Sean Miller Fan wrote:
2. Situation #1 doesn't last long. This would leave the MVC with only 6 football members, only 5 of whom are all-sports members (YSU is a member of the Horizon for everything else). I can see the MVC adding 2 of the following 5: ND, ND St, SD, SD St, or Western Illinois. WIU probably isnt a good option because there are already 3 Illinois schools in the league. I think the MVC would add North Dakota and South Dakota. I think they'd take North Dakota over ND State even though ND State plays in a larger media market (Fargo) because North Dakota has their own television network and Fox College Sports airs all their games nationally. Plus, though I could be wrong on this, it seems that North Dakota has a much larger fan base in the state than ND State does. The same thing goes for the South Dakota schools.
As a UND grad, I would agree with some of what is written here, but it would take some very unusual situations for any of them to get into the Missouri Valley Conference in basketball. NDSU has made some significant strides in their DI transition and has really benefited by the economic growth of Fargo-Moorhead. UND, and to a lesser extent, NDSU, also benefit from a large number of NW Minnesota fans. Compared to other states, native Minnesota residents are do not view Gopher athletics as a state religion, so NW Minnesota residents often have allegiances to ND schools.
Overall, I would rate fan support as UND > NDSU > SDSU > USD, and total attendance would certainly be in line with that. Each of the schools have their fan favorite sport, with UND having hockey, NDSU football, and SDSU and USD both basketball.
UND gets around 350,00 fans/yr
NDSU around 180,000
SDSU around 100,000
USD around 60,000
Facility-wise, the same hierarchy exists: UND>NDSU>SDSU>USD. NDSU has a major advantage with a 19,000 seat indoor stadium vs 13,000 indoor for UND, but NDSU's basketball facility is very poor and would prevent them from getting any consideration from a higher level conference like the Missouri Valley. NDSU has unsuccessfully attempted to partner with the city of Fargo for a number of years on an 6-8000 seat arena, and have now fallen back to an expensive and major remodel of their Bison Sports Arena - which is basically a drafty steel building with major HVAC issues, no concourses, bleacher seats, and few amenities.
The alumni numbers are also UND>NDSU>SDSU>USD. UND's alumni are more likely to be out-state, especially MSP, but also Denver and Phoenix. NDSU has a higher fraction locally in ND or Minn. Compared with UND or NDSU, SDSU and USD grads are much more likely to gravitate to KC, StL, Omaha, as well as MSP. Because of the alumni situation and historical migrations, USD and SDSU are more focused on the Midwest, while UND and NDSU value western states much more, as well as Minneapolis. From a state perspective, the animosity between fans of ND and Montana schools seems stronger than between ND and SD. UND and NDSU would both love to be routinely matched up against Montana and Montana State: that was much of the reason NDSU (and UND behind the scenes) was so focused on Big Sky membership.
The South Dakota schools are handicapped by being in small college towns with limited resources and population: SDSU in Brookings and USD in Vermillion. Vermillion's location next to Nebraska and a stone's throw from Iowa prevents USD from being a focus with much of SD's population.