A few weeks ago, the UMKC Kangaroos made it official they are coming back to the Summit League. Came back like a Kangaroo with his tail between his legs and stuffed into his pouch. Dang, that was a good one!
Congratulations Summit League fans, we fixed a conference problem of having a weird number of schools by going from 9 schools to 10 schools in the conference. We did it. We made a move that we just kind of expected was going to happen at some point.
The Kangaroos’ return to the Summit League fixed a few annoyances of the Summit League. There is now an even number of schools, so we can go back to having travel partners. Denver has an airport to fly to. Oral Roberts now has a school that is only a 4 hour drive away from Tulsa. Omaha fans have an actually fun city they can drive to. Maybe all 10 schools will be able to play in the conference tournament and someone won’t have to sit out at home…the conference tournament group pictures of a few Denver Pioneer cheerleaders mixed in with all the Summit League mascots minus the weird Denver thingy were all awkward.
The move probably helps UMKC more than anything. They don’t have to compete in the geographically challenged Western Athletic Conference (is that what WAC stands for – I don’t care enough to look it up and double check and I’ve always just assumed that is what it stood for). This is the second school with a geography problem the Summit League has been able to save in the last few years. Look us up Chicago State and Texas Rio Grande Valley, maybe the addition of Dixie State will be enough to help your sad situations in the WAC, but we all know what you want.
I imagine this move would only help UMKC with their recruiting, which may in turn hurt the likes of Omaha’s recruiting. I’m sure the conversations between coaching staffs and local recruits and their parents have gone something like this…
Recruit’s Dad: So the closest conference opponent for me to come watch my kids’ games is where?
UMKC Coach: Dawg, it’s in Edinburg, Texas.
Recruit’s Dad: Where the (expletive) is that?
UMKC Coach: Hold on, let me go out to my car and grab a map.
UMKC coach exits the home to retrieve a map out of his car…Recruit’s Dad locks the home’s front door and turns all the lights off.
Recruit’s Dad (to their child): Okay, so that was dumb. Let’s call up Omaha.
There is an alternate universe out there where UMKC stayed in the Summit League and received commitments from Zach Jackson, Matt Pile, and KJ Robinson. I’m in Alcoholics Anonymous in that universe.
Does UMKC coming back help strengthen the profile of the Summit League? No, no it doesn’t.
The Kangaroos just finished up a rebranding and they got a new coaching staff for the men’s basketball program – which appears to be a fairly competent staff. The Kangaroos basketball team has the potential to at least help the Summit League be more competitive in a few years.
Another advantage for Summit League teams is that bringing UMKC back into the league means one more guaranteed home game for programs. Sorry to the elementary school kids who were looking forward to Kids Day for a 1pm game on a Wednesday against a D-3 opponent from Westchesteronville, Iowa. Let this be the first of many lessons that life can often be a disappointment.
UMKC’s return could be rated anywhere from decent to good (on the poor to great scale). It’s a move we all expected to happen some day. It helps the league, it helps UMKC, but now we have to wait for the next expected domino to fall for when Fort Wayne bolts for geography.