My take on what has happened to UND football since 2004 when we were consistently beating NDSU and SDSU.
NDSU and SDSU moved to DI. They started getting more of the recruits they wanted with more scholarship $$. I know Mertens didn't turn out to be the savior at NDSU but everyone wanted him. He told Dale he couldn't justify coming to UND for half scholarship vs. NDSU for full ride.
UND moved to DI but was not eligible for anything during transition years. NDSU and SDSU were now eligible. During that time some kids said they didn't want to 'play for nothing' and chose our rivals. Veldman for one
The SU's have had great success since then and have superior facilities. It is hard to overcome those things.
We aren't loaded with kids that only had DII offers other than ours because we shy away from kids with DI offers. We need to get lucky with some kids (and we have) and find others that want to be at UND for one reason or another.
Stockdam had some excellent points. We also need to really upgrade our facilities and $$ spent on the program. It still drives me nuts that we divert any money from the football program to the REA. Football is at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to $$ supporting the program compared to hockey. Why take anything, no matter how small, from fb. It's a small amount of $$ compared to what they need but symbolically it tells you all you need to know about our athletic department priorities.