Drakey wrote:Milwaukee spends more, has a 10,000 seat arena and appears to be committed. They may be the best overall choice.
You might want to research their athletic department troubles over the last few years, before you suggest such a thing. They look good on paper, until you peel back several really negative instances over the last 3-4 years, which included a postseason ban due to APR...
How did I know I'd find you here?
Anyone who is close to the Milwaukee program (unless they're naive) knows that the athletic director sabotaged the team during the final years of the Rob Jeter era in order to fire Rob Jeter. That happened a year ago. Her job is tied to the success of the new coach, LaVall Jordan, who has 100% support from the community and fan base. She would be absolutely nuts to do anything but try her hardest to support the basketball program now.
The APR ban was due to mishandled paperwork by a former compliance officer who left in 2013. He failed to file paperwork on several players who had been playing pro ball and would be exempt from the APR score (including Chiefs TE Demetrius Harris, who has since gotten his degree). He also failed to file paperwork on subsequent appeals, and was the only employee in athletics to be aware of it (as he was both the only person in compliance and the administrator overseeing academics in MBB). He left in summer 2013. Since they discovered the problem, the basketball team has put up a perfect 1000 APR score. Academics are not an issue.
Don't get me wrong, I want the AD in the unemployment line in a minute, but there's something else to consider: in the three years that Amanda Braun was trying to stop the basketball program from succeeding so she could fire Rob Jeter, and the team still won 55 games and went to the NCAA Tournament in that time. How are they going to do now that she has gotten out of the way?
Panther Arena is a 10,000-seat facility that is practically a landmark. It was built in the early 1950's to house the Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta) and was home to the Bucks, Panthers and Marquette until we dropped out of D-I for the 1980's and the Bucks and Marquette moved across the street to the Bradley Center.
It was talked about as a possible location for the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, but that is currently being built directly north of the Bradley Center. Once finished, there will be a full plaza and new buildings put up on the space of the current Bradley Center, which is right in between the new Bucks Arena and the Panther Arena.
Because the new Bucks Arena will not include the Milwaukee Admirals minor league hockey team, the Admirals moved to Panther Arena for the 2016-17 season. They also spent about $7 million upgrading the arena, with plans to spend more to bring it up to speed. This is in addition to the millions the Wisconsin Center District (the state entity that runs the Arena and the convention center across the street to the south) had already spent on brand new seats in Milwaukee Panthers school colors and on a brand new video board inside the arena.
Our basketball arena is as MVC as it gets:
Trust me when I say this: AD's are temporary. So are coaches, although I believe we've got a real winner at the moment - LaVall Jordan almost got the Butler job when they hired Holtmann, after all.
If the MVC goes with Milwaukee, they're getting a school that would be the biggest in the Missouri Valley (28,000), with a basketball arena that has been updated very recently and has more updates happening this offseason, and a winner in the NCAA Tournament. We're 3-4 in the Big Dance and we've done it under two head coaches.
You should take Valpo too. The ARC may be rough, but it's a great place to watch a game and the town loves the team. Remember that both of us used to kick the s*** out of Loyola on an annual basis.
Plus, by adding Milwaukee and Valpo, you bring in two Chicagoland schools and solidify that area for recruiting. We also have a relative hotbed of recruiting talent if you can get it.
In a survey a couple years ago, students and fans overwhelmingly cited "low level opponents" such as Youngstown State as why they wouldn't go to games. Moving to the MVC would eliminate that in a heartbeat. I'd be willing to bet we'd be in Top 3 in attendance by Year 3 in the MVC.
For big opponents, Milwaukee has always come out - this has included conference games like Valpo and Green Bay (who I'm assuming we'd maintain a rolling home-and-home if we moved to the MVC). Around here, MVC schools have names that will draw fans.
We went 2-2 in a series with UNI from 2010-11 to 2013-14. How was UNI in those years?
We're ready for the big time. So is Valpo - I could see them using the MVC move as a springboard to upgrading the ARC. Don't sweat their football team being bad - they're Pioneer League non-scholarship, so they wouldn't be dragging down the MVFC.
You guys may feel spurned by adding Loyola to the conference four years ago. They've gone 10th, 6th, 8th and 5th since joining the MVC. Well, they weren't the class of the Horizon League. In the six years before leaving the conference, Loyola was 7th, 8th, 8th, 8th, 10th and 7th. They were doormats. You know who was the class of the conference? Milwaukee and Valpo. Well, Butler is gone. But we were 3-3 in our last six games against Butler (including 2-1 in 2010-11 when they were in the Final Four), and Valpo won their last 4 games with Butler.
Pull in Milwaukee, Valpo and a third strong program, and you're set. We're not looking anymore. The MVC would be the forever home for both of our programs. I can't speak for Valpo fans, but at Milwaukee we've felt that way for a very long time.