With the Missouri Valley Conference’s contract with the Scottrade Center in St. Louis ending in 2015, Commissioner Doug Elgin will be free to take the yearly basketball tournament anywhere that will have them.
Per Kansas.com, the possible destinations are St. Louis (again), Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis and Las Vegas.
All of these options have their value; Las Vegas plays host to three other basketball tournaments in March, so there is no doubt that the interest would remain high. Not many have spoken up for Vegas, however, due to the potentially dangerous atmosphere that comes with the city.
The most likely alternate destination appears to be Kansas City, which recently opened up the Sprint Center in 2007, and has hosted many college basketball games since opening.
Indianapolis and Chicago are also great spots, but if feels as though they are so dominated by the Big Ten, that the MVC tournament would be an afterthought for it.
The MVC should stay put in St. Louis. I know many want to see the arena updated, and hopefully they will be able to get that to happen. St. Louis is where the headquarters of the conference is located, and is right at the center of all the locations of every school.
Moving the tournament to Kansas City could appear really biased to Wichita State, who has become the premier Valley school with Creighton moving to the Big East this season. While Wichita State should be celebrated for their recent success, favoring them too much could get other schools to jump ship in order for equal treatment.
There is also the argument that KC is closer to a few schools, but it is actually much farther for six of the conference’s ten schools.
Maybe I’m overreacting, but I know many students here at ISU who loved traveling to the tournament down in St. Louis every year. It’s only about a three hour drive, and easy to just cruise down I-55 all the way there. Putting the tournament on the other side of Missouri would double the drive at the very least, and really hinder the kind of turnout ISU gets at the tournament.
I realize this is easy for an ISU student to say, with our campus being one of the closer ones to St. Louis, but keeping the tournament in what should be considered the conference’s capital city seems like a good idea.
Whatever ends up happening to the future of the tournament, let’s just hope the Valley gets back to where it was before Creighton left and become one of the most competitive mid-major conferences again.