For FGCU Athletics, the time is now.
It’s time to change conferences.
This is nothing against the Atlantic Sun, but there is an opportunity coming up that FGCU would be foolish if they don’t act on it.
On Sunday, Sports Illustrated reported that the University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB for short, will diminish its football program as soon as the end of this week.
You’re probably thinking, “What does UAB football have to do with FGCU?” Well I’ll tell you.
See where I’m going?
No? OK, I’ll break it down. With the official announcement made Tuesday of UAB dropping its football program, that will leave Conference USA with 13 schools and an uneven number of schools for a conference is never a good sign. So that would make FGCU a logical choice as a selection.
Granted FGCU would have to start a football program, but with the successes of recent sports, right now seems like a very logical time to seriously consider it.
Let’s take a look at the C-USA. They have two schools in Florida (FIU and FAU), two schools that are regulars on FGCU’s schedule anyway. They also have teams all over the Southeastern United States (Old Dominion, Charlotte, Marshall, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State University and Southern Mississippi). They also are in the Midwest and Texas (LA Tech, North Texas, Rice, University of Texas San Antonio and University of Texas El Paso).
Traveling wouldn’t be an issue. During basketball season, they can schedule two games a weekend (Thursday and Saturday) and they could do what they do now and take a bus from one school to the other.
From FGCU’s standpoint, there should be no reason not to consider this conference. They have a TV deal with ESPN and CBS that would immediately be shared with FGCU to help build/fund scholarships and build or improve facilities.
From the C-USA’s standpoint, it’s a logical addition. FGCU is in their region, and who doesn’t want to come down to Fort Myers for some conference championships or just to watch their team play.
I will admit I do have a love for the C-USA. Before college when I lived in Orlando, I went to UCF games on the regular, and back then they were a part of the C-USA and I was there to watch the conference grow as well as some of the schools in the conference. They have gained so much more respect in the last five years and it would only grow more if they added a growing program such as FGCU that has the potential to become a premier mid-major in every level.
FGCU already has had two teams go to the NCAA tournament and expects at least three more. And this is a regular thing now. FGCU no longer expects to be mediocre. It expects to be in the NCAA tournament and no disrespect to the Atlantic Sun they need harder competition, especially in women’s basketball and women’s soccer.
So now is the time. It’s time to leave the Atlantic Sun and join the C-USA and make even more history.