I think you're right about North Dakota.
They were almost in the Summit this summer, but hte issue was MVFC membership for their FB team.
Nebraska-Omaha needs a FB home, and the only way their move-up works, is if they got a slot in the MVFC
(I suppose theoretically, they could become an associate FB member of the Big Sky, but that is rather messy).
If the MVFC expands, one would think they would go from 10 to 12.
(They wouldn't take North Dakota this summer, since that would have stuck them at 11).
I have to think North Dakota and UNO make for a Summit / MVFC pair.
Who would be Summit #12 ?
Dunno - but we're talking a school w/o football.
Summit (Mid-con actually) kicked out Chicago State for various pending violations about 3 years ago.
They may have gotten new AD, and fixed some of their problems, but I'm skeptical.
I live in St. Louis, but have heard no rumblings about UMSL to D-1.
St. Louis would be a nice market for the Summit to add, to go with KC and Omaha.
Maybe the Summit will address #12 AFTER they invite North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha.
It would seem that if the Summit is talking to UNO officially...then a MVFC spot must be in the works as well. No reason to get UNO if they have problems on the football side without a conference.
So that probably means UND would be a go for the Summit/MVFC combo as well.
On top of that, Big Sky commish Fullerton has said that if UND leaves before joining, there is no penalty/fine. Seems you onyl bring that up if there is a good chance the school mentioned is in fact considering a move. If UND leaves, the Big Sky is back to 10 all-sports members in a better footprint and 12 for football. Right now they are slated to be 11/13...ouch. At the time, it appeared USD would join as well but as we know, they passed. It also appeared that the Big Sky could lose schools to the WAC...they didn't though. All of a sudden, UND leaving the Big Sky could be a positive for that conference.
The only darkhorse move I could see would be if somehow the Big Sky went after UNO. It would give them 12 all-sports members and 14 for football. But really, do they need to expand so far east. It's one of the biggest conference footprints with UND to EWU to PSU to Sac St, south to Cal Poly for football and into Arizona...just too much travel. Remove UND (and UNo to SL) and everyone is happy.