Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slu's New Division Means Dollars and Sense, If Not Many Victories

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slu's New Division Means Dollars and Sense, If Not Many Victories

Article excerpt

A few years back, an over-the-hill rec basketball team visited the Eastern Missouri Correctional Facility in Pacific to play the home team.

A member of the captive audience watched as the visitors waddled through the gate.

"You ain't got enough," he said, shaking his head sadly and knowingly. That same thought came to mind Friday afternoon at Kiel, when Conference USA czar Mike Slive revealed a new two-division setup. St. Louis U. will be walking into the American Division. The inmates awaiting them there are Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, North Carolina-Charlotte and DePaul, which is basically harmless. As with the overmatched rec team, this was a voluntary confinement for SLU. "I thought it was important that we stay with Marquette and DePaul," said athletic director Doug Woolard. "And we've developed a relationship with Cincinnati." Other than DePaul, the league patsy and a two-time Billikens victim, the division is loaded for Bearcats. Cincinnati was seeded first in the C-USA Tournament, Charlotte third and Marquette fifth. All reached the semifinals. Louisville was rated sixth in the league but 19th in the country in the latest Associated Press poll. The Bills went 1-5 against that quartet this season, 1-6 counting their tourney debacle against Cincy. "From a cost-containment and philosophical standpoint, our division makes sense for us," Woolard sense. Even with Charlotte and without rival Memphis - Slive needs a staff geographer - it also makes attendance sense. The Bills averaged 13,732 a game this year. That brought in enough to cover the cost of Charlie Spoonhour's contract and possibly even the Rev. Lawrence Biondi's campus statuary. But the average fanny count was down 3,254 from a year ago. That excludes the no-shows who made their lack of presence felt. "We certainly have a lot of attractive teams now," Woolard said. So the campus beancounters should be happy. The victory counters may be less so. These Bills won 11 and lost 18. Next season, they figure to draw more fans, make more money and lose more games. The best player and leader, senior Jeff Harris, is leaving. …

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