Not a big fan of KCAC expansion

By Steve Sell
April 23, 2015

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference is growing by leaps and bounds and apparently state boundaries aren’t a factor.

With the announcement Wednesday of York College of Nebraska joining the KCAC as the 12th member, which comes on the heels of last June’s announcement that Oklahoma Wesleyan of Bartlesville was being added as the 11th member, this is no longer your Grandfather’s KCAC.

Supposedly one of the selling points for expansion was the fact that six sports in the KCAC will gain additional automatic bids to national tournaments.

Doesn’t sound like much of a reason to me.

My first impression was that maybe it’s a safeguard against a school or two leaving the KCAC. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years that the Heart of America Conference would like to add Ottawa University, which is strong in nearly every sport.

I like the KCAC at 10 schools. I also liked the fact all the schools were from KANSAS, which gave it a unique charm. What’s going to be next, a school from Missouri, one from Colorado and one from Arkansas? At least that way the Kansas schools would feel protected at all borders.

Oklahoma Wesleyan will be eligible for competition for the 2015-16 season, York the following year. Neither have football and that’s OK. With the current 10 KCAC schools, two more that play football wasn’t needed.

I can tell you right now, Oklahoma Wesleyan is going to be a force to be reckoned with in several sports. It has had some dominant programs in its current conference, the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. York probably won’t field as many quality teams, but certainly won’t be a school that is in the lower level of most sports.

I’m curious to see the plan for basketball. Currently the 10 KCAC schools play each other twice for an 18-game conference schedule. With two teams added, I am guessing we won’t have a monstrous 22-game conference schedule, but instead two divisions — a North and South. Teams would play those within their own division twice and teams not in their division once. That would make for a 16-game conference schedule, which still allows schools to play a passel of nonconference games to get ready for KCAC play.

The Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference has officially crumbled since Bellevue University, Waldorf College and College of St. Mary (a women’s-only school) earlier announced they were leaving and Central Baptist College is expected to follow suit. 

Three schools — Central Christian College of McPherson, Haskell and College of the Ozarks — are left holding the bag with very few options. Without a league to play in, that makes scheduling difficult, not to mention how is a recruit going to react when he or she asks who is their biggest rival.

Central Christian College was hoping to be the 12th KCAC school and while a CCC official told me the college presented its best-possible proposal, it did not sway KCAC officials. Central, at this point, will be an independent next year. Maybe the KCAC didn’t like the idea of having three of its schools in the same county. 

Maybe I’m just stodgy and a traditionalist. But I liked the KCAC the way it was, with all the games within decent traveling distance. I, for one, will not be looking forward to covering games in Bartlesville and York. Get the road map out, please.