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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 09 2009

A few tips for USD visit

Not to put any undo pressure on the University of South Dakota. But take it from a reporter who has years of experience on this subject: When it comes to a conference site visit, the only thing you can do is screw it up.

It’s as good as getting conference affiliation handed to you on a silver platter.

The Summit announced this week it is going to explore the Vermillion, S.D., school in two weeks. That’s as far as the process is right now, but leagues don’t visit schools just because some folks want a couple of days of vacation in downtown Vermillion.

“There’s nothing saying we need to expand or have to expand,” said Summit commissioner Tom Douple, “but let’s have our homework done.”

It’s a good bet The Summit may expand to reduce travel for some schools. A six-team, two-division setup does that. Also, there are not that many decent schools out there to pick from unless you view Longwood (Va.) and New Jersey Tech as Division I material.

The Ohio Valley Conference quickly gobbled up Division I newbie Southern Illinois-Edwardsville last summer. Having Land Grant and research institutions like USD and eventually the University of North Dakota is probably just too good to pass up.

So, a couple dos and don’ts:

E Do emphasize your medical school. Leagues love the academic side of affiliation.

E Do take them around the Dakota Dome and salivate all over your indoor track facility. The Summit is severely lacking in those.

E Do find out who The Summit’s academic representative is and look into his background. When the league visited NDSU, the academic advisor was Homer Erekson, the dean of the school of business at and the faculty representative from Missouri-Kansas City. It so happens he had a nice marketing conversation with Steve Scheel of Scheels sporting goods fame.

E Don’t fret over the travel accommodations. Flying into Sioux Falls and driving to Vermillion is no worse than traveling to Macomb, Ill., Brookings, S.D., or Cedar City, Utah.

E Don’t worry if your airport runway isn’t big enough to handle the Oral Roberts University jet. Richard Roberts isn’t around anymore, but when he flew into Fargo for the NDSU site visit, you knew, and could hear, that it wasn’t a single engine Cessna.

E Do try to find some way to put Douple out in public. NDSU had him throw out the first pitch at a RedHawks minor league baseball game. It’s the first chapter in the unpublished book: “How to Suck Up to a League.”

E Do try and memorize “The Summit Plan,” the league’s mandate for future growth. It’s kind of the catch phrase in the league right now.

E Do understand that your basketball teams not being around that week is a good thing. They don’t need to hear about scheduling Graceland College, Post University, Dixie State or Chowman (see Summit Plan chapter on RPI).

Readers can reach Jeff Kolpack at

(701) 241-5546 or jkolpack@forumcomm.com.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com