On Sunday, the University of North Dakota announced that it will be holding a press conference on Monday (Nov. 1) for a “major announcement regarding conference affiliation.”
In other words, UND will be accepting an invitation to the Big Sky Conference.
You can put 2 and 2 together here. Last Friday, North Dakota announced that it was canceling this week’s visit by the Summit League.
Additionally, Southern Utah will hold a similar press conference this week, presumably to accept an invite to the Big Sky Conference.
How does this affect the University of South Dakota?
USD is without a conference home for its football program. All the other Coyote sports teams are set to begin play in the Summit League next fall (2011-12), but right now, USD is left with 2 options: 1) Wait to see if the Summit League adds football (which is currently being studied) and thus merges with the Missouri Valley Football Conference, or 2) accept an all sports invite to the Big Sky Conference.
Timing is the key here. There’s no official timetable for the Summit League’s football study, and indications are that a decision wouldn’t come down until next summer. And even if that league decided to add football, would USD be set to join in time for 2012 (when its football team becomes playoff eligible?) Or does USD go the Big Sky Conference route and join for all sports presumably starting in 2011-12?
No official release has come down from USD, but I would expect one to come later this week.
For now, don’t be surprised if USD accepts an invite to join the Big Sky, along with North Dakota and Southern Utah.