Truth be told, we have not done well in the Missouri Valley Conference. It's a great talk show topic-telling Ron Strollo, YSU Athletic director how to do his job. On the other hand, it shows fans love the Penguins.
The conversation usually centers around travel to the Dakotas and natural rivalries. Why can't we be in the MAC, because we could play with all four Ohio teams and probably beat them, especially with 85 scholarships.
After careful consideration it mostly comes down to an extra 10 million in the YSU athletic budget. You really need 25 million a year to fund sports teams in the MAC.
and others are struggling to make it work. Point blank they are bleeding money and that would never fly in Youngstown for reasons I have pointed out in other commentaries. You can't tell professors there are no monies for raises if you increase your athletic budget by 10 million per year. Someone could step up and donate the money annually, but that's highly unlikely.
So, what if you changed leagues? First you will lose prestige, but how much do we have to lose, we have not won a road game since we beat Samford in the Kickoff Classic 2 years ago.
Looking over the options, for travel and prestige the Colonial Athletic Conference seems to be the best fit for travel.
Colonial Athletic Conference
Elon Greensboro North Carolina 483 miles
Villanova near Philadelphia 360 miles
James Madison Harrisburg Virginia 313 miles
William and Mary Williamsburg 444 miles
New Hampshire Duram 662 miles
Towson near Baltimore 304 miles
Stoney Brook Northern Long Island 662
U. Delaware near Wilmington 353 miles
Maine near Bangor 832 miles
Richmond in Richmond Virginia 400 miles
Albany in up-state New York 478 miles.
Missouri Valley Conference, the SEC of FCS
N. Dakota State ,Fargo North Dakota 1049 miles
North Dakota, Grand Forks North Dakota 1029 miles
South Dakota State, Brookings South Dakota 1,030 miles
South Dakota Vermillion South Dakota 960 miles
Indiana State Tere Haute Indiana 432 miles
Missouri State, Springfield Missouri 812 miles
Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls Iowa 801
Illinois State Normal Illinois 512 miles
Southern Illinois Carbondale Illinois 618 miles
What about prestige? James Madison, and Villanova have had great teams each year and compete well with the Missouri Valley Conference. Youngstown would likely be the 3rd best team in the Colonial.
Travel is the tie breaker, The Atlantic Coast Conference wins hands down. Not only for distance, but for attractions. Philly, Richmond, Williamsburg, Baltimore, and Wilmington Delaware for starters are attractive for a weekend vacation.
The Missouri Valley Conference is prestigious to football fanatics but if you're getting your brains beat in week after week, how much fun is that?
It's a lot to ponder and the Wildcard is that the Colonial Athletic Conference may not want a team as far west as Ohio. Suddenly it seems lonely to be in the Heart of it all.
Another option is a new conference, Robert Morris, Duquesne, Butler, Valparaiso Youngstown. Nobody said it would be easy getting into the perfect league. Notre Dame has been homeless for years.