USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

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E-Villan
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USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby E-Villan » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:28 am

Pat Hickey had a nice article today in regards to the new arena at USI, and of course, the question does this signal a plan to move to D-1? It looks to be a great arena, and better than a few in the MVC, (Valpo, UNI), let alone many of the lower and mid D-1 programs.

https://www.courierpress.com/story/spor ... 351914002/

Of course, there are the usual facebook comments, UE should go back to D-2, morons obviously unaware that the old College Division had the same teams we are still competing with, (SIU, Valpo, Missouri St, Illinois St, ISU, etc) and a somewhat common theme that USI should go D-1, and land in the OVC.

That is exactly what I would like to see happen. The OVC has built an image here the last couple of years, and USI could quickly compete with the likes of SIUE and SEMO, and possibly develop a good rivalry with Murray eventually. Before our changes last year, I would have been very concerned about the threat a D-1 USI could have on our program, but not so much now. I think there is room for 2 D-1's in town, and such a move could really generate basketball interest around here. If USI was D-1, I would love to see some type of annual game, similar to what Xavier and Cincinnati do. Split the gate and sell out the Ford Center.

I think there is still a perception issue in the state that USI is primarily a commuter college, and more in line with IPFWABC than Indiana State or Ball State. USI has surpassed Indiana State in enrollment, and according to this post on the ISU board, they now have double the endowment that ISU has.

I just did google searches which, admittedly, could be fake news. ISU is in the 50m’s and USI in the low 100s is what came up. No matter the spread IMO we should be blowing them out of the water, not the other way around.

Edit: OK, nothing like pouring through financial statements first thing in the AM but here’s links. We seem to be hovering around 50-60 mil and USI 110-120 mil; so yes, they’re double us.


https://www.usi.edu/media/5605720/us...ation-fy16.pdf

http://www2.indstate.edu/foundation/...ghts/index.php


I think a move to D-1 in athletics would go a long way to give them the same perception as the other state universities in the state, maybe even better. What do you all think?

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby NewburghAces » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:51 am

E-Villan wrote:Pat Hickey had a nice article today in regards to the new arena at USI, and of course, the question does this signal a plan to move to D-1? It looks to be a great arena, and better than a few in the MVC, (Valpo, UNI), let alone many of the lower and mid D-1 programs.

https://www.courierpress.com/story/spor ... 351914002/

Of course, there are the usual facebook comments, UE should go back to D-2, morons obviously unaware that the old College Division had the same teams we are still competing with, (SIU, Valpo, Missouri St, Illinois St, ISU, etc) and a somewhat common theme that USI should go D-1, and land in the OVC.

That is exactly what I would like to see happen. The OVC has built an image here the last couple of years, and USI could quickly compete with the likes of SIUE and SEMO, and possibly develop a good rivalry with Murray eventually. Before our changes last year, I would have been very concerned about the threat a D-1 USI could have on our program, but not so much now. I think there is room for 2 D-1's in town, and such a move could really generate basketball interest around here. If USI was D-1, I would love to see some type of annual game, similar to what Xavier and Cincinnati do. Split the gate and sell out the Ford Center.

I think there is still a perception issue in the state that USI is primarily a commuter college, and more in line with IPFWABC than Indiana State or Ball State. USI has surpassed Indiana State in enrollment, and according to this post on the ISU board, they now have double the endowment that ISU has.

I just did google searches which, admittedly, could be fake news. ISU is in the 50m’s and USI in the low 100s is what came up. No matter the spread IMO we should be blowing them out of the water, not the other way around.

Edit: OK, nothing like pouring through financial statements first thing in the AM but here’s links. We seem to be hovering around 50-60 mil and USI 110-120 mil; so yes, they’re double us.


https://www.usi.edu/media/5605720/us...ation-fy16.pdf

http://www2.indstate.edu/foundation/...ghts/index.php


I think a move to D-1 in athletics would go a long way to give them the same perception as the other state universities in the state, maybe even better. What do you all think?


USI should definitely go D1. What was disturbing about the comment from either Hall or Bridges is that he said he likes who they compete against. Well the fans do not like who they compete against. The Great Lakes Valley is no longer KWC, IUPUFW, St. Joe, etc. D2 is no longer what is once was. People want to see the Ja Morans and the talent of D1. They want the hopes of going to the big dance and being a Cinderella. They don't want to go to the far west side for a game with William Jewell. USI needs to go D1 now.

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby acecard » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:12 am

My best buddy breaks bread with the decision makers at USI on a regular basis because of his financial contributions, and he says USI going D1 is not on the front burner.

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby ncace » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:14 am

Can a city of 250k people support 2 mid-major D1 programs? Yes, if both programs are successful. Not just OK, .500 teams, but GOOD, solid 20ish winning programs, year-after-year.

UE has done well, bringing WMc, upgrading recruiting, and selling season tix, but if USI did go D1, it would siphon off some of the fan base, and an OVC affiliation would bring in fans from conf. foes who are closer from a travel standpoint. The new arena would also draw students, in numbers that UE has not proven they can draw, despite some limited success this year.

Finally, the game of numbers does not favor UE, long-term. Fewer grads than USI by far. Fewer local grads.

If UE maintains, and builds on this year's initial success. If they continue to pay a top-tier coach. If they recruit and schedule well. If USI remains D2. All are good questions that will matter, regardless of whether USI goes D1. If UE is really paying attention, and I think they are, they should use this "what if" as a motivator to REALLY ramp up their engagement of the fan base (yes, they can do much more), and be certain they are doing EVERYTHING they can do to be a consistently relevant D1 program. It has worked for Davidson, as well as other small D1 schools, but you can't do it halfway.

One thing seems clear to me. USI is on a roll, and they didn't build a larger, beautiful arena to fill it halfway. Their new president is enthusiastic and visible. He is not going to stand still. If I were betting, I'd say that the possibility of USI going D1 basketball is better than 50-50. Maybe not THIS year, but within the next 3.

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby Tom Servo » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:05 pm

ncace wrote:Can a city of 250k people support 2 mid-major D1 programs? Yes, if both programs are successful. Not just OK, .500 teams, but GOOD, solid 20ish winning programs, year-after-year.

UE has done well, bringing WMc, upgrading recruiting, and selling season tix, but if USI did go D1, it would siphon off some of the fan base, and an OVC affiliation would bring in fans from conf. foes who are closer from a travel standpoint. The new arena would also draw students, in numbers that UE has not proven they can draw, despite some limited success this year.

Finally, the game of numbers does not favor UE, long-term. Fewer grads than USI by far. Fewer local grads.

If UE maintains, and builds on this year's initial success. If they continue to pay a top-tier coach. If they recruit and schedule well. If USI remains D2. All are good questions that will matter, regardless of whether USI goes D1. If UE is really paying attention, and I think they are, they should use this "what if" as a motivator to REALLY ramp up their engagement of the fan base (yes, they can do much more), and be certain they are doing EVERYTHING they can do to be a consistently relevant D1 program. It has worked for Davidson, as well as other small D1 schools, but you can't do it halfway.

One thing seems clear to me. USI is on a roll, and they didn't build a larger, beautiful arena to fill it halfway. Their new president is enthusiastic and visible. He is not going to stand still. If I were betting, I'd say that the possibility of USI going D1 basketball is better than 50-50. Maybe not THIS year, but within the next 3.


I agree entirely, I do pull for USI, was hoping they would win the other night. But one other factor to consider here, from their standpoint, for every Northern Kentucky there is an SIU Edwardsville... A program that had some D2 success and then jumps to D1 to find out things are not as good in D1 as they were led to believe. They have been a D1 train wreck. It's something to consider. We know all too well what happens when a program flounders at the mid D1 level (we've lived it for 20 years). A program floundering at the OVC level would be even worse, look at the teams like Tennessee Tech, etc. Can't even get 500 people to show up at games.

It's a tough decision. If UE does up their game, which could very well happen, I don't think it would hurt UE much (USI going D1). If we had continued on the path we were on, or start back on that path it would be catastrophic to UE.
8-19 .....1986
16-12 ....1987 --- MCC Champ
21-8 .....1988 --- NIT
25-6 .....1989 --- NCAA
Key point, be patient, never judge a coach on Year 1!

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby AceLoverLarry » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:30 pm

Stopped by the USI message board during the elite 8 and came back to see their thoughts on going D1.

http://www.d2messageboard.com/showthrea ... 21&page=75

Go give their forum a read if you want a quick laugh. Conspiracy theories on "Finnicke Winnicke" halting their progress to go D1 just so it doesn't affect his alma mater. What a joke.

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby letsgoAces » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:56 pm

Given USI's enrollment, location, great new facility, and success in most of their sports, the timing seems finally right for the jump to D-1. I have supported the Screaming Eagles since 1976 and could tell you much about their program over the past 5 decades. I watched them win their first NCAA win in Charleston, IL against Northern Kentucky. From everything I have read the biggest obstacle to making this happen is getting USI's president on board. I don't know if that is going to happen. But I think the stature it would give the university could be nothing less than a big plus and grant USI greater visibility.

As Tom pointed out, there is much to consider. USI has had a lot of success with many of their sports programs: 3 of them have won national championships. In D-2 other players can transfer in and not have to sit out a year. They also can get the nonqualifiers for D-1 programs. They are a "big fish" in this pond, and makes them quite attractive for athletes who don't necessarily seek out a D-1 school. Obviously, it takes money to make the jump to major college status, and also a significant waiting period ( I think 6 years) till you can compete in the NCAA tournament.

Teams that I can recall who made the transition to D-1 since USI started it's basketball program have been Eastern Illinois, Wright State, IN- FW, IUPUI, Northern Kentucky, SEMO, IL -Chicago Circle, SIUE, TN-State. There are more but no others come to mind. Some of these teams have had success and some have not.

Coach Watson (whose job was on the line until his final four finish) is hopeful the fan support will carry over to their new stadium. I think the first year you will see an increase in attendance mostly out of curiosity to see and experience the new facility. However, as time has shown, despite the great tradition they have had, and the growing number of alumni with each passing year, the attendance has not been all that good (but better than most D-2 schools.)

Many years ago, I am not sure if I would have favored the idea of D-1 for USI. But, now, I say go for it. The facility, the attention they received locally during the tournament, and the fan interest, etc, make this an attractive time. They have an outstanding booster club and could probably attract more if they made the jump. If they were admitted to the OVC every game is an easy drive to all locations. The excitement it would bring to the campus would, IMO, be significant.

I don't think this jump hurts UE one little bit. It appears the Aces program is finally on solid footing and I look for the excitement to continue on indefinitely. Plenty of room in this city for all to enjoy and support.
Last edited by letsgoAces on Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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E-Villan
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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby E-Villan » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:00 pm

AceLoverLarry wrote:Stopped by the USI message board during the elite 8 and came back to see their thoughts on going D1.

http://www.d2messageboard.com/showthrea ... 21&page=75

Go give their forum a read if you want a quick laugh. Conspiracy theories on "Finnicke Winnicke" halting their progress to go D1 just so it doesn't affect his alma mater. What a joke.


I never knew that board even existed. Wow is an understatement. A ton of salt thrown at UE, especially McCarty. Of course, it only appears to be a few posters who are dominating the conversation, and the very same ones a page or two back that were confident there would be no more than 3K show up for the Wednesday Elite 8 game. It is apparent they aren't very plugged in, and any babble off of their keyboards should be considered as such.

I didn't know they sold Tin Foil Hats at the USI Bookstore.

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby letsgoAces » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:23 pm

I've been to USI's message board....generally just a couple of guys who enjoy bashing UE. Not worth the time.

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Re: USI New Arena-Move to D-1?

Postby youngacesfan » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:28 pm

USI should go D1 now. There's no reason not to


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