Originally Posted by AdamtheFlyer
One of the big reasons UD was left out of the original Conference USA was the competitiveness of the non-revenue sports. They were awful and showed no signs of improvement. The men's basketball team was terrible at the time, too, but that wasn't as big of a deal as people make it out to be. People knew Dayton would rebuild. In fact, in 1994, given what UD had done from the 50s through the 80s, no one thought it would take another 15 years to win an NCAA game.
The C-USA founders saw UD's overall program and decided to pass. No doubt, if the Olympic sports were as good in 1994 as they are today, Dayton would have never been in the A10, no matter what the basketball program looked like at the time.
That said, a top 25 bball program would have gotten them in, too, so there's a bit of a chicken/egg there. There's also a case to be made that, if the timing were different, Dayton would be in the Big East today. Timing is everything, UD missed their chance at the big boy table by about 7 years. If C-USA forms in '86-'87, when UD originally looked to join a league and was still a top 25-30 program in the nation, Dayton is a founding and key member and who knows what the future holds. By 1993-94 that window had closed, the entire athletic program was in shambles, making the next decade plus a major uphill climb.
It's easy to say now, but through the early 80s, UD would have been sought after like the one hot redhead in town. By the time they made the call, it was too late. Hindsight is 20/20. The independent rivalries with Notre Dame, DePaul and Marquette are still talked about, but the failure to capitalize on that played a big part in the 1990s fall.
"Timing is everything"! You said a mouthful. If the BE had been formed a decade earlier, you know what it would have looked like?
St. John's #8
In addition, Bona was ranked as high as 7th during the season, and St. Joe's made the Dance. Had the circumstances of the late 70's existed then, you would have never heard of Georgetown, and UConn.
That's a monster league in 1969. By 1979, not so much.
An historically winning program can get screwed if major changes occur when they are in a down cycle. Conversely, if a loser is in an up cycle, they can benefit. No new league would have wanted UMass in the early 80's, but by the early 90's, they would have been on everyone's list.
When the BE was formed, several programs had to make a tough choice. Rutgers, which was at it's apex as a program, was invited to join, bit didn't want to separate from itself from the football playing schools that were in the Eastern 8, especially Pitt, which had become a monstrous football power. Villanova also had a tough choice. They knew the BE would eventually take Temple if they turned it down. The BE Catholics preferred Nova, and gave them an extra year to decide. Nova looked at the situation, and at the end of the year decided to make the move. When Rutgers declined, and with Nova putting off it's decision, the other schools, needing a 7th member, proposed Seton Hall. St. John's was dead set against this. Lou Carnesseca and the AD at St. John's, looking for a way to block this, called Red Manning, who had been the successful head coach at Duquesne, and was now the AD. The Dukes, while still a decent program, had slipped a bit from earlier in the decade, and had not been considered for a BE invite. The St. John's people told Manning that if the Dukes were willing to make the move, St. John's would basically draw the proverbial line in the sand with the other schools. When Villanova decided to stay in the E8, Duquesne foolishly declined St. John's offer. When the BE got rolling in the early 80's, most of the schools that got left out went into decline.