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Big Sky Expansion Rumor: Southern Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota

Oct
23
2010
By
Category: Big Sky Expansion & Realignment, Featured News

big sky logo Big Sky Expansion Rumor: Southern Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota

There’s been some chatter this week that the Big Sky could be expanding as soon as next week. At this time, this is completely unconfirmed. The specifics of the type of membership is unknown as well.

Southern Utah has long sought full membership in the Big Sky, to align themselves with nearby schools NAU and Weber St. With the defections of UC Davis and Cal Poly to the Big Sky for football, SUU has been left behind with only North Dakota and South Dakota.

SUU has long been considered the top option to replace any departing Big Sky schools such as Montana, who has been considering an upgrade to FBS and joining the WAC.

The situations with North Dakota and South Dakota make things more interesting.

Like with SUU, it is unknown if the Big Sky were to expand and include both schools, if they would be full-membership or football affiliate membership only.

It seems likely that IF this rumor becomes reality, that all three schools would be brought in for football only.

The total Big Sky football membership would grow to 14.

FBS conferences have no need to split into divisions as they cannot host a championship game and participate in the FCS playoffs. Divisions could exist to assist in travel and scheduling.

A potential 14 team breakdown could look like:

North: Portland St., EWU, Idaho St., Montana, Montana St., USD, UND
South: Sac St., Cal Poly, UC Davis, NAU, SUU, Weber St, NoCo

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  • http://openid.aol.com/KenXC KenXC

    Actually FCS schools can have a championship game & still play in the FCS playoffs, they just don't for a myriad of understandable reasons. If you have 12+ teams at any NCAA level, you can divide into divisions and stage a championship game that does not count as your 1 postseason opportunity.

    Let's say the CAA played their allotted championship game after expansion to ODU & GSU and look at the consequences:
    1) Short lead up time to promote a non-terminal game. (Likely one week for the higher seeded division champion to put everything together and for the lower seed to make travel arrangements).
    2) One of your top 2 (or nearly top 2) suffers an extra loss going into the playoffs, damaging seeding or at-large status.
    3) Compression of the league schedule so that the title game can be played before the tournament.
    4) With the new 20 team field, there's the potential of a double-bye for teams not in the championship, but recieving NCAA at-large bids. If the league expands to 13 (if, say, VCU adds football), you're looking at a potential triple-bye.

    Since it would also be unlikely to make a profit, there's just no incentive to play the game.

    The SWAC is a separate case. Since they have less than 12 teams, accepting a bid into their league championship game counts as a school's post-season opportunity, so even if they moved their championship to the week before the playoffs, the participating teams would be ineligible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07829911459870773896 Nathan Brice

    I would say North Dakota would be more likely with South Dakota already accepting membership in the Summit League. Southern Utah would be extremely likely to try for full membership with football being in the very unstable Great West and basketball being in the Summit. The Great West Conference's future is looking more and more bleak.

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