Getting back to the Dakotas, it is the Dakotas homer thread after all, very little will happen in the way of conference realignment for us until the transition is over.
With the new Basketball deal its not as urgent anyway.
The new BB conference will provide a home for any other midwestern/NCC schools that might make the move and the GWFC is also there, although I dont think the western members of the GWFC are eager about another school up here.
More schools, the closer you get to 8, means a D-IAA conference autobid qualifier. Do you have any comments from a UC-Davis, Cal Poly or SUU official on the matter? That and comments from their fans? I realize Cal Poly got into the playoffs as an at large. But this would be a guarantee with a complete conference, or something close to it. If its a another team in ND or SD, the legislature would likely be pressured to take them. Because you have a rivalry with them, or wanting to be above them, that would be an arbitrary reason not to include them from a political standpoint, given potentially equal numbers of allumni in the state's legislature, if they are equal.
As far as DI-A football goes NDSU would have, if not the, one of the smallest stadiums in the division. I dont think it happens, if ever, until we have built our football attendance up to the point of near capacity for the 18,000+ seat Fabulous Fargo Dome. We are just under 15,000 now. Ultimately we will outgrow the Fabulous Fargo Dome and the larger stadium will be built. Then this kind of talk will have more legs.
That and maybe get their population to about 1 million people, which is not likely. Wyoming is the smallest I-A market. They have 500K and no other college team whatsoever. To overcome the size issue, you would need to overcome the UND and U Minn followings in the state, as ND will be the 49th most populated state, and the smallest state with 2 statewide teams. The small market would need to be overcome in order to compete with almost any current I-A team's and/or 1-AA teams' that move up to I-As markets. If these are Big Sky teams, all BSC schools markets exceed NDSU, except maybe EWU, NAU and SUU (non-Big Sky). A million population would yeild about 500K market for NDSU or comparable to U Wyoming, and even then you may be smaller in the future, given population growth in states like Montana, Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, and even Colorado.
Conferences will want to spread their footprint into the most advantageous recruiting areas, so market size is important, and the growth in the west is immense.