I like the vision of IPFW athletic director Tommy Bell, who admitted in today's Journal Gazette that he would like to see IPFW eventually get into the Horizon League.
At least there is vision for the athletic program at the school that lacked it prior to IPFW getting into the Summit League four years ago.
And certainly finding a conference that is more geographically friendly than the current Summit League, which extends to Southern Utah and (eventually) four schools in the Dakotas to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., would help the budget.
Ever since IPFW got into the Summit League, Bell and others have hitched the future of the school's athletics identity to its basketball programs. The idea being that if either the women's team or (especially) the men's team could ever win the conference tournament and break into the NCAA tournament, well, what a public relations coup that would be for IPFW.
Steadily, both basketball programs have improved. Even the men's team had a winning record last season for the first time since IPFW moved to Division I in 2001. But to ask IPFW to compete in the Horizon League, at least currently, would be a step in the wrong direction.
Stay in the Summit League and build from there. See if both programs can compete with Oral Roberts and Oakland and IUPUI on a consistent basis before moving. Establish a program and a history and reputation before moving to a larger league, where the Mastodons would likely revert to finding themselves back at the bottom of the conference standings.
Be the bigger fish in the smaller pond before taking the role of the small fish in the bigger pond.
The school also says it wants to improve its identity within the community. Then win. Win this year. Win next year. Win the year after that. If that's too difficult, then IPFW is not ready to move, no matter the vision.