Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Our friend Jeff Kolpack from The Forum recently spoke with Big Sky Commissioner Fullerton regarding possible expansion, amongst other things. It seems that there is some fear in regards to basketball scheduling with a 9 team league. He sees 10 being an option but 12 as perhaps the best fit. Schools that come to mind for a potential Big Sky expansion to 12 would be North Dakota St., South Dakota St., and North Dakota.
What is interesting is that this expansion is based around basketball and not football. This could mean that the regular Big Sky expansion candidates, football playing members, could see some new schools added to the list of potential candidates. Nobody would have thought of Denver as an option for the Big Sky without a football program, but if you're expanding to 12 for basketball, a school in your conference regions largest city could certainly help.
Another interesting issue is how the Big Sky has effected the Great West Football conference. Northern Colorado is already leaving for the Big Sky, bringing the GWFC membership to 5. If any other GWFC members were to join the Big Sky, there would be few options for the remaining GWFC members. One option could be for some to participate as "football-only members". For instance, it the Big Sky added NDSU and SDSU for all-sports and Denver for non-football sports, the league could bring in UC-Davis as a football only member, the 12th football member of the league.
In time we'll see how serious the Big Sky is about expanding. But with limited revenues to share, 10 teams would be more fitting for a second phase of expansion.
North Dakota St.
North Dakota (with D1 upgrade)
South Dakota St.
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