By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Not now. Those were the words Bluefield State College got from the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in response to the school’s application to join the league.
A memo from BSC President Marsha Krotseng addressed to the school’s faculty and staff stated: “In July, Bluefield State sent the Great Midwest Athletic Conference our formal expression of interest in becoming a member of the G-MAC. After consideration by the G-MAC Presidents Council, Commissioner Tom Daeger has verbally notified me that BSC will not be invited to take the next step in the membership process at the current time.” (Emphasis provided in the memo)
As a result of this decision, it states further in the memo that the college has enlisted the services of a “highly regarded Division II athletic director” to provide an independent assessment of the school’s athletic programs. According to the memorandum the role of the assessment will be the issuance of a report that will answer two questions: “Where does the program current stand?” and “How can we get where we want to be?”
“We want to get an outside consultant to review our entire athletic program, facilities, staffing, funding, the whole picture and then make a recommendation to us,” said BSC Athletic Director Terry Brown. “Then if there’s something we know that needs to be addressed, at that point we can do that and then reapply, or resubmit our interest.”
Areas of concern include facilities, staffing and the ability to have positive student welfare. The school lacks a softball field and on-campus housing which Brown said leagues look to as helping create positive student welfare.
“Housing, in regards to being closer or being on campus will be an issue,” Brown said. “Along with housing you have meals, a cafeteria and those type of things. For a student to have that positive experience in college, having on-campus housing and having a meal plan, that’s a positive experience. At this point we’re lacking in that area.”
Bluefield State’s need for a conference home came when the Mountain East was created and the school was not invited to join. Efforts to affiliate with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and the G-MAC have not been successful at the current time.
“Unfortunately, early on we were not a consideration because we did not offer football,” Brown said. “That’s what it was al about from day one. That’s what the Mountain East was looking for. They needed schools that had football, so early on that was the deciding factor for not being invited to join the Mountain East.”
Brown said the assessment would put the school in a position to address issues raised by the G-MAC and other conferences to which BSC may apply, but he did not say which conference or conferences the school would attempt to become a member.
“We have to get our house in order here,” Brown said. “There’s more work that needs to be done and hopefully after the review a recommendation will come out and then we’ll move from there.
“I think the light is much brighter now than it was a year ago. Hopefully we can make the transition into a conference that will respect our existence as well as we need to represent the conference as well as we possibly can.”
While Brown did not specifically mention which leagues BSC would attempt to join, he did talk of three conferences that he believes would be good for the institution.
“The G-MAC is an outstanding newly-formed conference and a lot of the members there we currently play,” Brown pointed out. “The Mountain East is an outstanding conference as well. A lot of schools within the Mountain East we currently play as well. The CIAA, historically we were a member of that conference and we continue playing a lot of those schools as well.”
Bluefield State was in the CIAA from the 1930s until 1957 when it joined the WVIAC.
The independent review will begin this week and Brown expects to receive recommendations within a matter of weeks.
“I would think probably by mid-November we would have it,” Brown said. “We would like to have everything ready by the first of December. That is when the NCAA convenes and reviews these type of things, so we would like to have as much information, as many things laid out with the plan as possible.
“I’m thinking there are going to be some areas we are going to have to address and we have a to have a plan of improvement in place as well.”
— Contact Bob Redd at