Schuck's Clipboard

Knights' move to cause ripple effect in GLVC

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 20, 2019 1:00 am Updated: Jun. 20, 2019 1:04 am

Bellarmine University's whispered-about-for-months plan to transition to an NCAA Division I athletic program went public this week.

The Knights are leaving the Great Lakes Valley Conference after the 2019-20 school year to join the Atlantic Sun Conference. It's a decision that has been in the works for the last 15 months and will be a four-year-process before Bellarmine is eligible for a D-I postseason appearance in any sport.

So don't expect to see Scott Davenport and the Bellarmine men's basketball team fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth in the immediate future.

What you may see is a ripple effect caused by Bellarmine's decision.

The geographic nature of the Great Lakes Valley Conference has shifted dramatically in recent years, especially with the addition of Lindenwood and Southwest Baptist as full-fledged members and the loss of Wisconsin-Parkside and now Bellarmine. It means more than half of the league's schools will be west of the Mississippi River.

It also makes St. Louis the epi-center of the league.

All 15 remaining schools are within four hours of the Gateway City and six schools are within two hours of each other. Truman State and Missouri S&T aren't too far out of that bubble.

It essentially leaves Indianapolis and Southern Indiana on their own Indiana island and the only two GLVC schools not located in Illinois or Missouri. Lewis, located near Chicago in Romeoville, Ill., might not be as close to St. Louis as other schools, but it is a straight shot down I-55 for a majority of its road games, so travel isn't of major concern.

It should be for Indianapolis and Southern Indiana. How much longer will they want to travel across two states for a couple of weekend games? Or how much longer will the other schools want to travel there?

And how much longer can the league office remain in Indianapolis when its schools are so far away? A move to St. Louis should take place if the league wants to stay in touch with its schools.

The league office and the member schools offered little insight as to what their future plans are following Bellarmine's announcement. The GLVC released a two-sentence statement, simply wishing Bellarmine well in the future. The other schools made no mention of the move on their social media sites.

You may think it is the league saying good-bye, good riddance to the Knights, or maybe you view it as the GLVC schools not knowing what their next move should be. The latter is more likely.

Nearly a year ago, the GLVC welcomed Benedictine University as a full-fledged member, only to have the school rescind its acceptance and back out of the agreement to join. No school came immediately to mind as a potential replacement, much like now with Bellarmine.

Maybe the Knights don't need replaced. Maybe this is a time for the GLVC to stand still and stand strong.

It's probably the best way to ride out the ripple Bellarmine created.