It was in a meeting room at the Arrowwood Resort hotel in Alexandria, Minn., in 2002 when the old Division II North Central Conference was dealt the first spear into the midsection. North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Northern Colorado wanted the entire league to move to Division I.
The rest, essentially said, hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more no more no more no more.
Well, Jack may come back after all.
Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis on Wednesday, June 28, is expected to formally accept an invite to the Horizon League leaving the Summit League with eight schools for this coming season. It's not exactly a wow acquisition for the Horizon but at least it gets that conference back to 10 schools after Valparaiso left for the Missouri Valley Conference.
As for the Summit, it's not time to dial 9-1-1 yet, but the league better have a phone close by. It's no secret it desires a 10-team league and when the University of North Dakota joins in 2018-19, it will be at nine.
"I would say anytime there's potential change in your league, there's always a little bit of a concern," said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen. "There's been so much movement in college athletics and we've seen the evolution of conferences changing for the better part of seven to 10 years now. I still think we have a strong conference, but there's always a concern when there are departures and somebody leaves for another league."
Of those nine remaining in the Summit, more than half were old NCC schools in NDSU, UND, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Nebraska-Omaha. If only Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State-Mankato would take the D1 plunge, Augustana finds a T. Boone Pickens and somebody convinces Northern Colorado to move from the Big Sky. About all that would be left is to bring back Noel Olson as an associate commissioner and open a league office in the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls.
The thing about these conference affiliations, you just never know. Is Summit member Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne poachable by a more eastern league like the Horizon or the Ohio Valley? The Detroit News reported this week the Horizon may look to expand up to 14 teams.
It made geographic sense for the Horizon, which is based in Indianapolis, to take IUPUI. At least we here at The Forum no longer have to argue over what to call the school on first reference: IUPUI, Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis or Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis.
The question now for the Summit is who's next? Larsen said this summer is no different than any other ... the league is always looking at membership options.
The most geographically logical is to convince Missouri-Kansas City that membership in the Western Athletic Conference is whacky. That debacle stretches from UT Rio Grande Valley (Texas) to Chicago State to Seattle University.
Or maybe Utah Valley University of the WAC would make for a good travel partner with Denver.
That's the key: an even number of teams with decent travel partners. The NCAA requires six members to retain the automatic qualifier status to the NCAA tournament so there's no danger there.
But at some point, the bleeding has to stop.