There is no denying the overwhelming dominance that has defined the University of Mount Union football program under the tenure of long-time coach Larry Kehres. The academic success of his student athletes is a testament to him and the university alike. When you consider the fact that a small DIII school from a semi-rural town like Alliance, Ohio could produce NFL caliber talent and attract the attention of league scouts, one begins to wonder if they've become too dominant, too good and ultimately do a disservice to their players, fans and competition.
To put things in perspective, Mount Union has won a record 11 Division III national championships; 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012 and they hold the all-time division record for consecutive victories at 55, set during the years 2000-2003. A look at their schedule results from last year makes you cringe in empathy for their opponents, who were out-scored 792-134, which includes the play-offs. They also shutout six of their 10 regular season opponents.
It would seem that it's time for the NCAA to make provisions for moving the Mount Union football program from DIII to DII, a level of competition more worthy of the Purple Raider's talent level. DII has provisions and allowances for certain teams to compete in DI so there is precedent.
What might be the potential benefits or pitfalls from such a move? In an effort to maintain the level of competitiveness that alumni boosters have become used to, it could result in an increase in donations to the university's athletic department. Or, conversely, that same fan base may be so filled with angst at not being able to roll over their opposition as in years past that they may disengage from the school altogether. However, if you look at the listing of DII schools, there are some match-ups that would make any college football fan salivate. Worthy competition can be found in dozens of school like Abiline Christian, interstate rivals Central State and Ashland, Colorado State-Pueblo and many more.
It's time to bring competitive balance back to the University of Mount Union and reach for higher goals. They have the talent, alumni base, leadership, facilities, and fan support to thrive in an environment of increased competition. With great risks comes great rewards and the Purple Raiders are ready to meet that challenge and rise to the occasion.