Tyler Brown weaves through two Creighton players. (Photo By B Corbin/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - Illinois State University President Al Bowman said he expects conference realignment to be a topic of conversation when the Missouri Valley Conference school presidents meet on Friday in St. Louis.
A recent ESPN.com report said Creighton has become the favorite to join the Big East's seven departing schools.
"If Creighton were to leave, we want to be ready and invite another strong player that would keep the league as strong as it has been," Bowman said.
Reports indicate DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova, Xavier and Butler are planning to create a new conference, which would likely be called the Big East.
Bowman isn't surprised another conference would be interested in Creighton.
"Creighton has invested in its facilities, it has very strong athletic programs, the school academically is well regarded and they're just a strong player," he said.
If the Bluejays did leave the Valley, Bowman said there are a number of factors that would have to be considered when looking for a replacement program.
"Geography is part of the conversation," he said. "Schools that have the same academic stature as the other institutions in the Valley. We'd be thinking about whether the school brings the kind of media exposure that would strengthen the Valley."
Creighton's basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship and heads into the Valley tournament this weekend as the No. 1 seed.
Illinois State will face Northern Iowa at 8:30 p.m. on Friday in St. Louis.
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.