Summit League to visit UNDThe Summit League will conduct a site visit at UND on Nov. 1-2, the league announced Monday night. The league will visit the campus to gather information regarding UND’s application to join the conference.
By: Wayne Nelson, Grand Forks Herald
The Summit League will conduct a site visit at UND on Nov. 1-2, the league announced Monday. The Summit will visit the campus to gather information regarding UND’s application to join the conference.
UND’s top priority since moving its athletic programs to the Division I level is finding a stable conference. The Summit is a 10-school league that also includes North Dakota State and South Dakota State. South Dakota will become a member in July of next year.
The league was expected to visit UND in late November but apparently moved up the visit in response to speculation that the Big Sky Conference also is interested in UND.
The Big Sky recently added UC Davis and Cal Poly as football-only members. The conference is considering adding another school, which would give the Big Sky 12 football members and could create a six-team divisional setup.
But the Big Sky also is interested in UND for full membership. If UND joined the Big Sky as a full member, there would be 10 teams in the league.
The Summit, however, has expressed interest in UND for quite a while. But it wouldn’t act on UND’s membership until the school’s logo and nickname controversy had been resolved.
“There is strong support from our membership to visit UND,” Summit commissioner Tom Douple said. “We look forward to meeting with university and athletic department personnel and obtaining as much information as possible to share with our membership.”
Douple will be on the site visit as will Dr. Al Goldfarb, president of Western Illinois University and chair of the league’s membership committee; Dr. Michael Benson, Southern Utah University president and chair of the league’s President’s Council; and other selected institutional members.
The site team will prepare a report to present to the Summit League’s President’s Council at a later date.
The Summit offers 19 sports. But it does not offer football.
That is a concern for UND. Finding a stable home for its football program also is a major priority. Scheduling football games, particularly at home, has been challenging for UND without a stable conference.
The Sioux play in the five-team Great West Football Conference now, but that league likely will end once current members Cal Poly and UC Davis join the Big Sky in 2012.
Big Sky athletic directors and other athletic administration officials are meeting this week. The agenda likely includes UND’s possible membership in the league, which stretches from Montana to California.
The Big Sky presidents will meet Oct. 19, according to league commissioner Doug Fullerton. At that session, the presidents are expected to consider the findings from this weeks meeting of athletic directors..
UND officials, meanwhile, are appreciative of the visit from the Summit.
“We are looking forward to the Summit League’s visit to our campus as part of their membership evaluation process,” UND athletic director Brian Faison said. “This is a great chance to showcase the great things that are happening at the University of North Dakota and in the community of Grand Forks.”
The Summit consists of NDSU, SDSU, Centenary College of Louisiana, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Missouri-Kansas City, Oakland University of Michigan, Oral Roberts, Southern Utah and Western Illinois.
Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.