|MAC Not Currently Considering Expansion
|Written by Dave Ruthenberg
|Friday, May 30 2008
You know it’s the offseason when the Internet is abuzz with rumors of impending conference expansion, implosion or just general rumor and speculation. The Mid-American Conference was recently the subject of some major Internet buzz thanks to a report on ESPN.com that indicated the MAC was about to engage in major expansion.
Recent rumor had the MAC adding Temple and Western Kentucky as full members.
Recently, Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported that a coach in attendance at the MAC's annual spring gathering in Chicago indicated to him that "there was more talk about expanding the league to 14 teams with adding Temple and Western Kentucky as full members." We don't doubt that Katz was told this information, but some follow up work would have quickly put this rumor to rest.
However it only took that one brief blurb to set the rapid-fire world of the Internet into hyper-drive with fans across the web, and several conferences, breathlessly weighing in with their opinions of this supposedly done deal. A deal that was never even informally considered this past week in Chicago.
"There is nothing on the table nor was anything discussed," regarding expansion according to MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst whom we contacted after the meetings concluded. "As far as we are aware, Western Kentucky is satisfied with its recent decision to join the Sun Belt Conference and its direction in upgrading its football program to 1A," added Chryst in quickly dispelling any rumors of a Hilltopper defection from the Sun Belt Conference.
The MAC meanwhile, according to Chryst, continues to take measures to strengthen its ties with Temple which includes increasing or solidifying scheduling basketball scheduling arrangements with Temple likely remaining in the Atlantic Ten for hoops for the foreseeable future.
When asked if there was a set "drop dead date" for Temple to either bring all sports to the MAC or exit the conference, Chryst indicated that such a deadline is not in the active stage of discussions but the conference is very happy with its current relationship with Temple which currently is a football-only member of the MAC.
"The relationship has worked out really well for all parties," Chryst indicated, pointing to the fact that Temple's football program is on the upswing while expansion into the Philadelphia media market has already shown benefits with the City of Brotherly Love scoring strong ratings for the MAC's football television package last season.
While expansion is certainly an issue that is likely to come up again, that time was not this past week. "You never say never," said Chryst, "but the subject was never really discussed and there is nothing along those lines currently being considered."
In other news that actually did emanate from the MAC's spring meetings, the winners of the Reese and Jacoby Trophies were recently announced for the 2007-2008 academic year with Eastern Michigan claiming the Reese Trophy as the top overall men's athletic program in the MAC and Miami claiming the Jacoby Trophy for top women's program. Click here for the full release from the MAC.