Interesting post, sportschatter. In other boards, Mankato is seen as a more realistic moveup candidate than St. Cloud, Duluth or Bemidji. Is this true?
The thing Mankato has over the others is a billionaire benefactor in Glen Taylor (Timberwolves owner) who's an alum. Duluth and Bemidji have a smaller student base and northern Minnesota isnt growing economically or population-wise as parts around the Twin Cities or Rochester. St Cloud cut a bunch of programs a couple years ago due to budgetary reason which brings me to the following....
As for sportschatter's comment, I respectfully disagree. IMHO the time has come and gone by to move up to D1. Its a shame the Dakota schools plan of moving the North Central conference to full D1 didnt come to fruition as it would have had an auto bid by now (assuming they had stayed together), but that is now for the "what if/dream scenario" part of this board. As for the MN schools moving up, between the million dollar fee needed to move up at a time when the colleges here arent getting that kind of money from the state, the amount of money needed to spend on scholarships, and the 8 year period where they wont be eligible for the tournament...it's better to just be a big fish in a little pond. Rack up the final 4s in hoops (Mankato has gone there in mens and womens the past few years and before that Winona had that fantastic 3 year run) and in football (Mankato this year, Duluth the couple years prior). While it'd be nice to have a D1 team that didnt take me 2 hours to drive too (whether Minneapolis or Brookings), I can settle with watching D1 hockey even if in a couple years that just means more games against Anchorage or Michigan Tech. Especially if it means my tax dollars arent going down the drain for something thats more or less a vanity project. You may think thats being a "knucklehead", I think its being financially prudent.
And if a school ever does want to move up, Im pretty sure the Summit wont say no.