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Finding a DI Conference


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Some of the Sioux fans seem to think that DI hockey will help UND(would have helped NDSU) find a conference if they decide to move up to DI. I decided to break down the numbers and see if it would help. Here's what I found:

Currently, of the 60 schools that have a DI hockey team, only 35 have full DI athletic programs.

Of those 35 DI schools, 6 are Ivy league. We can eliminate them from accepting any school from the midwest or upper great plains, even though they play IAA football.

Of the 29 remaining DI schools, 5 are in the Big Ten for other sports. No chance for anyone with a football stadium with seating less than 50,000 will get into the Big Ten.

Of the 24 remaining schools, 18 are on the east coast in states such as New York, Mass., Conn., Vermont, and Maine. This would make travel costs outrageous.

The six remaining schools are, drumroll please:

Bowling Green(Bowling Green, OH), Miami of Ohio(Oxford, OH), Western Michigan(Kalamazoo, MI) - Mid-American Confernce- this is a conference that has IA football. The Mid-American also already has 14 teams.

Denver(Denver, CO) - Sun Belt Confernce- Denver does not sponsor football- The Sun Belt is a conference with IA football.

Notre Dame(Notre Dame, IN)-Big East/Independent in IA Football- The Big East is looking for teams to replace Miami and Virginia Tech, but I doubt the replacements will have "North Dakota" in their name.

Air Force(USAF Academy, CO) - Mountain West Conference- this is a conference that has IA football.

Now, let's look at three conferences of the above teams for geographical reasons(I left out the Big East for obvious reasons):

Mid-American- University of Akron -Akron OH,Ball State University Muncie IN,Bowling Green State University Bowling Green OH ,University at Buffalo, the State University of New Buffalo NY,University of Central Florida Orlando FL,Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant MI ,Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti MI,Kent State University Kent OH,Marshall University Huntington WV,Miami University (Ohio) Oxford OH,Northern Illinois University De Kalb IL,Ohio University Athens OH,University of Toledo Toledo OH,Western Michigan University Kalamazoo MI

Mountain West- Brigham Young University Provo UT, Colorado State University Fort Collins CO, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Las Vegas NV,University of New Mexico Albuquerque NM, San Diego State University San Diego CA, U.S. Air Force Academy USAF Academy CO, University of Utah Salt Lake City UT, University of Wyoming Laramie WY

Sunbelt-Arkansas State University State University AR, University of Idaho Moscow ID, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette LA , University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe LA, Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro TN, New Mexico State University Las Cruces NM, University of North Texas Denton TX

Will DI hockey help UND find a conference sooner?

In one word, no. Unless of course, UND plans on dropping football, or sponsoring IA football, which would require a new stadium.

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There is a distinct football point of view to your post. There is no problem with that; however, there is more to Division I(A, AA) than just football.

A team needs someone to play against. Just by the sheer number of games, basketball scheduling needs to be a major concern to a team looking to move to Divison I. A conference solves many of the issues. Good existing Division I connections could also solve many of those issues (albeit via the non-conference route).

Go back to your evaluation of 60 teams playing DI hockey last year. Yes, 35 are Division I (A, AA, or AAA). What fraction of the 35 play basketball, or the other sports that have many games (volleyball, baseball, softball, etc.)?

A BB/hockey home-and-home over two years (hockey here, hoops there followed by hockey there, hoops here the next year) becomes something that could be offered.

Will hockey help to find a conference? Probably not, especially if the conference is football focused.

Will hockey help with Division I scheduling for sports outside of hockey? It can't hurt.

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Would DI hockey help NDSU find a conference sooner?

IMHO, almost certainly not. But it depends on if was revenue positive, what hockey conference NDSU played in, how well NDSU was performing at Div I, and how hockey fit in with the longer-term goals of members of the conference of the conference it hoped to join. For conferences like the Big Sky or Mid-Con, having hockey would be a negative. (But for the Mid-Con, having a football program is not necessarily a positive.)

Will DI hockey help UND find a conference sooner if it pursued DI in all sports?

IMHO, probably not. But in a few special scenarios it could be used as a bargaining chip (see earlier thread on leverage). In most cases, mid-level conferences want a school that emphasizes basketball, not hockey or even football. As Sicatoka mentioned, it certainly wouldn't hurt in non-conference scheduling (although UND does not at all appear to be using its contacts with other ADs at hockey schools to schedule BB or FB).

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