Point Park Globe

#ReSpeCt – Croup’s Corner

Written By Josh Croup

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The Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) is on its way to gaining respect throughout the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). 

Point Park’s athletic conference is in a huge era of change and growth.

It has added five new schools in the past four years and includes 13 member schools across five states.

Next year, the conference will undergo a name change to better represent its reach. The River States Conference will take over the name of the 100-year old conference beginning in July.

The KIAC social media accounts promoted the name change announcement with the hashtag “ReSpeCt.”

KIAC Commissioner Scott McClure said during a conference call after the announcement that he wants more respect nationally for his conference, and that it is headed in the right direction.

“We want our conference to be respected, certainly in terms of being competitive, but we want our conference to be respected for all of the other great things that they do for our student athletes as well,” McClure said.

The name change only helps the KIAC’s credibility, but the teams in the conference are certainly helping as well – especially on the men’s side.

First of all, the conference is growing in size. No, size does not matter when it comes to conference respectability, but it sure does help. The more teams in the conference, the more chances there are to get teams in the national tournament.

Let’s look at how the men’s soccer season went.

KIAC newcomer West Virginia Tech went 15-1 in the regular season, defeated Point Park in the KIAC Tournament Semifinals and lost to No. 1 Rio Grande in the KIAC Tournament Championship.

The Golden Bears earned the first at-large bid from the KIAC to the NAIA National Soccer Tournament. Rio Grande, a team with three NAIA All-Americans, won the national championship.

So that helped the KIAC’s #ReSpeCt. There were two teams from the KIAC in the national tournament and the eventual champion representing the KIAC.

Let’s take a look at NAIA basketball tournaments.

Cincinnati Christian University and Indiana University East represented the KIAC in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Cincinnati Christian lost in the first round, but IU East pulled off upsets over the No. 1 and 2 seeds in its bracket and advanced to the final four.

McClure was excited as he took to Twitter to celebrate IU East advancing to the final four.

 “That just happened!!! Congratulations @iueredwolves … Final Four!!! #ReSpeCt @KIACSports #KIACPride”

IU East and Asbury both represented the conference in the women’s tournament.

The KIAC is on the right path.

It doesn’t have the respect nationally yet that it would like. The name change certainly helps, but its teams competing and winning on the national level helps even more.

Point Park is going to have to step up its game across the board not only to compete within the conference, but among top national competition. Point Park has won the KIAC Commissioner’s Cup in two of the last three years as the top athletic department in the conference.

The conference is improving and is on the right track.

In the next few years, the River States Conference could earn the #ReSpeCt it is striving for.

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