Potential additions to MAC would help basketball at Eastern

There have been rumors flying around for years saying the Mid-American Conference is considering to add two additional schools to its list.

The student paper at the University of Buffalo reported on March 21 the MAC was looking at Temple University, which is already a football-only affiliate member of the conference, and Western Kentucky University, which is a member of the Sun Belt conference.

The question is, what would these two schools have to gain from joining the MAC?
Now Temple has a unique situation. It is currently part of the Atlantic 10 conference for all its other sports. The A-10 suspended all of its football operations a number of years ago but its men’s basketball program is very good. Also, Temple has had plenty of success defeating big-time opponents and making a lot of noise at the NCAA tournament.

The folks at Temple might think having all their programs on one conference would work out in their favor but it’s doubtful the school will find much success in all other sports in the MAC.

Western Kentucky, which recently joined the football subdivision (formerly I-A) back in 2006 could bring some much-needed attention to MAC basketball.

According to its athletic Web site, Western Kentucky has had 41 conference championships, been third in the NCAA, had 40 seasons with 20 or more wins in a single season, is sixth-best in the NCAA. With this kind of success, West Kentucky would add competition to MAC basketball.

Western Kentucky also would receive a number of benefits when it comes to its football program. MAC football has had at least one team in the top 25 in the country for the last two seasons. Moreover, teams in our conference have begun to have huge successes against tougher opponents; such as last year’s Central Michigan victory over Michigan State and in 2008 when the University of Toledo defeated the University of Michigan.

It seems the MAC is trying to step up its basketball program. It’s done a very good job with football and now it’s time to work on the others. So what kind of benefit would all school see what these two additions?

Well for one, it would likely bring a lot of national media attention. Because of the sustained success both Temple and Western Kentucky have had with their basketball programs, it would help make a difference when it comes time for the conference to talk TV deals with ESPN and other media outlets.

This could mean Eastern Michigan University could get more time on TV. To it would help with improving all basketball programs in the conference.

It could also help to increase the same base for the MAC as a whole. And probably the biggest benefit will be the potential of being able to send multiple teams to the NCAA tournament every season.

This could be a win-win situation for all parties concerned. But like most things only time will tell what will happen.

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