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Mastodon tracks

  • Women's volleyball picked 2nd in Summit
    The IPFW women’s volleyball was picked to finish second in the Summit League preseason poll of the league’s head coaches. The Mastodons received 53 points. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
  • IPFW women's basketball schedule set
    The IPFW women's basketball's 2014-15 schedule is a challengng one, featuring seven opponents who played in the postseason last year, along with two games against Big Ten opponents, and a Big 12 opponent.
  • 2 men's soccer players honored
    IPFW men's soccer players Oscar Uyamadu and Corey Tom being were recently named to the Summit League All-Conference Second Team by College Sports Madness.
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It's Sioux Falls until 2017

I understand the finances of it all. Seriously, I do. But somewhere along the way the competitive balance of a conference should be taken into consideration.

The Summit League let us know a few days ago that it has reached a long-term agreement with Sioux Falls to keep the men's and women's basketball tournament there until 2017. And then there's the option for another five years, through 2022.

What that means - and we could all track this together - is that South Dakota State, South Dakota and North Dakota State will likely send the majority of men's and women's teams to the NCAA tournaments.

Already, Fort Wayne is on the geographical fringe of a Summit League that seems to be gathering in more schools from the plains states than the Midwest. South Dakota recently joined, as did Nebraska Omaha. The conference's footprint is heavy in the Dakotas. And that's fine.

What I object to is the league tournament, which sends the winners to the prestigious NCAA tournaments, has cemented itself for perhaps the next 10 years in a setting that favors the local teams.

Some will point to the argument that the Big Ten basketball tournament is in Indianapolis, and, using the local favorite logic, Indiana and Purdue should win. But getting to Indy for fans from the vast majority of Big Ten schools is considerably easier than getting to Sioux Falls, S.D.

I'm not knocking Sioux Falls. Been there, done that. And I understand the financial rewards for the Summit League of having the event there. Each year, it seems, a new attendance record is set.

Good for the Summit League.

Great for South Dakota State, North Dakota State, South Dakota and even Nebraska Omaha.

Not so good for IPFW, Oakland, IUPUI.

And while I'm on a bit of a soapbox, I cannot condone the Summit League usage of "Fort Wayne" on its web site and in its standings, when the brand of the university is IPFW.

The league has also changed UMKC (University of Missouri Kansas City) to just Kansas City, and Nebraska Omaha is just Omaha.

Several years ago I had a conversation with IPFW athletic director Tommy Bell, who wanted to brand the school as IPFW, and not IU-Purdue and not Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. There were different logos being used, and Bell insisted that the school decide on one logo and stay with it.

I was told that it was the Summit League's way of branding its league - to make it clearer where some of these alphabet schools are from. If that's the case, then why is IUPUI not Indianapolis, but remains IUPUI?

It's NOT "Fort Wayne." It's IPFW. It's NOT "Kansas City." It's UMKC, which has sent out emails to media pleading to use the initials, and not University of Missouri Kansas City. No matter the reasoning, a conference should not change a university's name in standings or what have you simply to fit its style.

OK. I'm done. And the kids can get back on my lawn.

I think I'll watch some football this weekend and see how Los Angeles does in the Pac-12.

Also known as UCLA.

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