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New I-AA Conference?


Well-known member
I know it has been discussed on this board, but the schools are finally talking about a new conference. Article from the Fargo Forum:

NDSU, other orphans may form own league
By Jeff Kolpack
[email protected]
The Forum - 04/04/2003
Talks to create a new Division I-AA football conference to include North Dakota State University are expected to begin this spring.
NDSU Athletic Director Gene Taylor and University of Northern Colorado Athletic Director Jim Fallis say there is strong interest to form a seven-team football league.
It would include: NDSU; UNC; South Dakota State University, Southern Utah State College, Cedar City; University of California-Davis; Cal Poly-San Louis Obispo; and St. Mary’s College, Moraga, Calif.
The timing would be ideal for NDSU, SDSU, Cal-Davis and UNC, all in the process of moving to NCAA Division I. Southern Utah, Cal Poly and St. Mary’s are Division I-AA members who haven’t had success as independents. They have never made the playoffs.
Taylor and Fallis say they are targeting play to begin in 2004-05.
“We want to put together a conference call or a meeting, hopefully before the end of the school year,” Taylor said.
That does not mean NDSU would end its pursuit to enter the Big Sky Conference.
“If all of a sudden the Big Sky comes back this fall and says, ‘You’re in,’ then we have to take the best option available to us,” Taylor said.
But a new football league would allow for other sports to enter the Mid-Continent Conference. That league, which includes Southern Utah, does not have football.
Those in the Mid-Continent Conference include: Centenary College, Shreveport, La.; Chicago State University; Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis; University of Missouri-Kansas City; Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.; Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Okla.; Southern Utah; Valparaiso University, Indiana; and Western Illinois University, Macomb. “All options are still on the table,” said SDSU Athletic Director Fred Oien. “Nobody has told us ‘no.’”
Fallis acquired a copy of the Division I-AA Gateway Football Conference bylaws and said he would put together a list of rules and regulations.
“It makes sense for all of us,” Fallis said. “It would be stupid not to because we’re all going to be playing each other anyway.”
UNC will play an independent schedule this fall. Cal-Davis is a Division II independent that plays several I-AA opponents each year.
Cal Poly Athletic Director John McCutcheon says his school isn’t unhappy playing an independent schedule.
“But we would prefer to be in a league,” he said. “We always keep our options open in that area. If there is an interest from a group of schools, we would entertain those discussions.”
It would also help a school like Cal Poly gain a playoff bid as an automatic qualifier. Eight conferences are granted automatic qualifier status in the 16-team Division I-AA playoff field. The Patriot League in 1997 was the last conference to gain that acceptance.
If a new league is formed, however, it would probably take at least five years to gain automatic-qualifier status.
“Those are things we need to talk about,” Taylor said.
A conference needs at least six established Division I schools to immediately gain automatic-qualifier distinction. As for a potential name for the league, Fallis said, “That is the least of my worries right now. I just want to get this thing off the ground by 04-05.”
Allright fellas. Looks like they need help with a conference name. :lol: Lets see how creative we can get. (followed by a sinister laugh)
They are so damn spread out across the west that would be hell to travel to all the games.

The Teams Across the West Conference (TAWC)
I have to Travel so Far I only Sleep While I'm Driving Conference (TFSWDC)
The Frequent Flyer Conference (FFC)
The "Can't Wait to Transfer to Another Conference" Conference (CWTACC)
The Other Conference in the West Conference (OCWC)
The Big Sky Wannabes Conference (BSWC)
The Rodney Dangerfield Conference (RDC)
The Sun Belt Conference of 1-AA (SBCAA)
The "Thank Goodness we Don't Have Mike Kramer in our Conference" Conference (TGDHMKCC)
The We Made up our Own Conference so we Don't have to Play the Griz Every Year Conference (WMOCDPGEYC)
The it May be Last Place but We're not in Division II Anymore Conference (MLPWDIIAC) - Same as Idaho in 1-A
Is this another North Dakota joke? :eek: NDSU and SDSU in a mostly California conference? It sounds a lot like Idaho being in a Louisiana conference. I say go for it - just don't plan on your players attending classes fall semester - they'll be on the road about five days a week. The name of the conference should be: You Can't Get There From Here Conference!
If there's going to be a new western playoff conference, at least we won't necessarily get paired in the same region as a Southland team every year.

I don't think travel will be a huge issue. A poster has already said that UC-Davis is used to travel as an independent and in this conference they would be playing some familiar opponents.
California and the Dakotas? How about the Sushi and Wheat Atheletic Conference...oh SWAC is taken...

Ok, how about the: Flyover States and Tofu Conference?
As I read the newspapers article my first thought was how much this hodgepodge remined me of the Sunbelt conference. Looks like everyone had the same thought.

The barren rectangle conference?
I agree with you guys about the distances but if the Big Sky won't let us in we have to go somewhere. Also, the distances probably aren't too much more then Bozeman or Missoula to Sacramento or Flagstaff. I think this might be temporary to get a I-AA bid.

I have one other proposal that the future could bring up after NDSU and SDSU become full I-AA members. Let Sacramento State, Northern Arizona and Portland State go to this new conference and have NDSU, SDSU, and Northern Colorado join the Big Sky.
It would be nice to keep portland state. They have a good football team and the travel is very easy. However, I do think the big sigh conf. should put the squeeze on psu to start playing football in a stadium and not a baseball park. No Dak State might be nice come playoff time, assuming they can make the playoffs, becasue they have a great attendance average and a nice facility. As gate receipts count more and more in site selection, we might get two teams to host games.
I know there are big sky fans who take a "that's their problem" attitude about other western I-AA conferences, but if you ever want to see more western teams in the playoffs, more non conf. I-AA games in regular season, then it's a must.
If there was a windfall of sub I-A teams coming back into the fold in the next couple years, we could end up with enough teams for three or even four western conferences, then we might not have to travel to chattanooga, or tour the rust belt, for the championship.We could have the game in vegas, or sacramento, or seattle. Last I checked, there were 122 teams in I-AA, with only 12 in the West and only eight of those in conference-- that's weak.
I might agree. Maybe Weber St. could join this South Western conf. as S. Utah could become their rival and keep Porland St. in the more Northern Big Sky conf. Just a thought.

I agree with having the title game somewhere in the West. Even in Division II, the championship game is in Florence, Alabama. This is also quite the trip. It has been in Florence for 15+ years and only has big crowds if a southeastern team is in the game. I am sure Chattanooga is similar. A game in Las Vegas or Seattle or San Fransisco would be great.
Necessity is the mother of invention. This new conference is a good idea. It’s diversity is very intriguing. Without wholesale realignment you apparently have to make your friends where you find them.

I don't want to talk any smack so suffice it to say Im happy the BSC is so comfortable with their conference. But maybe its good to keep your cards close to the vest. There has been so much change in the BSC over the years that a proper period of time should pass before another move is made. Don't want to appear unstable. My guess is it's more likely school(s) will leave than come in.

This orphan conference should become an all sports conference with football or other “single sports only” members allowed. It is perfectly placed to catch any realignment changes that may occur in the future. Any opportunity to further balance travel expenses would be welcome by all members. But, none of these advantages of partnership can be realized unless the conference comes together now.

An earlier post suggested the focus of our leagues is in the east with the west only an after thought. This new league will certainly help raise the profile of the west.

A conference affiliation with these schools will help all members solve scheduling problems, fix travel costs and enjoy the advantages of working together for conference success.
OK, since we're trading teams now, I'll trade you the Montana State Bobcats for Northern Colorado!!! :lol:
A trade between the conferences might not be such a bad idea.

Consider that the old Big Sky Conference was entirely made up of major state schools in small communities with sizeable, loyal followings. Then they added Portland State, Sacramento State, and Northridge into the fold; all large urban commuter schools with very small followings. In that respect, those schools never fit well into the Big Sky, but NDSU, SDSU, and Northern Colorado all fit into the Big Sky mold. I wouldn't mind tossing out NAU since it has always been a headache to travel down there, and no one goes to their games. At least you won't ever see any lumberjack fans on this board.

But schools aren't going to just leave the Big Sky for a weaker league, so I guess we're stuck.
Here is my hope....and it is from a totally selfish perspective. I would love to see NDSU have home and homes with ISU, MSU, U of M, and Weber State. I don't care as much about the affiliation right now as we will not be elgible for playoffs for a few years. I am hoping that there are some games out here close to western Wyoming.

Frankly I believe that over the course of time as NDSU emerges in the D1AA world that the BSC will be where NDSU lands. It may take 5 years, but I am fairly confident that will be the outcome in the end. In the meantime it really does make a lot of sense to have some home and home scheduled with neighboring states that have D1AA teams. It really is great that Montana is our first D1AA game after the "big switch" last year. It adds a huge amount of excitement to the move to D1AA.
The Big Sky Conference is California's Bitch and I dont think NDSU should join until this is fixed. The new conference is better. I like the line bet on the future.
You're on crack. The new conference (which doesn't even exist yet) has three California teams, and no established I-AA powers. The Big Sky at least claims 5 national championships to its credit. You can have Sac State if you want 'em.
You guys have a charmingly overinflated opinion of yourselves. Now hurry up and ask Sac State and UNA what you should do. They run the league and you have a ring in your nose. Thats all I meant when I said the BSC was California's Bitch.

Im not sure any of the schools in the new conference have even been in the DIAA playoffs, but the last time you played NDSU for a national title you lost, so did Sac State and Portland State. 5 is good NDSU has 8 national football titles itself.

We are not a DIAA power, yet, because we dont play in DIAA yet. But we start very soon, and the Griz are first up. Enjoy this one, because its the last time you will ever have the scholarship advantage you will have this year.
How many of NDSU's national titles came after the NCAA created D-1AA, which for the most part is made up of former D-2 schools?