NSIC approves sits visits at two schools
The University of Sioux Falls and Minot State will get a chance to further pitch their schools to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The NSIC presidents voted Friday to grant site visits to the two schools.
The University of Sioux Falls and Minot State will get a chance to further pitch their schools to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
The NSIC presidents voted Friday to grant site visits to the two schools.
The league is considering expanding from 14 to 16 schools.
"It shows that the NSIC is serious about expansion as a benefit to its current members, and to make sure we look at all the possibilities that are out there," said Minnesota State Moorhead athletic director Doug Peters.
NSIC commissioner Butch Raymond said 11 of the league's 14 presidents were at Friday's meeting in Indianapolis. Wayne State Bemidji State and Minnesota-Duluth were the three schools not present.
Minot State and Sioux Falls each received the simple majority, of at least six votes, needed to earn site visits. The NSIC plans to have the site visits concluded by Dec. 1.
"The sooner the better to get everything scheduled, but there's a lot of work to be done yet," Raymond said.
The board also tabled considering the letters of interest submitted by Black Hills State and South Dakota School of Mines.
Both Black Hills State and South Dakota Mines are waiting to have their NCAA Division II status decided later this summer.
Minot State and Sioux Falls are transitioning from NAIA and have both been granted Division II candidacy. Minot State is currently in the Dakota Athletic Conference. Black Hills State and South Dakota Mines are also current members of the DAC.
Next school year will be Minot State's final year in the DAC.
"This is something that needs to take place if you are going to enter the (NSIC)," Minot State athletic director Rick Hedberg said. "It was exciting to hear the news; there are not a lot of Division II schools in the upper Midwest. ... We are going to do everything we can internally to make it happen."
If the NSIC expands to 16, most sports would likely be split into two eight-team divisions. By doing that, the league would likely cut travel costs for most schools and also make scheduling easier and more balanced, especially in sports like basketball and volleyball.
Raymond said both Sioux Falls and Minot State look to be solid candidates, and he thinks that is why the presidents voted to look at the schools more closely.
"I think these are two NAIA schools that are at the top of the class of new schools coming into Division II," Raymond said. "I think both of them have used their resources and their expertise and hired consultants and have done a really good job of showing they want to be a strong Division II member."
Peters said knowing that the league is going to visit both Minot State and Sioux Falls will help add clarity to the process.
"We're going to have some more serious conversations about what we might do with divisions and be able to evaluate some of the cost benefit of those things," Peters said. "You can start to plug the mileage numbers in. You can put together the scenarios so you actually know what you're talking about instead of just vague numbers."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com