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Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
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?
09-08-2017 10:52 PM
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Renandpat Offline
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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?

Raycom's Metro expansion plan to include football fizzled out.
http://m.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal...ence.aspx?


Quote:It was January 1990 when the Metro Conference commissioned Raycom Sports, its media partner, to craft a plan that would help solidify the league’s future. At the time, institutions came and went from the Metro, which ranged from six to nine schools during its run from 1975 to 1995. It wasn’t unlike the fluidity that the current-day Big East has experienced in recent years.

The Metro, under the guidance of Commissioner Ralph McFillen, had a base of charter schools from urban areas, such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis and Tulane. But the basketball-centric conference didn’t sponsor football and it needed to grow if it intended to survive against the heavies of that time: the SEC, ACC, Southwest Conference, Big Eight, Big Ten and Pac-10.

According to Raycom’s plan, the Metro’s members would have come from the North (Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh), the South (Miami, Florida State, South Carolina) and moved west through the middle of the country (Louisville, Memphis, Cincinnati). The original plan also included Penn State, but the Nittany Lions committed to the Big Ten before Raycom could finish the project.

The super-conference idea didn’t work out for the Metro. A year after the study, in 1991, Florida State ended up going to the ACC, South Carolina joined Arkansas as new members of the SEC, and the Big East began playing football, which gave Syracuse, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Miami a conference home for football.
09-08-2017 11:57 PM
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58-56 Offline
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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?

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.

Many feuds with Louisville began in those talks. Louisville wanted a double share. The Great Midwest-Metro merger talks that formed CUSA1.0 were pretty nasty too (Lousiville tried again for a double share, and insisted on kicking out VCU and VaTech; UAB too but they lost on that one). Yes, once upon a time CUSA paid VaTech and VCU to go away. Nothing is constant except change.
09-09-2017 08:26 AM
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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.

Many feuds with Louisville began in those talks. Louisville wanted a double share. The Great Midwest-Metro merger talks that formed CUSA1.0 were pretty nasty too (Lousiville tried again for a double share, and insisted on kicking out VCU and VaTech; UAB too but they lost on that one). Yes, once upon a time CUSA paid VaTech and VCU to go away. Nothing is constant except change.

It was VCU and ODU that got kicked out, not VPI.
09-09-2017 09:00 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
So Memphis and Cincinnati basically got fed up with Louisville's double portion demands and struck out on their own?

What was the cause of all of the vitriol between Louisville and the Virginia schools? VCU was brought in to the Metro from the Sunbelt in the effort to replace all of the departures and then VT and them were left out of the merger. I get why Houston got Dayton's spot because the Flyers performed poorly in the Great Midwest but they could have kept the Virginia duo and played wth 14 teams. Granted that was unheard of back then but still.
09-09-2017 09:03 AM
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chargeradio Offline
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RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
About the same time, UAB was leaving a dying Sun Belt, one that ironically was saved by a merger with the American South Conference, which included former member New Orleans. The Sun Belt also lost UNCC, VCU, ODU, and USF in 1991; all but ODU went to the Metro.

DePaul was independent, so obviously joining a conference, especially one with good basketball programs was right up their alley.

I'm not sure what prompted Marquette and Saint Louis to leave the MCC (now the Horizon League), as the MCC only had nine schools during their tenure.

Cincinnati and Memphis leaving the Metro for the Great Midwest looks puzzling in hindsight, as it did nothing for their football programs, which remained independent. I guess as in the case of Saint Louis and Marquette, it improved their ability to access the NCAA tournament, but that probably could have been accomplished by the Metro re-adding Saint Louis, and adding Marquette.

Had the mass exodus not occurred out of the Sun Belt, this might have been the Metro in 1991:

Louisville
Virginia Tech
Tulane
Southern Miss
Cincinnati (never joined Great Midwest)
Memphis (never joined Great Midwest)
DePaul
Marquette
Saint Louis

Houston would have likely still joined the Metro in 1996 after the Southwest Conference disbanded, giving the Metro seven members for football. Eventually East Carolina (initially football only), South Florida, TCU, UAB, and Army (football only) get added. Virginia Tech still leaves for the Big East.

If the American South could have survived to 2000, it likely takes in the remnants of Big West football, until the WAC adds Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State in 2005. That move likely forces the Sun Belt/American South merger that happened in 1991. The Sun Belt would have likely lost Charlotte in 2005 to the Atlantic 10 along with Saint Louis of the Metro.
09-09-2017 09:11 AM
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RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-09-2017 09:11 AM)chargeradio Wrote:  I'm not sure what prompted Marquette and Saint Louis to leave the MCC (now the Horizon League), as the MCC only had nine schools during their tenure.

At the time, the MCC had the following set-up for basketball:

Butler
Dayton
Detroit
Evansville
Loyola
Marquette
Saint Louis
Xavier
*Notre Dame was not a member in men's basketball, as they were still an independent.

So, going from that to a conference that included (along with Saint Louis): Cincinnati, DePaul, Memphis, UAB, and Dayton (not until a year later), it was a clear increase in prestige/affiliations/reputation for men's basketball, albeit a smaller number.
09-09-2017 09:28 AM
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RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-09-2017 09:00 AM)bullet 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.

Many feuds with Louisville began in those talks. Louisville wanted a double share. The Great Midwest-Metro merger talks that formed CUSA1.0 were pretty nasty too (Lousiville tried again for a double share, and insisted on kicking out VCU and VaTech; UAB too but they lost on that one). Yes, once upon a time CUSA paid VaTech and VCU to go away. Nothing is constant except change.

It was VCU and ODU that got kicked out, not VPI.

As an attender of both schools (and graduate of ODU), and someone who worked at the school paper at VCU while all this was happening, I can tell you definitively that VCU and Va. Tech were the Metro schools not included in CUSA's origin story. ODU had joined the CAA out of the Sun Belt in the early 90s, while VCU joined the Metro. To the best of my limited knowledge, ODU was never connected to the Metro, even in rumors.

Dayton was similarly ejected from the GMC side of the equation, and they and VT moved to the A-10, while VCU was forced to the CAA, where, after an NCAA trip using Metro-level upperclassmen in their first season in 1996, they languished until hiring Jeff Capel and starting them on the road to where you see them now, an A-10 power and NCAA regular.

Tech was left out because they wouldn't move football to the new conference. Dayton and VCU I guess were too many mouths to feed.

Didn't know that Louisville tried to turf UAB too. Wonder if that had any effect on moving up to I-A in 1996?
09-09-2017 12:17 PM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
(09-09-2017 09:11 AM)chargeradio Wrote:  About the same time, UAB was leaving a dying Sun Belt, one that ironically was saved by a merger with the American South Conference, which included former member New Orleans. The Sun Belt also lost UNCC, VCU, ODU, and USF in 1991; all but ODU went to the Metro.

DePaul was independent, so obviously joining a conference, especially one with good basketball programs was right up their alley.

I'm not sure what prompted Marquette and Saint Louis to leave the MCC (now the Horizon League), as the MCC only had nine schools during their tenure.

Cincinnati and Memphis leaving the Metro for the Great Midwest looks puzzling in hindsight, as it did nothing for their football programs, which remained independent. I guess as in the case of Saint Louis and Marquette, it improved their ability to access the NCAA tournament, but that probably could have been accomplished by the Metro re-adding Saint Louis, and adding Marquette.

Had the mass exodus not occurred out of the Sun Belt, this might have been the Metro in 1991:

Louisville
Virginia Tech
Tulane
Southern Miss
Cincinnati (never joined Great Midwest)
Memphis (never joined Great Midwest)
DePaul
Marquette
Saint Louis

Houston would have likely still joined the Metro in 1996 after the Southwest Conference disbanded, giving the Metro seven members for football. Eventually East Carolina (initially football only), South Florida, TCU, UAB, and Army (football only) get added. Virginia Tech still leaves for the Big East.

If the American South could have survived to 2000, it likely takes in the remnants of Big West football, until the WAC adds Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State in 2005. That move likely forces the Sun Belt/American South merger that happened in 1991. The Sun Belt would have likely lost Charlotte in 2005 to the Atlantic 10 along with Saint Louis of the Metro.

The upheaval in the Metro is what gutted the Sunbelt. 4 Sunbelt schools joined one of the two sides and a fifth, ODU, unhappy with the quality of the depleted league darted as well. Had the Great Midwest never formed I still think the Metro would have tried to replace FSU and S Carolina--I don't think there is a guarantee that the Sunbelt would have been spared.

In retrospect a wonder what would have happened with the UAB and USF football programs had those schools not been caught up in in the Metro/Great Midwest controversy. Would they have still pursued FBS if they weren't in C-USA and guaranteed a conference home for their young programs.

As for ULL and Arkansas St out of the American South I have a lot of respect for what they were able to build. Out of the ashes of a high mid major basketball league that had been devestated they eventually built a nice FBS league--LA Tech bailed on them when SBC football was in its infancy; most of the schools they brought in left when the opportunity came (NMSU, UNT, MTSU, FAU, FIU, as did WKU who didn't commit to SBC football until it was clear the little league could stand on its own) but they persevered.
09-09-2017 02:41 PM
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gulfcoastgal Offline
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RE: Why did the Great Midwest Conference form?
Probably last time bball takes precedence over fball.
09-09-2017 03:42 PM
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