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NDSU to the Big Sky??? Maybe not.


Well-known member
My guess is that NDSU will get the Big Big Sky boot if Idaho drops back down to IAA. Location wise, I think Northern Co looks more attractive as well.

League presidents to discuss expansion

By JON KASPER of the Missoulian

Expansion will be topic of discussion Thursday when presidents and athletic directors of the eight Big Sky Conference schools meet with league officials in Salt Lake City.

Come Thursday evening, however, there won't be any new conference members.

"I don't think anything substantial will be decided,'' said Montana athletic director Wayne Hogan. "I don't hear a lot of support anywhere in the league for a quick decision on expansion. I'm not hearing it at all."

Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton believes the league will have a healthy conversation and develop strategies in preparation for a possible football classification shakeup.

"There are so many things beginning to come together,'' Fullerton said. "This meeting is to make sure the presidents and athletic directors understand what's coming up and what the possible scenarios are, what schools might become available.''

"I don't know that the presidents have gotten their arms around this like the athletic directors,'' Hogan said. "The presidents will be hearing a lot of things for the first time.''

The NCAA's new requirements for Division I-A football membership will be implemented in 2004, which could force some schools like Idaho to drop down to I-AA.

"We're going to look as a conference up, down, sideways, at all aspects of possible expansion,'' said Montana President George Dennison. "We're going to look at who the schools are and what the issues could be involving any of those potential schools.''

North Dakota State and South Dakota State, both Division II schools in the North Central Conference, have announced plans to move to Division I-AA for football and I-A for all other sports beginning in 2004. Both schools have expressed a desire to join the Big Sky, although neither school has formally applied for membership.

Fullerton said both schools will be discussed, but officials from the schools will not be at the meeting.

"I think the Big Sky presidents will have some contact with the Dakota schools,'' Fullerton said. "They won't leave them hanging, that's not their style. They will be honest with them about what we're thinking and about our timeline.''

Fullerton has expressed concerns in the past about the Dakota schools joining the league, citing the location of the schools. The transition period for schools moving up is also a concern. Those schools would not be eligible for postseason play in football for five seasons and would have a 13-year wait in basketball.

Dennison said he's entering the meeting with an open mind about expansion and the Dakota schools.

"There has been a history of competition there,'' Dennison said. "We need to look at facilities. We need to look at the institutions and how they fit. We need to look at transportation and all of the other kinds of issues in today's world. "

Fullerton said Northern Colorado and UC Davis will also be discussed. Northern Colorado, also a member of the NCC, is moving to I-AA for football this year.

UC Davis has eyed the Big West since it announced an interest in jumping to Division I. Davis students voted to approve the move through a fee-hike last fall, but a student court recently ruled the vote invalid because supporters didn't follow proper election procedures.

Fullerton is sure Idaho's situation will be a hot topic. Idaho left he Big Sky in 1996 and joined the Big West. When the Big West quit sponsoring football following the 2000 season, the Vandals joined the Sun Belt.

Idaho could have troubles meeting a new NCAA requirement of annually demonstrating an average attendance of 15,000 for five home games against I-A opponents. Idaho averaged just 10,931 fans per home game and played host to four I-A teams.

"Idaho has some tough decisions in front of them,'' Fullerton said. "I understand exactly the dilemma they find themselves in, wanting to maintain contact with Boise State in I-A. With the new rules, it will be even harder for them to maintain what they are trying to maintain.
I'm with you, Shaker. I don't think it's going to happen. Idaho and Northern Colorado make a lot more sense to me. What's with the loonnggg waiting periods? Five years for football to be eligible for the playoffs and 13 years for basketball seem excessive and for what good reason?
I read the article earlier today. Chances look pretty slim for a decision today. The Gateway is probably the next best option if the BSC doesn't work out. There are some teams in the Gateway area that may have to drop down also, Ball State, Kent etc.

The long waiting period in Basketball is due to the NCAA TV money.
Shakermaker said:
The transition period for schools moving up is also a concern. Those schools would not be eligible for postseason play in football for five seasons and would have a 13-year wait in basketball.

What in the hell is the thought process behind these time frames? I could understand a two year probationary period but, give me a break, 13 years? How in the hell can these schools ever recruit a decent player?

I can just hear the recruiting coach now "We would love for you to come play for us but since we have 13 years to wait to play in the post season, in your playing career you will never have a chance to play in any games after the regular season is over. But maybe your children would be able to come play for us when we are eligible for the post season."

That is insane, not only will they not be able to recruit good players but since they won't get any good players then their team will get worse and worse and we all know that winning teams are able to recruit better players. This is just a vicious downward spiral.

I understand that we are not concerned about the Griz having this problem but I am just trying to see it from the point of view of the teams that are moving up to 1-AA. I don't see these waiting periods as being a fair time frame.

I want to hear from someone who thinks these time frames are ok and please give me valid reasons why you think that way, not just "Its some other team, screw them!"
Northern Colorado has been pretty quiet since the announced they are going to I-AA football, I-A for everything else. I have heard also the meetings today are going to possibly have different teams for football then the other sports. I would think that most would not like this. This is one reason I did not want NDSU going to the Gateway conference. We would have to find a second conference for basketball and other sports.

Here is the article in the Fargo Forum today on the Expansion meetings.

BisonMav said:
The long waiting period in Basketball is due to the NCAA TV money.
NCAA is trying to crack down on all these schools moving up to division 1. NCAA TV money may be the reason here.

Rules going into affect in 2004 are also for the reason of reducing the movement up to 1A from 1AA and force some lower quality teams to move down. Money is definitely an issue here.

The more restrictions there are the less desirable for other schools to join. It is like an exclusive club where everybody gets an equal or pro-rated share of the money. Fewer members means more money for those that are in the club.

Football has a smaller wait period of 5 years. Division 1 is split into two divisions and there are so many restrictions that prohibit many teams from moving up.

In Basketball, there is only one division, sport is less costly, and tougher to apply some of the restrictions that they can in football to prohibit this movement upward from lower divisions. Creating a long wait period allows them to control the number of members into division 1, thus able to manage the number of members.

I believe the wait periods were set in place in early to mid '90s which was about the time where there were so many schools trying to move up to higher divisions. Could be wrong here.

Portland State moved up from division II to 1AA and joined the Big Sky around the same time. PSU only had to wait 2 years before being able to qualify for playoffs. I believe they received some kind of an exemption at the time. Not sure the reason why PSU had it's wait period reduced but don't think the 13 year wait period was in place very long then if at all.
Ok, I know money makes the world go 'round. But why punish the kids that go to that school just because the school wants to move up a division so they can get more money.

I know it would be a burden to the school but my suggestion would be to let the schools be eligible for post season play but not be eligible to split the tv money for 13 years. It means the school would have to shoulder the extra costs for travel costs because their team played well enough to make the post season but it would allow the kids to keep playing if they are good enough and it would allow the school to recruit better players.

Does anyone know if "post season play" means Big Sky tourney as well or just the NCAA tournament? I can't imagine that there is a ton of tv money for the Big Sky tournament.
I'm pretty sure Northern Colorado has it's eyes on the Mid-Continent Conference, so unless the BSC wants a football only member, they're not an option. Also, if Idaho is forced down, is it a guarantee they would want in the Big Sky?
I'm pretty sure Northern Colorado has it's eyes on the Mid-Continent Conference, so unless the BSC wants a football only member, they're not an option. Also, if Idaho is forced down, is it a guarantee they would want in the Big Sky?

Football is the only Division I sport that is split (I-A and I-AA). All other sports are just Division I. If they did split other sports (namely basketball) into a I-A and I-AA the financial repercussions would be felt for decades.

On another note, Portland State was admitted into the conference before the 13 year probationary period law came into effect. That came about I believe in 1998 after CBS paid all that money for March Madness.
cadwiz30 said:
Does anyone know if "post season play" means Big Sky tourney as well or just the NCAA tournament? I can't imagine that there is a ton of tv money for the Big Sky tournament.

Big Sky Tourney is sponsored by the conference so would fall under restrictions laid down by Conference. But since team wouldn't qualify for NCAA tournament, I would say Conference would follow NCAA rules.
I'm with cad...13 years is just plain stupid.
money or no i bet the whole money issue could get worked out before 13 years. And if they're using it as a tool to keep the #s of teams moving up to a minimum i think they can come up with better solutions such as certain requirements, ie attendance, etc.
The meeting today was not real positive for the NDSU Big Sky expansion effort. Here is a report from the Fargo Forum.


We might have to meet you guys from Montana from another conference in a non-conference game once we are I-AA. It is not dead yet but to get 6 of 8 current schools to vote for NDSU & SDSU is unlikely, in my opinion.
I figured this would get a rise out of some people. I'm just as perplexed about the move if they had to wait 13 years! Seems a bit much.
What about a 12 team conference with an East and West division? Four new member schools would be Idaho, Northern Colorado, NDSU & SDSU? Having a twelve team conference with two geographic divisions would cut the travel costs. I know in the Big 12 here, teams like Colorado and Nebraska play only a few of the southern schools on a rotating schedule. The Eastern division would consist of NDSU, SDSU, Northern Colorado, Montana, Montana State and either Idaho State or Weber State.

Just a thought.
This sounds good to me but I am not sure if a conference would like 12 teams. Would you have a West vs. East championship game to get the overall champion? This would add one game to the schedule and leave the remaining teams with a bye week if they happened to get into the playoffs.
An article of interest. Maybe. From the Great Falls Tribune. Just more of what we already know.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Big Sky conference officials who met Thursday to discuss expansion said North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University might want to think about moving to other conferences.
The result was not unexpected, said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor.

"What we would have liked for them to say is, 'Come out and join us,"' Taylor said. "But this is a process ... it's a political process as much as anything. The message I would like to convey to our fans is, let's not panic here."

The two universities would like to move their athletic programs from NCAA Division II, where they compete in the North Central Conference, to Division 1-AA.

Both had expressed an interest in moving to the Big Sky conference.

Following the closed meeting, the chair of the conference's president's council, Montana State University President Geoffrey Gamble, said a large portion of the meeting was devoted to expansion.

"There is interest by Big Sky members in expansion ... at the present time they don't anticipate expansion into the Dakotas," Gamble said.

Gamble said that geography played a "huge" role in the discussion of the Dakota schools.

Cal State Sacramento athletic director Terry Wanless has said that a flight from Sacramento to Fargo would take about seven hours.

Gamble said the conference would continue to examine NCAA conference regulations about expansion. He said officials had not made their final decision about any schools.

NorthwestMAI said:
TxGriz, I wasn't aware that Idaho had applied for admission to the BSC.

They didn't but when the new 1A restrictions come into place, don't be surprised to see them apply. Idaho would be admitted immediately upon receiving the application.
I was picking up on the previous discussion that Idaho could be coming back. To the best of my knowledge, Northern Colorado hasn't expressed any interest either, but there were previous comments about them as well in this or other threads so I just came up with a 'what-if' scenario based on that speculation, the issues at hand as I have come to understand them, and a possible solution in a 12 school conference, the way it is structured around this part of the country.