The Midwest Professional Basketball Association was founded in the summer of 2014 by native St. Louis businessman C. Edward “Ed” Schumer as a way to help reinvent the minor league basketball landscape in the United States.
Schumer served for more than twenty years as an NCAA basketball official in the Big 8 and Missouri Valley Conferences, and was selected to work three NCAA tournaments, as well as numerous National Invitation Tournaments. He has also served as the commissioner of an NAIA Division I conference.
Schumer looks forward to being a positive influence in the often-tumultuous minor league basketball landscape.
"Our plan is to enable others to follow their passions and make a difference in their communities,” says Schumer.
That plan is reflected in the league's mission statement:
The Midwest Professional Basketball Association believes in the pursuit of dreams and in the nurturing of passions--in life, in sports, and in business. The MPBA also believes when like-minded people come together to be a part of something bigger than themselves, not only can they accomplish great things, they can create for others meaningful, genuine opportunities to develop their talents and enrich their lives.
“We are going to give all our teams the tools necessary to build a successful operation both on and off the court. And we are committed to providing the opportunity for post-collegiate basketball players to continue the pursuit of their dream to play professional basketball. By accomplishing these goals, we will grow the MPBA as the preeminent minor league basketball league in the country,” says Schumer.
The MPBA begins its inaugural season in January 2015 with six teams—two each in Chicago and St. Louis, and one in Champaign, Illinois, and one in Bloomington, Illinois. The MPBA also has a blueprint for expansion, but “…[W]e’re going to keep the number of teams we ultimately envision under our hat for now,” Schumer says.
The MPBA front office is unique in the minor league basketball landscape, with veterans of the professional, collegiate and international game, and administrative staff that bring vast business, communications and technical expertise.
“I believe a staff with this much combined talent and experience simply has not existed in minor league basketball in America—until now,” Schumer says.
“You won’t find a front office with this much ability until you get into the highest levels of collegiate and professional sports,” Schumer continued.
The expectation of the MPBA is to bring to fans exciting games in a fair, competitive league, with players that see basketball as their career, not just a hobby.
“Players need a place to further develop their skills, and they need a league that’s going to give them credible officiating, professional statistics, and quality game film, as well as the connections to allow them to further their careers,” says Craig Fata, the MPBA’s Vice President and Director of Communications and Compliance. “And we’ve got the systems in place for those things to happen.”
The vision for the MPBA is lofty, but achievable:
“We’re going to redefine the space,” Schumer says.
The Midwest Professional Basketball Association – welcome to the future of minor league basketball.