Here is an article from the Grand Forks, ND (UND's home town) newspaper. It say a lot, but one thing I did notice was that it said a Conf. needs 7 teams to maintain it Auto Bid.
NDSU searches for games
Bison keep working on their move to Division I
By Dave Nilles
Special to the Herald
FARGO - It's been 16 months since North Dakota State announced it plans to move up to NCAA Division I.
With less than a year left until the move officially begins, NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor is comfortable with where the school is at in the transition process.
The Bison still don't have a conference. But Taylor knew that wouldn't be easy. However, groundwork is under way to form a football-only conference.
Earlier this month, Taylor met with officials from five transitional Division I-AA schools in Las Vegas to plan the initial stages of a football-only conference involving NDSU, South Dakota State, Northern Colorado, St. Mary's (Calif.), Southern Utah, California Davis and California Poly- San Luis Obispo.
Taylor hasn't ruled out the Big Sky or Gateway conferences as possibilities for other sports.
"The major conferences are realizing that eight teams isn't where you want to be anymore," Taylor said. "If you are an automatic qualifier and lose a team you get nervous. The eight-member conference is becoming a dinosaur."
A conference must maintain seven members to be eligible to receive NCAA money from the Division I basketball tournament. The Big Sky and Gateway have eight each. Another conference possibility for the Bison, the Mid-Continent, has nine.
Recent conference shuffling in Division I may open doors for NDSU. . . .
Another NDSU obstacle may be overcome this spring when the NCAA decides whether to shorten the waiting period for sports to become eligible for postseason competition. Men's basketball may be shortened from 13 to five years.
"I'm confident it will go through," Taylor said.
Another piece of legislation may remove the waiting period entirely for individual sports, such as wrestling.
Taylor hopes the Bison have a conference by next fall or early winter.