Marshall, MAC Look to Improving Future

In the wake of Conference USA's decision to table any further talks about expansion to a 12-team conference, Marshall now finds itself in the position of being able to maximize its current membership in the Mid-American Conference.

Alluding to a combination press conference/fund-raiser set for Wednesday afternoon at 4:30pm in the Big Green Room at Marshall Stadium, Marshall football coach Bob Pruett on Tuesday hinted at possible improvements in Marshall's relationship with the MAC that may come as a result of Conference USA tabling their expansion talks.

"It worked out that the best deal for Marshall University at this time is to stay right where we are," Pruett said at the weekly Quarterback Club luncheon at the Radisson Hotel Huntington. "We think we've got a lot of positive things that have taken place because of all this, and they'll all be discussed tomorrow."

"Including additional bowl bids, more monies, and all these type things."

Pruett also alluded to the press conference/fundraiser being attended by Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst and possible a representative of the University of Central Florida.

Central Florida, an NCAA Division 1 independent, has tentatively committed to joining the MAC, but was waiting for the Marshall/C-USA affair to be settled before fully committing. Marshall and UCF are scheduled to play each other in a home-and-home series in 2003 and 2004.

The Horizon League, once aggressively interested in bringing Marshall's basketball program and Olympic sports teams on board, reversed tracks last Wednesday and decided to table their expansion talks. That decisoin pretty much forced Marshall into holding off any further moves toward taking football to Conference USA.

"You've got to remember that we have more than one sport," Pruett added at the luncheon.

For now, though, it appears that Marshall will stay in the Mid-American Conference in all sports, and look to solidify their position within the MAC, in light of both C-USA and the Horizon League tabling their expansion talks.

"This is a thing that, I think, was flattering, in a way," Pruett summed up. "We had some meaningful discussions with two leagues that wanted the Herd to be there very badly. We're excited. I'm excited about things and the direction we're going in all our sports. We want to play for championships, in all our sports."

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