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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:56 am 
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Once upon a time, this was a Big Sky Expansion thread.

What I post here probably makes it a "Big Sky Membership Issues" thread. Elsewhere, the thread about a Big Sky school contemplating dropping football should be noted, and I'm sure we'll integrate that into the proceedings.

Meanwhile, one of the debates that has gone around the bend and back again is Sacramento State. Are they destined for better things? Worse?

One of their positive outlooks was supposed to center on the arena/rec center project approved by students. It appears that this indeed is going up... as a rec center, not an arena. http://hornets.bigskyfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=41

Meanwhile, the school newspaper recently sported an editorial suggesting Sac State move to the Big West Conference... but mentions in the process that there are rumors of the Big West moving in a direction to perhaps accomodate Sac State. http://media.www.statehornet.com/media/ ... 9050.shtml

I think we're going to see mid-major and low-major conferences tighten their geography in this manner. The BCS schools, not so much.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:33 am 
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Assuming that we are correct in guessing that Northern Arizona is seriously contemplating dropping football, this will at least merit serious discussions within the Big Sky membership.

Would they kick NAU out ? In kinda doubt it. There are not a ton of FCS football-playing schools in that footprint.

Here's the list -
Cal Poly (Big West, Great West FC)
UC Davis (Big West, Great West FC)
Southern Utah (Summit, Great West FC)
North Dakota (Independent - perhaps soon to join the Summit, Great West FC)
South Dakota (ditto)
North Dakota State (Summit, MVFC)
South Dakota State (ditto)

U of San Diego plays non-scholly football in the Pioneer, I doubt they have the budget to go for more, and the Big Sky would be a travel hassle for San Diego.

Canadian teams could also be a possibility, but I'm not sure the NCAA has formally approved that, as the NAIA has...

Pounder, you mention Sacramento State. What is their long-term plan ? The Big West works well for travel, but has no solution for their football team, so they would seem to have to look at the GWFC, which will have not have an FCS AQ for some time, since North Dakota and South Dakota are still transitioning to D-1, and the GWFC has only 5 teams and is a tad unstable to say the least. I could see Sacramento State and UC Davis jumping up to the WAC in 5-10 years, but they need to have an increase in Athletic budget and facilities to support that. Both schools seem to be upgrading facilities, but on what schedule ?

So the Big Sky could face the loss of a football team, and a full member, and they need to make contingency plans now.
Some thought on candidates -

Southern Utah - would join in a heartbeat. The Big Sky claimed to have issues with their Academics. That's a convenient excuse, when it suits them. If needed, their academics could suddenly show "remarkable improvement".

Denver - no football, no plans for football. If NAU allowed to remain in the conference with no football, then the Big Sky has changed the rules, and Denver is no longer disqualified. Denver is inside the footprint, and I think they would join (they are looking for a western conference (not the Summit) since the Sun-Belt would rather they move on). IF NAU remains in the Big Sky without football, adding SUU and Denver would give 9 FB schools (8 opponents) and 11 for other sports (10 opponents). That may actually work out nicely.

NDSU / SDSU - should be happy in the MVFC (probably face a nasty exit fee to leave), might prefer the Big Sky over the Summit for other sports, however the Summit may work out well long term, if and when NDU / SDU are added.

North Dakota / South Dakota - no conference entanglements yet. Both schools would certainly join in a heartbeat. Does the Big Sky want 2 schools at this point ? Might they want all 4 Dakota schools in the future IF they lose some surrent members ? Don't know...

California Schools (Cal Poly, UC Davis) - This would provide a better home for their football program. But what else ??? This would also increase travel costs dramatically. I get the feeling that they might be happier staying with the Big West / GWFC up until the time they perhaps contemplate FBS and the WAC. After all, Sacramento State has been studying the attractiveness of the Big West / GWFC combo vs. Big Sky for some time, so the advantages of a compact conference and low travel costs are a serious plus.

My gut feel is that Candidate #1 for Big Sky expansion is Southern Utah. They have football, and are a natural geographic fit. And if NAU drops football, Big Sky expansion will be discussed more seriously.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:55 am 
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Pounder and Tute79,I initially thought that this thread should be locked since it dealt with Big Sky expansion in 2003-2004 which is not the current situation at all.However,since the discussion appears to be about current Big Sky realignment this thread may be sufficient.

On another thread on this board I have developed the NAU/drop FB story which may or may not be the vanguard for future Big Sky realignment.The NAU financial situation as well as those of various Big Sky schools appears to be fluid at this time.The question mark is the state of the economy and the drying up of state funding for mid major schools.

As I pointed out in the other thread,one of the "replacement school candidates" most widely speculated about,Southern Utah has it's own financial problems which "may" cause them to also cut athletic programs.Link to article regarding their problems(previously posted on this board) at http://www.thespectrum.com/article/2009 ... /902050324


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:49 pm 
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Frozen tundra is a good name to describe the way this thread is turning. Hattiesburg and the state of Kentucky will be frozen tundra when USM and Louisville are the top universities in their state in either academics or fan support. UL has a short history as a good fb team. UK draws closer to 65k when they aren't awful like this year. Louisville isn't #1 in Louisville, let alone the rest of the state. USM isn't in as good a shape as Louisville except that they have had good fb teams for a longer time.


Whether Louisville or Kentucky is #1 in the city we can debate that all day, but it ends up going nowhere because there is no documented evidence who everyone in the city actually roots for. What is provable was that the state legislature held up Louisville's stadium expansion for two years because of UofL's threat to UK's "superiority." The expansion has been all set to go (and funding was already in place, none of it state money) since right after the 2006 season, yet construction has just started after this past season. Considering the run of sold-out games at PJCS, the funding was all there, and none of it was from the state, it's pretty obvious why it was held up, especially when you look at the reasons the state government gave for doing so.

Also, academics-wise (not necessarily by mission, but looking at the breakdown as to which programs are more emphasized), UK and Louisville do tend to break down as far as the traditional UX and XSU do, where one tends to emphasize Liberal Arts, and the other tends to emphasize Technology.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:13 pm 
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tute79 wrote:
Assuming that we are correct in guessing that Northern Arizona is seriously contemplating dropping football, this will at least merit serious discussions within the Big Sky membership.

Would they kick NAU out ? In kinda doubt it. There are not a ton of FCS football-playing schools in that footprint.

Here's the list -
Cal Poly (Big West, Great West FC)
UC Davis (Big West, Great West FC)
Southern Utah (Summit, Great West FC)
North Dakota (Independent - perhaps soon to join the Summit, Great West FC)
South Dakota (ditto)
North Dakota State (Summit, MVFC)
South Dakota State (ditto)

U of San Diego plays non-scholly football in the Pioneer, I doubt they have the budget to go for more, and the Big Sky would be a travel hassle for San Diego.

Canadian teams could also be a possibility, but I'm not sure the NCAA has formally approved that, as the NAIA has...

Pounder, you mention Sacramento State. What is their long-term plan ? The Big West works well for travel, but has no solution for their football team, so they would seem to have to look at the GWFC, which will have not have an FCS AQ for some time, since North Dakota and South Dakota are still transitioning to D-1, and the GWFC has only 5 teams and is a tad unstable to say the least. I could see Sacramento State and UC Davis jumping up to the WAC in 5-10 years, but they need to have an increase in Athletic budget and facilities to support that. Both schools seem to be upgrading facilities, but on what schedule ?

So the Big Sky could face the loss of a football team, and a full member, and they need to make contingency plans now.
Some thought on candidates -

Southern Utah - would join in a heartbeat. The Big Sky claimed to have issues with their Academics. That's a convenient excuse, when it suits them. If needed, their academics could suddenly show "remarkable improvement".

Denver - no football, no plans for football. If NAU allowed to remain in the conference with no football, then the Big Sky has changed the rules, and Denver is no longer disqualified. Denver is inside the footprint, and I think they would join (they are looking for a western conference (not the Summit) since the Sun-Belt would rather they move on). IF NAU remains in the Big Sky without football, adding SUU and Denver would give 9 FB schools (8 opponents) and 11 for other sports (10 opponents). That may actually work out nicely.

NDSU / SDSU - should be happy in the MVFC (probably face a nasty exit fee to leave), might prefer the Big Sky over the Summit for other sports, however the Summit may work out well long term, if and when NDU / SDU are added.

North Dakota / South Dakota - no conference entanglements yet. Both schools would certainly join in a heartbeat. Does the Big Sky want 2 schools at this point ? Might they want all 4 Dakota schools in the future IF they lose some surrent members ? Don't know...

California Schools (Cal Poly, UC Davis) - This would provide a better home for their football program. But what else ??? This would also increase travel costs dramatically. I get the feeling that they might be happier staying with the Big West / GWFC up until the time they perhaps contemplate FBS and the WAC. After all, Sacramento State has been studying the attractiveness of the Big West / GWFC combo vs. Big Sky for some time, so the advantages of a compact conference and low travel costs are a serious plus.

My gut feel is that Candidate #1 for Big Sky expansion is Southern Utah. They have football, and are a natural geographic fit. And if NAU drops football, Big Sky expansion will be discussed more seriously.


The problem is that NAU is also likely the main protagonist for SUU joining the conference. Granted, it would be the logical solution to accept SUU and keep NAU in other sports (they would keep 9 in fb for the even number of conference games, but would also have 10 in other sports to have set travel partners). What the BSC really wants though, is to get Cal Poly or UCD in, namely UCD, since they have proximity to Sac State, instead of going there and playing one game, the schools could fly in and out of the same airport and be able to play two games. But Poly also brings in a quality football team, one that has a legitimate chance of ending Montana's stranglehold football-wise. This would also be the logical place to go if either school has aspirations of moving into I-A.

If the BSC does end up kicking out NAU should they drop football, this pretty much eliminates SUU from joining, since they don't really add much to what the conference just got rid of. This might actually increase the pressure for Sac State to move up, to eliminate the southern portion of travel. This could open the door for the Dakota schools to join, and maybe wrestle away the Dakota State schools from the Summit/MVC football. While this definitely widens the footprint, at least if NAU and Sac State are gone it only widens it in one dimension (East-West) instead of widening it east-west and northeast-southwest.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:02 pm 
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Locking this one up to start a new thread. I'll include a link to this thread so people can easily reference their old thoughts, etc.

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