After the 69 page report was released discussing the possibility of football at Wichita State, all has been fairly quiet on the conference realignment front. Most moving parts right now are outside of WSU’s control. They’re even out of the control of potential conferences. The big move that most universities are waiting on is the Big 12. Once the Big 12 makes a move, the rest of the dominoes will start to fall around the country. Until that happens, it is a game of wait-and-see for Wichita State, and any other universities hopeful of moving conferences.
The potential programs that are being heavily favored in talks to join the Big 12 are Houston, and Cincinnati of the AAC, and Colorado State of the MWC. BYU has also been mentioned as another member. However, their inclusion wouldn’t have much of an effect on realignment as they’re currently an independent with no conference affiliation. One would think that if there were universities moving from the AAC and MWC, that Wichita State would be an attractive replacement for those schools.
Dr. Bardo has positioned the university in a way that makes it attractive across all sports, not just the nationally relevant men’s basketball program. Other factors outside of athletics play the largest role in a conference move for Wichita State. Many factors including but not limited to size of the metro, emphasis on research and innovation, and public over private institutions are driving forces to align with similar universities.
“This is about the positioning of the university,” he said. “If Wichita is going to be successful as a city as we continue to move into this world that none of us fully have grips on yet, the university has to be at the center of what happens in the city. Which means we have to have a reputation and an ability to deliver that causes the city to be perceived as having value.” – Dr. John Bardo
Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle sat down with Dr. John Bardo and had a discussion about football and conference realignment at Wichita State.