at the time that keeping football ties with southern independents was more important than keeping basketball ties with Cincinnati and Memphis. That decision started a process for a commitment to football that moved Louisville from a struggling independent to The ACC in 20 years.
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09-10-2017 05:08 AM
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CardinalJim Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-09-2017 10:57 PM)TripleA Wrote:  
(09-08-2017 10:52 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Can anyone recall for me why the Great Midwest Conference formed?

As I recall the Metro had just lost South Carolina and Florida St but why did Cincinnati and Memphis feel the need to bolt and join the Midwestern Catholic schools and UAB?

Did it have something to do with a feud with Louisville?

I couldn't recall the details, so I asked around at Memphis. Before the Great Midwest, the Metro tried to become a Super Conference:

The Metro was active too, commissioning Raycom in early 1990 to do a study on the viability of adding football to the conference and expanding. Raycom’s report was very encouraging and led the Metro athletic directors to pursue a 16-team “Super Metro” conference in which all 16 teams would play basketball, but “only” 12 would play football. The Super Metro would have included West Virginia, Pitt, Boston College, East Carolina, Syracuse and others with Metro members Cincinnati, Florida State, Louisville, Memphis, South Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Tulane and Virginia Tech. The league that would quickly become a football and financial powerhouse. In May of 1990, Raycom presented their information to the Metro athletic directors during the Metro’s yearly meetings in Destin, Florida. The Metro ADs left the meeting enthused and committed to building the Super Metro.

But the Super Metro concept had a number of problems, other than its obvious unwieldy size: Florida State, one of the lynchpins of the Super Metro, wasn’t interested. During the summer of 1990, FSU was wined and dined by the ACC and the SEC, and despite having pined for SEC membership for years, the Seminoles were impressed enough with the ACC’s presentation that in September of 1990, the Noles announced that they were leaving the Metro to join the ACC as the ninth member of that league, starting in 1991.


http://virginiatech.sportswar.com/articl...1978-1990/

Then So Car went to the SEC. Louisville still wanted to make an all sports conference work, but UC and Memphis could never come to an agreement, b/c UL supposedly insisted on a bigger share of revenues.

So UC and Memphis finally gave up, stayed indy in football, and formed the Great Midwest with DePaul, Marquette, St. Louis and UAB.

The Metro was left with 4 schools, and UL finally joined the GMC in 1995. Then a lot of them eventually morphed into CUSA.

Keep in mind this piece was written from Virginia Tech perspective....

VaTech at the time moved its football to The Big East and wanted to keep its basketball in CUSA. Louisville was one of the programs that said no. Louisville knew as soon as The Big East made room for them in basketball they were gone any way. Forcing them to move their basketball to The A10 instead of letting them squat in CUSA for 5 years has made Louisville the enemy to many VaTech fans, so be it. At the time it was the right thing to do.

Louisville was never a member of The GMC. Louisville went from The Metro to CUSA.

What is often forgotten during these how did we end up here and there discussions is Louisville had an opportunity to join The Big East in 1979 but decided against it because of basketball money. Denny Crum and Bill Olsen felt UofL was better served becoming a big fish in The Metro than jumping to The Big East. Louisville fans spent the next 25 years complaining about this decision. Tom Jurich has said the first question he heard in 1997 was "when are you going to get us into The Big East".

Strange how things work out. The question isn't why didn't The Metro Conference play football. The question is what decision did Louisville make that got it into The ACC that Memphis and Cincinnati didn't make? I believe it was never joining The Great Midwest Conference.
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09-10-2017 05:43 AM
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chargeradio Online
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Post: #14
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-10-2017 05:43 AM)CardinalJim Wrote:  Strange how things work out. The question isn't why didn't The Metro Conference play football. The question is what decision did Louisville make that got it into The ACC that Memphis and Cincinnati didn't make? I believe it was never joining The Great Midwest Conference.
CJ
I don't think it was joining the Great Midwest, but it was that Louisville put football first. After all, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Memphis shared a conference three separate times (Metro, C-USA, American), but by the third time Louisville was investing significantly more in its football program. Even when Louisville and Cincinnati were both in the Big East, it was apparent Louisville was putting more into football than Cincinnati.
09-10-2017 06:03 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
Did Louisville (or others) ever try to pursue the same deal that VT had with the Big East?--football membership with next-on-deck status for full membership. It sounds like that if Louisville would have been able to elevate their football status in 1990-1991 C-USA might have never formed. The Metro would have carried on as a basketball first league with the Sunbelt replacements while Cincinnati and Memphis played in the Great Midwest.

You'd still have a bunch of independents running around possibly into the late '90's--Cincy, Memphis, Tulane, USM, ECU, Tulane, Ark St, ULL, LA Tech, and possibly Houston. The American West turned Sunbelt trio could have tried to put those football programs under their umbrella for just one sport.
09-10-2017 07:13 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
Cardinal Jim--

I think the answer to your question, "why did the Metro not play football?", is that the members involved, while at the same level in basketball, were playing at much different levels in football. The better football schools like Florida St and South Carolina did not want to be anchored down and forced to play annual games against Tulane and USM. What kept them in the Metro for basketball was giving them the freedom to schedule as they pleased in football.

When it became apparent that the key to television money was conference membership you saw most of the major independents (Notre Dame excluded) rush to join conferences--Penn St, Florida St, South Carolina, the Big East schools. This all but forced the midmajor football programs to do the same leading to C-USA, a Sunbelt/Big West alliance, and eventually SBC football.
09-10-2017 07:23 AM
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Post: #17
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-09-2017 08:26 AM)58-56 Wrote:  
(09-08-2017 10:52 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Can anyone recall for me why the Great Midwest Conference formed?

As I recall the Metro had just lost South Carolina and Florida St but why did Cincinnati and Memphis feel the need to bolt and join the Midwestern Catholic schools and UAB?

Did it have something to do with a feud with Louisville?

Gene Bartow's frustration with the Sun Belt.

The old Sun Belt (only South Alabama is still there) was a very good basketball conference in those days, putting two or three teams in what was then a smaller NCAA field every year (UAB, ODU, VCU, WKU were all good). They had a CBS (real over-the-air CBS) game of the week, and a UAB dancer (my ex) was the opening shot for their pre-game show before every NCAA game. But some programs made what Gene considered no effort, and others did not want to make the investments to step up the conference.

Gene was tight with Ray Meyer at DePaul, and they hatched the plan. Gene was also revered in Memphis. He was the glue holding together seemingly very different institutions. He believed the conference needed DePaul (still a national program then), Louisville and Notre Dame to succeed, or at least two of the three.

So the SBC had an OTA CBS game of the week? How did they manage to score something like that?

Amazing the influence Gene Bartow had in the conversations. Of course at the time UAB may have been thought in the same light as Memphis in the basketball world where today its a mid major CUSA program. Its the AAC that has an OTA CBS component to its package.
09-10-2017 09:54 AM
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johnbragg Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-10-2017 09:54 AM)Kittonhead Wrote:  
(09-09-2017 08:26 AM)58-56 Wrote:  
(09-08-2017 10:52 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Can anyone recall for me why the Great Midwest Conference formed?

As I recall the Metro had just lost South Carolina and Florida St but why did Cincinnati and Memphis feel the need to bolt and join the Midwestern Catholic schools and UAB?

Did it have something to do with a feud with Louisville?

Gene Bartow's frustration with the Sun Belt.

The old Sun Belt (only South Alabama is still there) was a very good basketball conference in those days, putting two or three teams in what was then a smaller NCAA field every year (UAB, ODU, VCU, WKU were all good). They had a CBS (real over-the-air CBS) game of the week, and a UAB dancer (my ex) was the opening shot for their pre-game show before every NCAA game. But some programs made what Gene considered no effort, and others did not want to make the investments to step up the conference.

Gene was tight with Ray Meyer at DePaul, and they hatched the plan. Gene was also revered in Memphis. He was the glue holding together seemingly very different institutions. He believed the conference needed DePaul (still a national program then), Louisville and Notre Dame to succeed, or at least two of the three.

So the SBC had an OTA CBS game of the week? How did they manage to score something like that?

Because back then the Sun Belt was a serious basketball league. UAB went to the NCAAs for 7 straight years in the 80s, Western KEntucky went 4 times in the 80s, UNCC had gone to the Sweet 16 in 1977, VCU went 5 years out of 6 (with Charles Oakley).
09-10-2017 10:06 AM
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gosports1 Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-10-2017 05:43 AM)CardinalJim Wrote:  
(09-09-2017 10:57 PM)TripleA Wrote:  
(09-08-2017 10:52 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Can anyone recall for me why the Great Midwest Conference formed?

As I recall the Metro had just lost South Carolina and Florida St but why did Cincinnati and Memphis feel the need to bolt and join the Midwestern Catholic schools and UAB?

Did it have something to do with a feud with Louisville?

I couldn't recall the details, so I asked around at Memphis. Before the Great Midwest, the Metro tried to become a Super Conference:

The Metro was active too, commissioning Raycom in early 1990 to do a study on the viability of adding football to the conference and expanding. Raycom’s report was very encouraging and led the Metro athletic directors to pursue a 16-team “Super Metro” conference in which all 16 teams would play basketball, but “only” 12 would play football. The Super Metro would have included West Virginia, Pitt, Boston College, East Carolina, Syracuse and others with Metro members Cincinnati, Florida State, Louisville, Memphis, South Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Tulane and Virginia Tech. The league that would quickly become a football and financial powerhouse. In May of 1990, Raycom presented their information to the Metro athletic directors during the Metro’s yearly meetings in Destin, Florida. The Metro ADs left the meeting enthused and committed to building the Super Metro.

But the Super Metro concept had a number of problems, other than its obvious unwieldy size: Florida State, one of the lynchpins of the Super Metro, wasn’t interested. During the summer of 1990, FSU was wined and dined by the ACC and the SEC, and despite having pined for SEC membership for years, the Seminoles were impressed enough with the ACC’s presentation that in September of 1990, the Noles announced that they were leaving the Metro to join the ACC as the ninth member of that league, starting in 1991.


http://virginiatech.sportswar.com/articl...1978-1990/

Then So Car went to the SEC. Louisville still wanted to make an all sports conference work, but UC and Memphis could never come to an agreement, b/c UL supposedly insisted on a bigger share of revenues.

So UC and Memphis finally gave up, stayed indy in football, and formed the Great Midwest with DePaul, Marquette, St. Louis and UAB.

The Metro was left with 4 schools, and UL finally joined the GMC in 1995. Then a lot of them eventually morphed into CUSA.

Keep in mind this piece was written from Virginia Tech perspective....

VaTech at the time moved its football to The Big East and wanted to keep its basketball in CUSA. Louisville was one of the programs that said no. Louisville knew as soon as The Big East made room for them in basketball they were gone any way. Forcing them to move their basketball to The A10 instead of letting them squat in CUSA for 5 years has made Louisville the enemy to many VaTech fans, so be it. At the time it was the right thing to do.

Louisville was never a member of The GMC. Louisville went from The Metro to CUSA.

What is often forgotten during these how did we end up here and there discussions is Louisville had an opportunity to join The Big East in 1979 but decided against it because of basketball money. Denny Crum and Bill Olsen felt UofL was better served becoming a big fish in The Metro than jumping to The Big East. Louisville fans spent the next 25 years complaining about this decision. Tom Jurich has said the first question he heard in 1997 was "when are you going to get us into The Big East".

Strange how things work out. The question isn't why didn't The Metro Conference play football. The question is what decision did Louisville make that got it into The ACC that Memphis and Cincinnati didn't make? I believe it was never joining The Great Midwest Conference.
CJ

Louisville decided against Big East in 1979? I don't think so. Louisville did not come up in the discussion for the newly formed BE. Is this a typo? if not where did you hear this?
09-10-2017 10:13 AM
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Post: #20
RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-10-2017 07:23 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Cardinal Jim--

I think the answer to your question, "why did the Metro not play football?", is that the members involved, while at the same level in basketball, were playing at much different levels in football. The better football schools like Florida St and South Carolina did not want to be anchored down and forced to play annual games against Tulane and USM. What kept them in the Metro for basketball was giving them the freedom to schedule as they pleased in football.

When it became apparent that the key to television money was conference membership you saw most of the major independents (Notre Dame excluded) rush to join conferences--Penn St, Florida St, South Carolina, the Big East schools. This all but forced the midmajor football programs to do the same leading to C-USA, a Sunbelt/Big West alliance, and eventually SBC football.

Were all the Metro members at the same level in basketball? Louisville, Memphis, and Cincy were much better program than FSU, S Carolina, and Va Tech and way better than Tulane and USM
09-10-2017 10:17 AM
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