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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2004 2:13 pm 
As of right now, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, and Utah Valley State are in the process of joining D-I without any conference commitment (aside from Great West football). The Great West Football Conference is based in Cedar City, the site of (Mid-Con member) Southern Utah University, and is "administered" by the Mid-Continent Conference in an arrangement similar to deals that the Missouri Valley Conference has with both the Gateway Football Conference and the Pioneer Football League, but yet NDSU, UNC, and SDSU have not been tendered membership offers from the Mid-Continent Conference (at least not yet). While the presumption is that the Mid-Con would add "western" schools to accomodate Southern Utah in a two-division set-up, as time goes by, that prospect seems more and more unlikely, as does Big Sky membership.

Ever since 1994, when the Midwest Collegiate Conference (Horizon League) ensured its own survival by raiding the Mid-Con of its core membership (and the Mid-Con merged with the second incarnation of the East Coast Conference), the Mid-Continent Conference has been accurately portrayed as the "On-Continent Conference," with far-flung members in Alabama, Connecticut, Louisiana, New York, and Utah. While the Mid-Con currently extends to Utah, I'm not sure that's where its future lies, especially when you consider the circumstances under which Southern Utah was admitted.

After an initial honeymoon for the "new" Mid-Con in the mid-1990s, it began losing members for various reasons whether football (Buffalo, Eastern Illinois), regional (Central Connecticut State, Troy State), or "other" (Northeastern Illinois). The Mid-Con was losing members and needed more "established" members (i.e. schools with previous D-I experience) such as Oral Roberts and Southern Utah to retain its automatic bid to the NCAAs (ironically enough, despite all the turmoil and failure to meet 6/5 criteria, 1995 was the only year in which the Mid-Con had no automatic bid).

Fast forward a few years...the Mid-Con has lost only one member since 1997-1998 (Youngstown State) and was able to replace that school with another D-I program (Centenary). Additionally, IUPUI and Oakland, former newcomers to D-I, have 5-6 years at that level. For the first time since the early 1990s, the Mid-Con is actually in compliance with the 6/5 membership rule. My feeling is that as long as there are no serious hits to the core (midwestern) membership, there is no real reason for the Mid-Con to build around Southern Utah, when there is no real incentive for Southern Utah to stay in the conference if they will quickly accept any offer from a more georgraphically compact conference (granted, no such invite is forthcoming). As for building its "core," the Mid-Con should have long-term members in Centenary (Robert Parrish, national rankings in the 1970s) and Oral Roberts (national rankings in the 1970s, regional final appearance in 1974), schools with stellar basketball traditions, at least in comparison to the rest of the Mid-Con.

The Southland Conference, a good regional fit for both, is a football-driven entity of public schools. Centenary short-sightedly left the Atlantic Sun and that conference has now circled its wagons at Nashville. While not in traditional Mid-Con country, Centenary (Shreveport) and Oral Roberts (Tulsa) are in mid-major markets located in the Central Time Zone, and could be an integral "southwestern flank" on the Mid-Con of tomorrow (Kansas City, Shreveport, Tulsa).

With Centenary and Oral Roberts as part of the Mid-Con core, that brings "core" membership to eight schools. Add IUPU-Fort Wayne and that number becomes nine. Add a demoted MAC school (e.g. Akron, Eastern Michigan, Kent) or a D-I upgrade (e.g. Northern Kentucky) and that number becomes ten, plus Southern Utah. I don't see any of the Mid-Con "core" going anywhere barring a drastic realignment that would leave the Horizon or Missouri Valley looking for replacements. If Valparaiso were headed for the Horizon League, it seems like they would already be there, and would have been admitted before basketball doormat Youngstown State.

If the Mid-Con does not expand west, then what happens to the Great West schools and UVSC? Why not just form their own conference and wait for this new conference to receive its own automatic bid (unless members depart for greener pastures before that becomes possible)...

Great West Conference (aka "American West II"):

North Dakota State
Northern Colorado
South Dakota State
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Texas-Pan American

That makes for a core of 6 basketball programs that are currently D-I independents or uncommited schools transitioning to D-I. Granted, there are still significant distances, but what do these schools have to lose? Perhaps if the core were to become solidified, it would be an attractive option for Denver, Southern Utah, or future D-I upgrades.

The Big South and Mid-Continent Conference began this way...there were no automatic bids for the first few years, but ultimately, these misfit conferences attained a (rightful?) place amongst the other one-bid conferences. Granted, a chain reaction of realigments could kill such a conference (this is what happened when American West Conference 1994-1996, was pillaged by the Big Sky and the Big West), but honestly if no other offers are currently evident and/or forthcoming, what is there to lose? The fact that none of the "NCC 3" (NDSU, UNC, SDSU) have neither Big Sky or Mid-Con memberships at this point makes me wonder why that situation would change, barring a major trickle-down in the realignment process (any such invites would have killed the GWFC before it ever got off the ground). While waiting, why not?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2004 2:27 pm 
Looks like forgot to list Utah Valley State...

"Great West" Conference

North Dakota State/South Dakota State
Northern Colorado/Utah Valley State
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/Texas-Pan American

I forgot to mention that the American South Conference (1987-1991) was another such "starter" conference (i.e. no automatic bid), but obviously under circumstances different than those of the Big South and Mid-Con. Like East Coast Conference II (1993-1994), the American South Conference was merged into a more established conference (Sun Belt) and its schools acquired the much-desired automatic bid. Additionally, in looking back on previous periods of extensive realignment, it seems as though the 6/5 rule was more or less disregarded, with certain conferences (e.g. MAAC, WAC) never actually losing an automatic bid. The Patriot League had an automatic NCAA bid in its first year of existence despite 6/5 non-compliance (granted the PL was forced into one of the three 1991 pre-tournament play-in games).


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 12:06 pm 
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Your theories are well thought out and well presented. There is no arguing with your geography premise. However if the Big Sky and/or Mid-Con are looking to improve their Basketball "lot in life" then the addition of South Dakota State University makes perfect sense.

SDSU is the flag ship school in South Dakota, it is well funded, well supported, and would be an asset on the hard wood.

This is even more the case now that the NCAA is decreasing the amount of time that we will not be playoff eligible from 13 years to 5 years.

http://collegesportsinfo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1564

This is also the reason that a Great West All Sports Conf. will not form, because we would be back to a 13 year wait.

I offer up the Massey Rating as proof to why the Big Sky and/or Mid-Con will want to add SDSU to their fold.

http://www.masseyratings.com/rate/cb-m.htm

As you can see, SDSU comes in at 171. Above many of the current members of both conferences. It is also above all the teams mentioned in Ruiner's post, except for Kent, as possible additional members. If Kent is interested in joining the Mid-Con, I think they need to jump on that. It would be a great addition. If not, well then we are back to looking at SDSU and the rest.

171 SDSU
189 Centenary
190 UMKC
193 Akron
194 Weber St.
208 N. Arizona
218 Oakland
221 E. Michigan
229 Chicago St.
233 Sac State
254 Montana St.
276 Idaho St.
281 Portland St.
291 Southern Utah
292 Montana
394 N. Kentucky
507 IUPU Ft. Wayne
578 Western Ill.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:38 am 
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My pal JBNJBQ went to the trouble of using Massey to see how the Women would have done in the Big Sky and Mid-Con (although not in the same format as my post above I think the info is interesting) on the SDSU board:

http://diaafootball.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=sdsubb;action=display;num=1082690587

JBNJBQ wrote:

Here's how our women's team rates against the Mid Continent Conference and Big Sky Conference teams, according to the Massey Ratings.

Mid Continent:

1. SDSU 94
2. Western Ill 97
3. Valpo 108
4. Oakland 134
5. UMKC 145
6. Oral Roberts 154
7. Southern Utah 158
8. IUPUI 308
9. Chicago ST. 359
10. Centenary 455



Big Sky:


1. Montana 46
2. SDSU 94
3. Idaho St. 100
4. Weber St. 122
5. Montana St. 207
6. Eastern Wash 209
7. Northern Az. 226
8. Portland St. 361
9. Sac St. 592

http://www.masseyratings.com/rate/cbw-m.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:24 pm 
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While a formal conference isn't in the works, an "affiliation" amongst the following schools is in the works:

NDSU
SDSU
UNC
Texas Corpus Cristi
Texas Pan Am
Utah Valley State
Ft. Wayne

It was a news feature on one of the Fargo, ND (NDSU) stations a week or two ago. Basically, it's an agreement for the independent schools to help fill out the basketball schedule for the next couple of years.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:57 pm 
Seriously, if those Big Sky/Mid-Con invites aren't forthcoming (I personally don't think they are) they should get the train rolling as soon as possible...they could be waiting for a long time...the Big Sky/Mid-Con can only reasonably grow so large and neither conference features "upwardly mobile programs" with the possible exception of (overrated) Valpo...


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:04 pm 
For example...the last time the Big Sky expanded, they passed on (D-I) Southern Utah and Portland State upgraded to D-II...use the fallacious "Buffalo to the MAC" argument if you want, but it doesn't appear as those PSU has been paying its expected dividends...SUU saw the American West dissolve with two California schools going to the Big Sky and then had to wait for an invite from an equally desperate Mid-Con, even though they had been D-I for at least five years before their American West California brethren(sp): CS-Northridge, CS-Sacramento, Cal Poly, but that didn't matter to the Big Sky or the Big West...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:49 am 
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Quote:
Seriously, if those Big Sky/Mid-Con invites aren't forthcoming (I personally don't think they are) they should get the train rolling as soon as possible...they could be waiting for a long time...the Big Sky/Mid-Con can only reasonably grow so large and neither conference features "upwardly mobile programs" with the possible exception of (overrated) Valpo...


I hear what you are saying. Personally think the Mid-Con will go to 12 members and go to an East/West divisional format (currently at 9 members). The Big Sky wants to go to 10, but may also go to a 12 member conference with a divisional format (currently 8 members).

Also from the Big Sky you have Sac-State talking about leaving to join the Big West and Great West (football only) as a cost cutting messure.

No need for NDSU and SDSU to panic just yet. The process is just now getting started. We also have other possobilities beyond the Big Sky or Mid-Con. Those two are just the most likely. We may have to agree to disagree. I am VERY confident that SDSU and NDSU will find a home in an existing conference with an Auto bid.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 11:48 pm 
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Just joined this board after lurking for far too long . . .

I just posted in a WAC Realignment thread the completely crazy idea that by 2020 NDSU, SDSU, UNC, UND, Montana, and Montana State might just wind up as the Eastern division of the WAC.

Who knows? All of those schools might eventually fit far better in the WAC than they do in the Mid-Con (or the Big Sky, for that matter) in the long run.

WAC West (2020)
Hawaii
Nevada
Boise St.
Idaho
Utah State
New Mexico State

WAC East (2020)
Montana
Montana State
Northern Colorado
South Dakota State
North Dakota State
North Dakota


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 1:17 pm 
The monkey wrench in all of this is if Sacramento State leaves the Big Sky for the Big West (playing football-only in the Great West). If the Big Sky responds by enticing Southern Utah from the Mid-Con, it sends a clear message that they don't want the Dakota and Colorado schools. At this point, they would have no choice but to form their own leage, meaning turn this Great west football concept into an all-sports conference. IPFW could take Southern Utah's spot in the Mid-Con. That leaves:

- North Dakota State *
- South Dakota State *
- Northern Colorado *
- Denver (from Sun Belt - they almost HAVE to leave)
- Texas-Pan American (current independent)
- TAMU-Corpus Christi (current independent)
- Utah Valley (also moving up in coming years)
- [football-only: Cal Poly *, UC Davis *, and Sacramento State *]

Since none of these schools (except Denver) have any hope of NCAA bids in basketball or other sports due to NCAA status or independence right now anyway, the waiting period shouldn't matter. They will be better off in a conference than not in a conference. A commitment to pave their own way in Division I should really pay off for these schools in the long run.


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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 4:25 pm 
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Can't see it because the Big Sky will not take SUU. It is clear to me that the Big Sky feels that SUU lacks a commitment to Athletics and Academics.

The Mid-Con has stated that a goal of the Conference is to send more then one member to the NCAA Men's Basketball tourney. IUPU Ft. Wayne does not help them in that category. They have a massey rating of 507 and went 3-25 last year.

The Dakota schools will get into either the Big Sky or Mid-Con before either one of these scenarios happens, IMHO. The only way they work is geograpically and that is not enough.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:24 am 
Hmmm ... so if Sacramento State decides to go Big West (with Great West football) and the Big Sky only has 7 teams left, it would prefer to sit at that shaky number instead of adding Southern Utah, an established team in its geographical area which would improve its "travel partner" situation (closer to NAU than any current member)? That is some serious stubborn pride right there.

Now, of course, the Big Sky could wise up in this scenario by adding North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and Northern Colorado ... getting back to a safer number of 10 members. That means Southern Utah stays in the Mid-Con, which "might" be inclined to pick up Denver to bridge its Mountain Zone gap at that point. UTPA, TAMUCC, IPFW, and UVSU get stuck as independents.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 4:08 pm 
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Quote:
Hmmm ... so if Sacramento State decides to go Big West (with Great West football) and the Big Sky only has 7 teams left, it would prefer to sit at that shaky number instead of adding Southern Utah, an established team in its geographical area which would improve its "travel partner" situation (closer to NAU than any current member)? That is some serious stubborn pride right there.

Now, of course, the Big Sky could wise up in this scenario by adding North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and Northern Colorado ... getting back to a safer number of 10 members. That means Southern Utah stays in the Mid-Con, which "might" be inclined to pick up Denver to bridge its Mountain Zone gap at that point. UTPA, TAMUCC, IPFW, and UVSU get stuck as independents.


Or, the Big Sky Picks up Southern Utah, NDSU, and SDSU. The Mid-Con Picks up both Northern Colorado and Denver. Northern Colorado has stated that they have no interest in the Big Sky because, besides football, they are a baseball school. The Mid-Con is UNC's first choice.

So many things could still happen. The one thing I am sure of is that SDSU and NDSU will find a home with one of the est. conferences.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 8:10 pm 

Quote:

So many things could still happen. The one thing I am sure of is that SDSU and NDSU will find a home with one of the est. conferences.


I admire your confidence, but I think you'll be disappointed. The best chance for any Dakota school be invited to an established conference is when the Big East breaks up into FB and BB conferences four or five years. The ripple effect on the Atlantic 10, Horizon, and the MidCon might create opportunities for you, but the current situation looks bleak. If college sports competed in the summer, you'd stand a better chance, but nobody wants to go to Mitchell S.D. in the winter. Travel must be horribly expensive. What are the chances that any discount airline flies anywhere into South Dakota?

If Idaho gets in the WAC, the Big Sky will be calling for Southern Utah. In three or four years when La Tech has finally left the WAC, the WAC will be courting Cal Poly or Cal-Davis to move to I-A. The Great West Conference for football will then lose its auto-bid. If there are other Div II schools that would move up now, maybe it could be saved.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:24 pm 
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I have talked the Mid-Con/Big Sky thing to death on a couple of other threads. They are the most likely homes for the Dakota State Universities. As far as Airfare goes, one would want to fly into Sioux Falls, SD. 45 minutes south of Brookings (Home of SDSU) or Brookings. Flying to Mitchell would only get you a view of the Corn Palace.

Sioux Falls is currently served by United, American, Northwest, and Delta is starting service in late July. Joe Foss Field is also in the process of courting several low cost providers. It sounds like they are possibly going to land two.

http://diaafootball.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=sdsuetc;action=display;num=1081951425

As far as the winter thing goes, South Dakota is no better or worse then Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Montana, etc. and those states seem to do ok with College athletics at the D-I level (Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wyoming, Montana, Montana St.). I think we will be ok. Butler has already contracted for a home and home that will bring the Bulldogs to Frost Arena (Home of the Jackrabbits) during the '05-'06 season. Time will tell who is correct on this one, but I still feel good! ;D



Last edited by 89rabbit on Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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