Lancers No Longer On The Outside Looking In

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Perhaps one of the worst-kept secrets around these parts in quite a while was confirmed Monday afternoon when Longwood announced that it has accepted an invitation to join the Big South.

Finally. Legitimacy. Longwood is now a bona fide member of Division I. There's no going back now.

The folks at Longwood had always said they were going to remain a Division I Independent as long as it took to find a conference. Still, one had to wonder just how long the school was going to continue to throw money at expensive travel bills as an outsider with its nose pressed against the glass while other schools from bigger markets, or with football, found leagues to call home.

Email newsletter signup

Turns out, it was, at most, another two or three years, according to LU President Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan.

As an Independent, there was no hope of achieving the biggest goal of all Division I schools not named Duke or Kentucky, where anything short of a National Title is seen as a bad season – a bid into the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

The teams get to play on a special floor built just for the NCAA, for crying out loud.

Truth be known, that's probably so a place like the Pepsi Center doesn't get face time on a tournament that gets most of its money from Coca-Cola. Still, it's a court – and an awesome looking one at that – that says, “look at us. We're in The Big Dance.”

Until Monday (this July, actually), Longwood couldn't offer that. Every Longwood coach can regale us with numerous stories on how they would've landed a stud recruit, only to finish second in the battle because another school could offer a chance – albeit a slim one in many cases – to play in the NCAA Tournament.

Finishing second in a golf tournament or a NASCAR race is commendable. If you do it enough times, you will win the championship. Finishing second in a recruiting battle, is an ongoing battle ending in frustration.

For a recruit, it's like a date that's perfect in every way, except he or she is missing their front teeth. Attractive, engaging, funny, but, oh, please don't smile.

Thure they could try to come up with good pointh to not having front teeth, like they'll never be embarrathed by a pieth of rogue lettuth after eating a thalad, but even they know it'th of little uth.

The invitation was a long time coming, and perhaps a couple of weeks late, but Longwood finally got all it it's been wanting for Christmas for years – now it can say it's a member of the Big South.

Yes, Longwood. League affiliation looks good on you. Better than a set of dentures on that above-mentioned date. It will look even better on you once the Big South's logos are painted on the court and the travel expenses are slashed to a more palatable figure.

It will make you look radiant the day you hear your name called on the NCAA selection show, and you get to play on that court.

A court made especially for you.