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The Big Announcement That Was…Not Announced

When the reporters came in to Horizon League Media Day last Wednesday, alongside the usual interviews with players and coaches from all the Horizon League teams, as well as the preseason rankings, there was also expected to be a big announcement from Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone. There was even a large board, with a cloth covering it as the players and coaches had official pictures taken. Then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the board was gone, and everyone was told that, for lack of better words, there was NO announcement to be made. None.

As I was sitting there, I was reminded of an episode of the improv TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, where, in a game of Scenes From a Hat, one of the topics chosen was “Bad reasons to hold a news conference,” and one of the performers, Chip Esten, stepped forward and said, “I brought you all here to announce this news conference.”

That was Jon LeCrone at Media Day. There was going to be an announcement, and then…it didn’t happen. And everyone was left with even more questions, with no answers to come, at least for now, with no one seemingly wanting to pry as to why there was a sudden change of heart. And there are plenty of questions: What was the big planned announcement going to be? How long had the Horizon League been working on it? Why was there a sudden change of plans right at the very last minute on Media Day? Did these plans become fully thought out before this planned unveiling?

It’s possible that the topic might’ve involved the Horizon League tournament, which LeCrone talked about, and hinted that there was work being done on improving the tournament, though he also spoke in reverence towards the excitement that last year’s tournament brought, with Milwaukee’s upset of rival Green Bay, as well as Wright State’s clash with Cleveland State, plus the sudden change of venue, which was the first time it had happened since the tournament went to its current format.

Or, it could be something else. Deals with media broadcasting, maybe?

The only other somewhat significant news that was announced to the media was the ongoing negotiations with ESPN in trying to attain a long-term deal with the mega cable sports network, as well as a new 3-year extension with WebStream Sports, which provides the online streaming on the Horizon League Network website, and also a new contract with Sinclair Broadcasting, which will account for, as LeCrone stated, “over the air” broadcasting through the five states with Horizon League schools. While there were no details given on the contract or what it means for the Horizon League, LeCrone described the contract as “second-tier rights” for the conference. With details being withheld, like many other things LeCrone said in his address to the media, one can only wait to see what this new contract will mean.

For all that was said by Jon LeCrone last Wednesday at Horizon League Media Day, most were left with wonder of what wasn’t said. With no big news announced and other announcements that were vague, the mystery continues to grow as to what is upcoming for the Horizon League, especially in the upcoming years, which LeCrone emphasized as important for the conference.

The announcements will be made, that much is known, but the usual “What-where-why” will not come until the “when” is finally answered.

One Comment

  1. Boyee

    October 22, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Is it possible that the announcement could be the Horizon League going back to 10 teams and announcing what school has been chosen for the possible 10th spot. Especially with the Horizon League losing Butler University to the Atlantic 10 Conference then the new Big East Conference, then losing Loyola University Chicago to the Missouri Valley Conference. Northern Kentucky University (Atlantic Sun), Western Illinois University(Summit League), Robert Morris University (Northeast), affiliate member Belmont University (Ohio Valley), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Ohio Valley), University of Missouri-Kansas City (WAC), Chicago State University (WAC), Lipscomb University (Atlantic Sun), Murray State University (Ohio Valley), and long shot University of Evansville (Missouri Valley) are all possibilities. Or they could add 3 schools to go to 12. (with Belmont,Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky) expanding the league’s footprint to Kentucky and Tennessee, states that would touch current Horizon League states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Belmont and Lipscomb would be an city rivalry in Nashville, TN. Replacing the lost UIC vs. Loyola city rivalry the Horizon League once had. If they only add 1 school Robert Morris, Belmont, and Northern Kentucky would be the prime candidates IMHO.

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