ST. LOUIS (AP) -Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus is no fan of the school's affiliation with the Atlantic-10 Conference. Too much travel, too expensive, too hard on the student-athletes.
If Majerus had his way, the school would sacrifice a bit of prestige, put the athletes first and play in a league closer to home.
``We belong in the Missouri Valley,'' Majerus said after the Billikens whipped Fordham 75-48 Wednesday night, ``if we care about the kids' academics.''
It's not a sentiment likely to endear the ever-opinionated Majerus to the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the school president who orchestrated the move from Conference USA to the Atlantic-10 for the 2005-06 season. But Majerus said he's concerned about all those trips to the East Coast leading to multiple classes missed.
ended classes for five days.
``They are great kids, but their academics are in peril,'' the coach said.
School spokesman Chuck Yahng said Saint Louis has no plans to change conferences.
Many of the school's fans have been saying Saint Louis joined the wrong league when it opted for the Atlantic-10. From a competition standpoint it's a step up from the Valley, but at what cost?
One of Majerus' chief complaints is that it's a terrible fit geographically.
``The A-10's a good league, but you've got to cross two states,'' Majerus said. ``What rivalry do we have? Dayton or Xavier? They sure don't consider us to be big rivals.''
Those are the schools within reasonable distance. Then there's Fordham, Duquesne, George Washington, La Salle and St. Bonaventure.
``No one wants to go to Olean, N.Y., (St. Bonaventure) and Massachusetts and those places,'' Majerus said.
Also, the big cities in the Atlantic-10 - Philadelphia and New York - are pricey. Majerus said he has to use his own connections to reduce lodging costs.
Majerus noted costs would be considerably lower to travel by bus a few hours to Peoria, Ill., to play Bradley, or Carbondale, Ill., to play Southern Illinois - both schools in the Missouri Valley.
``Everything here is about money,'' the coach added. ``You want to fly to Rhode Island, New York, Charlotte, all these places and stay out and spend and be in high-end cost cities, or do you want to go on a bus and go to Bradley and Southern Illinois and Indiana State and those places?''
Majerus' rant wasn't done yet.
``Those Eastern airports,'' he added, ``are the worst in America.''
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