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West Ga. plans new stadium, move to Div. I


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Atlanta Journal-Constitution

West Georgia plans to build a 9,000-10,000-seat football stadium, the cornerstone for an eventual move from Division II to Division I.

The Wolves have raised more than a third of the $10 million cost but need alumni help for the facility called Alumni Stadium. The fund-raising goal: Find 1,000 alumni who will contribute $2,500 apiece over a five-year period.

"We're at a crossroads," West Georgia athletics director Ed Murphy said. "The door is [partly] open, and we have to push it the rest of the way."

Doesn't appear that UWG will declare this year.


So the DI classmates of UND appear to be:

South Dakota



Houston Baptist (move from NAIA makes their transition longer)

Here's a listing of the previous DI classes:Multidivision, Reclassifying and Provisional Institutions

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Florence (AL) Times-Daily has several articles today on the future of DII and the Gulf South Conference:

What will the future hold?

When the school year ends in May 2008, the North Central Conference will close its doors forever.

A steady stream of schools from the Division II conference -- which dates to the 1920s -- have, to borrow a phrase from "The Jefferson's," moved up to the deluxe apartment in the sky.

In the case of the NCC, the reference to the sky is Division I athletics. The steady emigration of NCC schools like Northern Colorado, North Dakota State. South Dakota and South Dakota to the upper tier of NCAA athletics has forced the power conference out of business.

The NCC is a perfect, albeit extreme, example of what can happen when the trickle of schools to Division I becomes a steady stream.

Domino effect

Currently, West Georgia seems to be the only school taking a serious look at moving up. If it leaves, the question is whether that would create a domino effect for other schools in the East such as Valdosta State and North Alabama.

Valdosta State is among the largest universities in the GSC, but athletic director Herb Reinhard said the Blazers are happy in Division II -- for now.

"We've done a couple of studies over the years on going Division I," Reinhard said. "Right now, we are definitely a Division II university and will be for at least the next five years. After that, we'll look at it again, but there is not a big push for Division I at Valdosta State because of the realization of the dollars involved.

Former GSC schools made the right move

In football, it wasn't uncommon for many UNA fans to make the three-hour trip to Jacksonville State to watch the Lions play their most hated rival.

In its infancy, the GSC was a revolving door for schools such as Nicholls State, Southeastern Louisiana and others.

The conference's constant for two decades, however, was the stability provided by anchor schools such as Jacksonville State, Delta State Troy State, North Alabama, Tennesse-Martin and Livingston (now West Alabama).

One by one, the rivalries disappeared as Troy State, Jacksonville State and Tennessee-Martin saw greener pastures on the Division I side of the fence. Replacements brought a plethora of schools from Arkansas, and the conference, at least from an Alabama perspective, has never been the same.

Tennessee-Martin left the GSC not so much because it wanted to move up into Division I, but logistically, and geographically, it made more sense to become a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.

"From a geography and rivalry standpoint, it's a better fit for student recruitment."

Dane, who has been at Tennessee-Martin since its GSC days, said the decision to jump to the OVC was the right one.

"I think the biggest oversight was understanding the financial commitment that was required," he said.

UT-Martin is trying to make a greater financial commitment to athletics. Money games against big-name opponents are usually guaranteed losses, but also provide an infusion of cash to the athletic department.

Scheduling is still UNA's biggest headache

In the summer of 1970, a group of college presidents got together and formed the Mid-South Conference.

Among the six schools joining the league was Florence State, which later changed its name to North Alabama. The next year, the league changed its name to the Gulf South Conference.

Fast forward 37 years and UNA is still a member of the GSC. One of just three founding members that remain, UNA has become one of the conference's strongest members, winning six Division II national championships.

The conference has undergone numerous facelifts throughout the years, but UNA has never seriously pursued changing its conference allegiance.

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