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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 12:49 am 
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Looks like the old one was closed down so, I thought I would start a new one.

Highlights from the Fargo Forum:

http://www.in-forum.com/articles/index.cfm?id=77894§ion=sports

A bigger Sky
By Jeff Kolpack, The Forum
Published Sunday, December 12, 2004

Eight Big Sky Conference college presidents will gather at a Salt Lake City airport hotel Monday to decide if expansion discussion should continue to fly or be grounded.

It's the second step of a three-prong process that was laid out at the last Presidents Council meeting in August. It will also, perhaps, be the most telling.

If the Council agrees to continue, it is expected to decide if it will make campus visits for potential members. North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Northern Colorado and Southern Utah have been the four most-mentioned possibilities.

It is not clear if the University of North Dakota, which sent a letter of inquiry back to the conference last week, will factor into discussions. It is also not known if the presidents will vote on a particular aspect of expansion or -- like it did in the August meeting -- come to an agreement.

"We're right on track," Montana State president Geoffrey Gamble said. "I think the presidents are very serious on this issue. I think they feel expansion is in the best interest of the Big Sky Conference." . . .

If the Big Sky does expand, one issue that will probably be on the table, Fullerton said, is a two-division setup -- something that is becoming more common in other leagues.

The Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference each have two six-team divisions. The Mid-American has a six-team and a seven-team division.

Dividing the Big Sky would help with travel costs, Fullerton said, with North Dakota State and South Dakota State.

"If people want to seriously talk about having the Dakotas, we need to look at divisions," he said.

That would probably require an additional four teams. Although a plan hasn't been publicly discussed, it appears the league would split into a North Division (NDSU, SDSU, Montana State, Montana, Eastern Washington, Portland State) and a South Division (Northern Arizona, Weber State, Cal-Sacramento, Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah).

"We're very encouraged that they're talking about a 12-team deal," said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor. "I think that would save a lot of money and ease some of their concerns."

In football, each team would play its divisional foes every year and rotate on a yearly basis playing three from the other division. In basketball, the conference would probably play a full schedule of 22 home-and-way league games.

More league games, the theory goes, would probably help from a revenue standpoint since fans tend to take more interest in conference games.

The three-step process the Big Sky is taking in its expansion talks are standard to the one most leagues take. In general, they invite applications, go on campus visits and give a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

In general, once a school gets to the campus visit stage, the odds of getting rejected diminish, perhaps significantly.

"They wouldn't be traveling to your school unless they were pretty interested," said former North Central Conference commissioner Noel Olson. "So I would say, yes, that's a pretty good sign." . . .


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:12 pm 
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This would give time for North Dakota to get ready for a move to D1, when Sacramento State more than likely jumps to the Big West.


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 5:12 pm 
bigskyconf.com

They're only going to consider UNC for the time being.


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 5:38 pm 
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They're better off considering UND than Southern Utah.

How does USD draw? Could be better than Northern Colorado.

Only problem- that tradeoff wrecks the apparent North-South alignment discussed in that article, and doesn't provide a clear alternative. Heck, the alignment shown in the article isn't exactly going to make Portland or Sacramento happier campers. That 12 is designed to go 10.

Let the city schools leave, add in the U of Southern North Dakota at Hoople ;D and UNC with the other 4 "flagships" and there's a halfway decent chance of a good alignment. Anyone think Nebraska-Kearney is weighing their options?


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 7:15 pm 
I heard a professor of Aerospace Studies from the University of North Dakota on NPR today commenting on some new NASA person and/or space program.

The now retired Tom Brokaw of NBC fame is an allum of USD.

UND and USD alllllllllll theeeeeeeeee waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:18 pm 
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If I read this correctly, the Dakota schools are all out.

http://www.bigskyconf.com/article.asp?articleid=64596

http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/10414401.htm

Fun while it lasted.

I went back over the last 6 years through the NCAA database. Northern Colorado football attendance seems to go in waves, and you might glean a downward trend in attendance. We'll see what happens if the Big Sky takes them.

Is Doug Fullerton trying to gut the Great West? The GWC may have to turn to UND. Maybe they shoot for non-scholly San Diego as well, willingness be d**ned.

This really puts SUU on the island, with not even a soul to vote them off.

First reaction in Greeley: http://www.greeleytrib.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041214/SPORTS/112140061


Last edited by pounder on Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:18 pm 
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Definately hurts the Great West since there aren't any other schools out there.

Solutions?

The remaining schools need ND to upgrade. But ND has no need to do so if they only have a football conference home. They need a conference for all-sports.

NDSU and SDSU need to get into the Mid-Con.

The remaining Great West schools need to work out a deal with the Mid-Con to basically hand over their league to the Mid-Con in exchange for admitting NDSU, SDSU and ND for all-sports.

This would give the Mid-Con a 12 team conference and name recognition as a I-AA football conference.

It's not much of an offer and very little for the Mid-Con, but it does expand them to 12 and gives them football.

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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:10 pm 

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But ND has no need to do so if they only have a football conference home. They need a conference for all-sports.


Or do they?

You see, at UND they have a championship level hockey team that averages 11k/game for 15 home games or something around there.

They actually don't need basketball, they have hockey.

NDSU and SDSU, however, need that extra money from bball.


So, UND could actually move up because DII is going to a 24 eqs. max and they would a guaranteed Great West invite.


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:11 pm 
We may be forgetting the University of Denver in all of this. The Mid-Con could go to 12 by adding SDakSt., NDakSt., and Denver. Denver is hanging out there in the Sun-Belt like a sore thumb, praying for a new association with some more geographically-desirable conference mates.

Also note the [I believe] the Great West FB Conference is administered out of the Mid-Con's office in Cedar City, Utah (just down the road from Southern Utah Univ...)

SUU is already in the Mid-Con for other sports. Just s'pose the Mid-Con added the 3 above and split into divisions:

East:
Centenary, IUPUI, Valpo, Oakland, Chi. St., Western Illinois

West:
UM-KC, Oral Roberts, SUU, Denver, S Dak St., N Dak St.

Not a bad geographical arrangement.

For football, you've got the 3 newbies: SUU, SDak St, NDak St., Western Illinois could move it's program from the Gateway Conf., Valpo currently plays non-scholarship (is that called I-AAA) in the Pioneer League, and you could invite UC Davis and Cla-Poly SLO from the Big West for FB only. This is essentially the Great West, minus Northern Colorado, plus a pick-up or two.

It all comes down to: would the Mid-Con members see a benefit in expanding ? And to answer that question, YOU CAN NEVER IGNORE THE MONEY ASPECT. This conference may only get it's standard ONE slot in the NCAA BB Tourney, and expansion may dilute the money associated with that bid by 9/12. That alone could be a stumbling block.


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:11 pm 

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It's not much of an offer and very little for the Mid-Con, but it does expand them to 12 and gives them football.


And Poly/Davis will just be members of the Mid-Con football team?

What about Valpo? They're in the Mid-Con but in the Pioneer for football.


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:52 pm 
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Quote:
We may be forgetting the University of Denver in all of this. The Mid-Con could go to 12 by adding SDakSt., NDakSt., and Denver. Denver is hanging out there in the Sun-Belt like a sore thumb, praying for a new association with some more geographically-desirable conference mates.

Also note the [I believe] the Great West FB Conference is administered out of the Mid-Con's office in Cedar City, Utah (just down the road from Southern Utah Univ...)

SUU is already in the Mid-Con for other sports. Just s'pose the Mid-Con added the 3 above and split into divisions:

East:
Centenary, IUPUI, Valpo, Oakland, Chi. St., Western Illinois

West:
UM-KC, Oral Roberts, SUU, Denver, S Dak St., N Dak St.

Not a bad geographical arrangement.

For football, you've got the 3 newbies: SUU, SDak St, NDak St., Western Illinois could move it's program from the Gateway Conf., Valpo currently plays non-scholarship (is that called I-AAA) in the Pioneer League, and you could invite UC Davis and Cla-Poly SLO from the Big West for FB only. This is essentially the Great West, minus Northern Colorado, plus a pick-up or two.

It all comes down to: would the Mid-Con members see a benefit in expanding ? And to answer that question, YOU CAN NEVER IGNORE THE MONEY ASPECT. This conference may only get it's standard ONE slot in the NCAA BB Tourney, and expansion may dilute the money associated with that bid by 9/12. That alone could be a stumbling block.



The point is to find a way to get a 6th I-AA football team to replace departing NoCol. All the current Great West schools will lose the shot at an automatic bid in the I-AA tourney.

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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:59 pm 
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How long before the Great West theoretically "earns" the 1-AA autobid if they stay at 6? I know Cal Poly probably felt snubbed this year.


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:24 pm 
Don't know how the numbers thing works, with regard to conferences getting 1-AA football auto-bids.

With respect to replacing Northern Colorado, there are few prospects out west, that are not already aligned with a conference.

However, San Jose St. (WAC) and Sacrameto St. (Big Sky) both seem to be eyeing the Big West, as a compact cost-saving "bus league". As the Big West doesn't offer football, their moves may be stymied by the lack of a potential home for their football programs.

Maybe these schools are potential 6th Great West teams. The perception has got to be that the Great West isn't stable, with SD St. and ND St. eyeing the Big Sky. The Great West might gain stability if those two schools found a happy home for their other sports in the Mid-Con. Southern Utah, and all football schools in the Big West (currently UCD and Cal Poly-SLO, but maybe more in the future) need each other to form a critical mass.



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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:10 pm 
The Great West Football Conference could add Central Arkansas...

UC-Davis
Cal Poly-SLO
Central Arkansas
North Dakota State
South Dakota State
Southern Utah

Great West [Basketball] Conference...

Central Arkansas
Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne
North Dakota State
South Dakota State
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Texas-Pan American
Utah Valley State


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 Post subject: New Big Sky Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 10:13 pm 
Cen. Ark. is going to the Southland.


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