Friday, January 20, 2006

Kentucky, Louisville, and Western?

The writing is all over the wall. Western Kentucky will be transitioning into IA football competition. That sounds minor, but it's a major, major move. It will allow WKU the chance to perhaps move into a bigger athletic conference like CUSA or the MAC. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's review some of the signs.

1. WKU announces renovation and expansion of the football stadium. WKU has put a LOT of money into football in the last ten years. It's paid off with several trips to the IAA playoffs (only 16 teams make it nationally) and a national championship in 2002. Now the word comes that a 30+ million dollar renovation/expansion project that will include a new athletic/academic complex, new seats, possible luxury suites, and enclosure of the stadium.
2. WKU has long talks with the MAC about possibly joining the league.
3. WKU is asked by the Sun Belt to join in football (necessetating a move up to IA)
4. Head Coach David Elson receives an 8 year contract extension, raise, and the contract includes a provision to give Elson an addittional raise IF WKU goes IA.
5. A WKU recruit from Louisville Ballard mentions in interview with the Courier Journal that WKU is appealing because they're "going DI."

So could this change the perception of WKU statewide? Could this change the landscape of college sports in the state? Clearly my pipedream of WKU, UofL and UK all competing in the same conference will never happen since UofL is in the Bloated East, and UK is in the elite SEC. But if this happens will this mean WKU gets more chances to compete against UK and UofL in football, basketball and other sports? Let's hope so. It works well in other states like Indiana (IU, Purdue, Notre Dame) North Carolina (UNC, NCState, Duke, Wake Forest) and Tennessee (UT, Memphis, Vandy.) There's no reason we can't have those kinds of rivalries within Kentucky.

WKU's move to IA will likely not take place until 2007 or 2008, but it certainly appears to be a fast moving train.

1 comment:

Piccu said...

I'm sure everyone at WKU would love a move up into 1A, but would giving up a shot at a national championship be worth it? The BCS has ruined 1A and while I do not keep up with 1AA, I do know that a 16 team tournament is much better than the insane bowl system 1A has. I can understand wanting to play UK, they suck. I know most WKU fans loathe UK and U of L, but would that be worth giving up a yearly shot at a championship? Or do WKU fans think they have accomplished all that can be done in 1AA? Good luck to you.