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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 9:24 am 
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I agree that from a geographic stand point the UNC/SUU thing makes sense, however there are other issues that I won't go into at this time.

If in fact that does happen this would be great news for our resident TAMCC fan "lurker down South" because I think you would see the Mid-Con pick up SDSU, NDSU, TAMCC, and UT Pan American. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 9:11 pm 
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I just hope the Big Sky picks the right teams so they can move to 1-A in the future. Then they can get Idaho back and 1 more for a championship game.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:10 pm 
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If I-A is the goal then you better go with the flagship schools and their bigger stadiums and followings.

NDSU - Fargo Dome Cap. 18,700, Only D-I school in the state - statewide following

SDSU - Coughlin-Alumni Stadium Cap. 16,000, Only D-I school in the state - statewide following

SUU - Eccles Coliseum Cap. 8,500, One of 7 D-I schools in the state

UNC - Nottingham Field Cap. 6,500, One of 5 D-I schools in the state




Last edited by 89rabbit on Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:45 pm 
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Quote:
If I-A is the goal then you better go with the flagship schools and their bigger stadiums and followings.

NDSU - Fargo Dome Cap. 19,000, Only D-I school in the state - statewide following

SDSU - Coughlin-Alumni Stadium Cap. 16,000, Only D-I school in the state - statewide following

SUU - Eccles Coliseum Cap. 8,500, One of 7 D-I schools in the state

UNC - Nottingham Field Cap. 6,500, One of 5 D-I schools in the state




Then hope to god they pick ndsu and sdsu of course they belong in the big sky.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 12:19 am 
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More news from the Big Sky. Here are excerpts from Chris Solari's story from today's Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

http://www.argusleader.com/sports/Saturdayarticle2.shtml

Door to Big Sky still open for Jacks
Chris Solari
Argus Leader

published: 7/24/2004

School presidents to discuss expansion at Aug. 9 meeting

South Dakota State is back in the sights of the Big Sky Conference.

When the league held its preseason football meeting Monday in Flagstaff, Ariz., Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton said the Aug. 9 conference presidents' meeting will focus on expansion, specifically mentioning four schools including SDSU. . . .

Those words are a distinct reverse in course from what the the Big Sky's presidents said in February 2003, the last time they met to talk about expansion. SDSU and North Dakota State jointly approached the Big Sky about membership last year, at which time Montana State President Geoffrey Gamble arranged that meeting.

Afterward, Gamble said, "The door isn't completely closed." But he also admitted that the idea of additional travel into the Dakotas made some of the league's top brass leery, and the leaders told SDSU and NDSU to look elsewhere for conference affiliation in their ascent to Division I.

"From my perspective, the Dakota schools have always been in the packages I've been interested in," Gamble said Friday.

"Part of what I hoped is that my colleagues would get to the point where they wanted to discuss expansion, and that's the point we're at now."

The Aug. 9 meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. MDT in Salt Lake City. Dusty Clements, assistant commissioner for the Big Sky, said that it should last a few hours.

"It certainly would say that we're on their radar screen," SDSU athletic director Fred Oien said.

That radar didn't pick up SDSU last year for one major reason - geography. At that time, the Big Sky presidents felt the increased travel costs involved with adding the two Dakota schools made them unlikely targets for expansion. The presidents felt then that if expansion happened, it would be to the west.

Travel distance is certainly a topic that Gamble and his comrades will again discuss heavily this time. He said that SDSU President Peggy Miller and her NDSU counterpart Joseph Chapman have been working to allay some of those concerns.

"My perception is that my colleagues are more interested in seriously looking into expansion now than they were eight or nine months ago," Gamble said. . . .

One of the many rumors surrounding the Big Sky was that the conference was targeting former member Idaho for expansion if the Vandals returned to I-AA from I-A. Idaho recently accepted membership into the Western Athletic Conference, a league which plays I-A football.

Another rumor is that the entire league could potentially leave the Division I-AA football ranks for the big-time of I-A. The Big Sky presidents will also likely touch on that in Salt Lake City, Clements said.

"I think that will be discussed because (the presidents) will all be in a room at the same time, and that doesn't happen that often," Clements said.

Gamble said he doesn't expect the Big Sky to ask any schools to join at that time, but he admits that if six of the league's eight presidents vote yes that they could extend a membership offer that day. That is the required number of votes to make such a decision. . . .

The presidents of the Mid-Continent Conference, the other league mentioned as a potential home for SDSU, met earlier this month and said they would continue to look at expansion. . . .


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:36 pm 
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SDSU and NDSU belong here. Hopefully North Dakota as well as South Dakota join the Big Sky in 5 years.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:51 pm 
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Contradictions cannot exist in nature. When faced with an apparent contradiction, one should check their premises; they will usually find that one or more of them are wrong.

Considering that truism, it was interesting to hear Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton contradict himself during his annual address in Park City this past week.


Everything is fine - never better, in fact - when it comes to both Division I-AA football and the Big Sky's position in it, he said. But then he said things must change to erase the stigma of the I-AA label.

Mr. Fullerton, I suggest you check your premises.

Division I-AA is doing quite well, as is the Big Sky. Last season ushered in a banner year in terms of televised games - the Big Sky had 28 alone - and interest in the sport. It came as somewhat of a surprise to pundits, who believed the defections of top I-AA teams to the I-A ranks would eventually water down the product.

Nor should last season count as an aberration. All signs point to continued growth for I-AA in the television market, including having both semifinal games of the Division I-AA Championship shown on ESPN this upcoming season. As for the Big Sky, the progress goes deeper than three berths in last season's playoffs; Montana averaged more than 24,000 fans a game last year, ISU's Jared Allen won the Buck Buchanan award, Northern Arizona's Jason Murietta emerged as one of the best young players in I-AA, and both Allen and Montana cornerback Joey Thomas were picked in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft.

Off the field, everything seems to be on the up-and-up as well. Fullerton said more than 70-percent of graduating athletes from the conference did so with better than a 3.0 grade point average, a sign that academics hasn't totally lost out to athletics yet.

"We're big enough to do things better than others can, but we're small enough to do it right," said Fullerton, with the smile of a proud papa.

But Fullerton also spent most of his speech explaining how he and his cohorts are in the process of trying to lose the I-AA distinction, referring to it as a "stigma."

"We are Division I in every way," he said. "AA reminds you of a high school division. The only thing that separates us is 20 scholarships and three or four coaches. We're not as deep, but we've got as good of players."


Fullerton explained I-AA was going to attempt to "brand" itself with a more positive image, namely by renaming the I-AA playoffs "The NCAA Football Division I Championships."

That's not marketing; that's a shell game.

But Fullerton is not alone. There seems to be a push within the I-AA world to try and convince everyone there's no difference between it and I-A, even though it's a laughable effort. But what's more troubling than the epidemic of myopia that has riddled men like Fullerton is what his tunnel vision is leaving out; namely, all of the things that make I-AA great.

Take a look at I-A football these days; it's a total mess. Money has corrupted every athletic ideal, with university presidents reduced to nothing more than opportunistic beggars. Most coaches won't even tolerate the façade of academic adequacy on their teams, since it's clearly no longer a priority. And the players, supposedly the center of the collegiate athletic experience, have been reduced to mere pieces of property in a high-stakes game of Monopoly.


None of this is the case with I-AA, or at least most of it is not. Fans of Idaho State or Montana can support their program without feeling like they need to take a shower every five minutes. They can go to a game and root for players who are likely going to graduate with a GPA higher than their IQ. They can, in essence, enjoy themselves completely.

Indeed, contradictions cannot exist. Fullerton's underlying premise - that the I-AA moniker is a stigma - is what makes his argument invalid.

In fact, it's puzzling that Fullerton doesn't see the I-AA label as a point of pride.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 4:09 pm 
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http://www.journalnet.com/articles/2004/07/24/sports/sports02.txt

Doug Fullerton suggested earlier this week that one day the Big Sky Conference football teams would make fine candidates to graduate, en masse, to Division I-A.

The conference commissioner theorized that were the NCAA to relax its intentions of requiring I-A programs to average 15,000 fans per home game, yet still require its teams to play five I-A opponents at home, then the possibility exists the Big Sky could make the jump.


In that case, Big Sky teams' best commodity would be the same as a Hollywood extra's - availability. The Sky could fill schedules west of Minneapolis, littering the better half of the Mississippi with its particular brand of tofu football. Add Big Sky football to your schedule. We're meatier than other cupcakes and the taste, simply put, is pure victory.

Of course, Fullerton said the money would need to work out. If it did ...

"We're the No. 1 group ready to fill that void," said the commish, who added it'll be four years before we know anything certain.

It got me thinking: Could Big Sky football play big time? I mean, could Sacramento State represent against, say, Southern California? Could Montana State show up against a Missouri? Would Idaho State have what it takes to hamper Iowa?

The easy answers are Sacramento State would make a valid representation of a Jackson Pollock painting after being run over by USC; Montana State could show up with artillery and not handle Missouri, and Iowa would most definitely put a damper on ISU's efforts to hamper the Hawkeyes.

But progress takes time. Big Sky football currently features its strongest lineup of coaches - top to bottom - in recent history. There's plenty of big-time backgrounds and forward-thinking minds to go around. Certainly, they'd figure it out. Eureka! With these 20 extra scholarships I can stabilize cold fusion, save Venice from sinking and defend the Air Force option!

Of course, Montana's the closest thing to I-A football currently offered by the Big Sky. The Griz beat Idaho by 13 last year. They set a conference record by spinning the turnstiles 24,000 times per home game in 2003. Conversely, they fired the athletic director who sent them reeling into the red, the state doesn't issue multi-year contracts to coaches and they won only nine times in 2003, breaking a string of three-straight seasons with double-digit wins. They're fallible at their current level. How's it going to play when the money's riskier, the coaches expect more and Wyoming - with former Griz coach Joe Glenn at the helm - delivers Montana into its first double-digit loss season since 1958? Gentlemen, we were once the paragon of I-AA football, now we're broke, bad and ... not again. Has anybody seen my car keys?

Yes, the Big Sky has a future in I-A football. It's a future not unlike a cricket's in a tarantula's cage.

Is it something to think about? Dreaming's good. Is it something to hope for? You'll get a no here.

What's wrong with the niche the conference already carved for itself. Big Sky football is exciting football delivered to finicky audiences at funky times in far-out places.

Is it grandma, fireworks and apple pie? Hardly.

It's more Crazy Uncle Carl, lawn sprinklers and corned beef hash.

Just the way we like it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 12:37 pm 
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Um, Mr. God ;D , please post a link to that "contradictions" article, no matter how rose-colored the glasses of that writer are.

Expansion undermines the Great West, making it more difficult for the potentially lucrative Sacramento market (represented by Sac State) to bolt to it (the target not really being the Great West, but the Big West for other sports). In turn, that keeps Portland State from deciding that the mounting debt and "non-mounting" cash flow to the AD is no longer worth it... which kind of undermines how happy the Big Sky clan is, anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 6:44 pm 
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thats a great pt about the instability of the GWFC. The Dakota schools have reserved the right to move from the first meeting though.

If they arent invited to the BSC the GWFC should have a nice future. It seems likely the Mid Con option would ripen, after all they are managing the GWFC.

If the Dakota schools get into the BSC there may be more moves by other schools further realigning the west and midwest.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:39 am 
Being IA doesn't mean you are to play BCS caliper IA teams every week.

A IA Big Sky would offer 7 IA games, sprinkled by an occassional Cal, and other IA indies out west or in the GWFC.

The scenario being envisioned would move the NCAA to two divisions, like it was before '76, before 80% of you were born.

Many of these teams are already playing IA opponents. Sac is playing Nevada in '04, Cal in '05 and played OSU in '03. Same with UM and Idaho, etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:35 pm 
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On another thread, I think Joedadi has it right. The NCAA is going to enforce 15,000 for schools moving up, but will never (or, IMO, very sparingly) enforce it for schools already there. That'll send the 1-AA.com editor into facial colors heretofore not achieved by man, but even the BCS folks realize that it may be better to have less schools threatened with closing down football (the consequences otherwise could include less high schoolers enticed by shrinking numbers of scholarships).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 12:17 am 
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Highlights from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

http://www.argusleader.com/sports/Mondayarticle1.shtml

SDSU waiting to hear about Big Sky's plans
Chris Solari
Argus Leader

published: 8/9/2004

Conference presidents meet today with expansion on the table and Jackrabbits on their minds

Depending on who you ask, today's meeting of Big Sky Conference presidents could be another instance of ongoing discussions about expansion or the league could be ready to pounce.

"I think this is going to be a meeting in which we are going to focus sharply and narrowly on the issues of either fishing or cutting bait," said George Dennison, the president of the University of Montana. "We'll probably be doing some fishing."

Four fish are on the hook, according to conference commissioner Doug Fullerton: South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado and Southern Utah.

Though SDSU will have no direct input into the meeting, it's the outcome that the Jackrabbits are interested in.

"We do know the presidents are meeting, and hopefully we can get some feedback from them on which way they're going to move in their conference," SDSU Athletic Director Fred Oien said.

Today's meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. MDT in Salt Lake City.

"Our expansion discussion is an ongoing one," Fullerton said. "The most I would see coming out of this is a request for me to do more due diligence, to find out more about some schools. That would be the best I could see. I don't think we're ready to expand tomorrow."

SDSU and NDSU approached the Big Sky in February 2003 about joining the league, when SDSU was just exploring the idea of moving to Division I. At that time, travel distance was a primary concern of the presidents, and they told the two Dakota schools to continue their conference search elsewhere.

Since then, Idaho - considered one of the Big Sky's prime targets if it happened to drop from Division I-A to I-AA in football - joined the Western Athletic Conference.

One of the main reasons the league is looking at adding members is to retain automatic berths in NCAA tournaments, especially the financially lucrative men's basketball event. Conferences must have seven members to get an automatic bid, and the Big Sky currently has eight.

"We thought it was important, or at least some people thought it was important, to let things settle out (with other conferences) before we went ahead," Dennison said. "It's always been clear we could use one to three more members to hedge against that lower limit to qualify for tournaments, basketball specifically." . . .

Their is still a possibility that the Big Sky could move from I-AA in football to I-A en masse, Fullerton said. He sees that move being the only reason for the Big Sky to think about expanding to 12 teams. At that point, the league could split into two divisions and have a conference title game to earn a top bowl bid. Teams in I-AA earn their spots in a 16-team playoff. . . .

The Big Sky presidents have maintained all along that the academic profile of both SDSU and NDSU fits the league. The added costs of travel to Brookings and Fargo have been major questions, though Fullerton admits that it's neither easy to get to Flagstaff nor inexpensive to fly to Bozeman, Mont.

"The landscape has changed, and that pushed the presidents a bit," Fullerton said. "Some people on the fence may be slipping into another column right now."

Until then, the folks in Brookings continue to do what they have for months - with both the Big Sky and the Mid-Continent Conference.

Said Oien: "We're anxiously awaiting feedback of which way they decide to go."


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:18 pm 
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Article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press regarding Big Sky expansion: (Might need to register to site to view article)

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/9358652.htm

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:47 pm 
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Here is the offical press release from today's Big Sky meetings. Good news for NDSU and SDSU as now we have a process and timeline. ;D

http://www.bigskyconf.com/article.asp?articleid=58932


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